Plot: A comedy duo, Haru and Nanako, appear to have a pretty clear dynamic. Nanako is the genius writer and true star while Haru is the sidekick who tends to her every whim. Behind closed doors, it’s revealed that their dynamic is the exact opposite and they’re lying to the public. But why? And how do they wind up with a straw doll in their hands?
Breakdown: In episode two of the supposedly worst season of Hell Girl we have what I really think is one of the strongest stories of the franchise.
I don’t even want to spoil it that much because it’s pretty well-written, complex and really had me enthralled the whole way through. I was legitimately impressed.
The only real weak spot I’d say is that the ending kinda comes out of nowhere, and I think it would have been made a little stronger if the candle at the end went out instead of staying lit, but I don’t really have many complaints otherwise.
These characters are flawed and they’re abrasive, but they’re quite easy to sympathize with, and their entire situation is just heart-breaking. It’s not even really within their full control. It’s about anxiety, burnout, fear of the future, guilt and depression. At the end of the day, this wasn’t a case of vengeance. It was a case of ending persistent suffering. Comedy and tragedy do go hand in hand, after all.
That’s not to say that this episode broke the rules of Hell Correspondence, because they didn’t. As Ai points out, you can love someone but still have resentment in your heart. They each had a level of codependency and bitterness, but those were stains on their relationship, not the foundation. Not to play up these two as being some deep love. It’s more like a strong connection that they both needed in a time where they were both at their lowest. They each saw each other in the other and both admired and despised what they saw. But they also saw the other as being their opposite and much better, which only made them feel even worse. It’s a genuinely saddening downward spiral that’s only made sadder considering they were helping build each other up at first. They were reaching heights together they had never dreamed of alone, and yet they still both fell.
Onto the Michiru stuff, we learn that Michiru doesn’t seem to remember who she is and is also very confused by Hell Girl clients. That’s pretty much it.
Overall, really good episode. I honestly won’t care that much about episode seven onward if they continue with this level of quality. I know they probably won’t, but here’s hoping.
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