Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 3 Review

Chapter 11: A Gloomy Job

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Another story that wasn’t mirrored in the anime, A Gloomy Job focuses on a middleschooler named Mayu who is trying to save up money for a trip to the beach with her friends, but she can’t earn the money quickly enough without a job. She decides to lie about her age in order to work in a theme park for just long enough to earn what she needs.

She lands the job and instantly befriends another employee named Aida. Working under the attractive and charming Nakatani, she enjoys her time working in the theme park. Until, that is, Aida falls ill and starts missing work. Mayu is concerned, but doesn’t think anything too severe has happened until she learns two things – Aida supposedly told Nakatani that she was leaving for another job after she came to pick up her check, and Aida’s sister told Mayu that she hasn’t seen Aida in three days.

She goes back to the theme park to pick up her check, but before she can ask Nakatani more questions she accidentally knocks a handbag over, spilling its contents. Among the items is Aida’s last paycheck.

Mayu confronts Nakatani about it, and he reveals everything. He sent Aida to work in a ‘shop.’ He shows a photo to Mayu depicting Aida crying as she’s grabbed by a bunch of seedy men. Apparently, Nakatani makes a habit out of luring young girls who are desperate for money down to the theme park for some good quick cash. Then, when he’s about to give them their paycheck, he blackmails them somehow and forces them to work in the ‘shop.’ For Aida, she needed the money from the job to pay for tuition to beauty school, and he blackmailed her by taking risque videos of her and posting them on the Internet. For Mayu, she needed money for her trip, and he found out she wasn’t allowed to be employed due to being too young.

Nakatani tries to get her to cooperate to work at the ‘shop’ too, but Mayu isn’t having it. To force her into submission, he throws her into the haunted house attraction that emulates a ride through hell. He pushes her into the pit, breaking her leg.

She still has her phone, so she threatens to call the cops, but Nakatani simply laughs and throws money onto her, claiming he’ll easily be able to frame it as an accident – a middleschooler faking her age for a job and trying to steal money from her employers accidentally falls into an attraction while trying to escape.

Instead, Mayu uses her phone to access Hell Correspondence and sends Nakatani to hell. After a pretty decent hell torture scene, we cut to a little while later where we see Mayu in the hospital recovering from her broken leg. A detective informs her that they were able to save Aida thanks to her testimony, but Nakatani is still missing.

With the familiar black curse mark emblazoned on her chest, Mayu laments that the grown-up world is no place for a kid like her.

I liked this story alright, but, logically, there’s a bunch of stuff that doesn’t make sense. Most blatantly being that of, golly gee Nakatani, I’m so sure no one will suspect you of wrongdoing considering every girl who comes under your employ goes missing or will be found murdered….There’s only so much fudging the time cards will do for ya, buddy.

And, really, “You can’t call the cops because it looks like you stole money and tried to escape.” Uhm, first of all, Aida is missing, and the last place she was seen was in the theme park, meaning Mayu has leverage in getting the cops to snoop around on that. You kept an incriminating photo of her on your phone and supposedly uploaded lewd videos of her to the Internet mere days before she went missing. Not to mention that you kept her paycheck and purse for no other reason than because you’re too stupid to destroy evidence.

Second of all, you really think Mayu’s stupid enough to DIE in this pit, suffering for days or weeks of a broken leg, starvation and dehydration just because she’s afraid that she might get charged with stealing $85? As a minor? And the theft story makes no sense anyway. She decided to steal from the place in which she was employed….on pay day? When the only reason she took the job was to get five days worth of wages, of which she was also getting overtime because Aida was missing? And, what, she decided the best escape route wasn’t just, ya know….taking any walkway in the park and instead thought it was better to go through the haunted house?

Come on, dude, be less dumb.

Chapter 12: The Cheat

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No anime mirror this time either. This story focuses on Saori, a girl who is attending a prep school to get a recommendation for a prestigious high school. Her father used to teach at that school before he died, and she wants nothing more than to attend the school and make her father proud.

However, she does very poorly in classes because she’s not good at studying. She’s always bottom of the class in exams and worries that she’ll never be able to get into her father’s school.

The class president, Hayasaka, who is always number one in class, offers to tutor her, and he’s such a good teacher that she catches on extremely quickly to the material and shoots up in the exam scores. Hayasaka is so impressed with her hard work and progress that he asks her to go out with him and she happily accepts.

He gives her a nice ring, her mom gives her some money as a reward for doing well at school, which she spends on contacts to replace her glasses, and everything seems to be looking up. She even manages to beat out Hayasaka for the top spot in exam scores.

When that happens, everything starts going downhill again. She loses her ring, which devastates her, and she develops a cold after looking for it in the rain, which makes her unable to do as well on her next test.

The shit really hits the fan when her teacher calls her in and points out that her English paper is the exact same as Hayasaka’s, and since Hayasaka was a good student from the beginning, he instantly suspects her of cheating this whole time. He also says he was planning on writing a letter of recommendation for her father’s school, but now he’s reconsidering.

