Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapters 22-23 (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

This is another story I’m sorry didn’t make it into Season Zero. It’s weird because this a two parter, so it easily could’ve been adapted into the show without needing to write anything new, but I guess they just didn’t like the story enough.

Hanasaki, the timid kid from chapter three, makes a reappearance. He is a huge fan of the American comic book hero, Zombire – which is literally a fusion of a zombie and a vampire. His father makes sure to get him some cool Zombire merch, like masks, model kits etc. every time he returns from a business trip from America.

His father feels bad for not being around much, especially considering Hanasaki has rather poor health and has spent a lot of time in the hospital. Hanasaki doesn’t have a lot of friends or self-confidence, so his father is happy whenever he can put a smile on his face by getting him Zombire stuff. He’s especially happy that Hanasaki has found some new friends in Yugi and the gang.

(Can I just point out how crazy rude it is to unbox something you find in someone’s room? Let alone if it’s a model kit and choosing to assemble it right there just because you assume the person doesn’t have the time to do it. Even if he didn’t just want to collect it and preserve the box, he still would have wanted to have the fun of putting it together himself. For god’s sake, Jonouchi. Get a clue.)

However, his father’s a bit of an idiot. A well-meaning idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.

To help boost Hanasaki’s confidence, he pretends to be a stranger getting attacked by some goons in the middle of the night. Hanasaki rushes out in his new Zombire costume that his father just bought him and ‘defeats’ the goons with ease.

This plan works wonderfully as Hanasaki pretty much believes he can do anything now. However, I really, really, really need to point out how misguided this plan is.

It’s great that his dad wants to boost his confidence. It’s great that he wants to give him a chance to be a hero like Zombire. But making your scrawny, physically weak, child who has a history of health problems believe he can easily beat up thugs twice his size, especially when he has a hero complex, is not the smartest thing in the world. He may gain confidence, but he may also gain overconfidence and a desire to continue challenging huge people who would wipe their asses with his mangled remains.

What’s even worse is that, 1) These jerks aren’t people Hanasaki’s dad knows well or is friends with – they’re just random thugs he found on the street and 2) when Hanasaki’s dad pays them off, they ask for Hanasaki’s full name and WHERE HE GOES TO SCHOOL so they can supposedly do this again…..And he just gives them that information. There’s a difference between being misguided and being an idiot. I know the 90s were a different time in regards to child safety, but this is too much even for then.

Predictably, the goons arrive at their school and they threaten Yugi, knowing he’s a friend of Hanasaki, so Hanasaki can come in to save him. They run off, and Hanasaki is once again emboldened by his heroism. However, the real reason they did that was so they’d know Hanasaki’s face too, since he was masked the first time they saw him….doesn’t really make a difference because knowing his face doesn’t mean you know where he lives, but either way, they find out where he lives, throw a rock through his window claiming they’ve kidnapped Yugi and to come face them if he ever wants to see him again.

Hanasaki dons his Zombire costume and heads out to save his friend.

Meanwhile, Yugi is getting into Zombire model kits thanks to Hanasaki, but he’s run out of spray paint and can’t color his newest creation. Since all the shops are closed, he runs to Hanasaki’s house to borrow some paint. However, all he finds is his father in a panic, holding the note the goons left for Hanasaki. They call him up and tell him they’ve got Hanasaki and are holding him hostage for 500,000 yen, which is about 4500 USD. If he doesn’t pay, they’ll hurt Hanasaki. And even though they haven’t given his father enough time to do anything, they’re still beating up Hanasaki and even spraying spray paint into his eyes. Yikes…

Yugi, who soon becomes Yami, rushes off to save him, vehement in saving the friend who was only trying to protect him in the first place. Hanasaki’s father is close behind and retrieves Hanasaki while Yugi takes care of the goons.

Before we head on to the Shadow Game portion, let me point out one final bit of idiocy in Hanasaki’s dad. He tells Hanasaki that they should just…go home. *lip smack* First of all, you’re just gonna leave poor Yugi alone with three thugs who have knives? Real nice. Why aren’t you helping him or calling the cops? Yugi’s a kid too. What are you thinking? Second, your child has been beaten and had spray paint shot directly into his eyes. Maybe take him to a hospital first? You’re a terrible parent.

Shadow Game

It’s honestly not much of a game. The thugs chase Yami around as he draws lines on the ground with spray paint. Eventually, they realize he was drawing a maze around them and a discarded cigarette is set to ignite it. As the lines burst into flames, the thugs run away into the water of the dam.

That’s it. That’s all. They don’t even actually go through the maze, they just run away.

Hanasaki refuses to go home, sheds his Zombire mask and heads off to help Yugi fight the goons. He doesn’t get to actually do anything, but the fact that he rushed in either way proved to himself and his father that he doesn’t need some silly costume or some fake super strength to be a hero – he had it in him all along.

This is a pretty sweet couple of chapters. I really liked Hanasaki when we first met him in chapter three, so I’m glad we got more time with him and got to explore his character more. I really wish he was made into more of a regular character, to be honest. He’s very likable, brave and sweet. I think he’d make a great addition to the group – especially in this series loaded with jerks around every corner. The ending explaining that he had the heart of a hero and plenty of courage all along was predictable, but not as much as you’d might think. I was more worried they’d do worse damage to him than they did, just because so many people in this manga are ridiculously evil.

This plot is interesting, even if the choices made by the father are just stupid sometimes. It’s also weird that he decides to do this confidence boost plot thing right as he learns Hanasaki has a group of friends. Isn’t his confidence the highest it’s ever been right now?

Though I do have to say….isn’t he a tad old to be believing he’s randomly acquiring super powers? He’s meant to be the same age as Yugi and the others, which is at least 16, right? Yet he’s leaning into the make-believe so much it’s almost delusional.

The Shadow Game is boring too, but that’s not really the point. The point is, Hanasaki has found a strength within himself that has nothing to do with Zombire, and he has a big heart that allows him to fight for his friends no matter what, even if the enemy outnumbers him and are twice his size. That’s just as good, if not better, as any comic book hero.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

.Hack//XXXX (Manga) Review

Plot: In a different re-telling of the events of the original Dot Hack games, Kite is a newbie player in the massive MMORPG, The World. He’s being shown the ropes by his friend, a highly skilled veteran player under the name Orca of the Azure Sea. While playing, Kite and Orca come across an insanely powerful monster that cannot be damaged by any attacks. In an effort to save his friend, Orca ends up getting killed by the beast and somehow his physical body falls comatose at the exact same moment.

Kite, determined to save his friend, is given a special bracelet with the power to defeat the monster that hurt Orca, known in the real world as Yasuhiko. With his online friends and an odd boy with similar powers named Cubia, Kite sets out on a mission to find out what The World really is and how to save Yasuhiko.

Breakdown: Anyone who has played the games will notice that, indeed, this seems like a faithful retelling of the games’ story. However, you’ll note one very important part near the end. Cubia is not a monster. He’s an NPC who befriends Kite and helps him defeat the eight phases with a power similar to that of Kite’s bracelet. He’s given characterization, a personality, a true backstory as both a shadow of the power of the bracelet and maybe some kind of failed being similar to Aura.

Other than this, though, the story is entirely the same as the games, which means that the quality of the manga in comparison to the game (which I find to be great) hinders on how well this change worked. Ultimately, I think it worked pretty well. Having Cubia be an actual character who both tricks Kite and yet seems to actually care for him is an interesting change to the story that helps shake things up a bit more than just essentially being a monster that is anti-Kite’s bracelet.

Cubia’s personality is similar to, yet not copying, Aura’s origins, personality and being. While Cubia is merely data, he’s somehow able to develop feelings and perhaps have some concept of a soul. Despite the fact that he ultimately does become the monster that needs defeating, his evolution as a character is nice to read, and his friendship with Kite was especially well-done.

Cubia has a power to help him defeat the phases, meaning Kite’s not as alone as he feels in this mission, even barring the help of Blackrose and the others. Cubia was a very nice person, seemingly, and they connected on several levels. It was a great decision to have Kite still defend him even while knowing what he truly was. Kite’s level of caring and respect for those he has befriended, no matter if they’re data or not, shone through here.

That coupled with the game’s story makes for a really good manga, but I do have to say that people who have played the games are still going to know every thing that happens through the whole manga, including pretty much everything about Cubia even if he is an NPC here. They make the big final battle really awesome in manga form and it’s just a great read the whole way through, even if it is fairly short.

I will say that they go through the Phases a bit too fast for my liking. Cubia himself defeats some without our knowing. It makes the journey seem very quick and rather simple, making Kite’s later push against his friends for fear of their lives seem a bit drastic and sudden.

Recommended Audience: There’s virtual violence and one shot of Balmung getting attacked that was pretty damn graphic for a MMORPG. Plus slight non-ish nudity by Aura. 10+


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru (Manga) Volume 9 Review

Plot: Who are Iku and Yori’s real parents? Is it possible that they’re still twins?

Can they create groinal friction without judgment? Can I find it within myself to care about these horrible, horrible characters?

Breakdown: The first chapter shows Yano taking Iku to an amusement park to distract her from Yori seemingly making eyes at Mori. Meanwhile, Mori, for some reason, heavily flirts with Yori even though she knows they’re half-siblings – guess incest runs in the family…..That was more of a joke than I intended.

She brings him to her house to see some photo albums of her father as a younger man and to basically confirm that her father and Yori’s mother had an affair. Her father comes home and confirms her suspicions, knowing Yori would notice quite soon after meeting Mori.

The next chapter has Yugo denying that he’s Yori’s father, acting like he was joking about him being his real father. He tells him the story about his and Saki’s relationship. He was a bad boy, she was a very strict kinda manipulative person who would purposely push his buttons. He was annoyed with her at first, but quickly fell in love and started doing bad things on purpose to get her to scold him.

However, in spite of his feelings, she was already engaged with Shunpei since before they even met. He admitted his feelings toward her, but she refused him on those grounds, despite seemingly loving him back. He states they were never together so it’s impossible for him to be Yori’s father.

Yuugo admits that he’d love to be Yori’s father and he is affectionate toward Yori because he’s Saki’s image…..even though….you’d think it’d be more understandable to be affectionate towards Iku. I mean, Yori’s been noted as looking exactly like Yuugo, not Saki. Iku’s more Saki’s image.

Anyway, he’s lying. He takes a hair from Yori before he leaves and intends on using it for a DNA test. Turns out, Yuugo and Saki did bump uglies once….On her friggin’ wedding day. She’s even in her wedding dress when they do it. That’s fucked up.

The next chapter starts with Yano and Iku coming home from the amusement park. Yano stops the car when he sees Yori and Mori together and freaks out at Yori telling him Iku’s been worried sick. He begs him not to hurt her again. Yes, Yano, yell that out as loudly as you can.

Mori explains the situation, and Iku is shocked.

Iku: “But then Yori….wouldn’t be my brother?”

Mori: “Exactly.”

No, not exactly. Half-siblings are still siblings. Their situation would only be slightly less squicky.

