Plot: A girl is tormented by a horrible woman because her dogs bit her.
Breakdown: Warning – High levels of rant and anger. Reader discretion is advised.
I’m going to be completely candid here – I didn’t rewatch this episode. I won’t. I refuse. I’m sorry. I didn’t even rewatch only the hell torture. This episode pisses me off way too much for even that to be any consolation.
Remember the episode Silent Cries where I was wary of rewatching it because I despise animal abuse? But I was relieved that the episode didn’t have a huge amount of it?
I remember this episode extremely well from my first watching of the series because it’s 1000x worse than Silent Cries. Whereas in Silent Cries the animals are suffering because of a neglectful asshole vet, Bound Girl has one of the worst, most horrid cunts in all of anime – Meiko Shimono.
The main issue with her is that, holy shit, she, as a character, makes this episode so emotionally manipulative. I can not emphasize enough how ridiculously over the top evil Meiko is. She is by far the most hateable target this show has ever had. It’s, no pun intended, major overkill.
Writers: “Don’t hate her for her hatred of dogs? Here, hate her for being an emotionally and mentally abusing dickwhistle to a little girl.
Still not enough? Hm, well, those are some cute corgis that girl has. Here, she killed one of them.
Still? Okay, here. Now the second one’s been brutally murdered too.
Wow, really? Still not enough? Hmmm….Got it! She murdered her parents for the inheritance and buried them in the backyard!
Hatred yet?….No? Hoo boy. Alright, she murdered her infant child and buried it in the backyard so she’d never have to share her riches with it!
Need more? Ah, got it! Hey, the second dog just had an adorable litter of puppies before it died! Now they’re floating in the bathtub! Is that—oh wait. The hatred meter was stuck. Seems you hated her before we even got to the second dog. Oh dear…..Pbbbbt….That’s a lot of bodies….Uhhh….just go with it, I guess.”
She originally told the client, Miki Kamikawa, that her dogs supposedly bit her, so she essentially enslaves her to make up for it. Then she kills the dogs one after another to punish her even more. The real reason she blackmailed Miki was because she thought the dogs had dug up the remains of her child or her parents in the garden and that Miki had seen them. So, even though she never mentioned it, she kept a tight hold on Miki to keep her from talking about something she didn’t even know about to begin with.
Meiko gets plenty of comeuppance as, not only does she get arrested, but Miki pulls the string, sending that bitch to a level of hell I can only hope is filled with hell hounds and an endless loop of Kujo, but I still won’t bring myself to rewatch it….or even call it a good episode outside of all of these atrocities, to be honest.
Like I said, I didn’t even skip through everything to watch the hell torture because I don’t think anything they’re usually up for showing would be worth the horrible journey that is this episode.
Not to mention, it still has to be weighed with this poor girl being marked for Hell too. I might be petty with the rating. Like I said in Silent Cries, some people might not sympathize with this level of hatred towards animal abuse, but I don’t care. Objectively, it’s just not a good episode by any stretch. This episode is a return to form, literally, because it’s the same Hell Girl schtick from start to finish, which isn’t bad, just a disappointing step back from the progress we’ve been making. There’s no intrigue, no mystery, nothing new to uncover, just a bunch of emotional manipulation and a horrible feeling deep in your gut.
Plot: Luffy and Coby are on their way to see the deadly pirate hunter, Zoro, so that Luffy can recruit him for his crew and bring Coby to the marines’ base at the same time. However, Zoro is currently being held prisoner by Captain Morgan and is set for death. Can Luffy and Coby save Zoro before it’s too late?
Pretty minor, but 4Kids cuts out a quick shot of a silhouette falling down after Zoro slashes as Cobys making his explanation before the title card.
Since the marines are changed to the navy in the dub, the big sign on the side of the marine base that says Marines is changed to Navy.
The same Marines logo on the gate is changed to Navy. For the sake of simplicity, just assume that any and all instances of visible and audible mentions of the Marines are changed to the Navy.
After Luffy climbs on the wall to see Zoro, he spots him and then jumps off of the wall to a different spot to get a better look. Then we see a closeup of Zoro. 4Kids edited this out and jumped straight from him climbing on the wall to begin with to Coby joining him. I guess….jumping off walls is bad?
Here’s something interesting, yet expected. Zoro was originally tied to a cross. Not a religious cross, mind you, just two poles connected together. In the dub, the top is hacked off so it loses its cross shape.
4Kids adds a closeup shot of Zoro’s upper body when Coby says he recognizes his black bandana. Because we just wouldn’t have known what they were talking about by seeing it from slightly further away.
In the original, there’s this kickass guitar lick when Zoro finally speaks. Sounds a little like the commercial break sound bite from Trigun. This is missing from the dub. 😦
In the original, the little girl brings Zoro some onigiri (riceballs) that she made for him. In the dub, this is changed to cookies both dialogue-wise and visually. The digital paint here, like many of their paint edits, is awful. The cookies jump when they’re first uncovered and they obviously don’t belong in this scene. It’s not nearly as bad as that Pokemon episode where the sub sandwich bounced down the hill, but still.
In the original, the problem with the onigiri was that the little girl used sugar instead of salt when making them. In the dub, no explanation as to why the cookies tasted bad, if they truly did, is given. He asks her if he put rotten fish heads in the cookies and she says she added some sugar and trails off. This could’ve actually worked by simply reversing the original dialogue. Say she put a lot of salt in the cookies instead of sugar. Problem solved.
Also, 4Kids got pretty lazy. They simply colored the mushed up riceball into a brown color instead of putting in some broken cookie pieces. Makes the cookies look like they were made of mush.
Helmeppo (Captain Morgan’s Son) (Dub): “(At the mushy brown mess) There! Now it looks like it tastes!” 4Kids….did….you just make a poop joke?….Seriously?…..Go to the corner. Now.
They edit out a shot of the proclamation that anyone who helps Zoro gets executed because I guess they were too lazy to erase all of the (EVIL) Japanese text and leave a blank page like they I know they would because they make no sense. Also, in the original, helping Zoro gets you executed. In the dub, they just say that it’s a criminal offense.
Dub Mari—Navy….Sailor dude: (As he’s about to throw the girl over the fence) “I’m real sorry about this. Cover your head with your arms.” Right, that’ll save her neck from getting broken as she’s flung over 30 feet through the air. Moron.
In the original, the first conversation between Luffy and Zoro is relatively kept the same, but they omit Luffy saying that he’s not sure Zoro is strong because he’d have escaped in less than three days. They also omit Zoro saying that he’s staying there to basically prove to them that he can survive.
4KIDS IS MAGIC! They changed the smushed pile of slop into a cookie again. Amazing!…..Really, was it easier to draw the cookie and animate it than just color the damn slop like you did before?
Slight nitpick, but Zoro sounds….like a psychopath….in this episode anyway. In the original, he seems intimidating and imposing, in a sane way. In the dub he’s all “IMMA EAT IT! WANNA KNOW WHY!? CUZ IMMA SURVIVOR!! OMNOMNOMNOM!!”
They edit out a shot of Zoro punching Helmeppo.
In the original, Zoro’s sword is a lot closer to Helmeppo’s face than it is in the dub. I guess they sprinkled some digital paint on it to make it….less threatening? …..What? How is that less threatening? Oh forget it…
The last part of the flashback is sped up or something. In the original, his decision to go to prison in place of the little girl and her mother is much slower than it is in the dub. In the dub, Helmetto (he hasn’t been named in the dub yet for some reason) basically says “I won’t make them go to prison if you go there for a month!” and Zolo’s “Onemonth?Pieceofcake! *drops sword*” He’s a pro wrestler. What is wrong with him?
In the original, Helmeppo asks for alcohol. In the dub, this is changed dialogue-wise and visually to juice…because villains are bad-ass muthas who drink JUICE! FULL OF VITAMIN A FOR AWESOME, B FOR BITCHIN’ AND C FOR CUT THE CRAP AND BRING ME MORE JUICE!
That edited juice looks almost radioactive it’s so friggin’ bright. The glass is also changed slightly to be wider….
The impact shot of Luffy punching Helmeppo is edited….I can’t make heads or tails of it. You have a look.
