Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 20: The Hell Professor vs. Hell Girl Review

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Plot: Tsugumi, now an adult, finds herself the target of a Hell Girl client. Who is targeting her and why? Will she avoid the fate that comes with that dreaded string pull, or will her life be spared from the depths of hell?

Breakdown: There’s a lot to unpack with this one.

First of all, let us officially welcome back our girl, Tsugumi.

Second of all, let’s mourn the fact that Hajime seems to be basically officially gone now. Tsugumi talks about him like he’s dead, the professor dude never seeks to contact Hajime himself, and Tsugumi goes on about how she’s tired of being alone. Still don’t know what happened to him or, more to the point, why the writers chose to dust him and completely gloss over it. He was a major character all throughout season one. You can’t just do him dirty like that.

Third of all, hip hip hooray, it’s the first time in quite a while that Yuzuki has had so much screentime.

Fourth of all, pbbbtttt, she’s still not doing anything. You’d think she’d have more impact in what is, by far, the most interesting and plot-centric episode of the season so far…..but nope.

Yuzuki is basically a living bad reaction channel on Youtube. Most of the time she says nothing and the rest of the time she’s giving meaningless responses that are neither entertaining nor insightful. She’s also being kinda annoying in that same way Hajime used to be annoying, but worse. She acts like the Hell Team are terrible people who don’t think about the consequences of their actions in sending people to hell.

Tsugumi is much more interesting than Yuzuki in this episode. She can still see and sense things related to Hell Girl, which is how she knew she was a Hell Girl target without anyone telling her. She alludes to a vague past ‘sin’ that she is guilty of. She’s, for some reason, completely resigned to her fate as a victim of Hell Correspondence. In fact, she’s pretty much welcoming it, seeing it as a fitting fate for her. You can also interpret it as her longing to see Hajime again, if the theories of him being in hell are accurate.

Despite the fact that she avoided her previous ‘fate’ she is very firm in the idea that no one can avoid their fates, thus Yuzuki is destined to be the new Hell Girl no matter what. But, this just in,

Finally, we have some interesting theories involving Hell Correspondence brought to you by the client of the week, Shogo Mizorogi.

Mizorogi is a famous and incredibly skilled mathematician who has been researching Hell Girl for years. When he was a child, his mother sent his abusive father to hell. A couple years later, his mother also vanished, seemingly being another Hell Girl target.

He became fascinated by the concept of hell when his formula, the Mizorogi Constant, revealed that other worlds, including hell, do indeed exist absolutely. The book that Hajime wrote on Hell Girl greatly helped his research on the subject. In order to get more information, he wanted to lure in Tsugumi and the Hell Team, so he created some sort of weird generator that creates a force field which repels the powers of the Hell Team (though Ai is instantly able to destroy it.) and input Tsugumi’s name into the service.

Wanyuudo brings up the obvious issue of, if Mizorogi has no grudge against Tsugumi, how was he able to even access the Hell Correspondence website, let alone get a request through?

Somehow, Mizorogi created false hatred through hypnotherapy. This may seem silly, but he’s actually highlighting an issue that has plagued the series in various ways. Sometimes, Hell Correspondence seems easily manipulated. Usually, no one manipulates it on purpose, but many times people have ridiculous reasons for their grudges, are mistaken about their grudge, target the wrong person or there’s a general misunderstanding. In other words, Hell Correspondence requires hatred, but the hatred doesn’t have to be objectively ‘valid.’

Out of this revelation Mizorogi came to a striking conclusion – hell is actually a fabricated system created by weak humans who resort to ‘curses’ to solve their problems. The ‘ultimate irrationality’ created to be separate from the morals and ethics of mortal society.

In order to prove this, he strapped Tsugumi to what I can only describe as a crucification device and hung her over his fancy machine with intents on sending her to hell and analyzing the data from her being transported. He has a specific trigger phrase which will end his hypnotic hatred after the string is pulled.