Yano kidnaps Yori to talk more about what happened. Yori explains that, even though Yuugo stated he wasn’t and couldn’t possibly be his father, there’s still the odd issue of Iku’s paternity booklet with the missing sections about her parents. He’s struggling because, even though he’d love to find out she’s not his sister, telling Iku that her mom and dad aren’t her biological parents would crush her.

Wow, an understandable and heartbreaking revelation and normal mode of thinking. Good job, Yori!

They bring the information to Yano’s personal family doctor for analysis and she says that with both the mother and the father information left blank, she was likely abandoned and the Yuki family adopted her.

Yori: “Is this a dream come true?” Wow, a single page to go from ‘Good job, Yori!’ to ‘Go to hell, Yori!’

Giving him some credit, even though he also says he now feels like he might be the luckiest man in the world, he’s still conflicted because the news will hurt Iku. Yano tells him to not feel guilty because now he can freely tell Iku he loves her in front of everyone without judgment.

Uhm, Yano, first and foremost, please don’t tell him to not have even a semblance of healthy character development.

Second, no. No, he can’t.

Even when you’re not blood related, it’s still a social taboo to date your siblings. Even though he can be a little more free about it, they’ll still likely get whispers and snickers and even harassment. I also can’t imagine their parents would be cool about it. Their mom seems to be aware that they’re not fully blood related (maybe their dad too?) and she is having panic attacks left and right whenever she believes the two might be romantically involved.

The chapter ends with him dreaming about the happy life they might have a chance at having – being able to hug, kiss and tell her he loves her, but most importantly, make her happy.

The start of the next chapter has Yuugo confronting Saki explaining via a DNA test, he has proven that Yori is his son. Saki doesn’t seem surprised, and Yuugo demands to know why she never told him if she knew. She begs him to not say anything because it would destroy her family.

Yuugo relays to her that Yori visited him, investigating whether Yuugo was his father or not and seemed disappointed when he told him he wasn’t. Saki is shaken, but seemingly not for this revelation. She’s moreso putting two and two together and believes he was disappointed because he wanted to not be fully blood related to Iku so they could be romantically involved.

Flashing back to more proof that Iku’s a dumbass, we’re shown Yori teasing Iku for not even getting up to a 20 on any of her quizzes in any of her subjects. How the hell did this girl even reach this level in school? How is she not flunking? Yori can only do so much. What does she do all day? She’s has no skills or hobbies, yet apparently studying never crosses her mind. Even people pretending to pay attention can eek out scores twice as good as hers.

Don’t tell me it’s all the fooling around with Yori because she was getting these grades long before she hooked up with Yori and when he was at the other school.

This is meant to depict another one of many instances where Saki has been suspicious about their feelings for each other.

Back in the present, Saki says she won’t give into Yuugo’s blackmail, though we never learn how he blackmailed her. I get what he’s holding over her, but what is he asking for?

But speaking of blackmail, Saki straight out asks Yori when he gets home if he loves Iku. Yori coolly, and without missing a beat, blackmails her, stating he knows everything about her and Yuugo and Iku’s adoption. If she so much as breathes a word to Shunpei or Iku about it, he’ll tell them everything and destroy their family.

He goes even further explaining just how much he loves Iku and blames Saki for his deep feelings of guilt all of these years when he could’ve been free to love her like he wanted if she just spoke the truth.

Later, he shows that he’s flaunting his newfound freedom in front of his mother, knowing he has her in a vice. He takes a barely dressed Iku into their room to get freaky under the guise of ‘studying’ and Saki collapses on the stairs in emotional agony, knowing she can’t do anything about it.

I know Saki’s definitely guilty of a lot of things, but Yori is a stone-cold pile of shit.

The next chapter starts with Yori and Iku about to get it on in their bedroom while their mother sits in the stairwell, debating what to do. As Yori’s about to get down and dirty, their mother bursts into the room to stop them, no longer caring what Yori does because she feels her duty to protect her children from a mistake is more important than the happy lie she’s created in their family.

She tells Iku that, despite the odd paternity booklet, she is 100% Iku’s mother and Shunpei is her father. She is also Yori’s mother, but as Shunpei walks in the room to see what all the fuss is about, she admits that Yuugo is Yori’s father.

The last chapter of the volume shows Saki on her wedding day. Yuugo tried to convince her to run away with him and elope, and she was actually extremely happy to hear him say that. However, she was too dedicated to Shunpei. She couldn’t break his heart.

For the first time and the last time, they decided to have sex. She slept with Yuugo on her wedding day, and Shunpei on her wedding night. Having sex with two men in a 24 hour period and getting two of her eggs from the same cycle fertilized by each of the men resulted in the previously discussed heteropaternal superfecundation – the creation of twins born of two fathers.

She tells Shunpei, who should really be wondering what the hell half-naked Yori and all-naked Iku are doing in bed, that she’ll accept a divorce if he wants one, but he refuses. He actually knew about Yori’s parentage all along, but he didn’t say anything and continued to keep up her lie because she chose to stay by his side all this time. He knew this whole situation caused her great pain, but she kept through it to be by his side.

So, before I continue, some side notes tell us that Yori’s next dialogue is knowingly horrible and he feels guilty about it before he even says it. Keep that in mind.

Shunpei tells Yori that it doesn’t matter if they’re not blood related, he will always be his precious son. Yori says, and I’m directly quoting here.

Yori: “I’m sorry, Dad. I am not happy at all. I like mom and dad, but I have thought about how good it would be if dad wasn’t my dad and how great it would be if mom wasn’t my birth mother. Just now, mom said all of this is my responsibility. Therefore, can you give me Iku?”

Yup. Garbage person. He basically told his parents to their faces that he enjoyed the idea of them not being his real parents and started a negotiation to be ‘given’ Iku, like she’s restitution.

And don’t give me anything about this being less bad because he realizes it’s a shitty thing to do.

To quote Todd from Bojack Horseman – “You can’t keep doing this! You can’t keep doing shitty things and then feel bad about yourself like that makes it okay. YOU NEED TO BE BETTER!”

But we’re not done.

Yori: “I don’t need dad or mom. That’s why….I’m taking Iku! Because I only need Iku!”

The volume ends with kidnapping. Swell.

———————————-

This volume is horrible. Yuugo’s being a dick. Mori’s being a creepy bitch. Yori’s being a dick. Saki’s a terrible person who got off too easily. Shunpei’s a bit of a doormat. Iku….Iku is literally not doing anything. She’s responded to everything in this volume with the same look of blank surprise. She seemed slightly upset when Mori told her Yori might not be her brother, but that was about it.

Yori uses his manipulative garbage person ways to more freely boink his sister and then uses them again to get Iku, acting like he’s entitled to her and Iku just goes with it. Iku you are one step away from being a prop, but that’d be a compliment because props actually have functions.

Some people have this weird view on love that it’s romantic to seem like you care about literally no one else but the person you love, but that view always struck me as toxic and horribly unhealthy. Love should make you a better person, not further drive you into dickery. You shouldn’t feel like you can be a heartless monster to people, especially your parents, just because you love someone and want to be with them.

There’s not much else to say about this volume. Everyone is terrible. Everything is terrible.

Next volume is our finale! Can they clean up this mess of glorious proportions and somehow make me not want to throw my computer out a window?

Stay tuned.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 3 Review

Chapter 11: A Gloomy Job

11

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

1

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

1 love btrayed

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

1 tacking stitches

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.

—————————-

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….


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Higanjima (Manga) Volume 5 Review

Plot: Akira manages to free Atsushi from Miyabi’s mind control, and the group makes their escape. Most of them make their way across a rope bridge, but Atsushi chooses to stay behind for the sake of buying them time and getting his revenge on Miyabi. As he brandishes his sword, we learn why exactly Atsushi has such a personal vendetta against Miyabi.

Breakdown: Fresh off the heels of Atsushi being mind-controlled by the newly revealed main baddie, Miyabi, and Yuki supposedly being stabbed by him, this volume is actually more about backstory than anything.

I was relieved that the most badass person on the team wasn’t going to be a puppet of Miyabi for long, although I have mixed feelings about the backstory between the two.

Two years ago, Atsushi came to the island to get a marriage blessing from his beloved Ryouko’s parents. To do so, he had to present an offering in a shrine that the villagers were afraid of. It’s fine if you leave it alone, but Atsushi’s curiosity got the better of him and he couldn’t help but enter. There were legends of vampires surrounding the shrine, and Ryouko desperately wanted to turn back.

When Atsushi heard a voice asking for help, that wasn’t an option anymore. In a room in the back of the shrine was Miyabi who seemingly feigned being ill so Atsushi would let him out and unleash him upon the island once more.

He did, and everyone on the island paid for it. The reason Atsushi hasn’t escaped the island in the two years he’s been there, despite having commandeered a boat, is because he feels guilty for letting the vampire virus loose on the island. And the reason he has a personal vendetta against Miyabi runs deeper than infecting everyone with this virus.

Miyabi got to Ryouko and paralyzed Atsushi with a quick bite before biting her and brutally raping her right in front of him. She died as a result of being drained.

Even though the Ryouko backstory’s a bit cliché, I liked how this entire volume played out. We end on another cliffhanger in present time, even though I sincerely doubt Miyabi’s dead.

Atsushi continues to be a badass, and I commend the others, despite being incredibly weak and wounded, for trying to help Atsushi however they can from the other side of the bridge. They could’ve been gone and in that boat ten times over in the time they had, but they stayed to ensure Atsushi had a fighting chance.

Something I should note, though doesn’t really bump up the content rating too much since we’ve had graphic sexual content already, is the rape scene. Not only is it a rape scene, so of course the content rating rises here, but they do a ridiculous job trying to ‘censor’ Miyabi’s genitals. There is a closeup shot, right on, fully erect, details intact, and they think it’s censored just because it’s in silhouette.

I’m very intrigued for the next volume, and I’m especially looking forward to more Atsushi badassery. Miyabi is shaping up to be a decent antagonist, but I’d like to see more to him besides ‘he’s evil just because evil.’

Rating: 8/10


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 2 Review

Chapter 6: Ice Shadows

11

This chapter was not one mirrored in the anime, but it is very well-written and quite intriguing. Saeki is a great ice skater and top of her team. Despite this, she screws up in a big competition and has been skipping practices, so she’s overlooked for the spot in the national competition for a girl named Eri, with her substitute being Marie.

Saeki is infuriated at this, but can’t figure out what to do to get her spot from them. Her friends tell her about Hell Girl, but that’s not an option for her because she has two targets and Hell Girl only allows one entry. However, that doesn’t mean Hell Girl is completely useless to her.

She concocts a plan to have Eri and Marie send each other to hell. She tricks Eri into thinking Marie sicced a bunch of bullies on her, and she tricked Marie into thinking Eri tried to kill her by locking her in a room with a gas leak.

Her plan seemingly works – the two send each other to hell and she is chosen to skate in the nationals.

However, all is not as it seems.

Saeki is actually the one going to hell. Eri and Marie figured out easily that she was behind everything. They also had great trust in each other to not do such terrible things since they had been best friends for over ten years. Saeki was the one who planted those ideas into their heads, and she was the one who just so happened to save Eri from the bullies and Marie from the room of gas.

