Plot: Takuma’s town continues to fall apart, and now the neighborhood watch group wants his head in order to return their lives to normal. They’ve viciously beaten Detective Meshiai and hidden him in a shed on one of their properties, and now they’ve started to hunt Takuma.
Hotaru manages to find Takuma before they do and scrambles to help him escape from them. Eventually, they are found, and now, since Hotaru’s an accomplice, they plan on killing her too in order to cover their tracks.
Breakdown: Previously on “This Kid Can’t Catch a Fucking Break,” using Hell Link has become the latest fad, apparently. Dozens of people have disappeared in a matter of a week or so. Even the chief of police has vanished. Half of the town is paralyzed in fear, and the other half is snickering in the shadows as they blame Takuma for their misdeeds. With each disappearance, people become more terrified of Takuma and more inclined to use Hell Link since they believe they’re destined for hell anyway due to being in his vicinity.
Hotaru explored the realm of eternal twilight and learned some vital information about Hell Girl. Most importantly, however, she proved to herself that Takuma was indeed innocent as he didn’t have a candle with his name on it, indicating he hadn’t used Ai’s services at all, let alone numerous times.
Detective Meshiai also proved Takuma’s innocence, at least to himself, by researching Hell Girl through a book written by Hajime himself and seeing that Takuma bears no curse mark on his chest. The instant he tried to clear Takuma’s name, however, one of the neighborhood watch guys stopped Meshiai in his tracks. He had used the service, as have most others on the defense squad now. He suddenly attacked Meshiai and yelled to his compatriots that Meshiai was in cahoots with Takuma.
Poor Takuma could only sit and shake behind his door as he listened to the men viciously beat Meshiai.
We’ve reached a point where the defense squad goons are basically cartoonishly evil now. They intend on killing Takuma and anyone else in their way, even though they’ve seemingly been going out of their way to make sure he stays alive this whole time. And, of course, some of them are even laughing and smiling the whole way through and treating it like some honor to be a part of this messed up Hell Link users club.
After Meshiai got beaten, they threw him into a shed and stupidly didn’t take his phone from him even though they had to have both seen it and heard it several times at this point since Hotaru’s been calling numerous times after returning from the realm of eternal twilight.
Meanwhile, almost immediately after returning, Hotaru finds that Takuma is being hunted by the people of the town and runs off with him, hiding in a shrine for much of the runtime, similarly to when Ai was on the run with Sentarou back when she was alive.
Speaking of Ai’s backstory, it seems Hajime did indeed remember to write her story into the book to share it with anyone who was interested inHell Girl. While I understand why they waited until now to really go into depth about it, it’s a bit strange that they didn’t at least hint at Meshiai reading about it, instead focusing a lot on the technical aspects of how Hell Link works.
Hotaru non-directly points out that what is happening right now is reflective of Ai’s story. Groups of people can easily lose their sense of reason and go mad, resulting in them targeting other people and literally witch-hunting. This is the nature of human beings, and it hasn’t changed in several hundred years since Ai was alive.
However, Hotaru resolves that things will be different this time around since she will protect Takuma from the townsfolk no matter what…..But anyone who knows the other tragic side of the coin in regards to Ai’s story will know immediately where this is going before we even get to the second half.
If Takuma is Ai in this situation, that would make Hotaru Sentarou, and that’s troubling. In Ai’s story, Sentarou also promised to protect Ai at all costs, even though helping her run away and hide put him in danger as well. When Ai was finally found and caught by the villagers, Sentarou was forced to dump the first shovel full of dirt on Ai as they prepared to bury her alive, next to her murdered parents. This was punishment for him as a result of helping her escape. If he chose not to do as he was told, they’d kill him too.
Sentarou tearfully put the dirt in the grave, which Ai took as an unforgivable betrayal, and triggered her initial rage and fury for revenge as she died and was reborn, so to speak. Sentarou had to watch his village get massacred by the ghostly reborn Ai and lived his life in repentance for what he had done, never quite forgiving himself for it.
But before we get to the reflection of that betrayal, let me remind you….Kikuri’s still a bitch.
I’ve been wondering why Kikuri has actually been helping more or less lately. She’s brought Hotaru to the realm of eternal twilight to get her to believe Hell Link is real and Takuma was telling the truth. She put Hotaru in the space where the candles were so she could confirm Takuma was innocent. She lead her to Takuma’s hiding spot when they started hunting him so she could help him escape. She’s been so uncharacteristically helpful….
