Plot: As a young woman named Amagi settles in to her new apartment building, she notices a stray cat that frequents the property. It has a little bowl nearby, but it’s filled with rotten food and doesn’t seem to be eating. She takes it to the vet, who tells her the cat has mouth sores and kidney issues, which is the reason behind its disinterest in eating. Despite her building not accepting pets, she decides to adopt it because the vet tells her it will die if left out on the streets in this condition.
After she adopts the cat, she starts getting harassed by somebody. It starts with a barrage of phone calls, followed by a string of deliveries she didn’t order coming to her house, and it just gets increasingly worse from there.
She discovers that the perpetrator is her mysterious neighbor, Kyouko Tachibana. When the harassment reaches a head, she contacts Hell Girl.
Breakdown: You know how I despise animal abuse and go out of my way to avoid depictions of it in media? Well, the last next episode preview showed that this episode’s plot would center on a cat. All I remembered about this episode was a bag of meat being involved.
Considering the insane levels of animal abuse from the last animal-centric episode, I decided to cheat and read the full plot synopsis on the show’s Wiki before even starting the episode. My response?
Holy crap, this episode is dumb.
First and foremost, a cat does suffer in this episode, but it’s not really abused and it doesn’t die.
Secondly, this whole situation could’ve been avoided so easily it’s hilariously sad.
Amagi moves in to a new apartment building. She finds a stray cat outside that isn’t eating. It has a bowl with food in it, but the food is rotten. When she takes it to the vet, she discovers that it has mouth sores and very high kidney readings. Without a home, it will surely die.
Pets aren’t allowed in her apartment building, but she decides to adopt it anyway.
After she adopts the cat, naming it Murr, she starts getting harassed by mysterious blocked phone calls. When she picks up, no one is there, but they won’t let up even in the middle of the night.
She soon starts getting worse harassment such as getting various big deliveries sent to her apartment when she didn’t order them, leaving her to foot the bill unless she’s able to convince the delivery person (one of the Hell team) that she didn’t order it. The first big clue as to who is doing this to her is a note that tells her to ‘dump the cat’ indicating that it’s likely someone who lives in her building.
The harassment keeps building and building, even negatively affecting her work, but she’s unable to move because she doesn’t have the money at the moment.
Amagi decides to just wait it out until she can save enough for a down payment on a place. Until then, she hires a PI to at least find out who the perpetrator is. She discovers that it’s her mysterious neighbor, Kyouko Tachibana. She doesn’t understand why she’d be doing this as she’s never met her before. The only thing she can think of is that Kyouko hates cats and is doing her damnedest to get Murr out of the apartment building.
Nonetheless, she writes a letter to Kyouko telling her that she doesn’t intend on going to the police or making a fuss about this, only that she intends on moving with Murr as soon as she can and hopes to get the harassment to stop until she can do so.
She thinks the letter will do some good, but all it serves to do is make Kyouko angrier.
Amagi can’t take much more, so she decides to contact Hell Girl.
The next day, she comes home to see her door wide open and Murr missing. She looks everywhere for him until sundown when she goes back home to find a strange plastic bag on the porch. It’s filled with raw meat that she believes to be the chopped up remains of Murr.
She immediately runs in the house and pulls the string. I’ll save the Hell Torture part for another section, but it’s revealed that Kyouko didn’t hate cats. She was actually caring for the cat, that she named Mii, and was upset when Amagi adopted the cat. Mii is perfectly fine, and the bag of meat was just a bag of regular store-bought meat meant to trick Amagi.
So, obviously, she did the most logical thing and spent all her days and nights working tirelessly to harass Amagi into getting rid of the cat.
For those of you wondering why Kyouko didn’t take the actual, incredibly obvious route of just talking to Amagi about the situation, they bring that up in the episode. Kyouko responds ‘That never occurred to me.’
They explained to us earlier that Kyoko has no friends and no personal contacts, so she doesn’t seem like the most personable human being in the world, but she said she finally found a friend in Mii, which leads me to believe she does want friends, she just doesn’t seem to get them easily or doesn’t make the effort.
I’d cite extreme communication issues. I don’t see what else could deter people from her shining personality.
What’s even stupider is that she calls Amagi incessantly, Amagi has tried to speak with her face to face, Kyouko’s left notes in her door and Amagi wrote a letter to her, all of which are lines of communication, so don’t tell me she never thought about talking to her.
Speaking of the letter, that would be a perfect time to clear the air about the situation. Amagi clearly writes ‘I can tell you hate cats.’ which is the opposite of what she’s feeling. But what does Kyouko do? She starts banging on the walls of her apartment the instant she reads the letter, like a toddler having a tantrum.
This is so risky too. What if Amagi just decided to give the cat to a friend, or adopted it out to someone else, or, god forbid, if she was feeling harassed enough, she’d just have the cat put down? They said it’d never survive on its own anyway. Then what?
I’m not even done, because there’s the aspect of the bag of meat prank. Kyoko clearly broke into Amagi’s apartment and took Mii then left the bag to trick Amagi into thinking she killed the cat and chopped him up.
If you noticed that, at this point, Kyouko had taken possession of the cat and thus had no reason to further harass Amagi, you’re one smart cookie! She easily could’ve just made off like the cat ran away, but no, she had to make it seem like she was a sociopathic cat killer for no reason.