They both entered Saeki’s name into Hell Correspondence, and now they’re both marked for hell, but they’ve still got each other and their bright futures as ice skaters ahead of them. Eri even wins first place in the nationals, much to the delight of Marie who was cheering her on the whole time.

But….this is really confusing.

Why are they BOTH damned to hell? This has never happened in any other Hell Girl story I’ve watched or read. Even if they both contacted Ai at the same time, she wouldn’t give the offer to both of them. It’s always just a one-way street – a soul for a soul.

In fact, in one episode of the anime, a client tries to use the doll on someone, but Ai tells her she can’t because someone else is about to pull the string on her target.

It is a beautiful gesture that they basically agreed to go to hell together (even though I’ve explained before why that’s also pretty dumb) but I just don’t think this would fly with how Hell Girl operates.

Another curious thing in this episode is Ai at the very end. She’s watching the girls skate and is very happy and content. I really don’t think Eto gets it that Ai is supposed to be emotionless.

Oh well, at least they didn’t have Ai wait until the girls were about to commit suicide to give them the offer this time.

Chapter 7: Family

1

So, this chapter starts with a flashback to the death of the main character, Chiaki’s, mother on her death bed telling her and her sister, Chisa, that they need to live good lives because she’ll be waiting to reunite with them in heaven.

Well…..Wonder where this could possibly be going.

Chiaki is in college, I think, but she’s coming home for a weekend visit. Their mother has been dead for over a year, so their father has hired a local woman named Yurie to care for the house and Chisa while he’s working.

Despite having a nice reunion with her little sister, Chiaki is troubled when she realizes Chisa is very visibly afraid of her new babysitter. Yurie claims Chisa is just having a hard time accepting her into the house, so she’s lying and making up stories when everything she’s claiming she’s doing is explained through other means. For example, Chiaki found the framed picture of her mother that she kept by her bed in Chisa’s room, with the glass of the frame cracked, and Chisa claimed she was protecting it from Yurie since she threw it in the garbage. Yurie, on the other hand, says the frame broke when she was cleaning Chiaki’s room and she set it aside for when she’d get a new frame for it…..but why would she keep the broken glass hanging around? That’s a hazard in a house with a little kid.

Chisa tells Chiaki that Yurie is very mean to her, yelling at her all the time and hitting her. Chiaki doesn’t believe her for quite a while until she discovers all of the bruises on Chisa’s chest. She calls Hell Girl before Yurie can react to the accusations about the bruises. When she talks to her dad and Yurie about it, they claim she kept falling off of her tricycle, causing the bruises, and that maybe, at worst, Yurie overreacted when she told her to be more careful.

Chiaki decides to accept that story, because apparently she’d rather believe the word of this woman she literally met that same day instead of her own flesh and blood. (Her father only corroborates Yurie’s claim because that’s the story she told him.)

She leaves to go back to school, but suddenly gets a panicked phone call from her sister. Chiaki rushes home and finds Yurie slicing off Chisa’s hair. She decides to stop playing nice and just tell Chiaki that, yeah, she’s an abusive bitch who hates kids. The only reason she took this job to begin with was because their father has a good salary and a nice house, so she can eventually marry him and get his money.

Chiaki threatens to go to the cops, but Yurie says it wouldn’t matter anyway because they’d never believe them over her….Uhm…why? The kid is covered in bruises and has her hair lopped off. She’s clearly very scared and jumpy when touched, which are clear signs of abuse. And now she has an adult witness to back her up, one who just got sliced by the accused, but yet Yurie believes the cops would never believe them?

Because this is Hell Girl, where everyone’s over the top evil, Yurie lunges for Chiaki to stab her to death with the scissors which is, uh….yeah, how would you ever explain that away, darlin’? “Oh Chisa and Chiaki’s dad! Chiaki just came home for a surprise visit less than a day after she went back to school – and in the middle of the school day no less – and suddenly decided to run around with scissors. She tripped, fell and stabbed herself 18 times with the scissors! What a tragic accident!”

Chisa jumps in front of Chiaki as Yurie attacks, but Chiaki pulls the string and immediately sends Yurie to hell. The hell torture this time around is pretty creepy. She’s surrounded by a bunch of children seemingly soaked in blood and grabbing for her. Yurie doesn’t show a drop of regret, and Ai ferries her away to hell.

Meanwhile, Chiaki laments on failing to uphold her promise to her mother. She’ll never reunite with her in heaven now, but she doesn’t have any regrets because she saved Chisa’s life. Their dad reveals that, per Hell Girl magic, I guess, they found out that Yurie was accused of committing marriage fraud several times and abusing the husbands and children in those families, too. The cops are looking for her, but they can’t find her.

I have to believe this revelation is Hell Girl magic, because otherwise this is twice as depressing. They could have known the truth about her almost immediately and Chiaki wouldn’t have had to sacrifice herself.

Truth be told, this is one of those situations that seemed largely avoidable. She should have called the cops before she called Hell Girl. And I doubt she had enough vengeance in her heart to even contact her if she didn’t even really believe Chisa very much. Technically, it’s a good thing she did call Hell Girl then because otherwise she or Chisa may have died, but it also could have been avoided entirely if she called the cops.

Granted, yeah, the cops are very spotty when it comes to situations like this. I’m not even really certain which side their dad would be on, which in itself is kinda stupid. They’re not even dating or anything, and she’s been their housekeeper/babysitter all of a month, but it’s implied that their dad is willing to believe Yurie over Chisa and Chiaki on everything. Still, calling the police should at least have been a step. Hell Girl is typically a last resort type of deal.

Not saying this situation isn’t believable at its core, however. There many real circumstances similar to theirs, sadly.

Still, this was a good but fairly sad story. Like I said, you pretty much know what will happen the instant they throw in that flashback to the mom dying, but it still really sucks that Chiaki will never see her mom again in heaven.

Also, small note, this is finally the first time we fully see the client receiving the doll and pulling the string in the manga, so that’s pretty cool.

Chapter 8: Distorted Love

1ff

Another chapter that was never reflected in the anime, this story is about a girl named Mei and her close friend, Tsukasa. For the past three years, Tsukasa has been hospitalized with a severe illness, but he still holds firm to his dreams of someday becoming a detective. Mei visits him every day and brings flowers to him sometimes, but she has recently started getting stalker-esque obsessive text messages.

She doesn’t tell Tsukasa about it in fear of making his condition worse, but the stalker’s behaviors are escalating. He’s broken into her room to steal her school albums, and someone in a rabbit costume (she loves rabbits) grabbed her and said threatening things to her.

Mei believes she hears someone call the guy in the costume Yuki, who was an old classmate that she spotted a little while ago. Thinking he must be the culprit and realizing the cops nor her mother will help her, she calls Hell Girl. Stopping myself for a minute there, it’s pretty unreasonable that her mother simply doesn’t believe her on any of this. She even said she was wrong about the intruder in her room when Mei specifically said stuff was stolen from her room. Why is her mother so flippant about this? Is it Terrible Parent day in Hell Girl world?

She’s kidnapped by the man in the bunny costume and knocked out. When she awakes, she’s in a beautiful dress. The stalker explains that he read in her album that she wanted to get married, so they’re going to do so today. Mei pulls the string on the doll, but, shockingly, nothing happens. When the stalker reveals his identity, it turns out it was actually the florist who was selling her flowers to give to Tsukasa for several months. His name is, coincidentally, Yukee.

So….did Yuki get sent to hell? She did pull the string, but they never reveal if she has a curse mark. Why did Ai allow this to happen? Isn’t she unable to provide a doll if the target isn’t ‘correct’?

Mei is terrified, but Yukee soon vanishes before her eyes. He has been sent to hell by none other than Tsukasa.

He had found out about the break-in from her mother, and he found out everything else on his own. Tsukasa did some investigating into Yukee, whom he found to be suspicious. She was always getting the stalker texts on Wednesday, and her room was broken into on a Wednesday, which is the Yukee’s day off. He had done this investigating the night before, working on the computer all night when he was told not to, which lead to him developing a bad fever.

When he called to talk to Yukee, he said he was doing a wedding ceremony. I assume Tsukasa knew Mei was missing somehow, so he called Hell Girl and pulled the string in the nick of time.

Believing his time left in the world of the living is very short, he was content with accepting his fate in hell soon. He had been able to save Mei’s life, and that’s all that mattered to him. Mei is, of course, devastated and proclaims tearfully that he’ll get better and be a detective like he always wanted. Either way, they’ll spend as much time as they can together before fate pulls them apart once more.

Even though there were a bunch of conveniences in the story to make the mystery and resolution work, I absolutely loved this story. The mystery was intriguing, and the scene where the string pull doesn’t work really throws you for a loop. You’re left seriously worried about Mei after that happens because string pulls always work in Hell Girl. The service is designed to not really be able to target the wrong person, so having the string pull not work and the reason being that Mei wrote the wrong name into the website was really shocking.

I’m still wondering whether Yuki was sent to hell or not. I’d think not, but I can’t be certain. Like I said, nothing like this has ever happened before and they never reveal if Mei has a curse mark. The only other circumstance I can think of that was kinda like this was in one of the first chapters where the client sends her tormentor to hell, but it’s revealed that the target wasn’t the only one doing the abuse, but that’s really not the same because Yuki was entirely innocent.

The relationship between Mei and Tsukasa was also beautifully sweet and tragic. They’re so great together, and it makes me so sad that their relationship will almost certainly end soon and badly. And they’ll never be reunited in the afterlife….

Chapter 9: Lost Cat

1ggg

Oh boy, an animal in a Hell Girl story? I can only imagine happy things happening.

This story focuses on a girl named Maki befriending a rather quiet and somewhat unfriendly girl named Juli after they bond over caring for a lost cat named Mikey. They become very good friends, but things all spiral downward when their substitute teacher, Takamine, enters their lives.

Takamine is one of the most ridiculously over-evil antagonists I’ve seen since the episode Bound Girl (And that one also included animal abuse….) The instant she sets foot in the classroom, the first thing she does is take a collection of paper cranes the class had made (and Maki had started) for their actual teacher who is on maternity leave and crumple them up. She claims that anything that isn’t schoolwork is a waste and will be destroyed.

Juli is enraged by this and grabs Takamine, which earns her a stint in the English room, which is apparently full of garbage. Takamine insults her hair before taking her there, and then drags her by the hair to the room. But that’s not all. Takamine also gives her heaps of work based on things their class hasn’t even covered yet and tells her she can’t go home until she’s done.

Maki helps her out with her work, but Takamine just keeps piling on Juli. She completely removes Juli from the class list, refuses to include her in roll call, and she has decided that she no longer gets a desk and will have to work in the closet from now on.

Meanwhile, the rest of the class isn’t getting away scot-free. They’re being given incredibly hard tests day after day and exhausting all of them.