Suddenly, before he can pull the string, Ai says his trigger phrase, which is her signature ‘Would you like to die this once?’ At first, you kinda think Ai saved Tsugumi on purpose. Nope.

Out of nowhere, Mizorogi’s assistant, Kikyou, reveals himself with a Yamawaro doll. He pulled the string, targeting Mizorogi, which is what prompted Ai to say her catchphrase.

You may be wondering why he did that. Well, along with revealing Kikyou in the shadows, we’re also shown a large group of children alongside him. Kikyou reveals that Mizorogi was suffering from his research. His Constant was originally intended to help produce unmanned military weaponry, which was appealing to governments because it greatly reduced loss of life. Still, he was helping create weapons that would kill plenty of innocent people.

Mizorogi instantly labels himself a hypocrite because here he is criticizing Hell Correspondence for being an irrational system born of the weak willed and kills innocent people when he’s actively contributing to war, which in itself is irrational and kills millions of innocent people all the time.

To help offset his guilt and suffering, he adopted a whole slue of battlefield orphans. They all held grudges against Mizorogi for helping to create weapons that likely killed their parents, and Kikyou, feeling sympathetic to the children, contacted Hell Correspondence and targeted Mizorogi in their stead. All of the children grouped up to support Kikyou when he pulled the string.

Mizorogi disappears, Tsugumi is safe and sound, Kikyou will raise the children and everyone goes home.

Oh yeah, if you were wondering why and how Yuzuki was there for any of it when she wasn’t ‘invited’ so to speak, she sensed Tsugumi was the target, somehow knew to go to Mizorogi’s mansion, and then, like I said, she just kinda watched and complained the whole time.

This episode was indeed very interesting and definitely one of the best of the season so far. The ending kinda came out of nowhere and really requires a few rewatches of that final scene to understand what is even going on, but it’s still good.

I like that Tsugumi is back in the fray, even though she’s become very depressed and despondent. #JusticeForHajime though.

I also liked that all of the Hell Team, even Ai, seem to have retained a soft spot for Tsugumi. They’d still do their jobs if Mizorogi pulled the string, of course, but they all show a great deal of concern for her and desperately don’t want to ferry her to hell. I thought that was pretty sweet.

I’m pretty sure nothing will come of the theories presented in this episode, but they’re definitely points to ponder.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels Episode 19 – Snow, Moon and Flowers Review

Plot: Kaori Nakiri is the sole heir to her prestigious family’s flower arranging school, even though she doesn’t have a desire for it. A woman named Yukina appears shortly after Kaori’s father’s funeral to reveal that she is the result of an affair Kaori’s father had and that she’s entitled to half of the estate. However, she wants more than that – she wants to be the heir to the flower arranging school. Considering Kaori’s complicated extended family and how stern they are with tradition, it’s not Kaori’s place to give the role to her, but Yukina will get what she wants no matter if it’s given to her willingly or not.

Breakdown: I’ll be honest, I went into this expecting to sleepwalk through it after watching the preview and, yeah, I sleptwalked through most of it…..Until the final third where things just got so ridiculously insane that it was like an alarm clock made of confusion went off by my ear.

The first two thirds is what you’d expect. Yukina’s a manipulative snake, I don’t care about flower arranging or the school, Yuzuki’s here, we’ll get to her later, Kaori has a thing with her childhood friend/devoted employee/love interest, Tsukio, and blah blah blah. Get to the helling already.

Well, we do.

And….uhh….huh.

Things get messy when Tsukio overhears Yukina plotting to poison and kill Kaori in order to inherit the land, the house and the whole spiel and sell it off to make bank. She never really cared about the school, dunno why she even brought it up.

When her cohort tries to poison Kaori’s drink, Tsukio takes it from her, chugs it, and tells the guy to tell Yukina that her plan has failed.

…..So, uhm….dude….what the hell? The drink didn’t need to be consumed. Just take the drink and tell her it’s poisoned. Have it tested, if need be. Why drink it?