Hmm….I guess this is ‘important’. A little while ago, the Marines logo on the back of the sailors’ shirts was simply erased instead of changed to Navy like it has been. However, now it’s actually changed instead.
In the original, Captain Morgan is always smoking a cigar. Das a no-no. Edited out.
I should also mention that in frontal shots in the dub he looks like he’s always got his mouth open slightly because that’s where the cigar is supposed to be. Makes him look like he has lockjaw…
As Zoro has a flashback, 4Kids edits out a scanning shot of Zoro’s childhood friend and the flower petals flowing past her.
They edit out a shot of Luffy’s shadow before Zoro notices him.
They edit out a shot of Helmeppo yelling that he’ll tell Luffy what he wants to know as long as he stops dragging him on the floor. Even dragging a guy on the floor is too violent to show.…
The guns in this shot, even though it’s a little hard to tell, are edited into what look like maroon super soakers. What’s odd is that they still say “Stop or we’ll shoot ya!” 1) Shooting’s a no-no 4Kids. Couldn’t have changed that to “hurt ya!”? 2) Shoot him with what? Water? Cranberry juice? A gentle red wine? Oh wait, alcohol’s no good. Guess it’s juice.
They edit out the zoom in on Zoro’s swords…However, they don’t edit out the “My Room” text on the flower wreath on Helmeppo’s door.
I really don’t get this. They can say ‘execute’ ‘shoot you’ and ‘firing squad’ but they can’t just show the damn guns?
In the original, Morgan accuses Zoro of siding with the pirates and starting a revolution. Zoro denies this and says he works alone but Morgan is a coward who always hides behind his sailors. In the dub, Morgan says that they’ve always fought on the same side to rid the world of pirate scum and thus he’ll grant Zoro one wish. Zoro says he’s never fought on his side, but if he gets one wish, he wishes that he’d use that oversized ass on the end of his arm to—what?…..He said ass. I heard it…..Axe? I guess that makes more sense, but I know I heard ‘ass’….oh whatever. Oversized axe to cut off that giant barnacle growing out of his neck. (His head. Haha)
I’m still not getting it. We can hear gunshots, see the bullets, see the firing, see the smoke coming from the barrels, see Luffy getting hit by bullets, but NO THEY’RE NOT GUNS! HONEST!
This episode was pretty damn good. It was an awesome intro to Zoro, and Helmeppo and Captain Morgan are way better enemies than Alvida. Dub-wise, it’s a bit laughable given the changes, but I guess it could be a lot worse…..yeah, it can definitely be worse, right, episode three?
Next episode, it’s a race to stop Zoro from getting executed. Can Luffy get his swords back and get to Zoro in time?
Plot: A new vision has lead the Shibatas a sanitarium that seems eerily empty outside of a cute little girl named Nina. They know she was the one who contact Hell Correspondence, but in an odd twist, Ai rejects her request.
Breakdown: Remember how I said a couple of episodes back that the formula was changing? This one complete shatters it….for now.
The next episode preview for this entry was even a changeup. Usually, the next episode preview has Wanyuudou asking the client their name, the client responds, then Wanyuudou asks who has wronged them. The client gives a short explanation and then Wanyuudou asks what their request is, which is always to send them to hell.
For this episode, they had Hajime, Tsugumi and Ai narrating, with Ai warning them to turn away.
Today’s episode plays off like a horror movie. Hajime and Tsugumi are heading towards a sanitarium, which is the location of Tsugumi’s latest vision. There, they meet Nina, a strange but beautiful, almost doll-like, little girl who seems to be the one who contacted Hell Correspondence with her father being the target. Her father abandoned her at the hospital, and she sought revenge.
However, Ai, oddly, rejects her request.
This angers Nina, but she moves on rather quickly, attempting to trap Hajime and Tsugumi at the sanitarium forever so they’ll be her father and sister respectively until the end of time.
Nina is revealed to have supernatural control over the sanitarium and tries to keep them from leaving. Ren, Hone Onna and Wanyuudou thwart her attempts time and again under Ai’s orders.
In an effort to get this to end, Ai appears and tells Nina the truth.
This is a little complicated. At this point, you believe the reason Ai can’t complete Nina’s request is because she’s obviously a ghost. I imagine you can’t claim a soul that has already departed, thus it can’t be a bargaining chip for Hell Girl’s service.
This girl is actually not Nina. She is a doll. The real Nina died many years ago from sickness after being abandoned by her father, which is another explanation of why Ai rejected this request since the target must be dead by now. Nina had a doll that looked very similar to her and was her only friend. The doll, having a soul of its own I suppose, took on Nina’s feelings after she died and started haunting the building even after its closure. She became obsessed with revenge and getting a family of her own, not realizing that she wasn’t the real Nina. It’s only when Ai reveals all of this to her does ‘Nina’ finally leave.
A haunted sanitarium is a great concept as it is, but I think they did an outstanding job at working it for this series. Though, there are some problems, such as, has ‘Nina’ been contacting Ai since she died? If so, why is Ai only now rejecting her? How would Hell Girl be new information to her? She doesn’t even have Internet access or computers – How did she contact her at all?
This episode also revealed that Wanyuudou, Ren and Hone Onna are somewhat whispering behind Ai’s back about what’s really going on with her and the Shibatas. Wanyuudou believes Ai is subconsciously leading them to where her clients are, but admittedly doesn’t understand why she’s going to the trouble of protecting Hajime and Tsugumi from this spirit.
It was really nice seeing these guys be active in other ways for a change. Getting to see them combat another spirit was fun.
We’re breaking entirely from the norm here because, outside of the vision leading them somewhere, this story has no other bits of the Hell Girl formula. No one gets a doll, there’s no string pull and no hell torture. Oddly, if the doll Nina had some semblance of a soul, you might say Ai was briefly Heaven Girl since she helped her move on from this world.
That’s not to say this episode didn’t have some horror elements because ‘Nina’ does several things that mess with your mind.
This was a really good episode that was a welcome break from the norm and a nice look into a different side of Ai and her comrades.
Character Debuts: Jigglypuff – Wanting nothing more than to be an adored singer, Jigglypuff is constantly annoyed when its attempts at singing result in everyone falling asleep. Its singing translates into the Pokemon move, Sing, which lulls humans and Pokemon alike into a slumber. When its audience falls asleep, Jigglypuff scribbles on their faces in anger.
Jigglypuff, for some reason, follows around Ash and co. throughout their journey doing this same schtick over and over. It’s rarely ever funny, almost always annoying. It was a fairly regular character in Indigo, but faded in and out throughout the seasons until Advanced Generation where it appeared a few times before disappearing entirely. I only just learned that, for no other reason I can think of besides nostalgia, Jigglypuff was brought back in the newest anime series, Sun and Moon.
Plot: After getting lost in the desert, Ash, Misty and Brock make it to Las Veg—Neon Town. The city that never sleeps….literally. Everyone in town is incredibly rude and short tempered because no one ever gets any sleep.
They leave the city the next morning and find a Jigglypuff. Misty tries to capture it, but is surprised to find it starting to cry after attacking it. After learning one of it’s main talents is singing, Misty asks it to sing a song, but it refuses. They believe it can’t sing, so they start trying to teach it to sing. Brock gets the idea to feed it a fruit which is said to soothe sore throats and revitalize tired vocal chords. The fruit works, and Jigglypuff sings, but they all soon find out that Sing puts people to sleep.
Jigglypuff is extremely angry when they fall asleep at its song and draws on their faces in revenge. They try everything to see if someone can listen to the song all the way through, but to no avail.
They get the idea to bring Jigglypuff to Neon Town. Since the people in Neon Town seemingly never have to sleep, they should be able to hear the whole song. They bring Jigglypuff to Neon Town and Team Rocket, in disguise, offers them a fancy outdoor stage for Jigglypuff to perform on. They want Jigglypuff to put everyone in town to sleep so they can swipe all of the Pokemon and money.
Jigglypuff sings, and the entire town falls asleep, including Ash and co. and Team Rocket. Angry again, Jigglypuff draws on everyone’s faces before running off.
Ash and Co. wake up to find everyone has fallen asleep. Not only that, but they’re suddenly much nicer, and everyone’s apologizing for their past rudeness left and right.