Believe or not, we’re still not done. Maki spots Takamine trying to force feed Juli tuna eyeballs for lunch, and when she tries to tell the principal about it, he doesn’t believe her. Her friends also don’t want to get involved for fear of Takamine’s wrath. They tell Maki to do the same, but she refuses to abandon her friend.

Instead, she contacts Hell Girl and gets her doll, but she hesitates because of the price she’ll have to pay.

Things come to a head when Maki hears some girls talking about hearing meowing coming from a garbage bag Takamine was carrying to the river. They were worried, but too afraid of Takamine to do anything about it. Maki rushes to get Juli and they head to the river, seeing the garbage bag floating downstream – and indeed there are meowing sounds coming from it.

Juli jumps into the river to get Mikey, but they both vanish underwater. Juli ends up in critical condition as a result, and Mikey seems lost forever. Takamine has the balls to come to the hospital and mock Juli to Maki’s face, calling her an idiot for trying to save the cat and saying the cat was a piece of trash who needed to be thrown out because it was something that had nothing to do with schoolwork. She finishes off by saying if Juli dies because of it, it will be perfect because she was toxic trash too.

You see what I mean? This bitch is too ridiculously over-evil. I mean, good job in the realm of making me hate her guts, but she’s almost comically malicious.

Hearing those final words from Takamine, Maki angrily pulls the string. Takamine’s hell torture is pretty good. All of her personal items are destroyed by the hell team, their heads all turn into weird mutated tuna eyeballs and to top it all off they tie her up into a trash bag and throw her into the river Styx where she’s finally ferried…or floated…down to hell.

After that’s all said and done, Juli recovers and she and Maki enjoy class with a new substitute teacher who is much nicer, promising to always be friends forever.

But wait.

Could it be!?

32

YAY MIKEY’S ALIVE!

I was really surprised that they chose to do this. They very rarely ever let the animal live in these stories, and I’m not even sure how he survived. It’s implied that Ai may have saved him because she was holding him while delivering the hell torture to Takamine, in which case you’re aces in my book, Ai.

All in all, I really loved the friendship development between Juli and Maki, and I truly appreciate that they let the cat live, but Takamine is just super-villain levels of evil. She doesn’t even try to hide that she’s doing all of this absolutely terrible shit, but the principal refuses to believe Maki when she tells him about the bullying just because grades are up? Come on. Can’t any authority figure be competent in this universe?

Chapter 10: Friends

1dsfsdf

We’re back with another story that was somewhat mirrored in the anime in the episode of the same name. The names of the characters aren’t the same: Minami is Azusa here, and Shiori is Hitomi.

The circumstances of their friendship is also different. In the anime, they had only recently become best friends since Minami was a transfer student and Shiori had befriended her. In the manga, Hitomi and Azusa had been best friends since they were little. She used to protect her from boys who would pick on her, and as a result she became very clingy to Hitomi, though Hitomi didn’t seem to mind.

In the anime, Shiori just ditches Minami as a friend once she becomes friends with two other bitches, and for some reason they can’t allow her to also be their friend. In the manga, they go to a group date with a bunch of guys for karaoke. Azusa is very nervous around guys because they picked on her so much when she was little, but with Hitomi by her side she decides to go for it. She takes a liking to a particular boy, but decides to not pursue anything because Hitomi clearly liked him.

The next night, she gets a text from the guy that was seemingly asking them all out on a group date again, so Azusa accepts, but she finds out the next day that he was only asking Azusa out, which devastates Hitomi. She and her friends instantly vilify Azusa for what she did, not even trying to hear her out. Hitomi also blocks her number, so she can’t call or text. When she visits her house to talk about it, Hitomi flips and even accuses her of being a stalker.

The same thing happened in the anime, for the most part. Shiori’s new friends were telling her how stalker-y Minami was because she was texting Shiori once every half hour, and they even told the teacher so she’d get her to leave her alone.

When Minami approaches her in person, at school, Shiori accidentally falls over. Even though it was clearly an accident everyone blames Minami and acts as if she did it on purpose.

In the manga, things get even more heated. Using the photos they took earlier, Hitomi makes cards with Azusa’s number on them that basically amount to ‘for a good time, call…’ kind of cards. She sends them out to guys all over town, and Azusa starts getting messages and calls from weird guys. Some of the guys even approach her and try to get her to come with them.

Azusa recognizes the handwriting as Hitomi’s but calls the police to help find the perp and keep the creepers away from her house.

Unable to take any more, Azusa calls Hell Girl and gets the straw doll. The only difference between the anime and manga here is that Azusa is much less malicious than Minami. In the anime, Minami is so set on giving Shiori her just desserts that she expresses a desire to pull the string right in front of Shiori’s face. Azusa does no such thing.

She keeps the doll in her desk and leaves it one day. Hitomi starts having random wrist pains, so she heads to the nurse’s office. On her way back, she sees the doll in Azusa’s desk and believes it’s a voodoo doll with which Azusa used to give her wrist pain.

This is way more justifiable than in the anime, where Shiori just thinks it’s a voodoo doll for really no other reason than it’s a funny looking straw doll.

In both versions, Hitomi/Shiori takes the straw doll and nails it to a shrine post to curse Azusa/Minami, but obviously that doesn’t work.

Later, Azusa stays home from school due to a fever. I forget why, but the same happens in the anime.

While at school, in the anime, Shiori’s friends just randomly ditch her for a new third member. And, since it’s established that groups of four friends are forbidden by god or whatever the writing is doing to justify this, she now has no friends.

In the manga, her friends start turning on her when they hear of her sending out the cards. They also get concerned about being involved with her since they know Azusa called the cops for what Hitomi did. This is also much more justified of a turnaround for Hitomi/Shiori than the anime.

In both versions, they contact Azusa/Minami and try to make up, which Azusa/Minami eagerly accepts. However, Hitomi/Shiori pulls out the doll and suggests they curse their classmates with it, even explaining that she has needles with her to do the deed. Azusa/Minami explains that the doll doesn’t work like a voodoo doll and that she’s the only one who can use it. Hitomi/Shiori keeps pushing her to use it, even after Azusa/Minami explains that the doll sends both the target and the user to hell, not realizing that she’s the target and not caring about what happens to Azusa/Minami. She forces Azusa/Minami to pull the string and Hitomi/Shiori is sent to hell.

Azusa/Minami falls to the ground in despair in both versions, but what Ai says to her is drastically different. In the anime, as Minami says she didn’t want this, Ai says she indeed did want this, as evidenced when she said straight to Ai’s face that she wanted to pull the string in front of Shiori. She allowed herself to be consumed with hatred, and now she has to pay for it.

In the manga, Ai tells Azusa that her own weakness caused all of this. If she had just been stronger and not relied on Hitomi so much, none of this would have happened. Ai tells her to become stronger and make better friends, which she vows to do, even if she’s marked for hell.

In the end, the manga is SO much better than the anime’s story. The anime had a stupid reason for breaking the friends apart. Suddenly deciding that you want to be friends with two other girls and not including your other friend just ‘because’ didn’t make any sense to me then and it doesn’t now. Thinking your friend stole a guy you were clearly interested in…..is still kinda stupid just based on the fact that they only knew the guy for one night, but these are teenage girls, so shit happens.

It’s implied that Hitomi even purposely set all of this up to get Azusa to leave her alone because she was too clingy, and it that’s true then there are way better ways to do it than making everyone think she’s a creepy whore.

In the anime, they weren’t even friends that long anyway. She was her first and best friend at her new school, but they didn’t have the same history or dynamic as Azusa and Hitomi.

What Hitomi did to Azusa was also worse than what Shiori did to Minami. In both scenarios, she made many people at school not want to associate themselves with Azusa/Minami, but Hitomi went the extra mile to make people think Azusa was basically a call girl – even floating her photo and phone number around to skeevy guys. Azusa could have really gotten hurt if one of those guys got aggressive with her.

Finally, Azusa is objectively better than Minami. Azusa’s character flaw is in her weakness and codependency whereas Minami’s is that she suddenly let herself be consumed with an almost ridiculous level of hatred for someone who didn’t even do that much to her. I’ve had friends treat me way worse than that and I never felt a desire to not only send them to hell but basically mock them as I do it.

I don’t believe Azusa’s weakness is really the core cause of the blame here, but it’s a part of it. Many Hell Girl cases are created as a result of personal weakness. They want a relatively easy method of taking care of a problem in their life – one that can’t be traced back to them from a legal standpoint and doesn’t actually get blood on their hands. There’s still a hefty price, but, siding with Hajime for a bit, numerous instances of Hell Girl usage is fairly petty and could have been fixed without Hell Girl if the effort was put in.

If Azusa had just accepted that Hitomi was an unreasonable bitch that wasn’t worth being friends with, she could have just laid low for a while, stopped contacting Hitomi, let Hitomi move on, especially if her goal was just to get Azusa to go away, and then eventually go make friends with other people. The others won’t be hungup on the betrayal crap forever, especially since it was a dude she liked for all of a few hours. Azusa didn’t even do anything with the guy. She just accepted his offer. Teenagers get past this shit real quick.

Likewise, if she hadn’t been chewing at the bit to accept Hitomi’s apology despite the shitty things she did to her, then Hitomi wouldn’t have been able to force her to use the doll. Hitomi probably would have just tried to use the doll herself, nothing would have happened and that would have been the end of it.

It makes a little more sense for her to do this in the anime because Shiori didn’t do something like herd a bunch of perverts to Minami’s location acting as if she was a slut.

The absolute ending was also much more hopeful than the anime’s. In the anime, the only ‘bright’ spot is Minami looking forward to seeing Shiori again in hell. In the manga, she decides that she wants to be stronger and seek out better friends than people like Hitomi. She may still be destined for hell, but at least she’s more determined to live a better life as a stronger person who surrounds herself with good people for as long as she can.

—————————————

And that was volume two! Definitely heaping loads of improvement from volume one, and they’re certainly getting better at communication between the anime showrunners and the manga author for important elements of the Hell Girl universe, like the straw doll and a bit more implementation of the hell team as actual characters. Not everything is meshing between versions in that regard, but it’s gotten a lot better. At least we’re finally past her phase of needing the person to be on the verge of committing suicide or murder before she finally shows up to help the client.

The start of the next volume notes that it was released right when season two of the anime was debuting, so that’s pretty cool. She also mentions she’ll be putting more of the hell team in the stories, which is great. Not sure if the author intends on including Hajime and Tsugumi or Ai’s backstory, but time will tell I suppose.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 1 Review

202

Plot: A horror anthology that chronicles the stories of the clients of Hell Girl – a mysterious girl behind a website where you can input the name of someone who has wronged you and get the opportunity to exact immediate vengeance on them by sending them to hell. However, curses come home to roost. The price for this service is damning your own soul to hell – but only when you die your natural death.

Your grievance shall be avenged….

Breakdown: Oh what? You thought I was done with Hell Girl for now just because I said I wasn’t going to review Three Vessels until October? Psshhhtt. We still got manga to review, my friends!

Hell Girl’s manga is…something. It’s a bit odd. You see, the manga started just a month after the anime started running and ran along side it. In fact, it ended right before Three Vessels aired, so my timing is right on the money.

