Plot: A girl named Mari is under the firm thumb of her supposed best friend Juri. Until recently, they had actually been legitimately great friends – dressing alike, doing everything together and being the other’s rock – however, an incident lead Mari to hurting Juri’s leg and her heart.
Ever since, Juri’s disposition has changed so drastically that she has called upon Hell Girl and is making no secret of using the doll as leverage against Mari. If she betrays her again, she’s gone. With that in play, Juri forces her to do her bidding and controls nearly every aspect of Mari’s life. What did Mari do that was so terrible, and is there any hope for this friendship to blossom once more or will it burn in the fires of hell?
Breakdown: This was one of those episodes where it intrigues me for the first half because there’s a bit of a mystery going on here – that being what Mari did to earn Juri’s ire – but once you learn of the reason, you realize what a stupid episode this is.
This episode is being framed in a bit of a flashback by Ren, who handled this case. He took an interest in Mari and befriended her for a bit, which is what got us to the reveal of why Juri became such a bitch.
Both Mari and Juri were avid tennis players. They trained a lot, but Juri struggled while Mari excelled. Mari always helped Juri through it and promised that the two of them would play doubles together (Whether she means that professionally or just in high school or something is never made clear.) One day, an upperclassman offers to have Mari play doubles with her because she didn’t want to see her potential squandered playing with Juri.
Since she’s clearly being pressured by this intimidating upperclassman (and her friend) Mari said she’d think about it. Juri overheard them. She was in such massive shock, she instantly ran away from the scene. However, her foot crashed through the cracked floor, injuring her leg and putting her on crutches.
Ever since then, Juri became a frickin’ psychopath. She scratched out any instances of that upperclassman’s face from all of their group pictures. Juri forced Mari to put her own name on her crappy tests and papers and put Juri’s name on hers since Mari was a great student, causing Mari’s grades to plummet. She forced her to stop watching her favorite movies. She forced her to report each and every thing she did to her. Juri even knitted matching hats, mittens and scarves with their names on them so Mari can constantly remember her hatred (And I’m not inferring that – she specifically said she made them with hatred.) And to top it all off, she threatens her every day by reminding her that she has the straw doll and will use it any time she pleases.
I want you to stop reading right now and re-read the reason why she did this heel-turn. She’s filled with this much malice, this much anger, this much hate that she successfully called Hell Girl, all because Mari said she’d consider playing doubles in tennis with someone else.
Not even that she actually agreed – she’d CONSIDER it.
And even though she remains in bandages and uses a crutch, Juri supposedly healed a while before the story started, yet she claims it hurts so much because of Mari’s betrayal and the pain will never go away.
In just as much of a break-neck speed as she suddenly became a super villain, Juri turns the other way completely at random. One day at school she decides to look at a picture that she keeps in the little bag that holds the straw doll. It’s obviously a picture of the two of them even though they don’t show it to us yet. And three, two, one, bam, suddenly she feels like she’s had enough of twirling her mustache and goes to find Mari to seemingly make amends.
But uh oh, here comes another stupid development.
Mari is comforted by Ren again, and she’s so moved by his support that she cries into his chest for a second. Just then, Juri rounds the corner, and, seeing this, becomes just as distraught as she did with the tennis girl before. Because I guess seeing her crying on some random dude’s shoulder is totally ‘betraying’ her again. Is Mari not allowed to have anyone even remotely close to her in her life besides Juri?
Juri runs off, proving that her foot is perfectly fine, and Mari gives chase. She stops Juri in a crosswalk by yelling that they always need to be together.
I’m going to try to say this next part as seriously as I can muster. And you have to trust that I’m not kidding.
And then a truck comes out nowhere and runs over Juri.
What is it with this bitch and getting badly wounded after running away from Mari?
Also, doesn’t this technically mean Ren interfered in this case? If Mari wasn’t crying on Ren, Juri never would’ve ran off and gotten hit by that truck. If Ren wasn’t there, it’s also very possible they would have made up and gone on with their lives. Granted, I can’t see the friendship lasting if Mari can’t so much as look at another human being without Juri having a nervous breakdown, but still.
As Juri lies near death in the hospital, Mari tends to her at her bedside with the doll. She prompts Juri to pull the string out of guilt, but she refuses, pointing to the photo in the bag. Mari looks at it with tears in her eyes, and Juri suddenly takes a turn for the worse. At the last moments, Mari grabs Juri’s hands and forces her to pull the string in the hopes that they’ll be able to spend the afterlife together in hell.
Mari gets her wish, seeing a lantern with the bag and photo floating next to the ferry, but what the hell, Mari?! I’m not arguing that Juri was a good candidate for a halo and harp, but you just forced Juri into being bound for hell when she has mere seconds of life left in her and she had already expressed that she DIDN’T WANT TO PULL THE STRING.
You damned your friend to hell all because you felt guilty and wanted to be with her in hell, which I’ve already explained in a past episode is dumb because I sincerely doubt the welcome wagon in hell will ever let you get a glimpse of your friend, outside of in whatever painful manners they can muster. Hell is not a place where you pal around with your buddies.
Oh well, I guess you deserve each other anyway. I get that teenagers tend to be very unsteady in regards to emotional states, but there is no consistency whatsoever in either of these two characters. They mean so much to each other that even the slightest thing that could be perceived as betrayal might as well be an affront to god, but they’ll also be insanely shitty to each other at the drop of a hat.
I can see some angle where this might be a very sad and bittersweet episode, but you need to stand on your head and squint to get it. All the other angles are just dumb – sometimes to hilarious levels.
Next episode, Hone Onna’s backstory revealed.
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