Misty laments over Jigglypuff running away, but she has nothing to worry about. Jigglypuff is never too far behind.
– We’re literally not even a second into the episode and I have to stop. Why…and how….are Ash and Co. lost….in a damn desert? Where the hell is there even a desert in Kanto? Hang on, let me check that map gif from Pikachu’s Goodbye.
Hm. Can’t argue with that. I hope they rescue that castle that’s yelling for help, though.
I know that their schtick is getting lost, but there’s a difference between ‘Well, damn, there’s a lot of forests and they all look the same’ and ‘Hey, there’s a desert. There’s no desert on the map, but there is on this globe, so I guess we’re going the right way. Remember, just follow the sun at all times, except when the sun sets, then we follow the moon. If the moon isn’t out, we follow our nose. We’ll find Fruit Loops eventually.’
– Ah I get it. They’re trying to emulate Las Vegas….with the desert surrounding it…..Ya know, you can have an episode with a Las Vegas-esque town and not require that it be surrounded by a bunch of desert that doesn’t make any sense.
…Hey, wait. Does the real Las Vegas not exist in this world or is Neon Town trying to pretend it’s Las Vegas? If it does exist for real, as hinted at in March of the Exeggcutor Squad, then the fact that they put in a desert to give a nod to the real Las Vegas makes no sense. I would ask why they don’t just say this is Las Vegas since they established that it’s a real place, canonically, especially since 4Kids usually has no qualms about pretending this show is set in America, but…..No, I’m actually going to ask that question. Why?
– Might I also bring up that it seems odd to set an episode of Pokemon in a place that is very clearly Las Vegas anyway? Let’s see, a city known for prostitution, gambling, drinking and mafia ties, with the nickname Sin City. Perfect place to set a kids show in.
Let me remind everyone that Pokemon got flak for years for having the Game Corner because it promoted gambling. Let me also point out that, while children don’t seem to be doing it, they clearly show slot machines and gambling in this episode.
– How did Jenny hear these two having an argument when she was probably a hundred yards away and in the middle of an insanely loud city?
For that matter, why does she feel the need to rush over on her motorcycle and stop this argument? It’s an argument, and it’s not loud enough or going on long enough to warrant police action.
– Now for the major gripe about Neon Town….They’re making a play off of the moniker ‘the city that never sleeps’ by having the citizens….literally never sleep. They stay out all night and never go to sleep, so everyone’s bitchy all the time.
That is so stupid…Yes, most people in Las Vegas are night owls, because Las Vegas is basically known for its night life, but that doesn’t mean the people there never sleep. The place is loaded with hotels, and a lot of people probably sleep in the daytime over there.
I’ve never been, but shouldn’t people in Las Vegas be very laid back? There are a ton of fun things to do there, and the place is a den of getting laid, getting drunk, watching shows, partying and gambling. Most people who take trips to Las Vegas do so to relax and have fun.
Even so, I understand that lack of sleep makes people snippy, but it also makes them….ya know….tired. No one in this town is acting tired in the least. They’re all just acting like assholes. If no one here really did get an ounce of sleep, people would be more apt to toppling over in the sidewalk than they would be to blow up at someone over bumping into them.
– Sooooo…Jenny hears a little argument and rushes over to yell at them to break it up, but that same guy is punching James in the head and….a large woman is spanking Jessie, and Jenny is nowhere to be found. Pokemon Police: We All Suck.
– Wait, first the city was surrounded by desert, and now it’s directly parallel to a forest? Where the hell is this place?!
– This is another instance of Pokemon capture just seeming mean. ‘Hey look! A super cute Jigglypuff smiling and minding its own business! I’m going to attack it without provocation and slam it into a tree!’
– *Misty attacks Jigglypuff out of nowhere with Staryu*
*Jigglypuff starts crying*
Misty: “What’s wrong?”
Ash: “It looks like it’s crying.”
Brock: “There’s something strange about it.”
Ash: “I wonder what its problem is.”
Durrr, why’s this pink little puffball Pokemon crying? I only slammed a giant starfish into its face and smashed it into a tree. Durrrrr how weird.
– Seems really rude to request a song from Jigglypuff after you just viciously attacked it like that.
– Ash: “I see. A Jigglypuff that can’t Sing. So that’s why it didn’t attack.” Yeah, because Sing is its only attack…..Also, I thought you were questioning why Jigglypuff was crying after being attacked, not why it wasn’t fighting back. Given how Pokemon are portrayed as do-no-wrong angels, I’m certain some are just pacifists.
– Misty: “I still think it’s cute, but who wants a Jigglypuff that can’t Sing?” I dunno, Misty. That sounds like it would almost be as useless as a main character who is ultimately given nothing to do and is relegated to being a part of background 80% of the time.
– Team Rocket actually has a fairly solid plan this week. Put Neon Town to sleep with Jigglypuff’s song and steal all of their stuff.
– I’ve always loved Team Rocket’s motto-song. I wish they did more song versions of it.
– Considering that Rachel Lillis voices Jigglypuff and Misty, it’s surreal to see Misty teaching Jigglypuff how to sing.
– Awww, Pikachu trying to Sing.
– Jigglypuff kicking Pikachu behind its back is incredibly dickish. See, one of the main reasons I don’t like Jigglypuff much isn’t because they milk the Sing→face scribble joke so hard, though that is a big part of it – it’s because Jigglypuff’s also an annoying petty little puffball. It’s nice sometimes, but it’s almost on the same level as Chikorita in terms of vindictiveness.
– I appreciate what they’re trying to do…..but uh…do you guys see anything weird about them trying to teach Jigglypuff to improve its lung capacity by blowing up a balloon?…Jigglypuff?….the BALLOON Pokemon?
– Why would you just shove a full balloon into its mouth like that? If that were me, I’d punch her in the throat.
– Okay, kicking Pikachu before was a dick move, but slightly understandable from a motivational standpoint because Ash was praising his singing while Jigglypuff couldn’t sing, making it jealous. But Pikachu cheers that Jigglypuff can sing now and it friggin’ does it again. And laughs! Go to hell, Jigglypuff.
– That same dumb cliché of the other characters not noticing when something is happening. How can no one be seeing Jigglypuff kicking Pikachu? Especially considering that, given the editing, it looks like Misty is basically watching this happen.
I think it’s even dumber that Pikachu isn’t realizing that Jigglypuff’s kicking it, particularly after that last time. Gee, something kicked me from directly behind me and Jigglypuff jumped into Misty’s arms from directly behind me….I wonder who kicked me.
– It’s smart of Team Rocket to use a recording of Jigglypuff’s song instead of going to the trouble of catching it, but 1) I’m not sure that would work on a technical level and 2) They didn’t think that recording the song would put themselves to sleep.
– Aw Ash and Misty sleeping next to each other. And since Misty has returned kinda in the new series, I can watch these scenes without feeling too bad! Yay!
– How does Jigglypuff not know that Sing puts people to sleep?
For that matter, if this is one of Jigglypuff’s main abilities, why did Dexter not share this information?
For another matter, why did Misty care whether or not the Jigglypuff could sing if she didn’t know Sing was a move that put others to sleep?
– Brock: “I got it! Maybe there are some Pokemon who wouldn’t fall asleep!” The Pokemon move meant to put Pokemon to sleep….better see if it works on our Pokemon.
– Awwww, the sleeping Pokemon. Though, I still have to nitpick.
Where are Vulpix, Starmie, Zubat or Geodude? I understand why Horsea and Goldeen aren’t out, because they’re not near water, and, wow, good on ya Ash, for not letting Charmeleon out, but why not the others?
Also, where are Onix’s ears? Or Staryu’s?
– Why didn’t Jigglypuff draw on the faces of the Pokemon?
– I guess there’s some reasonable yet insulting logic behind trying Psyduck, but why was he excluded in the first place?
– Psyduck falling over in a daze is hilarious.
– The amount of time Jigglypuff’s ‘victims’ for lack of a better term, stay asleep seems really inconsistent. Before, Ash and co. were asleep for…eh, ten minutes or so? Then they were only asleep until Jigglypuff finished its song. But Team Rocket is only just now getting up. Later, it takes hours for the town to wake up.