Every student goes really overboard with their reactions. The insults I get, but they started TEARING UP HER TEXTBOOKS the instant they hear about the accusations. She’s shocked when she tries to get Hayasaka to defend her and all he does is call her pitiful for what she has done.

No one, not even her mother, will believe that she didn’t cheat, so she decides to contact Hell Girl and send Hayasaka to hell….which is weird, because she doesn’t know at this point that Hayasaka did it.

I mean, there are no other suspects, but still. She doesn’t have all the information yet.

With a straw doll in hand, she overhears Hayasaka explain to one of his friends that she was legitimately being nice to Saori at first to help her out, but didn’t realize she would start surpassing him in scores. He couldn’t stand for that, so he decided to make her sick to start tanking her grades, then he swapped their answer sheets and copied her paper to frame her for cheating.

Upon hearing this, Saori pulled the string and Hayasaka was ferried to hell. His hell torture is pretty entertaining. The Hell Team tests him by asking him questions as he hangs over a pit filled with acid. For every wrong answer, he’ll be lowered in. He answers correctly, but is lowered anyway because they accuse him of cheating. After some more questions, Hayasaka’s rope breaks and he falls into the acid.

Afterwards, that familiar hellish magic seems to be worked again because Saori has been cleared of her accusations, everyone loves her now and she’s got the grades to go to any high school she wants. She aims to someday be a teacher like her dad, even with that curse mark emblazoned on her chest.

This story was very, very predictable. The instant you see Hayasaka you know he’ll be the target, and the instant he offers to help her you know he’ll sabotage her. Saori is a very likable main character, though. Her motives were sweet, and I really felt bad for her since she was trying her best but just couldn’t understand the material through studying or the manner in which her teachers were conveying.

It sucks that she was manipulated by Hayasaka. In another universe, that would have been a great origin for a romantic couple in a shoujo series. Cute class president helps a girl get into the school her deceased dad once taught at and helps her realize that she really is very smart but she just learns in a different manner than others. Meanwhile the guy could be under a lot of pressure to be perfect or something and she helps him relax and let go of perfectionism. But that’s a story for a different manga, I guess.

Chapter 13: Love Betrayed

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This is the story of Kana, one of two managers of a soccer team captained by her boyfriend, Ogata. There are strict rules against interpersonal relationships between those in the soccer club, so they keep their relationship strictly under wraps.

The only one who knows of their relationship is Kana’s best friend and co-manager, Yukari, and she’s obviously the target. This is one of those stories where they try to keep the target a secret. They’re doing all sorts of shitty things to the MC and we have to figure out who it is before the MC does. But they make it very obvious. Razor in the laundry? Gee, the only other person who touches that is Yukari. Her new shoes that she bought to match Yukari’s all cut up? Gee, that’s another thing related to Yukari, and she also knows where your locker is. Window suddenly broke in the room you were alone in, burning your leg with scalding hot water? Gee, Yukari, the one who took you off field duty and knew it’d be your turn to make tea, do you know who did this?

Granted, it’s obvious from the get-go. Any story that has two girls who are best friends and one cute popular guy being involved with one of them will always play the ‘I hate you because I liked (Guy)!’ card.

To their credit, they did throw me off the scent for a minute. A guy on the soccer team named Yamane appeared and it seemed he might have been harassing Kana because he was jealous of Ogata, being passed over by a scout for him, and knew they were dating. A shirt of Ogata’s had also been destroyed, which indicated more of an attack on him than Kana. Yukari tells her that he called her and told her he was the harasser and that he was in a nearby park. She told Kana to meet her there so they could confront him.

Yamane approached her before Yukari could arrive and tried to stab her with a knife. Yukari arrived to stop the attack and convinced her to not tell anyone or else it could negatively affect Ogata and the team.

The next day at school, the coach calls Kana into his office and shows her a picture that was sent to him that depicted Yamane and Kana during the attack, but it was staged like he was embracing her. Since relationships between club members is strictly forbidden, he tells her she should quit.

Ogata is also about to confront Kana about a photo that was sent to him, but before he can talk much, Kana decides to break up with him, fearing for his safety.

Kana believed Yamane was responsible, Yukari suggested she call Hell Girl on him, and with a smirk, she basically gave herself away entirely – yeah she was behind everything, but let’s keep going. Kana is indeed about to call Hell Girl on Yamane, but Ogata suddenly calls and Yukari is sent to hell.

We finally get Yukari’s evil….and completely stupid plan. She was indeed the one who was harassing Kana, though Yamane was the one who ripped Ogata’s shirt. Yukari blackmailed him with that information into attacking Kana so she’d quit being manager. She wanted her to send Yamane to hell so her loose ends would be tied….but….that doesn’t make any sense nor does it solve anything.

Yukari’s main goal was to get Kana to quit as manager so she could go to the county sports meet with Ogata without Kana and possibly also get her to break up with Ogata. But if she sent who she believed to be her harasser to hell, she’d be free to go. So, if she just didn’t quit and said there was nothing going on between her and the now-gone Yamane, or if she said she saw the error of her ways and broke up with him, then….she’d be fine to go.