It’s not so much adapting the anime nor did the anime adapt it. It’s just kinda its own thing while also still being the same thing….do you get what I’m saying?

Good, because I don’t.

Considering this is an anthology, it doesn’t really matter that much anyway.

This also isn’t the only manga to the Hell Girl name. After Three Vessels aired (technically, it debuted a month before Three Vessels ended), a manga called New Hell Girl started up. Then we got Hell Girl R. Then we got Hell Girl: Enma Ai Selection, Super Scary Story (I’m not being a smartass, that’s the actual name) that actually came before Three Vessels aired, back in 2007, yet didn’t end until 2012.

However, whether I can actually find and review any of these manga will have to be an answer for another day. So far, no dice.

Something that creates quite the difference between the manga and the anime is the art. The anime’s art is fairly unique, especially where Ai herself is involved. Everyone has between toned down yet normal anime-ish styled designs or they go for a more realistic route with smaller eyes and more, for lack of a better term ‘normal’ features.

Ai’s design is quite notable and unique. She has a realistic eye shape, but it’s greatly enlarged in order to give her that signature haunting stare. The ruby red of her eyes in stark contrast to her black hair really create an air of horror around her. Kikuri, as much as I dislike her as a character, is also very unique even from Ai. She has a very similar eye shape, but she has even less in terms of visible scleras and her eyes are purple with odd reflections, giving her an insect vibe.

The manga is pretty much just typical shoujo style. Ai herself doesn’t really look anything like what you probably know her as. She has the usual anime/shoujo eye shape with an eye color that is way more brown than it is red (on the covers anyway – the manga’s in black and white, as usual). She’s also almost always given an angry or ‘evil’ expression, which goes directly against the emotionless front that Ai is supposed to have at all times. Even her notable hime haircut doesn’t go unaltered because her hair is frequently very sharp and flowing in the manga.

Honestly, Ai barely looks any different from nearly any other girl you’d see in a shoujo series.

It’s not bad, it’s just not…Ai.

All of the other characters are also given very shoujo styled appearances, which, again, isn’t bad, but it kinda reduces the horror aspect of the whole thing.

Another difference is that, right off the bat, Ai very frequently appears to her clients and watches them, usually in the form of a student in their school. This is mostly unheard of in season one of Hell Girl, and even when it does become common for her and her team to investigate or watch clients, it’s usually only after a contract has been made and not usually so blatantly, especially with Ai herself. In the manga, it’s even common for her to use her own name when she’s doing this, and that’s just ridiculous from an anime standpoint. In the anime, the Hell Team are usually the ones who act as humans and do recon. When they have to give a name, it’s always an alias.

If what the artist, Miyuki Eto, says in the notes is any indication, it seems like she’s taking her notes of the main canon stuff, in regards to how Ai looks and how the system works, from the anime, because she mentions that Ai had bells on her bracelet in the anime and had to work the bells into later chapters.

She also notes, however, that she doesn’t get to watch anime a lot because her TV antennae needs to be setup in a certain way for her to watch it. (So she doesn’t get at least story notes on how the anime is working?) However, it seems like that’s just a preference of hers to do it that way because in chapter four she talks about coming up with the dog’s name, even though the dog already had a name in the anime version (Candy.)

It says the stories themselves are written by the Jigoku Shoujo project, whatever that means, so maybe they’re leaving Eto to her own devices when it comes to the finer details. I really don’t understand how the people working on the Jigoku Shoujo project organized the anime and manga this way, seems really sloppy and inefficient, but what can you do?

Even though I will likely make comparisons to the anime every now and then, please note that this is not an AniManga Clash entry. There are too many stories that weren’t adapted/mirrored for me to feel comfortable giving it that label, and like I said the anime isn’t even really an adaptation. However, when stories are adapted/mirrored I will make notes for the sake of completion.

It should also be noted that Hell Girl’s manga supposedly changes quite a bit the further along you get. Before I started doing the review, I read only about ten chapters, so we’ll have to find out if this is true later.

With that said, let’s delve into each story in volume one.

Chapter One: From Within the Darkness

211

Hey, I’m super consistent, which is why I’m going to open this review by saying the first story from the manga that I just said was very different from the anime in its stories is very similar to the first episode of Hell Girl.

In that episode, From Beyond the Twilight (even the names are similar) a girl is pressured into doing worse and worse acts because a bitchy girl and her friends are blackmailing her. It eventually gets so bad that when she hears of Hell Link she decides to contact Ai and send her tormentor to hell.

That same story is used here, but there are numerous differences. The characters are entirely different and so are the main circumstances. In the anime, the client, Mayumi, is blackmailed by Aya, the target. Mayumi was entrusted with a large sum of money that the class had raised for charity only to have it go mysteriously missing. In order to ensure the class and teacher never found out and didn’t accuse her of theft, Aya offered her a loan to cover the money.

In the manga, the client, Mari, is blackmailed by Hayase, the target. Mari had been accused of shoplifting a CD from a store and Hayase had gotten her out of the mess by vouching for her to the cashier.

In the anime, Mayumi is driven to stealing from her mother in order to pay off the debt to Aya, but even after covering the sum, Aya claims that’s only good enough to cover the interest on the loan. It comes to a head when she brings her to the red light district and basically tries to whore her out for a meal. She then takes pictures of Mayumi with the men and blackmails her with those as well.

Turns out, Aya had been screwing her over from the start since she’s the one who stole the donation money.

Mayumi contacts Hell Girl, but she doesn’t come, so Mayumi tries to commit suicide, which is when Ai suddenly decides to make her appearance and give her the doll.

A short while goes by when Mayumi discovers that, even though she hadn’t stepped out of bounds with Aya, she still posted the photos of her with the men on the school’s server, which nearly destroyed her life and future. Devastated, she pulled the string and sent Aya to hell, allowing her life to return to normal.

In the manga, Hayase and her friends use the shoplifting incident to blackmail Mari into copying her schoolwork and buying A LOT of things for them, which eventually leads Mari into draining all of her savings and stealing from her parents several times. She was even caught by them on one occasion, which earned her a slap in the face from her father, though she still couldn’t get up the courage to explain why she was stealing. Mari pretty much knows from the instant this all starts that Hayase was the one who stole the CD and was using the situation to blackmail her. Mari wanted to get into a really good school and, supposedly, couldn’t do so if she had something like that hanging over her.

Unlike in the anime, Mari does not get the additional blackmail of having her photo taken in the red light district with seedy men. She is, however, still driven to suicide because she believes she has no choice.

I feel like this is the ultimate differentiation between the two stories.

Stealing nearly $1000 USD is way worse than shoplifting a CD already, especially since it was only an attempt (She got stopped in the doorway because the alarm went off) and she wouldn’t get charged or anything since the cashier already let her off (in fact, they have a security system in the store, which is how she got caught, so couldn’t she just ask to check the security footage to see who put the CD in her bag?)

They blow this situation up way too much in the manga. She drains her savings over this. She steals from her parents over this. Mari also seems to have absolutely no trust that anyone she loves would believe her over Hayase, which is silly because even one of her friends notes what a slimy person Hayase is – mentioning that she’d always pick on her and, get this, STEAL HER STUFF. She’s such a terrible person that even this friend says she wishes Hell Girl would take her.

If there’s one person she could have definitely told about this, it was her friend, but she still supposedly couldn’t risk it.

What’s even stupider is that, in lieu of the sketchy photo blackmail in the anime, the big crescendo in this story is that Hayase tells her to get her something, but Mari doesn’t have the money, so Hayase tells her to shoplift it….and she does….and her aforementioned friend catches her.

Guess what she was stealing…..Just guess. Anything. Shoot out suggestions. I’ll wait.

In the meantime, let me tell you that this was the event that made her want to attempt suicide via jumping off a building.

Got some ideas in your head?

Kay.

They’re wrong.

She stole snacks.

Snacks.

SNACKS!

Pocky and cornchips were all I was able to make out, but yeah, snacks.

Let me remind you that she had already resorted to repeatedly stealing from her parents, even getting caught by them once. Yet this is what tips her over the edge into calling Hell Girl and attempting suicide.

Snacks.

I don’t even know why she decided to steal from her parents anyway. Draining her savings, I get, kinda, even if I still find this whole setup a bit silly. But stealing from her parents? That’s a much bigger crime than trying to steal a CD, if you ask me. And she already got caught for stealing from her parents, and they were not happy, so why even bother trying to placate Hayase anymore? You think they’ll care that she attempted to steal a CD after that?

And even after all of that, she still does what Hayase says and she still flips her shit…..

Over stealing snacks.

She kinda shot herself in the foot too, because if she had just told someone about this before she was driven to steal from her parents, she likely would have gotten off a lot easier. The fact that she stole from her parents and then stole the snacks would actually be levied against her if Hayase mentioned she shoplifted the CD. She was digging her own grave in all sorts of ways.

Oh and another thing the manga and anime have in common in this chapter/episode, Ai waits several hours until the poor girl is attempting suicide in both versions for her to finally appear after being called. What the hell, Ai? What’s your problem?

I’m not one to call out characters for attempting suicide based on what I think is ‘worth’ having those thoughts over, but there’s no contest that Mayumi had a much more significant reason than Mari did. Being accused of being a teenage prostitute would do much more damage to your reputation and future than being accused of stealing a CD, or even stealing from her parents or even stealing SNACKS.

The hell torture in this chapter is also pretty benign as Hayase is basically just accused of shoplifting stuff and being sent to jail before she gets taken to hell. It’s nothing to clutch your pearls over.

In the end, it seems like Mari’s life is back to normal, sans the black mark on her chest designating her for hell when she dies her natural death, as expected.

I do have to ask though, in each version of this story, the target had a bunch of friends who knew of the situation and were partaking in the blackmail. Couldn’t they just pick up where the target left off and continue harassing the client or is this another one of those mysterious circumstances where life gets magically improved after the target is sent to hell, as if the Hell Team has some sort of reality-bending or time travel powers?

Chapter 2: Sweet Trap

253

Hey, look, a chapter that’s so similar to a Hell Girl episode that even the titles are the exactly the same this time.

I suck at this.

Anyway, this chapter is very obviously mirroring the episode Sweet Trap where a young aspiring baker named Hiromi opens up a cake shop. Her old teacher, Mirasaki, seemingly gives his blessing, but turns on her when he makes her look like a recipe thief on live TV. Her business is entirely ruined by this, somehow, so her younger sister, Yuko, takes it upon herself to use Hell Link and send Mirasaki to hell.

Quite honestly, it’s one of the sillier entries in the franchise because it didn’t seem like realistic circumstances nor did they seem like bad enough circumstances to warrant sending the dude to hell. He was a prick, but it’s hard to say he was enough of a prick to deserve immediately being sent to hell or Yuki damning her soul either.

Also, the hell torture in that episode is one of the goofiest I’ve ever seen.

What of the manga version?

The manga version is basically the same in regards to characters (Hiromi is left alone, Yuko is Yuka in the manga and Mirasaki is Morisaki.) but quite a bit different in regards to both the circumstances and the hell torture.