– Why didn’t they get Jigglypuff’s song on tape? They used a boom mic and recorded right at the tail end of the song. Even if they did record a good deal of snoring, surely the very start of the tape has some of the song. Not sure if that’s enough, but still. This would be more understandable if they caught the snoring of Ash and co, considering the boom mic was very close to them. Maybe make them snore so loud it drowned out the song. However, Team Rocket’s snoring is all they recorded, despite the mic not being anywhere near them.
– The animation on Brock when he says ‘They’ll be able to listen to Jigglypuff sing!’ is extremely shaky.
– This plan is stupid. It’s not a literal city that never sleeps. These people don’t have a super power of Mega Insomnia. Given that they’re not toppling over each other in exhaustion, they have to sleep sometimes.
How the hell are Team Rocket the smart ones in this episode? They don’t believe for a second that the people of Neon Town will stay awake through this.
– I feel weird saying this, but James looks really good in his punk rocker disguise.
– I am not in the least bit surprised that Team Rocket has quick access to a portable outdoor stage.
– I can understand the song reaching the town square and maybe even a little beyond that, but Neon Town is incredibly loud. I doubt it would cover the whole city, even with loud speakers and amps. I especially don’t believe it would be audible in the buildings, particularly the casinos and bars…..Oh yeah, by the way, there’s a place here called 7 Diamond Bar in this town and 4Kids didn’t censor or paint it. I guess because it just looks like a slot machine, but it’s very obviously the sign for the casino/bar.
– Bullshit those people are not only sleeping standing up, but also holding things and not dropping them. This town is filled with people that don’t make sense.
– While Team Rocket somehow failed in their attempt to not hear the song, why didn’t Ash and Co. think to do anything?
– I realize now that Jigglypuff’s schtick would be funnier if it actually drew things half the time instead of just making mindless scribbles. He makes some actual drawings, like drawing open eyes on Pikachu and a twirly mustache on Brock, but it’s mostly just scribbles.
– Jigglypuff has to have massive petty vengeance to go all around the city and draw on every single person….except Ash and co. for some reason.
– Ash: “Uh oh, everybody in town fell asleep.” Yeah, because they’re human.
– Getting a few hours of sleep does not reverse rampant dickishness.
– Brock: “Jigglypuff’s song not only puts people to sleep, but maybe it has the power to make people nicer, too.” Oh pft. Fuck off.
Gonna keep that line in my back pocket because I am almost positive it will be needed in the future.
– Also, this solves nothing for Neon Town. I don’t believe Brock’s theory for a second, so I’m left to believe these people just lost their grumpiness because they got some sleep, even if that’s incredibly stupid too. Be that as it may, won’t they all be back to being jerks in another couple of days or so without Jigglypuff to forcibly thrust them into slumberland?
I really think the original ending of this episode was Jigglypuff staying in Neon Town to help visitors and citizens sleep when they had to either combat insomnia or to get sleep when the lights and sounds of the city were too much to sleep through, but then the writers thought Jigglypuff’s schtick was so gosh darn hilarious that they kept it as a recurring character.
– They really try to hammer Brock’s theory in by having Team Rocket ridiculously giddy as they leave the city, but 1) Nope, still bullshit. 2) If it really does make you nicer, and Ash and Co, have fallen asleep from it three times at this point, shouldn’t they be joining a convent by now? 3) Team Rocket was not any nicer after they fell victim to the song the first time. 4) If they’re nicer now, shouldn’t they stop being criminals, or is the nice thing just temporary? Because that makes this ending even more pointless. And 5) This little extra power stuff is never seen or mentioned after this episode, so bullshit.
– And just to get this out of the way, we know Jigglypuff got the marker from Ash’s backpack, but where did it later get a microphone that also doubles as a marker?
I’m alright with this episode. Jigglypuff can be pretty entertaining in small doses, and it is cute, but knowing what I know will become of it now, and taking into consideration how jealous, petty and mean it can be sometimes, I have mixed feelings.
There is definitely a good deal of humor in this episode that works, but the plot with Neon Town is so terrible and poorly written it’s insane.
The animation in this episode was also weird. Half the time, the animation seemed better than normal and the other half it seemed worse.
Next episode, we meet the fossil Pokemon, and Charmeleon suddenl–…..*sigh* This is going to be a ranty episode, isn’t it?
Plot: Yumi is a performer in the circus, Happy Circus, but she is being viciously beaten regularly by the ringmaster. Yumi manages to contact Hell Girl, wishing for vengeance. Hajime, following a tip from Tsugumi’s vision, goes to the circus and tries to save them. Will he finally save someone from Hell?
Breakdown: A brief moment to go over some more questions as to how Hell Girl works.
Is there a time limit to using the doll? Can someone just sit on their hands for months or even years deciding if they want to use the doll? I believe the longest I’ve seen someone go is around a week.
I only ask because Hone Onna and Ren are, again, masquerading as workers in the place where the client works for the sake of keeping an eye on them, which is just something they keep deciding to do for no reason. In the beginning, they didn’t really appear until the ending torture. Now they’re jammed into the episode all the time, watching from the shadows. I’m not complaining about them being here, I just don’t understand why they are.
I don’t know if Ai started instructing them to do this even when there’s nothing to investigate (and, even then, it’s not necessary) when Hajime started coming on the scene, but, what, do they just keep their jobs until whenever the client decides to pull the string?
Is there a one or three client at a time rule? I know Hone Onna and Ren can also turn into dolls, but surely there are a lot of vengeful people in the world, or at least Japan, who would use Hell Girl. Do the other clients have to wait until a case is done to free up a space? I believe either in this season or Two Mirrors we have two dolls out at once, but that’s all I remember about it.
What about people without Internet access? Surely there are many tormented people out there who desperately wish vengeance, but don’t have access to a computer or Internet. I know Ai has changed her messaging system to keep up with the times, but still. The client in this episode looks like she is kept in a mostly empty room. If her boss didn’t have a laptop, she’d be screwed.
Back to business at hand, today’s episode centers on the client, Yumi – a performer in the circus who is frequently abused and locked up. Tsugumi gets a vision about it, but the only useful information she gets from it is that the client was in a room with a circus poster on the wall. Hajime and Tsugumi head to the circus and enjoy the show, wondering who the client is. They see a female performer do a disappearing act, she stumbles a bit and…I guess that’s a good enough reason for Hajime to believe that she’s the client. *shrug*
He also somehow figures out that she’s being abused from the knife thrower throwing a knife at a moth when they talk about a feuding couple with the wife cheating on her husband with another circus performer? *bigger shrug* The knife thrower isn’t even the one doing the abuse, by the way.
The only useful information Tsugumi saw in that vision was the poster, so how he’s connecting dots that aren’t even in the same time zone is beyond me.
Ren, in disguise, leads him to where the female performer is and….*sigh* He bluntly tells this young girl, no older than 13, I’d say, to come with him, vehement in the belief that she’s the client. She fights him off, not understanding what he’s talking about, so he decides to tell her that he’ll take her somewhere safe and tries to grab her. And by that I mean he does grab her by the shoulders and won’t release her even though she’s screaming for him to stop and let her go.
It’s only when Ren walks in on them that he finally lets her go. If Ren wasn’t aware of what Hajime was doing, anyone walking in on this, especially from the back, would think he’s trying to rape her. Hajime would have a hard time trying to save Hell Girl clients while he’s in prison.
Seriously, what the hell was Hajime thinking? He’s being unreasonably stupid today. He’s making huge leaps in logic from little hints he’s seeing and now he’s just man-handling anyone he thinks might have used the service, no matter if they’re little girls. Hajime was being way too pushy with the last client too, but at least he had tons of evidence that pointed to Mina being the client and knew the reason why she called Hell Girl. He may have yelled a lecture in her face, but at least he didn’t grab Mina and try to kidnap her.
Not like he’s being intelligent in any manner lately. He leaves Tsugumi, his seven year old daughter, alone without any supervision on a regular basis, which is bad enough, but today he decides to leave her alone by the car for hours near a damn circus. I cannot see anything dangerous about that.
Is Hajime going insane from all of the failings he’s had in trying to save Hell Girl clients? That’s the only way I can justify this behavior.
