Hell Girl – Two Mirrors Episode 24: Chain Reaction Review

Plot: Everyone in town has been going insane with Hell Girl’s power. People are disappearing left and right, and each client is using Takuma as a scapegoat to shift suspicions away from them. Detective Meshiai continues to investigate Hell Link in order to get his missing sister back, stumbling upon an interesting book on the matter from a familiar friend in the process.

Meanwhile, Hotaru is brought on a messed up tour of the realm of eternal twilight by Kikuri. What truths will she uncover there?

Breakdown: Previously on “This Kid Can’t Catch a Fucking Break,” Takuma was literally and figuratively damned by the entire neighborhood after more people started blaming him for bad things happening around town. Specifically, some Hell Girl clients were explaining away the disappearances of their targets to the cops by saying they saw Takuma with them at the time of the disappearance.

A detective examining the missing persons cases, Seiichi Meshiai, was suspicious of the boy as a result, but he maintained his innocence since there was no actual evidence against him. People were claiming that, in addition to his own mysterious hellish powers, Takuma was continuously using Hell Link to send people to hell, which is why these people were disappearing. Meshiai especially didn’t believe that, but it didn’t stop the neighborhood men from staking out his house night after night. The group was lead by a man who directly blamed Takuma for his target disappearing, wishing to throw suspicion off of him even further.

Yoshizaki, the woman who sent Kakinuma, the one who initially started the horrible ‘devil’s child’ rumors, killed Takuma’s mother and assaulted his father so badly he fell into a coma, went to the police station to help clear Takuma’s name a little, but ran away when questioned about Hell Link. On her way home, she crashed her car and died. At her autopsy, Meshiai noticed an odd black mark on her chest.

Meshiai’s little sister, Hotaru, seemed to have even more sympathy for Takuma and believed he was innocent of everything being accused of him. However, she still thought he knew more than he was saying and thought Hell Link was nothing but a silly rumor.

To change her mind, Kikuri whisked her away to the realm of eternal twilight….while she was still in Takuma’s house….

Meshiai headed to Takuma’s house to find his sister, with the neighborhood watch men in tow since they watched her go in. Takuma let them in, but lo and behold, Hotaru had vanished. The man who lead the stakeout pinned Takuma against the wall and tried to force him to confess that he sent Hotaru to hell, but Takuma wouldn’t.

Suddenly, the man vanished himself. He was the target of the wife of the man he sent to hell earlier. She targeted him to avenge her husband. One of the neighborhood watch members rushed out of the house in fear, ready to spread the word of his first-hand witness to Takuma’s ‘powers’ over town. Meanwhile, Meshiai didn’t know what to think, but knew he had to find his sister. Takuma was once again left alone with his increasingly troubled thoughts.

And now….

Is it possible to hate a whole town of people? Because I hate this town of people.

If they aren’t flippantly sending people to hell at the drop of a hat and blaming Takuma for it, they’re spreading rumors about the kid and continuing to torment him.

In a way, this is a very interesting (read: depressing) look at humanity. So few of the clients in these past few episodes truly seem to grasp the weight of what they’re doing, like most of the clients we see in one-shot episodes do. Damning yourself to hell to get rid of someone you hate is a heavy burden, but every client in this episode just seems to be petty dicks who don’t give a single crap that they’ll go to hell when they die.

Even if ‘the devil’s child’ is a literal get-out-of-jail-free card for these assholes, Ai still always informs them of the price of their actions. They just don’t care.

While some of these people do seem to have legitimate, albeit petty, reasons for hating the people they’re targeting, like blaming their parent for their current mess of a life or detesting that their husband is never home and doesn’t pay attention to the client anymore, it gets to a point where it’s just ‘I just hate you, lolbai.’

And I can understand a little once it reaches a point where it seems like the whole town is damned, but are there so few people who would refrain from killing someone anyway? And if the whole town is damned anyway, why bother killing these people in the first place? Takuma’s gonna strike them down with his Damian powers sooner or later, right? Why sign on the dotted line on your hell contract just to get them there a few weeks, days or even hours faster?