Well that all combined with what she does in this episode, which is lead the murderous townsfolk to Takuma and Hotaru’s hiding spot in the shrine, pretty much cinches that she was only doing those things so she could put into motion the same events as Ai’s story. She did all of that to Hotaru not out of sympathy for Takuma but because she wanted Hotaru to sympathize with him, help him and eventually betray him.
I get that Kikuri is the embodiment of the master of hell, something we’ll learn in the final episode, so we’re pretty much meant to hate her, but yeesh. She and Naraku should have an ‘annoying as shit and loves to screw with people’s lives’ contest.
Thanks to Kikuri, the defense squad goons arrive at the shrine early that morning (What was their plan? Just hide in the shrine their whole lives? It’s not like the shrine Sentarou and Ai took refuge in – it’s a very public place.) tie them up, throw them in a boat in the lake, tie large rocks to them and smash a hole in the boat (using a comically sized mallet for some reason). They’re pushed into the lake to sink, drown and disappear so the townsfolk can ‘get on with their lives.’
Interestingly, and somewhat annoyingly, the one guy in this group who is being very apprehensive about this whole thing and is voicing his concerns, says this as he smashes the hole in the boat;
“It’s not my fault.”
Not only is that exactly what Kikuri just said after Ai asked her why she told the defense squad about Hotaru and Takuma’s hiding spot, but it’s just so disgusting that the one guy in this group of monsters who was seemingly showing us that humanity’s not all walking trash basically washes himself of any guilt or shame by saying it’s not his fault. Not ‘sorry’ or ‘I have no other choice’ just ‘It’s not my fault.’
But fear not, there’s a light in this situation. Headlights. The headlights of….
Yes, those idiots not only left him with his phone, but they also didn’t tie him up nor did they properly lock him down, apparently. They just beat him up and threw him in a shed. He’s a detective you numnutted asshats. Be smarter.
However, I should also be saying ‘be smarter’ to Meshiai because, while he did have the forethought to get his gun (Did he just go and get a gun or did they not even remove his gun from his person when they kidnapped him too? Just how dumb are these people?) he did not have the forethought to maybe call for some backup when facing a group of five people, trying to save two children, while recovering from a severe beating.
They all run off at Meshiai shooting his gun into the air anyway, and he rescues the kids in the nick of time.
And then Ai erases Takuma’s memories of all the trauma, half the townsfolk are arrested, everyone else in town has their memories erased of all the devil’s child bullshit, Takuma’s dad wakes up, makes a full recovery, they leave this shitty town filled with shitty people in lieu of some cool place with a theme park and everyone lives happily ever after.
I forgot what series I was reviewing.
There’s still five minutes left in this episode.
So…for some reason, Meshiai doesn’t immediately find a phone or use the one he had on him to report his beating, kidnapping and the attempted murder of two children to the authorities.
He says he will do so later as they’re driving home. At least an hour has gone by. He still has his phone on him. Last we checked it was still receiving calls, and if he hasn’t been using it, chances are the charge is pretty high. There had to have been a phone in the house where the shed was located, too. There’s no reason Meshiai hasn’t called the authorities yet. Some cop he is.
Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, why didn’t Hotaru use her own cell and call the police at any time during this? At no point did they show her leaving her phone behind or it dying or anything. She was trying to call Meshiai several times over the course of the episode, even when they were in the shrine. The existence of cell phones really does create massive problems in a lot of horror stories, doesn’t it?
I should point out that Meshiai had the time to find and put on a coat, though. One that might not even be his because he wasn’t wearing that when he was at Takuma’s house. Staying warm when it’s moderately cool out>getting backup in a very dangerous situation against a group of people trying to kill two children, one of which being his litter sister. Priorities are good here.
No worries, though. They’re all happy and hopeful, driving home to see Takuma’s dad in the hospital and assuring him that they will certainly clear his name of all the accusations one by one, no matter how long it takes.
Takuma and Hotaru even hold hands to comfort each other. Aw.
Uh oh. A partially happy moment! Something horrible better happen to fix this travesty!
And it does.
The apprehensive guy from before was actually the only one in the group who had yet to use Hell Link. They had him use Hell Girl on him and pulled the string on his doll as they were driving away.