In the manga, Morisaki used a magazine article to claim he made the recipe that belonged to Hiromi – he didn’t back her into a corner by giving them back to back TV spots where they’d unveil new recipes and she’d be stuck because he unveiled her, “stolen”, recipe that she intended on unveiling on the show first.

Still, people found her to be a rip-off of Morisaki and went to his shop instead.

After that, he kept spreading terrible false rumors about her bakery like saying they use frozen ingredients instead of fresh, they use rotten fruit and their kitchen is absolutely covered in insects. He also sends out his employees to bust her windows, steal all of her product and even steal her recipes so can he use them himself.

Hiromi was under so much stress and was working so hard to build her reputation and make new recipes that she ended up being hospitalized.

Yuka couldn’t take watching her sister suffer anymore, so she contacted Hell Girl, but, like last time, she didn’t come immediately like she’s supposed to. She waited until Yuka was picking up a knife and was ready to kill him herself! Ai, please, timing!

The anime was so much more lackluster in this department, because Hiromi’s downfall was entirely that one recipe being stolen and everyone instantly refusing to go to her store afterwards, which caused her to shut down almost immediately.

In the anime, Yuko was driven by both guilt and anger because she was the one who gave Mirasaki a piece of Hiromi’s cake to try, which allowed him to somehow know the exact recipe and steal it before she unveiled it?

In the manga, Yuka is just tired of watching her big sister suffer and work herself sick just to keep getting kicked down by Morisaki.

Ai reveals the reason Morisaki did all of this – he used to steal all of Hiromi’s recipes when she worked at his shop. When she left, his quality went down, so he started stealing her recipes from her shop and trying to ruin her.

I gotta say, the anime made more sense in this respect. Mirasaki, in the anime, had sexually advanced on Hiromi, but she rejected him. As revenge, he ruined her when she tried to open her own shop.

The manga just doesn’t make much sense. If he’s a crap baker and needs Hiromi’s recipes (that he seemingly needs to steal like every few days or so) to keep the quality of his shop high, why would he go to such lengths to ruin her? If she shuts down or quits being a baker, he’ll be screwed all over again.

Another note the anime had near the end of the story was Hiromi comforting Yuko by saying she’d save up the money to open a new business down the line, which pretty much made it seem like Yuko didn’t really need to use Hell Link, especially since Hiromi is still very young and can overcome such a minute scandal. Kinda makes it all the more apparent that contacting Hell Girl really isn’t necessary here.

There are no such comforting words in the manga. Things just get so bad that Hiromi’s reputation, shop and health are down the toilet and Yuka feels the only way to end it is by contacting Hell Link.

As for the hell torture, there’s no denying that the manga’s version is 300% better and less goofy. In the anime, people threw cakes at Mirasaki, called him a terrible chef, people turned to frosting and then he was eaten and fused with a cake. In the manga, he’s accused of stealing the recipes, his shop was revealed to be infested with tons of bugs, and the exterminators, who are Wanyuudou and Ren here, stick him to flypaper and, in order to kill the bugs, SET HIM ON FIRE. Wow. Yeah. Goofiness gone.

After that, Morisaki’s shop is suddenly closed down, Hiromi is getting better in the hospital and Ai moves on to take more requests.

Chapter Three: Fallen Idol

286

Hey, finally a story that isn’t mirrored in the anime at all – and it’s a pretty good, albeit predictable, story.

Sakura is an actress who just landed her first leading role. She will be playing Ai Enma in a new drama about the legend of Hell Girl. She and her friend, Kaoru, are super excited about it, but as soon as she begins prepping for the role she starts getting harassed.

Someone plasters threatening messages to her forum, sends her a picture of herself getting dressed, sends her a bouquet of chrysanthemums, which are meant to be a message of condolences when someone dies, and it’s clear that someone is watching her at all times. She gets freaked out until her friend tells her it’s probably her creepy makeup artist doing it, and it’s confirmed when her manager finds incriminating photos on his computer. He promptly gets fired, and Sakura happily returns to her job. However, the instant she gets back in costume, a lighting fixture falls down from the ceiling and crushes Sakura.

Ligaments in both of her legs have been severed, and the doctors say she might not ever walk again.

In comes Kaoru, who is now gussied up to look exactly like Hell Girl. It seems Hollywood’s a pretty rough place because they’ve already booted Sakura from the role, since she can’t walk, and hired Kaoru as her replacement.

This was Kaoru’s plan all along. She had always felt like Sakura looked down upon her, something that, objectively, seems untrue, so she thought she deserved the role more than Sakura.

Filled with rage over losing her role, career and her ability to walk all because of some jealous bitch, Sakura calls on Hell Girl to take her to hell.

The hell torture this time around is rather typical bitter irony based on what she had done to Sakura.

Afterwards, it seems like Sakura’s career is still on track, getting a new role in a new movie even as she remains in a wheelchair. She states that she’s determined to get her ability to walk back and to keep moving forward. This entry is also the first time we see the curse mark in the manga.

This chapter was another that was predictable. I knew it was Kaoru the instant they showed another actress girl acting super happy about her role. A jealous fellow actress makes a lot more sense than a skeevy make-up artist, but there was also a good degree of pointlessness. I’m sorry, I just don’t understand why Kaoru did half the stuff she did. Why harass Sakura and frame the make-up artist if she was just planning on either severely wounding or killing Sakura so she could take her role? Even Sakura mentions that the stage lighting could have killed her. She could have just dropped the stage lighting on her at the start.

I thought for a minute that, maybe, Kaoru was trying to scare her into leaving the role voluntarily, but right as Sakura starts getting really freaked out, Kaoru frames the make-up artist, he gets fired and she’s back to feeling safe.

As a result, the make-up artist gets his rep tarnished and he’s fired from his job for things he didn’t do. He was a tiny bit creepy when he put his hand on her shoulder when he was trying to console her about the harassment, but that could easily just be an innocent gesture that was misconstrued. It makes so little sense, even Eto said in the notes “I worry about what happened to that poor make-up artist after he was fired even though he didn’t do anything wrong. I hope he got his name cleared.”

Hell Girl has a bit of a problem with overly evil super villain-esque targets, and this one is no exception. After Kaoru reveals she was behind everything, she might as well grow horns and have thunder clapping whenever she talks. She gleefully brags to Sakura about what she did, mocks her for being in a wheelchair/bedridden now (basically saying ‘You looked down on me, now you have to look up!’) throws a bouquet of chrysanthemums in her face and talks about how easy it was to get the light fixture to fall down. There is no doubt in your mind that this bitch deserves to go to hell, no matter if she’s still probably in her teens.

Chapter Four: The Inaudible Scream

321

Oh goodie, not only are we back to stories that are reflected in the anime, but it’s also a story about animal abuse. Fun fun.

The Inaudible Scream or Silent Cries as it’s known in the anime (It’s basically the same title) is the story of Junko and her beloved dog, Lucky, known in the anime as Candy (I feel like I have to talk about this name change even further because 1) If Junko and Hanjo kept their names, why not Candy? And 2) It seems needlessly cruel to name a dog you know is about to DIE….Lucky….)

Candy was very sick and needed an operation, helmed by Dr. Hanjo. However, when Candy was having her operation (I guess the dog also got a sex change between versions *shrug*) Hanjo stopped in the middle of the procedure to talk on the phone about golf with some congressman, and as a result of his negligence, Candy died.

Junko was devastated, especially since Candy was her only family because her parents died. Hanjo’s assistant tells her of the circumstances of Candy’s death, so Junko sends him to hell via Hell Link.

The story is almost the exact same in the manga, but there are some key differences.

First, even though Hanjo had been known by the assistant to give lower quality care to the pets of patients who weren’t rich and influential, apparently, in the manga, he just takes the money of the pet owners who aren’t rich and….doesn’t treat the animals, leaving them in their cages until they die.

That’s infinitely worse but also so much harder to get away with. Hanjo is supposedly so tight with a lot of influential and powerful people that any attempts to sue him get swept under the rug, but certainly his reputation would be severely tarnished if he lets tons of animals just die in his care. It’s one thing to give priority to the animals owned by rich people, but he’s not even trying to treat the other animals for no reason.

Second, Junko’s story is actually more uplifting in the manga, even if it is still bittersweet and tragic. Junko knows she can’t sue Hanjo, but she tries to stop a little girl from giving her dog to Hanjo for treatment, fearing her dog will die too. The little girl and her mother leave the vet, but as a result Hanjo nearly strangles a dog in front of her, assaults her and tells her that the assistant that told her the secret behind his evil vet office mysteriously up and quit.

Seeing no options, Junk calls Hell Girl, but like so many times before Ai doesn’t show up. Junko is so depressed, hopeless and lonely that she tries to commit suicide by train, and THAT’S when Ai shows up to give her the offer.

Ai, seriously, what the crap are you doing? Why are you waiting until your clients are driven to either suicide or murder to finally show your face?

We also get our first glimpse of a straw doll here, complete with manga exclusive creepy scarecrow-esque face. It’s really weird because we never see Ai hand her this doll, she never explains what to do with it nor does a string get pulled. It just randomly appears in one panel. If you didn’t know of the show, you’d be very confused as to what this doll is and why it’s here.

Third, Hanjo’s hell torture is almost the same, but there are some interesting changes. He’s driving and about to hit a cat. He has no intentions of swerving because he doesn’t want to get his car dirty (Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be super clean with the blood, fur and cat gore all over it, dumbass.) He crashes because of Ai and breaks both of his legs. Wanyuudou, Ren and Hone Onna dress as doctors who are treating him, but they hilariously hand over the operation to a bunch of animals, who just hack away at him, not understanding his pleas for mercy. The anime episode ended with him in the cage begging for help for his leg while the Hell Team doctors ignored him.

Fourth, there’s an epilogue involving the little girl. Junko helps her find a better vet for her dog’s treatment. Turns out, her dog wasn’t sick – it was pregnant. And it just gave birth to a litter of three adorable puppies.

One of the puppies looks exactly like Lucky and takes a shine to Junko. The little girl gives the dog to her saying Lucky must’ve missed her so much he came down from heaven to be with her again.

No I’m not crying. There’s just water in my eyes. Shut up.

In the anime, it ended very depressingly with Junko set for hell and absolutely nothing to show for it. She had no parents, no dog and really nothing to be happy about – especially considering that her being damned to hell meant she’d likely never see her parents or Candy again.

At least in the manga they have her save a dog (or four, technically) and even get a new dog of her own to love, even if they remind her that her soul is damned to hell and she’d likely never really get to see the real Lucky ever again.

Chapter Five: Dangerous Extracurricular Activities

361

This chapter is another that wasn’t mirrored in the anime. A girl named Yuu wants to work hard to get into the same private high school that her crush, Endo, is going to attend. She needs some additional work in chemistry, however, so her teacher, Yazaki, offers to privately tutor her.

It’s soon made apparent that this guy is a total creeper who just wants to get in her pants. He deliberately spills chemicals on her and makes no haste in trying to rip her clothes off, seemingly innocently (they are possibly harmful chemicals) and putting her in nothing but a lab assistant jacket.