There was one circumstance where I almost felt bad for someone calling Hell Girl. She said the town is such hell now, and she thought she was damned to hell anyway just being there. But then she flips her evil villain switch and goes ‘But if I’m going to hell anyway, I’m going to take someone with me and blame the devil’s child for it!’ Like, come on. Is there a single person in the entire town besides Takuma and Meshiai that isn’t a raging lunatic dickwad?

And if you thought the townsfolk were scared of Takuma before, holy shit, has it gotten so much worse. The newest rumor is that if your eyes meet with Takuma’s, you’ll eventually disappear. It’s not just whispers and glares anymore. People are screaming, shaking and fumbling over themselves in his presence. Takuma went to the grocery store and the cashier broke his eggs trying to get them to scan because she was shaking so much. So she fell over and groveled on the ground for his forgiveness.

Oh yeah, don’t feel too bad for that cashier. She’s the bitch I mentioned in the paragraph preceding that one….

There’s a group of girls at that same grocery store who flip out over seeing Takuma, and one of them meets his eyes, and then later the girls are trying to send each other to hell because fuck if I know.

Everyone is going insane. Over the course of just one night, there are several people in the same town that are sent to hell. It’s become such a widespread issue that even companies are struggling to stay functional because so many of their important employees are disappearing. To say Ai and the Hell Team are busy would be a massive understatement.

This situation actually brings to light a question I had a while back – what happens if all of the Hell Team are out as dolls at the same time? The answer is

They don’t really address it, sooo….yeah. Also, doesn’t Ai cater to all of Japan at least? If all of this attention is being directed to this one town, are they even visiting other places at the moment? Also, also, if everyone is blaming Takuma for this, why has no one yet tried to send him to hell?

Back with Hotaru, she’s having a blast being scared out of her mind at the sight of the true face of Ai’s grandma and learning all of the horrific secrets of Ai’s world.

As she learns this first-hand, Meshiai learns about it by reading a book he got from the library. A book written by….

HAJIME!

He’s never shown from the front and he looks kinda worse for wear, but Hajime wrote a book on the truth about Hell Girl, which is pretty much just explaining how she works and not so much explaining her actual backstory. I assume that this is what Ai’s grandma tasked Hajime with in order to earn his escape from the realm of eternal twilight.

He paid for the publication of the book out of his own pocket with the aim of, supposedly, having the story reach anyone who would listen and spread the word. For what reason? Who really knows? Maybe it was Ai’s grandma, trying to get more people to invest in the legend and use the service so Ai would get closer to her goal of being relieved of her duties. Maybe it was Hajime wanting to warn others or inspire them to not use it because of the very real danger. It’s not really that clear.

Hajime never appears in the series again (I know I said that last season, too, but technically that brief shot of him here could constitute as a flashback since it was showing him writing the book) and it’s kinda implied that he passed away. None of the police can track down anything about him outside of information on the publication on the book, and no one can confirm whether he’s alive or dead.

Tsugumi shows up and also kinda implies that he’s dead because she explains that the book was something he wanted to leave behind and she looked as if she was going to cry when she begged Meshiai to believe Hajime.

Yes, Tsugumi shows up too. She shows up in person briefly. She was seemingly called by Kikuri, but for what purpose, again, I can’t be certain. Maybe to give him more of a reason to believe the story? Even though she didn’t say much – she didn’t even tell Meshiai her name, which would have been useful because Hajime mentions her at the end of the book.

Hotaru’s exploration into the realm of eternal twilight leads her to the space which holds the thousands if not millions of candles that are lit when clients pull the string. Hotaru comes to conclusion that this proves Takuma is innocent and not a devil’s child because she can’t find his name, but, girl, there are so many candles, there’s no way you searched through all of them.

Either way, Meshiai kinda ‘proves’ Takuma’s innocence the same way. After learning that clients gain a black mark on their chests after pulling the string, he goes to Takuma’s house and asks him to show him his chest to see if he has a mark or not (Even though, you’d think Hajime would have included a note that, I strongly assume anyway, once you’ve sent someone to hell…that’s it. You most likely can’t use the service again because your soul, which is used as payment, is already damned. You can’t damn yourself twice. So, obviously, Takuma is not responsible for the string of disappearances anyway. I guess it could be to also clear him of the disappearance of Kakinuma, but Yoshizaki already did that, presumably.) Takuma agrees, and Meshiai sees that there is no chest mark.