Later, Tsugumi has another vision – this time of the girl being whipped by the ringmaster. I don’t know why, but Tsugumi is blushing while having the vision. Hajime realizes that he was both right and wrong before. He was right to believe the performer was the client and that the ringmaster was the target, but there were actually two performers. Yuki, the girl he met before who seems to be pampered, and Yumi, who is kept locked up and savagely beaten regularly, particularly when she messes up during a show.
As you can tell, Yuki and Yumi are twin sisters, which is how they pull off the disappear then reappear act. Yumi was the one who reappeared and stumbled, causing her to get beaten again.
Hajime finds Yumi, but he’s too late. Yumi has already pulled the string. Hajime tries to get the ringmaster to flee….not sure why he thinks that would help. I’d think it would be obvious that you can’t hide from her, but far be it from me to let him try. He does the same thing to the ringmaster as he did to Yuki, grabbing him by the shoulders and demanding he come with him. You’re being a little obnoxious today, Hajime.
Also, the deed has been done. This guy is human garbage. You can’t save Yumi’s soul now. Just let him go.
In a surprising and very sad scene, we get a flashback of Yumi and Yuki as kids. They used to be very close, doing nearly everything together. They joined the circus (or were adopted into it? It’s not very clear) and Yuki was always a little better than Yumi, earning the constant praise of the ringmaster while Yumi would get punished for every mistake. Eventually, it got to the point where Yuki would take delight in her sister’s anguish, and she would sabotage her equipment so she would keep screwing up and get beat. As time went on, Yumi was relegated to staying in what was essentially a cage. She would get worse and worse beatings every time she messed up.
Yumi sings a song to herself while curled up on the floor. Ai, in a rare show of emotion and sympathy, appears before Yumi and brushes away her tears before leaving to do her job.
In a surprising twist, as the ringmaster and Hajime fight, Yuki gets sucked through the mirror, revealing that it was actually her and not the ringmaster that she had targeted.
During the torture, Yumi reveals that she hated her sister because she is always treated like half a person with her around, and she never gets the glory all to herself, so she believed she deserved everything she got…..Wow….bitch. I don’t even get it. Yeah, given the order of their trick, Yumi got to take the final bow, but if it was bothering her that much, why not change it to have Yumi be the first part of the trick? Yuki was getting all the attention from nearly the instant they joined the circus. This girl is a crazy selfish bitch.
Ai, can we get a two for one deal here? Because despite the harpy queen here needing a ride in your boat, that ringbastard needs to go too.
After Yuki gets sent to hell, we get an early episode-esque wipe because now it’s like Yuki never existed and Yumi is being spoiled by the ringmaster.
All in all, this episode was surprisingly a lot better and much sadder than I ever anticipated. Truthfully, this just looked like filler from the preview, but I was nearly crying at Yumi’s situation.
While the target definitely deserved to hell, it’s been a while since I’ve felt so bad for the client. This might be the worst I’ve felt for a client, to be honest. Yumi is clearly very emotionally damaged by all of this abuse. She spends a lot of time in a daze, singing to herself, and doesn’t even take notice of Ai when she enters the room and touches her cheek. The fact that she’s now also damned to hell is just heartbreaking.
While I’m more than happy Yuki got her just desserts, I’m a bit mad that the ringleader didn’t get any comeuppance for what he did. Yuki’s petty sabotage wouldn’t have meant much if the ringmaster didn’t respond to all of the failings with neglect and abuse.
The twist this time actually got me. While I pretty much figured out the twin thing before they revealed it, the fact that the target was her sister threw me for a loop. During one of the flashback shots, we see that Yumi had watched Yuki sabotage her unicycle once. She was well aware that her sister was screwing her over and enjoying her pain, but realized that no one would believe her if she told anyone because Yuki was the perfect golden child.
It’s not just the ringmaster either. It’s obvious several other people in the circus, maybe even the entire troupe, knew about the treatment Yumi was getting, yet they turned a blind eye to it. It’s infuriating.
The first part of the episode is what hurts it the most. Hajime’s actions are ridiculous, and it just seems like a clump of bad writing.
Plot: Lucia is the mermaid princess of North Pacific Ocean. Seven years ago, she saved a boy from drowning by placing her magical pearl on his chest, imbuing him with her life force. She fell in love with the boy and he fell in love with her, but they were quickly forced to part ways.
Seven years later, Lucia goes up to the surface world to find her pearl since she needs it in order to be a true adult. In addition, mermaids only have a sense of music when they have their pearl. Lucia goes up to the surface world to live life as a normal teenager when she meets a rather boastful and seemingly sleazy guy named Kaito who invites her to watch him partake in a local surfing contest.
After meeting her new friend, Hanon, she goes to the competition and is amazed by Kaito’s surfing abilities. However, when an evil mermaid notices the light of the pearl Kaito wears around his neck, she sends a storm to knock him into the water and take the pearl for herself.
Lucia quickly dives into the water to save him, reverting back into her mermaid form. Recognizing her as the mermaid who saved him seven years ago, Kaito throws the pearl back to Lucia and she transforms into her Idol Form; Pink Pearl Voice.
She sings her magical song and quickly dispatches the sea witch.
Back on shore, Kaito and Lucia recognize each other (though, Kaito doesn’t really realize she’s the girl he’s been talking to) and embrace each other on the beach.
Hanon reveals that she had a suspicion about Lucia being a Mermaid Princess and admits that she’s the Mermaid Princess of the South Atlantic Ocean. While they have found Lucia’s pearl and kept the sea witch at bay, her penguin friend, Hippo, is incredibly worried at the implications of her falling in love with a human.
Breakdown: It’s Sailor Moon and The Little Mermaid squished together.
What? That’s the way several people described it to me and…..yeah, that’s pretty much what it is. I know the whole ‘every magical girl show is a Sailor Moon rip-off’ thing is overused and unjustly thrown around quite a bit, but I’m going to stand pretty firm here. I mean, they don’t even try hiding it in some respects like Lucia’s mermaid and idol hair styles with the incredibly long blond pig tails or ‘totally not Queen Beryl as a mermaid.’ At least I’m pretty sure Kaito isn’t a Tuxedo Mask clone.
What does this show have going for it outside of the regular magical girl spiel? Not much so far. Lucia’s nice enough, but she’s very much the typical teenage main magical girl character. A bit airheaded, clumsy, though maybe more understandable than normal considering she’s a mermaid, and brave when the situation calls for it.
Hippo is….not funny. Also, he seems like he’s supposed to be keeping Lucia in line in the surface world to not bring attention to the mer-world under the water, but he doesn’t do anything to mask his presence. He walks right out in broad daylight talking and interacting with people like it’s no big deal…even though he’s a talking blue penguin in a sailor suit.
It seems more like Lucia does more to mask his presence than he does. He’s also slightly annoying because his one role is to nag and yell at Lucia to find her pearl and keep her identity a secret. Luna he is not.
Hanon is fine, but a bit overbearing. Sea witch woman was generic as all hell.
I probably liked Kaito most of all. He’s a bit overbearing too, but he’s genuinely sweet. While he does come on a bit strong to Lucia upon first meeting, he’s not being an ass about it. And I appreciate that they just had playful flirting with them to start with instead of having them hate each other and slowly realize they love each other.
As for the story of this episode, it’s pretty predictable from start to finish. She tries to fit in, she tries to find her pearl (I’m just now realizing the high levels of innuendo with this) she meets Kaito, faces a bad guy and transforms to save the day.
Now, before I got into this series, I didn’t know really anything about it outside of it being a magical girl show with mermaids as the subject matter this time. From reading a little more before watching, both on Wiki and on THEM anime reviews, I realized they used music as their weapon and that the magical girl cast actually rivaled the size of Sailor Moon’s with seven soon-to-be-discovered Mermaid Princesses.
I was fine with this. It’s actually kinda nice to have more of these shows with larger casts, though how useful the other mermaids are is yet to be seen.
I was also fine with the singing aspect. Singing is a part of mermaid lore and there are plenty of audio/singing based attacks in superhero shows. At least the music aspect makes much more sense used here instead of Tokyo Mew Mew who basically tacked on musical instruments as their weapons for no reason.
THEM noted that one of the main flaws of this show was how doinky it was, and I didn’t quite get what they meant as I watched a bulk of the episode. However, when they got to the end, I quickly understood.