None of this should have lead to her breaking up with Ogata either. She wouldn’t even talk to him about the photo. And if she did believe Yamane was responsible for all this, then breaking up with him wouldn’t be for his safety since Ogata’s the main target of Yamane’s ire.

How does Kana sending Yamane to hell even help her? She was already blackmailing him so he’s not much of a loose end to tie up. She literally says “If you’d sent Yamane to hell, my plan would have worked!” Uhm, how? Does sending him to hell make her quit the club? She already broke up with Ogata, isn’t that what you wanted? She probably would have quit after that anyway because being in the club with her ex around, especially when she didn’t want to break up with him, would’ve been too tough for her.

Now you might be wondering how Yukari got caught and how the target shifted from Yamane to her. Well, right as she was about to enter Yamane’s name into the system, Ogata called and told her that the person who sent him the photo was someone who knew of their relationship. What the picture showed and what was in the message are never seen, but Kana figures it out since Yukari is the only one who knew of their relationship.

Her motives were not only her own love of Ogata but because she had never liked Kana. She always hated her, in fact. Yukari found Kana annoying, especially when she made gestures like buying the same sneakers as her.

Her hell torture is okay but kinda boring. Basically, she watches the school staff watch a bunch of videos depicting her concocting her schemes and then a fake Kana who is crying blood asks her questions about why she did it. In the end, she’s lost to a sea of skulls.

After that, Kana is happily back with Ogata, but she’s now destined for hell herself.

This story was a big mixed bag. On one hand, I applaud them for realizing the predictability of the plot they set for themselves and trying to throw the reader off course, but on the other hand….they just went with the obvious culprit in the end anyway, so their efforts were pretty much ruined. I was actually about to eat some humble pie when Yamane came up. I was like “Yup, Twix, that’s what you get when you’re all cocky. You were wrong and an idiot.” But nope. I was right and a smart brain person.

Bonus Chapter: Tacking Stitches

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Returning to the anime for a tad, we have Ai’s backstory, which is being given in a different manner. The backstory is the same, but how it’s presented is different from the anime.

A girl named Rie has been dating a boy named, coincidentally enough, Sentarou Shibata, for a few years now. However, she’s recently spotted him getting friendly with another girl, so she called Hell Correspondence to get revenge.

Rie starts having second thoughts and tries to give the doll back to Ai, but they try to explain to Rie that hatred drives humans. Living in hatred is much harder, and she’s taking the easy way out by giving the doll back. To highlight this, they give Ai’s backstory in regards to Sentarou and the Seven Sending ritual.

Ai is so pissed off about this case, considering the boy’s name, that she actually tries to kill the boy herself in order to prod Rie to pull the string. Rie refuses, however. She explains that she was too hasty and wants to believe in Sentarou more so she can have a future with good memories with him. She also tells Ai that the past Sentarou probably liked her too.

Ai quits her assault and leaves. Sentarou explains that the girl was his club manager and they became close while discussing problems in the club. He apologizes and says he’ll never give her a reason to feel insecure again.

Meanwhile, Hone Onna tells Ai that Sentarou (the original) actually built a shrine in her honor. While Ai can’t say she’s forgiven him, she does say this with a smile on her face, kinda implying that she has.

While this is a sweet enough story, it’s also very lame in comparison to the anime version. I get that the anime had all that buildup with Hajime and Tsugumi that the manga didn’t have, but this version is still kinda lame. She slaughtered a whole village and lived out 400 years immersed in hatred, but one conversation with a girl who barely knows her situation telling her ‘I think Sentarou liked you too’ is enough to chill her out and have her make some modicum of peace with her past?

As for why Hajime and Tsugumi don’t appear in this manga at all (at least yet, they might be thrown in there in future installments.) it’s supposedly for a simple and kinda stupid reason – Eto thought it’d be too difficult to work in the long-running story of a man throughout this series when it’s in a Nakayoshi style. Nakayoshi is a popular monthly shoujo manga series, and considering she specifically pointed out that Hajime’s a man, I guess she means she couldn’t figure out how to tell a man’s story in shoujo style….Then just have it more focused on Tsugumi?

I get if she really thought she couldn’t make it work, though. That kinda begs the question as to WHY the manga is in such a shoujo-y fashion anyway. It’s a very depressing horror series – why choose a shoujo style for it?

Anyway, there is one more bonus chapter called Sakura Uta, but it’s mostly just Ai having a nice dream about Sentarou back in the good ol’ days. It’s kinda sweet.

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And that’s it for volume three! Surprisingly, none of the stories were reflected in the anime, barring the bonus chapters, and even those were just loosely based on the anime stories. The chapters we do have were, admittedly, lackluster. While I didn’t hate or even seriously dislike any of the entries, I can’t deny that most of them are just too silly or nonsensical. My favorites of the volume are probably Love Betrayed and The Cheat. Admittedly, Love Betrayed is similarly nonsensical, but I like how Ogata and Kana worked together to take down Yukari, and The Cheat was the best story out of the whole lot in regards to overall quality.

As for the one story they did mirror from the anime, like I said, it was cool to see the backstory itself in manga form, but the bookend story was just lame. At least the main conflict had a sweet resolution, but that’s about all I can say for it.

Next time….


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