But then, as the show goes, things just get worse.

The neighborhood watch/stake out dudes/defense squad/dickheads whatever they want to be called, see Meshiai talking to Takuma in his doorway and one of them approaches him. When Meshiai reveals the information about the mark, the dude stops him from leaving and threatens him. When Meshiai grabs him, he realizes the guy has a mark – he’s used Hell Girl’s services and is also using Takuma as a scapegoat. If this information spreads and clears Takuma of any wrongdoing, the attention will go back to him.

The dude beats the hell out of Meshiai and convinces his cronies to follow suit by claiming Meshiai’s in cahoots with Takuma. The poor kid can do nothing but slam the door in shock at what he’s seeing and just try to block it out by curling up on the floor.

So….If these dickheads have no problem beating up a COP with sticks and shovels just on the belief that he’s siding with Takuma, as dark as this is, why have none of these guys just broken into Takuma’s house to kill him? I know they’re afraid, but the last group had no issue slamming him against the wall and threatening him. Just straight up killing him isn’t that much further to go. It’s not like the people who already used Takuma as a scapegoat need him to live.

“Yeah, but then they’d be charged with murder!” ~some random person, probably.

Uhm, pretty sure viciously beating a cop is basically as bad as killing someone. And this town is so messed up with so much hatred towards Takuma, I can bet they’d be let off on charges somehow.

I saw people in the comments acting like this is some big town scandal and they’re all letting Takuma live so that they can continue to have a scapegoat for future events, but all of these people are so selfish and evil, why the frick would they give a crap about whether or not other people can use him in the future? I mean, if the disappearances still happen even after Takuma is killed/sent to hell, just blame his vengeful ghost or something. It’s no more ridiculous than claiming he’s the child of the devil using an evil website to send people to hell.

Please note – I’m only questioning the logistics of their actions. I don’t want Takuma to die at all. That poor kid has been through way too much.

Meanwhile, Hotaru’s trip to the realm of eternal twilight ends when Ai saves her from the space where the candles are held. Hotaru tells her, rather facepalmingly (is that a word?), that people are being hurt from the use of Hell Link and she should stop it.

I nearly had to pause and giggle at that. Like….do you think she doesn’t know that what she does causes suffering? Don’t you think if she could stop, she would? Or that if she could stop and hasn’t yet the words of some teenage girl aren’t going to get her to change her mind?

Ai just tells her that the decision to stop is outside of her control and she brings Hotaru back to her world.

We leave off with Takuma crying in his doorway listening to Meshiai get beaten, Hotaru confused on the side of the road and Ai looking on at Takuma once more. One has to wonder if Ai is feeling more guilty this season since Takuma truly is innocent in all of this.

She felt more justified before because the people using her service were typically either good people who needed to resort to Hell Link to get rid of bad people or bad people who wanted to get rid of equally bad people. Rarely was the target innocent, but even when they were, that circumstance was so few and far between that it didn’t seem worth it to argue. They had to make up some ridiculously overly pure nurse and have her be targeted by some random psycho who immediately committed suicide after pulling the string so they wouldn’t have to explain why he did it. That’s how difficult it was for the writers to come up with a circumstance where an innocent person was targeted by a Hell Girl client.

Here, not only is Takuma an innocent party who has even refused Hell Girl’s service in the past, when it could have spared him such grief and suffering, but Ai sees herself in him as their stories are somewhat reflective of each other. She not only sympathizes with him, but she probably worries about his soul – fearful that he may end up serving a horrible penance as she is.

Again, we have an episode that is good and interesting, but goddamn it is so depressing.

And I really hate to say this, but we’re STILL not at the worst part yet. Takuma has to suffer more, Meshiai has to suffer more and even Hotaru has to suffer more.

Rating: 8/10

Next episode, for all I just said about no one trying to kill Takuma, next episode….they try to kill Takuma. (In my defense, and this is going to sound bad, it took them way too long) And the angry mob of dickheads aren’t the only ones gunning for his life. An ally also tries to kill him. Dun Dun Dunnn…..Will anyone be left alive in this town after everything is said and done? Find out in the final two episodes.


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