Let’s go over all of the steps here. Lucia is a mermaid who can turn into a human at will on land, but the instant she hits water she reverts back to mermaid form – even when it comes to taking a bath.
She is a mermaid. This show is called Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. Mermaids should be the central theme here. Agreed? Okay.
Kaito throws her the pearl which inexplicably turns into a “microphone” also known as an e-pitch. I say “microphone” like that because I know that’s what it’s intended to be, but that thing seriously looks like a detachable shower head.
She does her magical girl transformation sequence, and I swear hardly any of these magical girl shows actually put effort into their transformation scenes anymore.
So, she’s a mermaid fighting underwater against a mermaid using powers heralded from her mermaid kingdom. What is her final transformation?
Okay. When did this train get off the insanely simple track?
I know it’s asinine to nitpick logistics with magical girl shows, but what the hell is this even? I’m guessing these powers are ancient and passed down from generation to generation yet here she is with a modern day microphone and transforming into a pop idol.
You might say this is fine as long as the music is beautiful and powerful, but it’s not. It’s the same pop drivel you’d expect from any shoujo show. And how is that some ancient powerful song she’s summoning from her magical non-mermaid-mermaid powers?
The enemy isn’t even being attacked by it. She listens to it, gets slowly annoyed, then it seems like she’s in pain and then she leaves. Truly a battle of the ages.
What are these pearls? Who was that lady? Why did she want the pearl? None of this is ever explained.
That ending was just horrible execution on top of horrible execution topped with, yes, doinkiness.
Really think about this whole ending, guys, because you’ll come to a striking revelation. The main plot of this whole show is basically moot because of the direction they chose to take the magical girl aspect.
Why does any of this mermaid stuff even need to be there if most of the series takes place on land and their transformations are all human pop idols? I thought the whole reason their music is beautiful and powerful was kinda because they’re friggin’ mermaids. Why wouldn’t it make more sense to have them turn into some really cool mermaid with various types of attacks based on music and sound? You could still have them have a human form that they can turn into when needed. Why have the human form be default?
I hope I’m wrong about this series because I do have a soft spot for magical girl shows. For now, though, this episode started out mediocre and ended terribly.
Plot: Mina Minato is under the firm thumb of her aunt in a little island town. Mina has fallen for a diver named Yuji, but her aunt, Fujie, is strongly against the relationship. After an incident, Mina calls upon Hell Girl and targets her aunt.
Breakdown: This episode, quality wise, is like the antithesis of the previous episode. Let’s go over what I praised in episode 14.
The story was intricate, interesting and had a touch of mystery.
This episode, outside of one big twist you’ll figure out early on, is about as clear-cut as the early episodes, and the story itself is rushed and fairly poorly written.
Hajime, despite ultimately failing, seemed like he was drastically impacting the plot for a change.
Being fair to Hajime, he did nearly succeed here, but the execution is ridiculous. He’s borderline obnoxious.
The situation with the target was complex and left you thinking about the entire situation long after the episode ends.
Here, the target is clear, extremely hateable, and you’re not even thinking about it after the credits start rolling.
To explore more of where this episode went wrong, let’s delve into the full story. Tsugumi and Hajime head to an island called Rogetsu, which is the location in Tsugumi’s latest vision. Hajime tries to interview the townsfolk about the situation between Mina and Fujie, but everyone’s incredibly secretive and distrusting when it comes to this topic.
It’s never explained why this topic is so sensitive to the other townsfolk, either. I get that some small towns, particularly isolated areas like islands, commonly have citizens who play it close to the vest, but, in media, this is usually because the people know of something very horrible that, should the information leak, something terrible would happen. Here, there’s no reason given as to why they’re so closed off about it. Unless they know about ‘the twist’, and there’s no reason they should. If they do, why the unholy hell have they not contacted the authorities?
They eventually find some people willing to talk, and they learn that Mina’s mother committed suicide when she was very young, but her body was never found. Remember that. It’s important.
Her mother left the island, fell in love with a man, got pregnant with Mina, and returned to the island after she broke up with her boyfriend. Supposedly, she simply never got over the breakup and killed herself, leaving her daughter in the care of her sister, Fujie.
Mina, now an adult, has been controlled by her aunt her whole life. She even pulled her out of school before she reached high school when she wanted to pursue studies that weren’t conducive to being an inn owner like herself.
She eventually fell in love with a diver named Yuji, but Fujie always fought against the relationship, despising and distrusting anyone who wasn’t from the island. Mina called Hell Girl when she found out that Fujie had spontaneously attacked Yuji with a knife while he was diving.
In and out, Fujie will spontaneously be heard talking to someone that the audience can’t see, and she even slips up in dialogue once or twice that she believes her sister is still alive. Remember that. It’s important.
Mina presents the doll to Yuji, but he believes it to be evil and wants to throw it off the cliff and into the ocean. Judging from Ai’s dialogue, this scene does answer the question of what happens if you lose or discard the doll – it really does just go away. Ai might change up the rules sometimes, but it’s meant to be the end of the potential contract.
Hajime, having been notified through ‘I’m just a plot device at this point’ Tsugumi’s vision of Mina and Yuji’s whereabouts, tries to stop them. And by ‘tries to stop them’, I mean he gives them a sudden loud and manic lecture about how it’s not worth it and they have their whole lives ahead of them etc.
Despite the cliche-ness of the speech, it actually works like a charm. A little too well, actually, because they suddenly decide to leave the island and elope. Hajime decides to try and stop them from eloping too because it’s such a rash decision. Dude, stop. They’re fixing their problem in a way that doesn’t involve eternal damnation. Just take your win and go home.
As Mina is about to pack up and leave for good, she hears Fujie talking to someone in the cellar. She investigates further when it starts to sound like Fujie is talking with Mina’s mother somehow. Mina is horrified to discover – Dun dun DUNNNNNNNNNNNNN – Fujie is nuckin’ futs and is having a discussion with the decayed corpse of Mina’s mother like she were still alive, just sick and unable to care for Mina.
Yeah, this is played out to be a huge twist, but anyone paying attention to the hints they peppered throughout figured this out before the first commercial. Remember, her body was never found and Fujie’s been acting like she’s alive? It was either this or she really was keeping Mina’s mother alive in her cellar, which wouldn’t make sense but would be less predictable.
Also, see what I mean about this not making sense in regards to the townsfolk? Either they, for some reason, really want to keep a tragic suicide a secret or they know of this insane bullshit and just decided to leave Fujie be for some reason. In which case, wow.
Turns out, Mina’s mother wanted to leave the island again after Mina was born. They don’t explain why outside of she just hates the island, but she was intent on it. Fujie wasn’t having any of that since she believed it was dangerous and terrible outside of the island, so she tied her up in the cellar and murdered her with a hatchet so they’d be together forever. She took a bloody shoe from her and threw it into the ocean so it would be assumed that she committed suicide.
Since Mina has discovered what Fujie did, Fujie realizes that Mina must die too and suffer the same creepy fate as her mother. She tries to fight back with the doll, but gets injured. Yuji discovers the situation and tries to defend her. As she and Yuji are about to be chopped up like firewood, she manages to pull the string and send Fujie to hell. Hajime somehow arrives a moment later, despite being pushed to a cliffside that looked difficult to climb…..oh yeah, Ren pushed him down there…He and Hone Onna have been screwing with him all episode in order to stop him from interfering—it doesn’t matter. He’s disappointed that he’s too late to stop her.
I get that he’s tired of losing these cases, but what did he expect to do? He could’ve strong-armed Fujie I suppose, but it’s more like he’s disappointed that Mina used the doll to save themselves….In which case, wow.
Tsugumi is back to feeling bad after a case ends, which is better but still confuses me given the way she acted in the previous episode. Hajime believes he was naive to think that he had actually saved them. He did, though. It’s not like they changed their minds or lied to him about not using the doll – they were going to take his advice and leave, but she was forced into using the doll to save her and Yuji’s life. He wasn’t naive – it was just really bad luck that Mina happened to hear her aunt talking.
