Plot: Tae is deeply in love with her next-door neighbor and childhood friend, Kei, but he is ignorant to her feelings and is currently dating another girl, whom Tae hates. Despite this, Tae wouldn’t have their arrangement any other way. She’s fine with protecting him from a distance and keeping her feelings a secret from him. She believes all love ends in disaster, and this is the only way to ensure she’ll stay by his side for as long as possible. She might be right about one of those beliefs….
Breakdown: This is one depressing episode.
It’s not like Hell Girl is a particularly uplifting show, but this one tugs at all sorts of heartstrings.
Tae is a very sweet girl who loves Kei more than anything, and she’s so afraid that any attempt at admitting her feelings or starting a romantic relationship with him will end in suffering and them separating that she is more than willing to just love him from afar and protect him from the heartache that his personal romantic relationships will bring.
She even goes to the trouble of setting up her room for Kei to borrow so he can try to sleep with his girlfriend. When she shoots him down because she wants her ‘first time’ to be in Hawaii, Tae loans her emergency credit card to Kei so he can take her to Hawaii and have sex…..That is some sort of screwed up dedication right there.
Kei’s screwed up, too. He doesn’t want to take Tae’s money, she basically insists it upon him, but he was willing to get a job and save up for this trip..….just to bang his girlfriend.
Let me tell you something, folks, if your significant other has some sort of requirement for sleeping with you that involves superficiality, like jewelry or a vacation or something, they’re –
A) Likely screwing other people.
B) Using you for these things.
C) Not worth being with. If they’re willing to have sex at all, the only conditions should be things like the obvious of consent, but also emotional preparedness, love, comfort, safety etc. Not ‘I need my lei before you have a chance at getting laid.’
Kei is a very nice guy, but he’s a bit of a doormat if he’s willing to do that.
You might be wondering who the client and target are today. That’s a point of interest that kind of clashes with the previous episode. Whereas in that story the client only had feelings of guilt fueling her desire for revenge, Tae is preemptively using Hell Girl’s services because she knows that, at some point, Kei’s girlfriend will break his heart. When that happens, she’ll send his girlfriend to hell. It’s a feeling of protectiveness over Kei’s feelings that is driving her.
This thought is set on her own personal belief of love – that being that all love is finite and that no romantic relationship ends well, which is shockingly cynical for such a young, kind girl, and her knowledge that his girlfriend is a two-timing bitch.
I suppose you could say this is also a preemptive feeling of revenge since she knows she’s cheating on him, but it’s really strange. How could a feeling of guilt over a loved one’s murder not be strong enough to allow someone to access Hell Correspondence but someone’s preemptive feelings of anger towards someone maybe breaking their loved one’s heart is? Is it because, in the case of the former, the hatred is aimed inward whereas the latter’s main focus is someone else? Just seems weird to me. You’d think the former would still have plenty of feelings of anger towards the man responsible.
Like Ren had a particular interest in the last case, and Wanyuudou the one before, today Hone Onna is getting personally involved in the client. She doesn’t understand Tae’s feelings at all, especially once Tae and Kei suddenly make love once he finds out his girlfriend’s cheating on him. Tae is devastated that she let herself get too close to Kei and realizes that she’s ruined everything between them, so she has to distance herself as much as possible from him.
Hone Onna is baffled that she doesn’t take this opportunity to just enter into a romantic relationship with him. Since Tae believes all romantic relationships die, she can’t bring herself to do that. She even believes she’s getting too close to Hone Onna by being so honest with her.
Sadly, she shoots herself in the foot in the most tragic way.
The entire time they’ve known each other, they’d communicate by tapping on the other’s window through their bedrooms and talking to each other since their houses are so close. Kei realizes he has loved Tae all this time, so he tries to step between the windows to be with her, but Tae kept the window shut, desperately pleading for him to go away since she can’t let herself get too close to him. Kei doesn’t understand what she means and he suddenly slips from the window and falls to his death.
Yup. I thought he’d be badly injured, but nope, he died. Ironically, Tae’s desire to keep him at a distance to possibly salvage their relationship created the greatest distance of all between them.
Where does this leave the Hell Girl situation, though?
Kei’s bitch of a girlfriend, Yumie, feels nothing for his death. She denies that they were dating and claims she took pity on him for constantly being hassled by Tae. She even talks about him like he’s an idiot with her ‘number one’ boyfriend. Tae, unable to take anymore and blaming Kei’s death on Yumie partially, pulls the string.
The hell torture this time around is…kinda fun? I mean, it’d be terrifying, but watching the bed spin around and having Hone Onna throw knives at her as she spins, like a circus act, was kinda cool.
This whole episode just makes you feel terrible. You feel bad for Kei for getting his heartbroken and dying right as he realizes who he really loves. You feel bad for Tae because she inadvertently caused her beloved’s death by trying to protect him, and now she’s damned to hell on top of that so she can never reunite with him in heaven. You also feel really bad for Tae for having such a cynical view of romance even in spite of loving Kei with all her heart and soul.
At the very least, the ending throws her a bone. She moves away after that incident, for whatever reason, and her new next-door/window neighbor is someone who looks almost exactly like Kei. At least she won’t be lonely, but she might be setting herself up for more heartache and tragedy if her viewpoint hasn’t changed.
This is a really great episode, but it is depressing on so many levels.
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