He also invites her to what he claims is a group tutoring session at his house, which obviously turns out to be a lie – it’s just for the two of them. He quickly tries to get his hands in her shirt, but she runs off.

The next day, someone has written on the board that Yuu tried to seduce Yazaki. They also spread rumors that she was naked in nothing but a lab coat around him and that she went to his house to try and sleep with him. Yazaki is obviously the one who did this, but he’s playing the nice guy, acting like he might have just lead the poor girl on by being nice and hot.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, turns on her after this. Her friends shun her, everyone treats her like a slut, Endo tells her she’s scum, and even her mother slaps her in the face and tells her to not come home.

Jesus Christ, people. Is this guy such an angel in teacher clothing that no one wants to point the finger at him and say he’s probably the bad guy here? Just throw all of the blame on the middle schooler? Just because the guy is hot?

I wish I could say this is unrealistic, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised….

Doesn’t make it any less infuriating, though. Especially her friggin’ mother. Not listening to her and being angry with her is one thing, but she legit kicked her out of the house!

Yuu goes to a manga cafe after hearing about Hell Correspondence, but, once again, Ai doesn’t come immediately. Yuu is about to slit her wrists with a box cutter before Ai finally shows up. I am not getting this weird suicide/murder theme at all, and I hope that’s one of the things that ends after a volume or two.

Yazaki is sent to hell, where his hell torture is Ai baiting him into his creepy behavior, which promptly gets noticed by tons of people….And that’s about it. I’d say that the vindictive pedophile is probably not the best candidate for ‘most tame hell torture of the volume.’ but you do you, manga.

After that, it seems the Hell Team has done their magic because Yazaki has somehow been ousted as a pedo with several molestation victims coming forward and everyone makes their apologies to Yuu. It’s even hinted that Endo returns Yuu’s crush and that she’ll live as happily ever after as someone can in this series.

—————————————————-

And that was volume one of Hell Girl! Like the anime, the stories have their big ups and downs with quality. And in terms of comparisons, they did some things better and some things worse. I especially didn’t care for the whole ‘Ai waits until the client is either about to kill themselves or commit murder’ shtick. I just don’t understand it. Why is she waiting for them to do that? Just to make a big dramatic entrance?

Some of the stories were drastically improved on in a variety of ways, though, so that’s at least good.

I’m not sure how I feel about the straw doll being almost entirely absent from the first volume (According to Eto, it is in volume two onward) as it corners the clients into making this huge decision right on the spot, but it’s not that bad. Usually, the clients are in such a state that, if they had the doll, they’d probably pull the string then anyway.

I hope another thing that changes with time is the art, but I don’t think it will change that much. Again, I must reiterate, it’s not bad art. It’s just that it’s so different from the Hell Girl art I’m used to, and Ai’s design is particularly distracting.

Here’s to more vengeful stories in volume two!


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Boku wa Imouto ni Koi Wo Suru Volume 8 (Manga) Review

Plot: Are Yori and Iku really related? Can they mash their groins together without people going ‘ew’?

Also, terrible things, but that’s to be expected.

Breakdown: When we last left Iku, she was about to be gang raped under orders of Tomoka.

The manga is just full of fun times.

Yori is distracted by Ogura, but the jig is up when he mentions Tomoka’s name. Yori manages to make it to his dorm room before anything can actually happen, and he beats up the three freshmen who were trying to rape Iku.

While the boys are getting their own vague punishments, Yori’s punishment for having a girl in his room again and assaulting the boys is expulsion – an outcome no one saw coming, and to which everyone has their own reactions.

Tomoka is in shock because she always intended on using the threat of expulsion as a trump card in keeping Yori to herself.

Yori is devastated because he knows he can’t return to their old house without ousting his and Iku’s relationship.

Iku is….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ecstatic.

Now, I was going to give her a pass on feeling this way because she herself admits that it’s selfish and insensitive to cheer that he got expelled……But…..

*SIGH*

….Then….she THANKS…..Tomoka……..for doing that to her since it resulted in Yori being expelled……

Fuck….this…..stupid…..dependent…….putrid sack of garbage.

They frame it like Iku thought this was Tomoka’s grand master plan all along (And she just didn’t think to tell Iku about it so she wouldn’t be forever traumatized by the near gang rape?) and that’s actually what she’s thanking Tomoka for, but fuck that, no.

No.

That is too stupid for words. Especially since Tomoka explicitly told her to not yell for Yori when it was happening, and such a plan, in a just world, would have resulted in all of them getting expelled – hell, some of the boys might have seen legal action. Iku may be so dumb I’ve believed several times that her brain was replaced with a toaster at some point in her life, but I refuse to believe she’s that dumb canonically. If she is, she wins the award for dumbest manga character of all time. She is frustrating on a whole new level, it’s amazing.

You know what happened after that?

Tomoka slapped her and said Iku’s so stupid that it’s annoying.

….And I cheered.

Legit, audible, cheers.

Do it again! Do it again!

I should not be cheering on an evil soulless bitch of a girl after she just orchestrated a gang rape on someone because she slapped the intended victim and called her stupid and annoying. I am simply in awe at the things this ridiculous story continues to make me do. I am floored.

Moving on….*more sighs* Iku is coddled by both Yano and Yori after the fact, and Tomoka decides to give one last jab to them by teasing that she intends on telling their mother that they’re in an incestuous relationship. Yori calls her on her bluff, but DUN DUN DUN, their mother is in the doorway and, of course, she heard what Tomoka said about the incest and asks about it.

In the next chapter, Yano makes a valiant effort to cover up what was said by confirming that he and Iku are dating. Iku shakily says she loves Yano in order to maintain the charade, but Yori is all too aware that his mother is now nearly entirely convinced that they’re in love with each other – she’s just holding onto the slight bit of denial that such a thing could be happening.

His mom is unable to reverse the decision to expel him, so Yori heads back home. That night, Iku says she wants to kiss Yori, but Yori, realizing their mother could be listening, yells at her to stop being so noisy and let him go to sleep. Good call, because their mother was indeed starting to listen at the door.

In a text message, he apologizes to her for snapping, explains why he did it and gets a kiss from her anyway.

The next chapter is kinda boring, but also stupid because this manga is talented like that.

Yori and Iku get their new summer uniforms so they’re getting all hot and bothered in their room because apparently their super suspicious mother finds it to be perfectly fine to both let them still inhabit the same bedroom and even dress in the same bedroom.

The two of them are trying to keep their relationship a secret from their mother and everyone else….and they suck at it.

First, they start to nearly make out in their unlocked bedroom and, of course, their mother bursts in and nearly catches them. Yano shows up to offer some ‘I’m Iku’s boyfriend’ cover up, but Iku is actually nervous to get on his damn bike in front of Yori just because Yano’s telling her to ride on the ‘girlfriend seat.’ Being fair, I think in motorcycle terms, that’s called the bitch seat. And I believe in this manga terms, that’s called the Tomoka seat.

Yori decides to ride with Yano and leave Iku behind. Way to act more suspicious, Yori.

At school, he staves off thirsty girls by saying he has a girlfriend. Then Iku can’t help herself but dive into Yori’s arms when she arrives at school. Of course, people instantly assume that she’s the aforementioned girlfriend (Mori, the daughter of Yori’s real dad – Oh oops, spoilers whatever – also brought up that Yano has mentioned Iku having a boyfriend) Yori denies this by saying they’re twin siblings, which surprises everyone.

This is merely the second time in eight volumes that people have mentioned Yori and Iku don’t look like twins. This is also the first time people seem to be surprised that they’re fraternal twins – not identical, which is silly because everyone knows it’s impossible to have opposite gender identical twins. Merely the fact that they’re opposite gender already makes them not identical.

They go even further by saying Iku and Yori look nothing alike, which also makes no sense. Fraternal twins look just as similar as any other sibling, and Iku and Yori look about as similar as any other pair of siblings. The manga has deeper physical differences (Eye color/hair color/eye shape) but in the anime they look extremely similar.

This being said, Mori points out that she looks more like Yori’s sibling than Iku does.

This does make sense because they share the same father and their character designs looks more similar, but is that implying that the father’s genes are the ones that matters most in terms of physical appearance? Iku and Yori are half-siblings made twins through heteropaternal superfecundation. They share the same mother and shared the same womb, but don’t have the same father.

Yori and Mori have the same father, but not the same mother. I’m definitely not a geneticist, and physical appearance can vary widely, but it’s like the manga is saying that, because Yori and Mori have the same father they, by default, look more related than Iku and Yori when, logically, they share just as many genes. They’re both half-siblings to Yori yet the manga is acting like Mori is the ‘proper’ twin sister.

Gene distribution between siblings does rely heavily on dominant and recessive genes, so perhaps Yori and Mori’s father has more dominant genes than Yori and Iku’s mother does, or the ones the father has create more obvious differences than their mother’s.

Again, I’m no expert on the topic, far from it – in fact I’m researching as I go – but it does seem weird that they’re making off like Iku and Yori aren’t related at all while Mori is hinted at being the ‘truer’ sibling when they, technically, have the same genetic relationship to him.

Moving on, Mori goes to her father, Yuugo, and talks about Yori being at their school. He decides to give a surprise phone call to Yori and Iku’s mother and talk…about Yori. Dun dun dunnnnn.

Next chapter, after some pointless PE stuff and Mori calling Iku ‘chubby’ and telling her to go on a diet, because no one can ever be likable in this manga ever, Yori and Iku’s family have dinner with Mori’s family. Yori and Iku’s mother, who shall henceforth be referred to as Saki, is obviously extremely uncomfortable, especially when they start talking about people they romantically liked back in college. Saki spills her drink, burning her hand and excuses herself to the bathroom where Yuugo promptly and creepily follows.

He makes uncomfortable advances and asks why she’s not wearing her wedding ring. Saki responds in a clearly very upset fashion that he knows it’s because she feels very guilty about their situation…..Wait, what?

She feels guilty about lying to her husband about Yori’s true parentage….so she doesn’t wear a wedding ring? I don’t get it. Is it that seeing the ring every day would remind her of her lies? I’d think looking at her son every day would remind her of her lies – especially since Yori looks so similar to younger Yuugo. Maybe it reminds her of the promise and bonds of marriage being tainted by her deception and disloyalty? Hm.

Yuugo gets even more forceful and tries to kiss Saki as she cries. Saki pushes him away and yells at him, but he gently wipes a tear from her eye and she runs into his arms.

….So…Yori gets his creepy rapey-ness from his dad and Iku gets her annoying crybaby ‘I’m attracted to abusive dickwads’-ness from her mom. I don’t know to respond to this.

Yori kinda sees them in their romantic moment, but they all return to the table like nothing happened.

The next chapter has Iku being unable to resist making out with Yori in a public library with tons of people around. You guys suck way too much at this. Do you want to get caught? At least now it seems more like Iku is legitimately in love with and physically attracted to Yori instead of just giving into his advances.