Tsukio has three days, max, to live, and no one’s trying to bring him to a hospital or trying to get an antidote from Yukina or arresting Yukina or anything. Just, welp, nice knowin’ ya Tsu-boy!

As Tsukio lays dying, one of her family members or whoever that was reveals that Tsukio was actually her brother. Her father used to say something like Snow, Moon and Flowers, which indicated all of his children – Yukina for snow, Kaori for flowers and Tsukio for moon. Tsukio wanted nothing more than to be a vessel for the flowers, which, yes, does sound like innuendo given the circumstances, but the meaning behind these words is actually much creepier.

The guy reveals that the Nakiri school is merely the public flower arranging school that the family runs. There is actually a secret school meant purely for the main branch of the family called the Hyakki school (which I believe is a different pronunciation of the kanji in Nakiri, but I could be wrong. That’s what the opening implied.)

The man leads Kaori to the underground school…..and…..What the flippin’ flapjack is all of the this? Kaori is presented with a wall of skulls. The skulls belong to each of the former heads (haha) of the family. They believed that true beauty in flower arranging can only be achieved by arranging flowers in these skulls. According to them, flowers and death go together hand-in-hand. Her father claimed that you can tell the truth about someone who has died by seeing what flowers grow in the ground over their dead bodies.

…..Kay.

Having contacted Hell Girl on Yukina earlier, Kaori now knows what she must do – she must kill Yukina and crazily arrange a bunch of flowers and creepy plants in her father’s skull. Struck with, let’s call it, ‘inspiration’ she also realizes that Tsukio was dying for this express purpose. He knew about the Hyakki school and wanted her to use his skull to create a beautiful flower arrangement. As he lay dying in bed, she agrees to his final request.

So, yeah, uhm, what?

Where did all that even come from? I don’t know what else to say. I am flabbergasted. I guess I’m happy that it didn’t end up being fully boring, but sudden weird creepiness doesn’t automatically equal quality. Held my attention more, but it was more like it was being held hostage.

Since we’re getting closer to the end of the series, Yuzuki is finally playing a bigger role, if only slightly. Yuzuki befriends Kaori quite randomly, but she’s not really a part of her story. Instead, she gets more of a very minor B plot.

Yuzuki recognizes Ren, Hone Onna and Wanyuudou as workers at the funeral, which is shocking to them because they have the power of misconceptions. Basically, they can be out and about disguised at whoever or whatever, and, if someone sees them as two different personas, they won’t recognize them. They’ll just believe they’re entirely different people. Dunno why they can’t just change their appearances, but that does answer some questions I’ve had lately.

Since Yuzuki is no longer feeling the effects of these powers, it’s taken as an indication that she’s ‘awakening’ and Ai will need to tell her about her fate soon. Sure enough, at the end of the episode, Ai reveals to Yuzuki that she has an inescapable fate of taking over her job. One day, Yuzuki will be the next Hell Girl.

And that’s about it. I already knew that, and it was hardly a secret. I thought they already pretty much established that to us a long time ago, so it’s really only news for Yuzuki. At least things are moving along with her plot, but talk about a snail’s pace.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels Episode 18: Special Radio Review

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Plot: Chiriko is a big fan of a popular local radio show called The Midnight Silence. She sends in letters to the show frequently, which are sometimes read on air by the dreamy host Jotarou. She’s become one of the most featured fans under the nickname Chi-Chan, and she’s even become popular at school for her status on the show. However, the “truth” behind the show may not be to everyone’s liking.

Breakdown:

Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t Say it. Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t Say it.

This episode was stuuuuu—-

Stop! No!  ~Positive vibes~

This episode….rrrgh….was…….SO DUM–

Come on, you can do this. Deep breath.

This episode has a severe problem with being good.

In that it’s not.

Well…..baby steps, I guess.

I know I’ve brought this up before, but you know how, in the first season, it was difficult to sympathize with Hajime’s crusade to stop the use of Hell Correspondence because he kept finding cases where it either seemed incredibly justified or the person in question pulled the string at a moment where it saved their lives?