This episode was not good. There are several aspects of it that don’t make sense. The writing, even in dialogue, was poorly done. I was almost embarrassed by how terrible that scene at the cliff was written. The case was a little interesting with a crazy, but incredibly predictable, given lazy hints, twist. The characters weren’t compelling, the townsfolk were irritating and made no sense in their motivations, and Hajime, despite nearly getting a win, was obnoxious and whiny. Even Ren and Hone Onna were irritating since their role was literally just to screw with Hajime to get him to stop getting information. And that push at the cliff was after Hajime had convinced them not to pull the string. They did that purely out of spite.
We don’t even get a torture this time around, which is ridiculous since this is one of the more hateable and insane targets so far.
Plot: Nine and Twelve are two teenagers who survived a mysterious incident as children and managed to escape and live their lives independently. Today, they appear to be domestic terrorists attacking Japan while posing as high school students. While they’re carrying out their latest attack, Twelve, in an effort to get Nine to overcome a past trauma, puts the life of their classmate, Lisa, on the line. He can either let her be another casualty or try to save her life. Likewise, Nine gives Lisa a choice – die where she stands or become an accomplice.
Breakdown: Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe with music by Yoko Kanno?
Ahhhhhhhh, I’m just joshin’ ya……..Okay, not really. It’s going to get that verdict. Just scroll a tad. But I’m not the type of person to fangirl over directors or composers.
Terror in Resonance doesn’t give a lot of information off the bat. All we know is that Nine and Twelve escaped from some facility when they were kids with some other children. Nine watched some kid fall behind him and get murdered, which traumatized him. Today, they appear to be domestic terrorists, but I doubt it’s that simple. Their first viewed act of crime is stealing something from a nuclear repurposing facility. Six months later, they’re posing as normal teenagers in a high school and planning a multi-bomb assault on a huge building.
We don’t know why they’re doing these things, due to this series being a thriller, but it’s an interesting concept.
The role of Lisa could be interpreted as someone just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She’s initially helped out by Twelve when she’s being bullied by some bitches, but he later decides to reel her into their plot one way or another to help Nine out with his childhood trauma. Twelve believes if Nine chooses to save her, he’ll stop having nightmares because it’s his guilt from being unable to save the other children from their escape that keeps him up at night.
It’s obviously an odd form of therapy considering they’re the ones planting the bombs in the first place, but I can see where he’s coming from. In this instance, Twelve is particularly intriguing because he bounces back and forth between his goofy nonchalant self and a clearly more sinister personality.
Back to Lisa, she spends much of the episode hiding in the bathroom and dodging texts from her mother, of which I can’t read. In addition to finding the restroom as a hiding place from the bullies, she also seems to have stomach problems. She flushes her lunch down the toilet and nearly throws up several times. I might say she has bulimia, but she doesn’t seem to be triggering her regurgitation on purpose.
Lisa just happens to be in the building that Nine and Twelve target, and the rest is history.
Despite the fact that she seems to be incredibly depressed, perhaps to the point of physical illness, she chooses life over death, even if it means that she’s an accomplice to the crime.
This episode does a great job at setting the stage for the rest of the story. While I will admit that we don’t learn much about these characters or the backstory of this whole situation yet, I don’t believe we’re meant to do so, given the genre.
The art and animation is gorgeous…..except the people. Their bodies are designed just fine, it’s the faces and hair that put me off a little. Some of their features seem either scrunched or stretched too much, and this series has an annoying quirk I liked to call ‘hooky mouth.’ No matter what angle the characters are looking in, their mouths are always curved to a slight hook. This is merely a pet peeve, but it’s still there.
While we’re on the subject of animation, it is downright amazing, and just to fangirl a little, some of the choices in direction are simply mind blowing. That scene on the snowmobile during their escape was one of the best action scenes I’ve ever watched. It sucks you into the scene in an instant and brings you along for a great ride.
I don’t believe I even need to mention that the music is great. I’ll admit that nothing’s jumping out at me as a song that I can’t live without, but it’s still wonderful. Her style always has a very dreamy feel to it that I just love.
As for the voice acting, I watched the English version on Funimation’s website…..and…it’s okay. No one’s voice is annoying, but Christopher Bevins plays Nine in a very boring and monotone fashion. I can’t say if that’s the way he’s meant to be conveyed, though it very well might be because Nine is the stoic dark bad boy to contrast Twelve’s goof-ball nature, but it comes off poorly.
This episode also solidified that I am no longer a fan of Aaron Dismuke. I feel like an ass for saying that because I loved him as Al in FMA, and puberty is a massive bitch to young voice actors, but it’s true. He definitely still has his acting chops, but his voice is, for lack of a better term, weird to me. Not annoying – just weird. And I didn’t make any snap judgments going in – I had no clue who was voicing whom until I watched the end credits. I thought him sounding weird in FMA:B was just him trying to adapt to voice acting with his older voice, but it’s been a few years now and it still sounds off to me.
It looks like this will be a great thrill ride, and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the story is heading.
Plot: Saki’s father mysteriously commits suicide after seemingly trying to blackmail the mayor, Ryouzo Kosunoki. Saki calls upon Hell Girl to exact revenge against him, and Hajime does everything he can to get to the bottom of this and hopefully prevent Ai from claiming another soul.
Breakdown: Oh my god, guys! Hajime is finally impacting the plot!
He was so close to actually doing something meaningful, but it was all for naught. One of the things that annoys me about Hajime’s character is that, for much of his stay on the series, his actions amount to nothing. Without him, some plot elements wouldn’t be revealed to the audience, but his actions never have any impact on the story itself. He is doing his damnedest, no pun intended, to stop Ai from taking people to hell, but he keeps failing. You can tell that his failures are visibly getting to him by this point, especially given the circumstances of the case we have today, but so far he has amounted to a character who is just there.
Speaking of today’s case, it’s quite the complicated one – and it might be our first case of someone truly undeserving of going to hell being the target.
Saki Kirino’s father was a simple man and a single father who was upset because he didn’t have enough savings to send his daughter to a university in Tokyo. Saki discovered that he had a stack of photos implicating that the mayor, Kosunoki, was in dealings with organized crime. He left one night to blackmail Kosunoki into paying him off so he could give more money to Saki. The next morning, he was found hanging in the park and the official cause of death was suicide.
Saki didn’t believe the finding and vehemently accused Kosunoki of murdering her father. She loudly vocalized her accusations, but only drew dire from the citizens who loved Kosunoki, especially the residents of a local elderly home. She even starts getting threatening letters taped to her door. Saki has no evidence to present to the police to get an investigation opened. The envelope containing the photos was not on Mr. Kirino’s body, which is the only strong piece of evidence that Saki has in believing Kosunoki has something to do with it. Since she and her father were the only two who saw the photos, it’s all hearsay.
Meanwhile, Tsugumi has a vision that sends Hajime off to investigate and possibly prevent another use of the trademark black doll. He hears Saki’s story and asks her to wait on pulling the string until he gets to the truth of the matter.
While Kosunoki and his son, Yoshiyuki, firmly deny any wrongdoing, they eventually tell their side of the story to Hajime. Kosunoki was an orphan who was raised by his grandmother. When she passed away, he felt driven to fight for the rights and caring of the elderly as a way to repay his grandmother, which prompted him to build a retirement home. However, after some time, the director of the home passed away and the deed to the building was somehow left in the hands of Japanese crime lords. In order to keep the building and prevent the residents from becoming homeless, Kosunoki had to trade the deed for some vague political concessions – the dealings of which were caught in photos by Saki’s father.
Mr. Kirino was hard up for money since he desperately wanted to send Saki to a nice university in Tokyo, so he decided to blackmail him. Kosunoki and Yoshiyuki refused to give into his threat and turned him away. Yoshiyuki believed that Mr. Kirino was in debt with some shady people and probably committed suicide when he realized he’d never get the money to pay them back.
Kosunoki, however, refutes this claim and accepts responsibility for Mr. Kirino’s death, but not in the way Hajime thought. He states that Mr. Kirino told him of his money problems and why he needed the cash so badly. He completely denies killing him or having someone else do the deed, but believes that someone might have done so on his behalf. He tells Hajime that he can publish the story, but warns that, should anything happen to him as a result, it might cause the retirement home to shut down.
