Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 16: The Trap of Temptation Review

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Plot: Naowa is seen as a creepy man by his colleagues because he spends a lot of his free time playing with a local little girl named Kayo. He has no ill intentions, he just legitimately loves kids. Still, he has a shadow hanging over his head and a familiar curse mark emblazoned on his chest. He has already used Hell Correspondence, but who did he send to hell and why?

Breakdown: This episode left me feeling so conflicted.

The start is fairly unique because we’re focusing on someone who has already pulled the string. That doesn’t happen very often.

Even though this particular story is also pretty unique, I found that the events were somehow quite predictable. A new woman named Yuki joins the factory in which Naowa works and she becomes focused on him very quickly. My mind immediately shifted to ‘She has some relation to the person Naowa sent to hell and wants revenge.’ And lo and behold that’s exactly what happened.

What I didn’t expect was that Nakajima, the man Naowa sent to hell, was just like Naowa with one big difference – he actually was a pedophile. He didn’t do anything directly to Kayo, but he did take a bunch of pictures of her, clearly trying to get upskirt shots, and even kept them in an album. He told Naowa that he wouldn’t do anything to Kayo, though such a claim is obviously not to be trusted, and he blackmailed Naowa by saying, if he told anyone about what he was doing, he’d tell everyone that Naowa is just like him. Considering everyone already thinks he’s creepy, that threat definitely has weight to it.

Worried for Kayo’s safety, Naowa sent Nakajima to hell.

We learn all of this because Naowa is telling Yuki that they shouldn’t be together in a romantic sense because he’s bound for hell and won’t be able to find any happiness in the end. He also shows proof that Nakajima was a pedo by showing her the album of pictures he found at Nakajima’s apartment, which gave me quite a bit of pause.

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Why….did he keep that? Why didn’t he burn it or something? Even if he took it for the sake of evidence, which is dumb because there’s no way to prove it was Nakajima’s, he didn’t intend on having Nakajima arrested, and, at this point, has already sent him to hell. If anyone found that album, he’d be buried in so much shit he’d drown in it. Anyone finding it is bad enough, but he’s willingly showing this album to Yuki. While I know why she believes it’s Nakajima’s in hindsight, she has no reason to believe Naowa that the album was Nakajima’s.

He had absolutely no reason to keep that unless it was for his own sick purposes.

Onto Yuki, she is the proper client today. She was high school sweethearts with Nakajima (called it) and knew about his “other interests” but loved him anyway. When he suddenly went missing, she decided to investigate his disappearance for herself since the police wouldn’t help. She got hired at the factory in which Nakajima and Naowa both worked, and, knowing Naowa was close with Nakajima, decided to get close to him for information. When Naowa told her what he did, she called Hell Girl and pulled the string.

And now it’s time for a….

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Okay, technically it was a premonition Yuzuki was having the whole time as she watched Naowa pull the string, but same difference. I guess Ai was trying to convince her that cycles of revenge are constant and inevitable, which is weird because I thought she had learned that wasn’t true at the end of the second season, but whatever. Yuzuki still wants to try to stop all that from happening, though, so Ai releases her from being frozen in place or whatever was happening there and allows her to chase after Naowa after witnessing him pull the string. The episode ends with Yuzuki trying to find Naowa.

I thought this would be a clever ending because it would be ambiguous on whether or not she succeeded in stopping it, but they ruin it by having Yuki’s candle appear at the end, confirming that Yuzuki didn’t stop it and Naowa was sent to hell anyway. So…..that twist was more pointless than a circle.

Obviously, we have to discuss the uncomfortable aspect of this entire episode. Now, I understand that there’s a stigma about single adults having pretty much any contact with children unless it’s their job or something, and this is especially true of single adult men. Some adults do genuinely like kids and want to spend time with them even if they’re not related to them or don’t have a job in childcare or anything. And that’s perfectly fine. Naowa has proven….besides the ‘keeping the album’ thing…..that he doesn’t have any harmful thoughts or intentions towards Kayo or any other child. Naowa is a perfectly fine main character that you can connect with…..Again, barring the album thing.

That being said, it’s also completely understandable why so many people find him to be creepy. Naowa keeps to himself a lot, doesn’t have really any interests, seems uninterested in dating, and spends an inordinate amount of time playing with Kayo. Every day after work he spends hours playing with her and no other kids. Her parents are never around (except once at the start of the episode I think her mom appears and apologizes to Naowa for something. Maybe him spending time with Kayo because she works a lot or something? She seems perfectly cool with him spending so much time with Kayo.) and she’s never with other children.

The way the Hell Team addresses this, albeit briefly, is strange. Hone Onna points out that it’s obviously weird for a grown man to be playing with little girls, and Wanyuudou responds “Even though, in the past, looking with such eyes was weirder.” What does that mean? Are his eyes strange or is he saying watching little girls was seen as weirder than playing with them back in his time? I don’t even know if there’s an argument to be had there. Then Yamawaro says “That’s called ‘eras’, right?”

I dunno. Maybe? Things do drastically change between eras, even when it comes to perceptions of social appropriateness. Even just a few decades can make behaviors that weren’t initially unacceptable in acceptable and vice versa.

Plus, it makes the situation and stigma even worse when you introduce a character who, on the surface, is basically identical to Naowa…..only he IS a pedo. I was starting to feel a tiny bit bad for side-eyeing Naowa so much when he legitimately cared for Kayo, but then justification for those feelings entered the mix when they basically confirmed that the not-innocent version of this type of person is very much valid and probably more common.

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And then there’s Yuki…….*sigh* I usually feel compassion for clients, but this time, no. Her boyfriend was a pedophile, she knew this and didn’t care. Join him in hell. Just go. You’re just as guilty as he is.

In the end, I still don’t know how I feel about this episode. I guess it’s simply middle-of-the-road. It doesn’t do anything outlandish or terrible enough to make me angry at it, which, considering the subject matter, you’d think it would, nor does it do anything particularly noteworthy or interesting to make it actually good – we don’t even get Nakajima’s hell torture. It’s just okay.


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5 thoughts on “Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 16: The Trap of Temptation Review

      • Thanks for answering! Yesterday I had finished watching this episode and I went to your blog to see your point of view of this chapter and I was surprised to see that there was no review of this chapter. I also wanted to tell you that I discovered your blog through Hell Girl reviews and it helped me understand several episodes of the franchise, I would like to support you financially but I do not have cards or paypal, but I want you to know that I value your work a lot :). Sorry about my English, I’m from Argentina.

      • No problem! Episode 14 has been added, and thank you again for pointing that out to me. I have no clue how I ended up skipping that lol

        I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my posts so much! Knowing you’re reading and enjoying my work is more than enough support for me, and the sentiment is very sweet. Thank you so much 🙂 (Also, no need to apologize. Your English is great!)

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