Plot: A teenager is constantly being tortured by a local loudmouth jerk named Leon. He keeps attempting to input his name into Hell Correspondence, but he can’t get up the guts to hit ‘Send.’ Leon himself has someone pissing him off – his gang leader. In a hive of scum and villainy, it’s a race to see who gets sent to Hell first.
Breakdown: This episode is very obviously designed to make you feel like all humanity is trash, and you have absolutely no sympathy for either the target or the client, barring the initial teenager client.
This is one of the more unpleasant episodes to watch, and it’s downright over the top with how they write these characters.
Hey, here’s Leon. He is about as big of an asshole as they come. He’s loud, obnoxious, a massive idiot, he beats people up, he robs people, and just to put some frosting on his awful cake, he tricked a starving stray dog into thinking he’d give him food and then BLEW FIRE IN HIS FACE WITH A LIGHTER. Boy, I sure hope he doesn’t end up pulling that string. What a treasure we’d lose.
The initial client, the aforementioned teenager, does successfully call Hell Girl, but he, surprisingly, is one of the few who outright refuses to use her services once he’s been told of the price. It’s just strange because we’ve seen people damn themselves to hell for much less than what this guy goes through on a daily basis, but I respect his resolve.
The target of Leon’s anger is his gang leader. He wants out of the gang if he can land the heart of a local girl who doesn’t even know he exists. In typical gang leader fashion, he doesn’t like this attitude. He not only beats Leon to a pulp for daring to say such a thing, but he decides to forcibly make this girl his to further torment him. Not only that, but he decides to rape her, film it and show it off.
It’s not just these two who are shown to be evil. They make a point to show practically everyone outside of them are terrible too. Wanyuudou basically goes on a ‘The world is already hell’ tangent right before finding Kikuri about to be kidnapped and molested/raped by some perverts.
He claims the only reason people are so terrible now is because they’ve forgotten that heaven and hell exist…..
Yeah, I’m getting pretty sick of this ‘back in my day’ malarkey people throw about. Is the world a little rotten? Sure. But look back through any period of history and you’ll see we as a species maintain a pretty good level of rottenness and evil throughout time and space, no matter if religion or simply believing in an afterlife is a factor or not.
Anyhoo, is it any surprise that Leon pulls the string? No. He was probably going to go to hell anyway, which, again, raises the question of ‘Why allow people destined for hell anyway to use Hell Girl’s services?’ Is it just because, as long as people are alive, they always have a chance for redemption, but when they use Hell Girl they don’t?
He also doesn’t seem like he cares. Despite being magically transported to the Realm of Eternal Twilight, having a conversation with a creepy girl with red eyes and seeing a man turn into a straw doll before his eyes, he still questions whether a hell even exists. He also thinks his curse mark looks cool.
The hell torture this time around is pretty tame for a guy who seems so comfortable with filming rape that you’re certain he’s done it before. Being a gang leader, he’s probably also killed people. It was a little cool with him sinking in the concrete and Ai about to run him over with his own car. The car, btw, is also obnoxious in its own right. Look at this damn thing.
But it could’ve been better. I did really like Ai’s line to him when he was in the boat, though.
The big surprise comes at the end of the episode where we get two things.
The first is Leon dying. Yup. He dies. Not by Hell Girl’s hands – he dies because he was destined to die. It just so happens his time came a day after he got his revenge.
And how it happens is so cosmically sweet.
He’s riding his moped down the street when he sees the dog he burned walk into the road. He swerves to avoid him and then plows into a truck. The guys he tormented, including the previous client, saw it all happen and went to him, but they decided to walk away instead of help him. Kikuri even gives him a bit of shade before he bleeds to death.
This is the first time that we’ve seen a client die immediately after getting revenge. Technically, we have seen a client die before, but that was of old age decades after he pulled the string. It’s even more ironic because one of the reasons Leon didn’t care to pull the string was because he figured he would live a long time.
The second gives hope for humanity….in a way. The girl from before, Izumi, throws her empty cup into someone’s bicycle basket. Wanyuudou chastises her for it, reminding her that heaven and hell are watching and judging her, so she apologizes and picks up her trash.
This is….kinda nice, but 1) Littering? Really? That’s your crime of the century?
2) People really shouldn’t be forked into being good people by reminding them that they’ll either go to heaven or hell after they die….And this is coming from a Christian. You should be a good person because you want to be a good person – not because a higher power is judging you for your actions.
3) Is it really that impacting to see someone refrain from littering because of what you said? That gives you hope for humanity? Most people in her situation would just be embarrassed at being caught doing something bad. I don’t mean to be cynical, but you’re the ones who just jammed 20 minutes of ‘humanity is shit’ down our throats. Just because she gave a hoot and didn’t pollute doesn’t reverse really any of that.
Technically, she didn’t even really litter – she put her trash in a bicycle basket. Still a crappy thing to do, but still.
All in all, this episode was just alright. Its messages are not conveyed well, and the whole situation makes you root for nearly everyone to die. At the very least, I’m happy nothing happened to Izumi and the teenager client decided against using Hell Girl, but the whole story’s a mess when you can’t sympathize with anyone.
We’re not meant to sympathize with the target, that’s kinda the point, but I was rooting for Leon to die too. It’s not like Leon’s in love with Izumi either. He doesn’t even know her. He has a big crush on her and claims her as a possession. Even if he was in love with her, who cares? He’s a massive douchecanoe who burns dogs and beats people.
It’s an obnoxious episode to watch and, despite the glimmer of hope and the sweet ironic karma at the end, it made you feel like crap just for being human.