This case should have been in season one because it’s just the type of pointless abuse of the system that Hajime was looking for.

Okay, ‘abuse’ is a strong word, but to say the client today had a ridiculous reason for contacting Hell Girl is an understatement.

Before we cover that, though, I have a question – are radio shows still that popular? At least with teenagers. I feel like I’m watching an old school early 90s anime. Every person in Chiriko’s class (especially the girls) either currently are or quickly become huge fans of this radio show where it’s literally just some guy who sounds attractive saying really cheesy stuff to make the girls all swoon. He reads fanmail on the air, and Chiriko becomes very popular suddenly because she’s one of the most frequently read writers to the show under the pseudonym ‘Chi-Chan.’

Not only do all these girls own a boombox, but they’re all entranced every night listening to this dude and doing nothing else but staring at the stereo.

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This series was made in 2008-9, so it’s not that recent, but still. Maybe radio’s popularity has stayed stronger in Japan or maybe I’m out of the loop with anything popular. I dunno. Just seemed strange to me.

Anyhoo, as I said, Chiriko, or Chi-Chan, is a big fan of this radio show, hosted by the swoony Jotarou. Every time he reads a letter on air, he sends the writer a bell as a gift. Chiriko has collected several of these bells and lovingly wears them on a bracelet.

After she’s ousted and made popular as Chi-Chan, she meets another fan of the show, Kaname. She’s had more fan letters read by Jotarou than Chi-Chan has, going under the moniker of ‘Frog Princess.’ They become fast friends, and Kaname suggests that they both head down to the radio station to thank Jotarou for everything he’s done for them.

When they arrive, they manage to bump into Jotarou’s co-host, Yume. Turns out, Kaname is also a big fan of Yume because she’s such a great scriptwriter. (Yeah….One of the segments of the show had Yume asking what behaviors Jotarou likes in a girl. He was scripted to respond with “I like a girl who dries her hair after a shower and one that uses shampoo.” I get that, like boy band songs, when the intention is to woo a bunch of teenage girls you have to be vague and act like whomever is being addressed could possibly be any girl who is listening, but this is so bad I legit can’t tell if it’s a joke. High quality writing, Yume.) Kaname is an aspiring scenario writer, and she dreams of working on a radio show some day. Both Kaname and Yume enjoy a pleasant exchange, but Chiriko is in a state of shock……because she never realized the show was scripted.

That, my dear friends, is the motivation for the client this week.

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No, I’m not kidding. Chiriko contacts Hell Girl that very night and pulls the string the next day as she’s walking into school with Kaname. She sends Kaname to hell purely because she revealed that Jotarou’s show was scripted.

I am currently in the process of trying to be less harsh on the stuff I’m reviewing – try to be more positive – but COME. ON. What IS this?

Let me be clear – Kaname is completely innocent in this. She didn’t reveal that the show was scripted just to be an ass to Chiriko. She legitimately loved the writing on the show and thought Chiriko knew it was scripted. She never once appeared like she had malicious intent in her actions. Not even Yume was being condescending or cruel with her words. In fact, she gave a copy of the newest script to Kaname and encouraged her in regards to her dream of becoming a scenario writer. She was perfectly pleasant when she could’ve easily been a typical famous snob.

After Kaname is sent to hell, Chiriko enters a complete delusion that the show’s not scripted and essentially goes bananas. Her bracelet is now absolutely loaded with bells, and she loving hugs her radio when she’s listening to the program.

There was never, not once, ever any indication that this girl was this obsessed with Jotarou or this show. Not to the point of sending someone to hell over it, and not to the point of going coo-coo for Coco Puffs once she finds out it’s scripted. She was a big fan, sure, but nothing ever indicated that she was anything more than that. I wouldn’t even call her a super fan or anything of the like. She also definitely had a crush on Jotarou (whose face is never shown, by the way) as well, but, again, nothing ever indicated that she was obsessed with him or even in love with the guy.