This was foreshadowed, actually. Earlier, they talked about what they should do about Meshiai and they all looked at the guy. Later, Hone Onna and Ren note that it’s Wanyuudou’s turn, but so many people have been using Hell Link lately you wouldn’t think to question where he is. Also, you’re really lead to assume all of the people in the defense squad group have used Hell Girl already, and you can’t use it more than once, presumably. It was pretty clever in the way it was framed.
Even though this was a pretty shocking and good plot twist….why did they opt to use Hell Link on Meshiai instead of just straight-up murdering him? He was already beat like a rug on a weekend. Might as well go all the way – it’s not like they’re averse to murder or anything, and he was their greatest threat.
Or why not use Hell Link on Takuma and murder Hotaru and Meshiai? You wouldn’t even need to hunt the kid down – you’d just need to pull the string. You can’t tell me they have enough hatred for the cop to call Hell Girl on him but not Takuma. Why call Hell Girl for Meshiai and then not force the guy to pull the string while they were there? Why leave him there with his phone and free hands….and gun? They can’t have planned this all out to point where they knew Meshiai would wake up at just the right moment, go after them, not call for backup, not shoot them all in the face, actually rescue the kids, and then drive away while still not calling for backup just so they could pull the string while he was driving. That was in no way necessary and just serves to overcomplicates matters.
Without a driver, the car crashes into the ditch. The kids are both fine after the wreck, but Takuma and Hotaru are now all alone again. The only thing Hotaru has left of her brother is his laptop.
Suddenly, Hotaru stops in her tracks and opens the laptop.
She accesses Hell Link.
She claims she has no choice but to make Takuma disappear….But…No…Just..no. Of course she does. Sentarou was forced under threat of death to put the dirt on Ai, and they were going to bury her alive no matter if he helped or not. The only difference would be how many bodies would be in that hole.
Does she really think killing Takuma will fix anything? Like I said, people in town could still easily use Hell Girl as much as they wanted and blame Takuma’s vengeful spirit or something. I know she’s upset and not thinking clearly, but that was quite the turnaround from ‘I’ll never let anything happen to you’ to ‘Gonna send ya to hell, bye.’
Also, I must point out that she’s using the Internet….meaning they could have used THAT to call for help too. Not that that would’ve saved Meshiai, but still. At least the defense squad pricks would probably be arrested.
This episode was exciting and interesting in how it tries to mirror Ai’s story, even if there are a bunch of writing hiccups to make the plot work as such. The twist with Meshiai was surprising and sad, especially considering he was a pretty cool guy who just wanted to solve the disappearances and help Takuma. We never see him in his hell torture, which is good, nor do we see him traveling down the river with Ai, which I think is a bit of a missed opportunity for a character who has been so important these past few episodes.
Even though I’m pretty sure they’ll try to redeem Hotaru a bit more in the next episode, I still don’t agree with her choice to send Takuma to hell acting like everything will be fixed if he dies.
Ai’s story was basically the same as Takuma’s, and the betrayal from her only friend and subsequent death started the cycle of hatred. You really think the crappy people in this evil town will suddenly turn good and everything will be sunshine and kittens after Takuma’s dead? I really thought Hotaru was smarter than that, even if she is grieving and scared.
Also, if Takuma just needs to be dead in order for this to stop, why not just murder him outright? I know that seems like a really cruel thing to say, but hear me out. Calling Hell Girl will allow her to send Takuma to hell immediately. Killing Takuma will probably allow him to pass on to heaven. The kid’s as pure as the driven snow – he would certainly go to heaven. The only bad thing this kid ever did, as far as I can see, is calling Hell Girl, but he denied her services immediately upon hearing how it works. Why damn the kid to hell? Just because you don’t want to have to do the dirty work yourself?
I never considered this before, but Takuma vanishing without a body being shown as proof of his death to the townsfolk would also not help things. The townsfolk might just think Takuma’s damning them all from the shadows and become even more paranoid.
The finale is coming up! Will Takuma really be sent to hell? Will Hotaru be redeemed in her choice? Will Ai find it within her to help stop all of this? Also, we get to see Kikuri’s real face. Is Ai nearing the end of her journey as Hell Girl and this is all a plan or test to free her? Or is it just Kikuri’s twisted sense of humor causing more heartache for Ai?
And the most pressing question will be answered – WILL this kid catch a fucking break?
Find out in the final episode!
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