Yori has major suspicions about his mother and Yuugo’s relationship and is constantly haunted by Yano’s words from the previous volume stating that he and Iku might not actually be full siblings. Too excited at the possibility of having a full relationship with Iku, he runs to his parents’ bedroom during dinner to dig up some pictures to see if he can get some more evidence.

He finds his and Iku’s birth cards and discovers that Iku’s card is almost entirely blank while his is filled out properly. Yori starts suspecting that Iku might be adopted.

Continuing on from that scene, the last chapter starts with Yori finding college photos of his parents and Yuugo. As expected, teenage Yuugo looks almost identical to Yori. Despite not knowing what to make of Iku’s situation, he starts believing that Yuugo is his father, making Mori his sister.

The next day, Yori starts paying particular attention to Mori and even starts sitting next to her in class, making Iku jealous.

Ya know, if you take these scenes in another fashion, it’s almost like Yori is starting to become less attracted to Iku because he suspects they’re not siblings and is now attracted to Mori because he believes she’s his sister.

Would it really be a stretch? Think about it. The title is ‘I’m in Love with my Sister’ It doesn’t specify which sister. That would be a plot twist for the ages. ‘Yori’s not really a hopeless romantic – he just has a hard-on for incest.’

And remember what I said in my review of the OVA. A half-sister who didn’t grow up alongside him would be more believable and realistic in an incestuous relationship.

Yano confronts him about his behavior, knowing it’s upsetting Iku, and Yori basically tells him to fuck off because he doesn’t know what to make of any of this.

The volume ends with Yano whisking Iku away in a car and him about to do or say something to her.

——————————

The first part of this volume is hot garbage. I’m still stewing over Iku’s behavior after the near gang rape. I have never felt more enraged at Iku. And it’s so dumb because I should be directing all of my anger towards Tomoka, but I can’t because somehow Iku’s obliviousness and sheer stupidity eclipses those feelings at the moment, and that’s one impressive feat.

I have to wonder, as terrible as this thought is, would Iku have reacted in the same manner had Yori been too late? Yori still beat up the rapists and got expelled, everything else exactly the same, but Iku actually did get gang raped? Would she still friggin’ thank Tomoka for doing that just to get Yori home, no matter if she believed it was a master plan of hers or not? These shouldn’t be actual thoughts I’m having. These shouldn’t be legitimate considerations for a character’s actions.

Also, how horrible is it that Tomoka gets off scot-free?

It was at least nice that they remembered Takuma existed before Yori left the school…..I kinda hope they return to him in the last two volumes because 1) I’m way more invested in him and Mayu than anything going on in the main story and 2) They kinda just amputated his whole storyline with her if they end him here.

As for everything else, I fail to care, but at least the story’s getting kinda interesting. At least it would be if not for the fact that I cheated and already know their true situation. I am at least interested in what went down between Saki and Yuugo, because I didn’t cheat that far at least. It’s almost like they had a similar (though non-incestuous) relationship that Yori and Iku have. Yori/Yuugo comes on way too strong, seems creepy and rapey and Iku/Saki is such a useless crybaby twat that she can’t help but fall into his arms.

It’s hard to care about this ‘plot twist’ for a lot of reasons, but first and foremost is that I don’t care at all about whether this relationship survives, which is the only reason why the ‘Oooh are we really related?’ thing is even important. Yori doesn’t care about his parentage as a point of an identity crisis or wondering about his true place in his family, he’s not even all that interested in Saki’s current relationship with Yuugo – it’s all about whether or not he has a societal green light to pork Iku.

I don’t even know what to make of the ending cliffhanger. I don’t know what Yano intends to do or say to Iku in the car. It could be something sweet and profound….It could be another attempted rape or some equally creepy behavior. I think there’s a quota they have to meet. It’s a sad day when the latter of those options is the most likely.

Next time….eh, things.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapters 2 and 3 Review (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

Preface: I typically don’t do this, but the more series I cover in AniManga Clash, the more I might find the need to do so. Since Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero didn’t cover these chapters of the manga, I’m going to simply do a regular review on them instead.

Chapter 2: Lying Eyes

yu_gi_oh_2_3

Yugi and Jounouchi are talking about a dirty video that floating around. Jounouchi has seen it, but since Japan has strict censorship laws, he couldn’t make out anything in the mosaic censoring. Times sure were different before the Internet, eh?

A filmmaker comes to Domino High to film a documentary about bullying. When he sees Yugi, he assumes he must be bullied, so he decides to make him the star of their show. I guess just following a kid who seemingly must be bullied isn’t good enough, so he asks his assistant director to dress up like a student and beat the piss out of Yugi so they can film it and make a good scene for the documentary.

The assistant lures Yugi out back with the promises of seeing an idol he believes is hanging around the school. With the cameras in place, he beats the crap out of him. Jounouchi comes to his rescue (Noticeably holding a camera, so I think he was snooping to catch a picture of the idol who’s not there.) He tries to attack the director, but he says they’ll catch it on tape if he does. Jounouchi doesn’t realize the cameras are actually off, so the director takes that opportunity to beat him up.

As the director walks away, he says they shouldn’t worry because their faces will just be mosaiced out.

Angered by the injustice, Yugi transforms into Yami.

That night, the director muses that, next time, they should try killing someone on camera…..This guy is so ridiculously over-evil. You were pushing it having someone, a minor no less, beaten up on camera for the sake of a public feature. You want to KILL someone for a public video? Do you want to never see anything but the inside of a jail cell?

Shadow Game

yu_gi_oh_2_18

Yami arrives and challenges the director to a simple dice game. He’ll roll the die once. If the director can roll a die of equal or lower value, he’ll win. Yami rolls a six, and even though the director proclaims that this automatically makes him the winner, Yami insists he roll anyway.

The director then throws the die at his face, seemingly…trying to kill him? When it lands, he states he won since the die seemingly landed on a one, but Yami declares a penalty game for the attack and reveals that the die broke in half. One half landed on one, the other landed on six, equaling seven.

Yami punishes the director with illusion of mosaic, which alters his vision to make everything look like it’s being put through a mosaic filter. Yami’s reasoning was that he warped the reality of his subjects on camera, so he shall be damned to seeing everything through a warped mosaic filter.

The next day, Jounouchi delivers the tape to Yugi, but it ends up in Anzu’s hands and the final panel is of them chasing her to get it back.

—————————-

I gotta say, this chapter was kinda dumb. The bad guy setup was a little too ridiculous, the porn tape was an odd side plot, and the shadow game was kinda boring (even his rule breaking was lame. Did he really think he could throw a die so hard he’d kill Yugi?)

Chapter 3: Hard Beat!

yu_gi_oh_3_1

It wouldn’t be Yu-Gi-Oh without Yugi being bullied, so the chapter starts with Yugi being bullied.

A…uh…’music lover’ named Souzouji threatens Yugi into selling tickets for his monthly live karaoke show. No one ever comes to these events because his singing voice is inhumanly awful. Yugi can’t sell any of the tickets and doesn’t want to get Jounouchi or Anzu involved.

He comes across a small, timid boy named Hanasaki who was also bullied into selling tickets for Souzouji. He tries to sell Yugi a ticket, but Yugi decides instead to take the task of selling the tickets off of Hanasaki’s hands so he’ll be free from Souzouji. Problem is, Souzouji watched Yugi take the tickets and he’s none too happy about this.

Later, Yugi’s the only one at Souzouji’s show, and Souzouji’s very mad. He pulls a curtain to reveal Hanasaki, badly beaten as punishment for giving the tickets away.

Shadow Game

yu_gi_oh_3_17

Yugi is so filled with anger at Souzouji’s actions, that he transforms into Yami and challenges Souzouji to a game of silence.

In the karaoke room are Sound Pierrot dolls, which dance upon hearing any noise, even noise as light as moving your foot. The game is simple, one of these dolls will be placed in front of them. First one to dance, IE hear sound, loses.

Oddly, Yami makes no statement about what Souzouji will get if he wins, just that Yami will give his life if he loses and Souzouji will suffer a penalty game if he’s the loser.

The no-sound off starts, and Souzouji notices that Yami left the jack to his headphones perched on top of a glass. If it falls, he’ll win. It’s only a matter of time. Souzouji anxiously watches the jack, waiting for it to fall when the doll suddenly starts dancing.

It wasn’t triggered by the jack falling, however. Souzouji had left his microphone on high and never put it down. He was so amped up waiting for the jack to fall that his heartbeat increased substantially and was audible through the speakers. Yami wins, and Souzouji suffers the punishment game of beat festival.

Now his heart perpetually beats so loudly, to him anyway, that he can’t escape the noise.

Yami picks up Hanasaki and heads for home.

————————————-

This chapter was pretty interesting. The shadow game was a little boring because it was literally a game of doing nothing. I get how it connects back to Souzouji’s desire to be as loud and irritating as possible, but this is basically the game your parents made up to get you to shut up for long periods of time.

I like that Yugi has a new friend, even though I’m not quite certain if he’ll stick around.

I’m also enjoying Jounouchi, even if his part in this chapter was small. He was funny and he keeps showing how dedicated he now is to protecting Yugi and making sure he’s okay.

And now to get back on the anime track.

Episode 2/Chapter 4


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Higanjima (Manga) Volume 4 Review

Plot: Akira and Atsushi have finally reunited, and he reluctantly agrees to go help save Ken. They take advantage of the night of the full moon, when they’re not permitted to feed and aren’t as active. During their mission, Atsushi conveys valuable information about the vampires.

The vampires were all once human. The vampirism is actually a kind of virus that is passed through blood. They’re damned to be vampires forever, but there’s an even worse fate.

They need to drink human blood in order to stave off an even worse transformation – turning into a crazed monster called a devil.

Akira, Atsushi and the others have the bad luck of coming across a devil during their rescue mission. While they manage to save Ken, they cannot escape the devil. Even worse, the master of the island, Miyaki, has found them. He has mind control powers that they refer to as Psychic Jack, and he can control the devils all he wants.

However, his sights are truly set on Atsushi, whom he’s finally able to grab ahold of a brainwash. He sics Atsushi on Akira and in an effort to stop the fighting Yuki gets stabbed.

Breakdown: This volume amps up the stakes (lolpuns) even more as we learn that the vampires aren’t even what the group really needs to worry about, which is good because they were getting killed a little too easily for it to really be the main threat, no matter if they were slaughtering others.

Now we learn that the vampires can turn into devils, which are much more of a threat and much harder to kill. They need to prevent the vampires from becoming devils, but there’s the catch that they need human blood as a sort of medicine in order to stop it.

But that’s not the concern once we get down to it. The main concern is the devil before them and Miyaki. I assume Miyaki is our big baddie, and he seems fairly interesting so far. The fact that he’s a vampire with mind-control powers isn’t really new, but it’s pretty neat. Plus, he already turned Atsushi against them and even dealt a possibly fatal blow to Yuki.

This volume definitely amped up the action, though I’m sad Atsushi might be a mind-controlled puppet for however long. I like his character, so I’d rather him actually be….ya know…a character.

I’m excited to find out how they get themselves out of this one, if they even can.

Rating: 8/10


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com