Everything in this episode was so normal that most of the runtime didn’t even feel like a Hell Girl episode. In fact, if Ai and the others didn’t pop up a few times over the course of this episode, I’d probably forget it even was a Hell Girl episode until the very end.

Speaking of Ai and the others, they were acting strangely in this episode. Ai seemed like she was actually interested in the show and Kikuri was making Yamawaro write in a bunch of letters to the show so she could get featured.*shrug*

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Back to the topic at hand, I was thinking maybe Jotarou would turn out to be a jerk, or Chiriko would be superficial and Jotarou would turn out to be unattractive, or Kaname would send Chiriko to hell for impeding on her status as the most-read fan letter writer of the show, but no. Granted, those motivations are silly too, but they’re both better than this.

Chiriko’s a teenager. She has to be aware that most things in media are scripted and fake. How many shows go completely off the cuff? Even if she didn’t know, why does the show being fake have to impact her views on Jotarou? Maybe he actually is a really charming, handsome and romantic guy in real life. Just because he’s fed lines to say doesn’t mean he’s not still someone she can admire.

Why target Kaname, for that matter? Shouldn’t she be more upset with Yume for helping create this illusion or Jotarou himself for seemingly being a liar? Why target Kaname just for accidentally revealing the truth to her? She also pulled the string immediately after making sure Kaname didn’t tell any of the other girls about the fact that the show was scripted, like she’s protecting them or something. Chiriko, I doubt all of the girls in school are as naive as you. Heck, Kaname didn’t just know the show was scripted – she knew Yume was the writer. It’s not like they’re keeping it a secret.

Now Kaname’s in hell and Chiriko’s bound for hell all for what? Nothing. There have been some really silly and ridiculous reasons to send people to hell in this show, but this one might just top them all.

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Oh and Yuzuki? She’s here. She’s just watching from the background until the very end where she’s seen running up to Chiriko seconds after she had already pulled the string and then we later see her flopping over onto her desk in exasperation as she listens to a staticy radio with Ai looming behind her.

I kinda wanted to yell when she did this. She’s acting like she’s exhausted from all this Hell Girl business when she literally did nothing – again. She had a vision and jogged for a few seconds.

Sorry I kinda failed in my quest to be a little more positive today, but sometimes you can’t avoid biting into a bad apple.

Oh well, maybe next episode will be a bit better.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 17: Inside the Straw Review

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Plot: Yamawaro’s backstory unfolds and….I dunno. Fitting that he’s a mushroom spirit, because I feel like I just took a bunch.

Breakdown:

I don’t even know where to begin with this. When I saw the preview for this episode, I was uninterested because I don’t much care about Yamawaro’s origins, but now that I do know Yamawaro’s origins, I feel a strange cocktail of emotions beginning with an ounce of confused and topping off with ten gallons of “What is actually happening right now? I feel like my brain is trying to escape my skull.”

I’ll try to summarize best I can.

Yamawaro was a mountain spirit or a mushroom spirit who spent his time alone in the mountains. Sometimes, he would, for some reason, take the form of a naked boy. Other times, he would take the form of a bunch of mushrooms. And still other times he would take the form of a naked boy…..covered in mushrooms….Don’t ask. I don’t know.

Ai stumbled upon him and invited him to join her group, but he initially declined because he believed being alone was just how you were supposed to live.

Later, he found a happy family living in a house near the mountain – two loving parents, Fujiko and Risaburo Ashiya, and their young son who looked incredibly similar to Yamawaro’s human form. The son, Hikaru, tragically died shortly thereafter in an accident in the swamp. His parents were devastated.

Cut to several decades later, the mother, now an old woman, is bedridden and reaching the end of her life. She wishes to reunite with Hikaru and knows she will soon see him in the afterlife.

Yamawaro, for reasons beyond even his understanding, decides to appear to her (naked again) claiming he’s Hikaru so she can give the woman’s life some happiness before she passes. The father is wary of him and later we’ll find out that he knows Yamawaro’s not human, but he doesn’t want to break the illusion and hurt his wife.

