Animating Halloween | Hell Girl – Three Vessels Episode 5: This Mundane World


Plot: After a very kind teacher at Yuzuki’s school, Niiyama, has a harmless run-in with her student, Ririka, she finds herself in hot water as Ririka’s bull-headed grandmother relentlessly harasses her, accusing her of things she didn’t do. Niiyama is strongly urged by her coworkers and bosses to just bow her head and concede to hopefully make her go away, but Niiyama is tired of rolling over.

Breakdown: Ya know, I want to say this episode is stupid…..and it kinda is, but also, for some reason, it did get to me a little.

Let’s just cut the fat, Ririka’s the one doing all of this. It’s pretty obvious out the gate. The only reason the grandma would think all this is if Ririka fed it to her, and, unlike what they say, there’s no reason Ririka would HAVE to lie and accuse her teacher of all this shit.

Ririka’s grandma is very defensive of herself and the few people she loves, so when she heard Ririka was supposedly being harassed and manipulated by Niiyama, she went on a psychopathic rampage including chewing out half the faculty at school, demanding an apology, threatening to sue the school board, demanding Niiyama be fired, constantly calling her and either hanging up or yelling at her, handing out defamatory fliers to the students, and filling her mailbox with fliers as well as plastering them all over Niiyama’s apartment building.

Niiyama considers sending the grandmother to hell, but keeps stopping herself. She changes her tune when she realizes Ririka is the culprit. Unlike her grandmother who was seemingly being a monster for the sake of protecting her granddaughter, Ririka was doing it for….

Seriously, they never give a reason. She’s just a bitch. She did a similar thing to another teacher in her elementary school. Niiyama sees Ririka lying firsthand, tells her that she has a responsibility to tell the truth, but Ririka’s like “Meh. Adults can take care of themselves.”

It’s slightly implied that she’s probably doing this to be more coddled by her grandmother, perhaps because she’s an orphan so she craves attention or something, but uh there are better ways to do that than nearly getting innocent teachers fired and causing a lot of grief and pain.

Niiyama is a sweet woman. She just wants to be a teacher. That’s all. And I respect the hell out of her for trying to stand up for herself and teachers by dealing with her as respectfully as she possibly could without conceding. She’s nice to the students, she’s understanding, and she never seems to lose her temper. She doesn’t believe teachers should be responsible for guardians in addition to students, and she hates that teachers are basically forced to roll over for them in order to avoid trouble for the school.

She did everything she could to solve this problem without just giving in and quitting. A student she had been kind to, a student she had done everything right with ends up dragging her name through the mud and making her life a living hell…..just for the lulz.

The grandmother would obviously never believe her over Ririka, and there’s no telling when she would stop. Not to mention how terribly manipulative Ririka’s being. She lied to her grandmother right in front of Niiyama then had the balls to turn the nice-girl act back on and run to her acting like something bad would happen if she didn’t lie. You’re a shitty liar, kid, if that’s the best you can come up with.

What’s weird is that there’s one shot that directly contradicts this whole situation. When her grandmother is on the phone at 2AM yelling at Niiyama, Ririka’s plugging her ears in bed. I first thought it was because she was upset at the situation she was ‘forced’ into, but either this is a weird shot that makes no sense…..or she was just plugging her ears because she wanted to sleep…..

It does royally suck for teachers out there, and the circumstances of this episode are not the least bit unbelievable. They have to put up with shitty kids, shitty parents, shitty bosses, shitty pay etc. all because they want to help kids, and they rarely have much power in situations of conflict with students or parents, even when the matters are insanely stupid.

For instance, the building block of this conflict was that Ririka broke a beaker after bumping into Yuzuki – oh yeah, Yuzuki’s still here at Hell Girl High where everyone is either a client, target or related to one. Don’t expect her to do anything again. She’s Inertzuki. Yuzuki: We’ll find a purpose for her someday – Niiyama fully understood. She didn’t yell or blame anyone, she just told them both to be more careful. And Ririka told her grandmother that Niiyama yelled at Ririka and framed her for breaking the beaker when Yuzuki did it. Then she just ran with it. Every time Niiyama would try to talk to Ririka about talking to her grandma, she’d tell more lies about how Niiyama was manipulating her and forcing her to lie etc.

I hated that Niiyama felt she had to call Hell Girl for this, but the only other option really was just either taking all of the abuse until Ririka gets bored or whatever, waiting until she got fired, even though her colleagues didn’t seem to want to do that, or just quit.

As for if I feel bad for Ririka….a little. I imagine losing both of your parents at a young age messes you up quite a bit, but there is really no excuse for what she’s doing. And she’s doing it gladly without taking any responsibility for her actions just because she believes adults should be able to handle themselves. It’s stupid.

Final note, we didn’t get a hell torture today, and I’m pretty okay with that. Instead we got Ririka’s grandmother looking like a lost soul after her granddaughter disappeared in front of her eyes and Niiyama bittersweetly accepting what she did. She doesn’t seem to have regrets, but she’s certainly not fully happy.

Next episode….

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