They do their damnedest to make you feel bad for this sadistic witch at the end for some reason. The last shot of her in the boat is her crying that she lost her one and only friend, and….creepily enough, they show that Kyouko was obsessively taking pictures of Mii and posting them all over her walls….in stalker fashion. Not lying, the music and ambiance clearly indicate that this is supposed to be a sweet thing.
It’s nice that she didn’t actually kill and chop up the cat, but if that’s your bare minimum for making it seem like someone’s a decent human being, you’re kinda insane.
It was just so easy to fix this situation. Maybe they could’ve taken ‘joint custody’ of the cat, especially since Kyouko works at night and Amagi works during the day. They could’ve split vet bills. They could’ve ensured that the cat always got the care it needed. They could’ve worked together to make sure the building manager never caught them. But nope.
I don’t even know why Kyouko didn’t adopt the cat in the first place. No, cats aren’t allowed in the building, but if she was this obsessed with the cat, she wouldn’t have given a crap. Like Ren said, the building manager is hardly ever around so they’re unlikely to catch her, and she lives a very private life so I doubt anyone would notice.
She also wasn’t taking good care of it to begin with if she left it with rotten food and didn’t realize it needed medical attention.
Finally, let’s go over a few of the more minor things that made this episode even more confusing.
1) Why does the episode start with showing us that Amagi does pull the string? The narrative does not lend itself to showing this scene first. It’s not like it’s a mystery as to who she’s pulling the string on. In fact, she and Kyouko are the only characters with names in this episode.
The only thing this does is ruin the suspense as to IF she pulls the string. Most people do, but now we know she does, so why bother?
2) Why are the Hell Team so deeply ingrained into this episode? I don’t know if you can call it character development or what, but early in the first series they were almost entirely hands off when it came to clients. It became a little understandable when they started letting one or two of them appear in the client’s life after they officially became a client, but now it’s like they’re clairvoyant.
Much of the episode goes by without Amagi even considering contacting Hell Link. She’s writing a paper about the service, that’s about it. Yet they seem to know for sure that she will contact Hell Link soon.
At the very start, Ren is shown to be masquerading as her very close friend – so close that he apparently can show up in her apartment while she’s sleeping and she doesn’t find that alarming.
Kikuri shows up every day as a creepy little girl who constantly plays ball on their property. Way to contribute, Kikuri.
The others basically take every single other role in this episode except Amagi’s boss, and his face is never shown so I can’t be entirely sure! They’re the delivery people, the vet, the PI, her coworker – it’s was downright laughable that it seemed like she practically lived in a world made of Hell Team members.
It’s especially strange considering the nature of the case is incredibly tame in comparison to their other clients. Are they just getting bored hanging out in the Realm of Eternal Twilight?
3) I don’t know much about the delivery practices of Japan, but why do all of them expect payment upon delivery here? I can understand the pizzas and the sushi as those are food items and they typically do require payment on delivery, but not stuff like a mattress, a giant vermicelli…thing, and a massive baseball….board game?
4) The Hell Torture this time around is weird, and not in a creepy way, just a confusing way. After Amagi finds the bag of meat, she runs into her apartment and angrily pulls the string. Without the scene shifting, Ren arrives and starts talking to her about the situation, asking how she feels. Hone Onna and Wanyuudou arrive with similar questions and it really seems like Amagi would be the one sent to hell with Kyouko having contacted Hell Girl behind the scenes.
I was confused, but I admit it would’ve been a good plot twist, albeit very tragic because I didn’t want to see Amagi be sent to hell and let Kyouko the sadistic psycho win.
However, they put a mirror up to her face and show her that she’s really Kyouko….This isn’t some clever plot twist at all – like all this time we thought we were following Amagi when the bad guy was really Amagi and the good guy was Kyouko – they just tricked Kyouko into thinking she was Amagi for twenty seconds….I guess…to….make her feel like Amagi felt? But she didn’t feel bad for what she did afterwards, so it seems rather hollow.
Also, part of the actual Hell Torture was drowning her in the meat blood, which loses emotional impact considering the meat wasn’t cat meat.
Overall, this is a dumb episode through and through. It’s poorly written and structured. It had a workable concept, but tried too hard to be clever with it, causing it to fall flat. I did feel for Amagi, but their attempt at making me feel for Kyouko was pathetic. The fact that all of it could’ve been resolved with a mere conversation and the only excuse as to why she didn’t attempt to do so is ‘That never occurred to me.’ is insultingly stupid. The additional fact that she didn’t stop when she took the cat is icing on the dumbass cake.
What’s slightly frustrating is that, even though the premise seems sound, I can’t give a good suggestion as to how to actually make it work. Even if Kyouko was just an angry neighbor who didn’t like cats, it still could’ve been resolved by talking about it. She’d have to be an incredibly unreasonable person who would refuse her to allow her to keep the cat, even just for a few months until she gathers funds for a new place, to have this work.
Even then it’s still kinda silly because the cat was constantly hanging around their apartment building. What’s worse – having a disgusting, filthy and sick cat hanging around your building so you have to see it every day, or having someone in your building care for it, keep it clean and keep it confined in an area of the building that you never traverse?
Kyouko goes to hell because she’s an idiot, Amagi goes to hell because Kyouko’s an idiot, and I’m left with a feeling of dissatisfaction and frustration.
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