I might be slow on the uptake today, but it took me until I started writing this review and rewatching some of the scenes to understand what really happened. Shaken by Saki going so far as to hire a journalist to investigate them, Yoshiyuki meets with Saki and hands her an envelope, which I initially believed was hush money. He claims he wants this whole thing put behind them and calls her selfish for what she’s trying to do. He claims that damaging his father’s reputation or getting him throw in jail will do a lot of damage to the town while no one but her cares about what happened to her father.
Saki tearfully rejects the offer, but I didn’t realize that the packet was actually the missing envelope of photos. This doesn’t exactly prove that they killed Mr. Kirino, but this combined with Kosunoki stating that someone on his behalf likely killed him definitely points to Yoshiyuki being the one who killed Mr. Kirino for the sake of protecting his father.
This raises the question of why Yoshiyuki can’t turn himself in and end this whole thing, but the scandal might be so close to Kosunoki either way that it would ruin him and possibly put him in jail too.
Hajime gets Kosunoki to agree to beg for Saki’s forgiveness, but there’s a problem. Saki had a meeting with the bank and learned that her father had little in savings – definitely not enough to send her to college.
Saki is done with everything. She realizes that nothing will ever bring back her father and nothing will fix what happened, but sending Kosunoki to hell is the only thing she can do for her father after everything he’s done and tried to do for her. She pulls the string while she’s on the phone with Hajime, and Kosunoki disappears. While he’s in the boat with Ai, he regrets that he is unable to apologize to Saki.
This case was very intriguing and another episode that is just tragic on all sides. Did Kosunoki deserve to go to hell?….That’s a hard question to answer. Yes, he did deal with crime lords, which is bad, but he did it to help save some elderly people from being homeless, which is good.
He turned Mr. Kirino away at his blackmail threat while knowing and understanding why he was doing it, which is…..one of the biggest moral mixed bags we’ve had so far. Giving into the blackmail isn’t necessarily good, even if you know what the money’s for, but he rejected it for good reason. Afterall, if someone realizes they have you under their thumb, no matter their good intentions, they can have you in a perceived debt for however long they want you there. Then again, rejecting it kinda doesn’t make sense.
While Kosunoki obviously has a moral compass, as shown when he told Hajime his story and that he was free to publish it, rejecting the blackmail leaves him open to selling the photos, which would ruin his reputation, possibly get him arrested and have the retirement home shut down anyway. Why do dealings with crime lords to protect the elderly but not give into blackmail for that same reason?
Kosunoki’s biggest sin would be protecting his son if he knew he killed Mr. Kirino, but despite a small implication that he suspected Yoshiyuki had something to do with this, we don’t know for certain if he knew. Even if he did, is protecting your son from a murder charge and life in prison, even if he deserves it, really a major sin? Even if the right thing to do is turning him in, I’m sure most parents would sympathize with a deep desire to protect their children – particularly when the reason they’re in trouble in the first place is because they were trying to protect their parent. It’s a heartwrenching decision to say the least.
Probably the most upsetting thing about this episode is that the one person who deserved punishment, Yoshiyuki, didn’t get any. He was a complete asshole from start to finish in this episode. If everything hinted at in this episode is true, he killed Mr. Kirino in cold blood, treated Saki like complete garbage for trying to get justice for her father even though he knew what she was saying was, more or less, true, said to her face that no one gave a crap about her father but her and lied through his teeth through the whole ordeal, even letting his father field the accusations instead of turning himself in.
Nearly every line that came out of his mouth was yelling at someone or slinging accusations around. He was a bastard, and his father paid for his crimes. Even Saki had to pay dearly for what she did, but he gets away scot-free.
You could argue that he paid for it with the death of his father, and I’ll concede to that, but I haven’t seen a tinge of sympathetic emotion from Yoshiyuki, so, for all I know, outside of losing his power, influence and possibly money, he might not give a rat’s ass that he’s dead.
At the very end of the episode, Tsugumi expresses happiness that Kosunoki is dead and that Saki got her revenge, which is odd. Hajime usually shares all of the information on his cases with Tsugumi and she’s typically saddened by the outcomes, even if the person deserved it. I don’t know if these cases are also changing Tsugumi’s attitude or if she just had a different view on this case in particular for some reason, but Hajime tells her that the outcome wasn’t good at all, and I’d certainly agree with him.
This was a great episode with an interesting mystery, intriguing story and a much more complex resolution than we’re used to. The outcome may not have been great or even good, but it adds another layer to this show in regards to freshening up the formula. However, it has yet to overcome the firmest mainstay of the series – not sending someone to hell for a change.
At a point in this series, you start to believe that one of the main reasons people watch this show is for the cathartic release of seeing assholes get sent to hell and seeing the creative tortures that Ai and the others come up with before the ride on the river Styx. However, we’ve now had a few episodes where we aren’t loudly rooting for Ai to say ‘Perhaps…it is time to die.’ and a few where we haven’t even been able to see the torture. The formula is changing. Slowly, but it is.
Plot: How long has Hell Girl been around, and what’s it like when one of her previous clients finally passes on of natural causes and has to uphold their end of the bargain? A man named Fukumoto sheds some light on this as his candle starts to burn out.
Breakdown: The most interesting episodes of Hell Girl are usually ones that break the formulaic structure, and this story is no exception. It is the best episode of Hell Girl so far, even if there is no target or punishment today.
Instead we get a fifty year old case of a man named Fukumoto.
Hajime is actually doing stuff today as Tsugumi’s visions lead him to a book store which carries a story called Purgatory Girl. The story is incredibly similar to how Hell Girl currently works.
A man had a beautiful wife, but one day another man named O raped her. His wife was distraught and in constant agony, and she eventually decided to take her own life. Filled with anger, the man calls upon Puragtory Girl, who avenges grievances. O mysteriously disappears soon after.
This story reflects the real tale of a man named Fukumoto, an esteemed artist and writer. He was close friends with another writer named Okochi. Fukumoto came home one day and found that Okochi was taking advantage of his wife. Soon after, his wife committed suicide.
Some time before this happened, Okochi told Fukumoto about the Hell Correspondence, which, at that time, was an ad in the classifieds. The ad was blank to those who held no grievance, so Fukumoto could never see it, but when this happened, he was suddenly able to see the writing. He called upon Hell Girl and Okochi got his punishment. Meanwhile, Fukumoto has been living with the burden of his curse mark for several decades, and his candle is nearing its end point.
He suggests maybe Hell Girl wanted Hajime to find him and learn of this before his passing, which explains why Tsugumi got the vision.
One of the hanging questions left at the end of most Hell Girl episodes is ‘what happens now?’ in regards to the clients. You usually get a small glimpse of their current path after the string has been pulled at the end of the episodes, but most of these clients are very young and viewpoints can change drastically over the course of a lifetime.
Fukumoto shows this much when he explains that he took many paths after he gained his curse mark. He threw himself into work, he tried to devote himself to religion and even became heavily invested in volunteering, but none of it alleviated the weight on his chest from the curse mark.
He eventually resigns himself to holing up in his apartment drawing and painting many pictures of Ai, culminating in his masterwork, which is a mural of several images of Ai. The only thing he has to look forward to at this point in his life is seeing her again.
Another very interesting aspect of this episode is Ai’s role. We’ve seen Ai display some very minor signs of emotion throughout some episodes, but this is the first where she may actively be trying to convey emotions however way she can.
While Ai isn’t in much of this episode, it is implied that she actively wanted Hajime to know of Fukumoto’s story and purposefully lead him to his location through Tsugumi. She also seems like she wants to have a heart to heart with Fukumoto in the boat, but pulls herself back. The biggest display of her emotion is through Fukumoto’s mural, which starts crying when he finally finishes it. Ai is somehow crying for Fukumoto through this painting, which is the last thing he sees before his candle burns out.
While we don’t actually get to see Ai herself crying, this scene is very powerful because it confirms that she does have a great deal of sympathy for some of her clients. She even chooses to sit down in the boat and face him as he gets ferried to Hell instead of looking ahead and rowing the boat like she normally does. She obviously wants to offer as much comfort as she’s allowed to before he gets to Hell.
Rating: 9.5/10 – The first half’s a little slow, but this is a fantastic episode. It answers a lot of questions, broke the mold a little and had a great story that wove Hajime and Tsugumi into the mix without seeming incredibly forced or unnecessary.