Plot: Kamisaka has recently found a surge of popularity in his novel, Skyscraper’s Shadow, but not for good reasons. People are connecting the story in his book to the circumstances of a string of recent murders. The tides turn when the murderer, a teenage boy, is caught and directly blames the book for inspiring him. Kamisaka’s life spirals after that. What could possibly help things now?
Breakdown: This episode is incredibly on-point and adds a new spin to Hell Girl’s formula – There isn’t just one client/target today. There are FOUR.
But before we discuss that aspect, let’s talk about the topic of focus today. Yes, we’re exploring that fun, fun subject of ‘I’m not to blame for my actions. The media is. Damn TV shows, movies, comics, books and video games!’
While the plot of Kamisaka’s book is never really explained, we can surmise from the title and some excerpts that it has some part that involves a person being killed by having a weight tied to their ankles and then them being forcibly pulled off of the building as the weight is dropped off the side. That’s what the real murderer does, anyway.
Kamisaka’s book isn’t the only thing given blame as horror movies, violent video games and aggressive manga were also noted as being found in the murderer’s home, but the book is the main thing being given focus. In fact, a character later notes that, apparently, the murderer, Hiroto, said that if he blamed the book his sentence would be less severe. I’m not sure if someone told him that or if that’s just his personal belief, but there it is.
I would say there’s obviously no truth to that, but I know the world I live in….Can we get a tally on how many times video games and the like have been blamed for turning people into rapists and murderers or is the number simply too high? Likewise, can we get a tally on how many times people have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they DON’T DO THAT? Oh that number’s too high too? Rats.
Kamisaka’s life is damaged quite a bit by these allegations. He loses his movie deal, his coworkers start giving him a hard time, he can’t go home because his house is swarmed with press and one publication even frames his words from an interview like he condones violence and seemingly has no problem with what the murderer did in his book’s name.
He seemingly takes some responsibility for what happened, which is why he resigns himself to using Hell Correspondence near the end, but he usually stuck by what he was saying the entire episode, which was that he was just writing what he wanted to write and the murderer was just doing what he wanted to do.
Client #2 is a reporter named Sumi Asaba. She interviewed Kamisaka about the incidents and intended on writing a fair article about what he said. However, her editor in chief had different ideas and created the slanderous article I mentioned before. She feels deeply guilty about what happened and is enraged by her boss.
Client #3 is Yui Michio, the sister of the first victim. She wants to learn who the proper target of her hatred should be, so she went to Tokyo to speak with the murderer and Kamisaka to make her decision. Whoever she settled on would be the person she’d enter into Hell Correspondence. After speaking with both Kamisaka and Sumi, she feels Kamisaka is innocent and Hiroto needs to die.
After the three of them meet, they basically create a hell pact. All three of them will send three people in relation to this whole mess to hell. They’ll enter the names at the same time and pull the strings at the same time.
Yui gets the ‘honor’ of targeting Hiroto since she has the strongest vendetta against him.
Sumi targets her editor, also claiming that doing so will bring the newspaper’s company down since it can’t seem to survive without him. That’s a bit extreme to note, considering you’d be ruining dozens or hundreds of lives from making them lose their jobs but okay.
So, who’s left for Kamisaka to target? His nameless friend whose only real sin was turning his back on him after shit started turning bad. The Wiki page for this episode even only describes him as Kamisaka’s fair-weather friend. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the guy is a bit of a prick, but I feel like they should have written a more deserving target for who was essentially the main character here.
In a bit of a cool moment we see all three of them simultaneously entering the names, getting the dolls, pulling the strings and watching the three dolls all vanish and tell them their grievances shall be avenged.
The hell torture this time around is basically the same for all of them – being thrown off of a skyscraper in various ways. Hiroto gets his big moment of irony in being forced over by having a barbell tied to his ankles and then the barbell is thrown off. The editor guy has acid painted on his feet, forcing him to accidentally jump. Finally, the fair-weather friend is forced off by Ai.
After the deed is done, the trio decide to have a drink together. As Kamisaka goes to grab the beverages, he suddenly vanishes. He’s been sent to hell by client #4.
As Kamisaka is riding in the ferry, he learns that Hiroto’s mother banished him because she blamed him for turning her son into a murderer. He asks what will change from banishing him and Ai mentions that his friend asked the same question when Kamisaka sent him to hell. Additionally, Yuzuki who is also here existing, said something very similar when she was watching the trio get their dolls.
In a very unique shot, we see four candles being lit in the end screen as opposed to the singular one we almost always get, and Kamisaka’s flame is snuffed out.
This entire episode was very well done. The motives were good, for three of the clients at least (I can forgive the mother. She’s grieving and needs someone to blame. However, I really don’t think Kamisaka had nearly enough reason to send ‘fair-weather friend’ to hell.) the story was believable and it had an overall good message for this entire series, which is kinda what Hajime was trying to convey the whole time in season one.
Nothing is really gained or lost in a lot of Hell Girl stories. Sure, many times the string pull saves the client’s life or someone else’s or it at least stops the target from tormenting anyone else, but just as many times it’s only because they had it coming to them. Pulling the string doesn’t fix anything in these circumstances, it just makes the clients feel better.
I feel bad for all of the clients, and I felt especially bad for Kamisaka…until the very end. It’s hard to feel bad for him when he sent a guy to hell just for being an unreliable friend. It’s not even like they were BFFs or anything. He just seemed like a friendly coworker who made a few iffy comments about Kamisaka regarding the situation after his book was directly blamed. Like I mentioned, he has so little presence that he doesn’t even get a name, yet he was sent to hell. Kamisaka kinda deserved that ferry ride after that.
Final note, and this may seem goofy to point out after all this, but what the hell was up with the glasses in this episode? Kamisaka had nonsensical glasses where the temples just…stopped. There were no earpieces. The temples just stopped about two inches from his ears. Also, the editor guy has weird glasses too where it looks like they have blinders but also gaps right by the lenses.
Now that I think about it, literally everyone in this episode has glasses on. Kamisaka, Hiroto, Yui, Sumi, the editor, the fair-weather friend – the only person who didn’t have glasses on was the victim. Is it because books are involved in the plot? What is going on?
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