The father also happens to be a…doctor…scientist….botanist…medicine man? Some combination of the three? He’s been trying to grow something called caterpillar fungus, which, he surmises, can somehow be used to make a medicine that will bolster a person’s health and grant them longevity. He wants, more than anything, to give his ailing wife more time on this earth. He requests Yamawaro to assist him in his research. Caterpillar fungus needs to grow on a living being, but every animal he’s tried to grow it on hasn’t produced adequate results. He knows Yamawaro is a supernatural being, so he hopes that the fungus will react better with his body. What a coinky dink that Yamawaro happens to be living mushrooms…..I think….right? Why is this Yamawaro’s backstory episode and I’m still confused as to what he actually is?

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This better not be some sort of weird-ass Mario crossover.

Next comes a….very, very uncomfortable scene where the father applies a special medicine to a fully naked (barring a towel) Yamawaro’s back while chanting something that supposedly makes the medicine work? This is bad enough, but Yamawaro starts moaning and develops a blush on his face…then he starts….panting and sweating….

Look, I get that he’s moaning in pain and the blush, panting and sweating are probably a result of a high fever, but this is still extremely disconcerting to watch.

Spores and mushrooms start growing very quickly all over Yamawaro’s body to the point where he’s basically entombed in them. Slicing off some pieces from the growth, Risaburo makes his concoction, that he calls Ambrosia, and gives it to his wife.

The potion actually works. A little too well, actually. Fujiko reverts back to her thirties somehow. The experiment was a massive success, but Fujiko couldn’t stand what her husband was doing to Yamawaro. The poor boy was wrapped up from head to toe in bandages, because he took so many of the spores I presume, even though the first sample seemed like enough, and she was concerned that Risaburo would continue to experiment on him. She secretly brought him back to the mountains and told him to run away, which he did. Eventually, he must have made his way to Ai to join her team.

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In present day, things only continue to get more confusing, if you can believe that.

Ai has a request from Fujiko, and Yamawaro insists that he be the one given the job. Ai agrees. He doesn’t plan on stopping the ferrying if she chooses to pull the string, but he hopes that he can convince her to not pull the string at all. Technically, they’re not supposed to interfere with cases, but they seem to have thrown that rule out the window at this point.

Kikuri later finds the straw-dolled Yamawaro lying in a bed in the Ashiya household while Fujiko falls back under the delusion that Yamawaro is Hikaru…..even though….ya know….he’s a straw doll now. Yamawaro also shows his doll’s insides to Kikuri, which, as shown before, is a bunch of fungus. The dialogue points at this being a result of the experiments, but wasn’t he a mushroom spirit before? Did he just turn into a bunch of mushrooms for funsies?

Fujiko has called Hell Girl to send her husband to hell for making Yamawaro suffer for his experiments. Fair enough, I suppose, but why did it take her so long to call her? And if she was considering doing that anyway, why not call her, pull the string and not send Yamawaro off into the woods? Then she could live the rest of her days happily with ‘Hikaru.’

Now…here’s another weird thing. Fujiko contacted Hell Correspondence…..via a newspaper. This isn’t a new thing – Ai used to get her clients from blank newspaper ads back before the Internet, but the scene where they show her doing this is in black and white and she’s young again. She’s still young in present time because of the potion, but the use of the newspaper and the scene being black and white makes me think this was way back when Hikaru died. I guess this is meant to be recently, because they never say she got a doll back then, but they made this shot look way too similar to a distant flashback for me to be certain about it.

Fujiko is suddenly old again now….??? She was in her thirties literally ten seconds ago. She aged fifty years between shots……Whatever. She finally confronts her husband with the doll, accusing him of also having something to do with Hikaru’s death, but he denies this and says it was just a sad accident.

The dialogue is really unclear for the rest of the scene. The best I can make of it is that Risaburo was actually more intent on just finding the secret to eternal life more than he was in helping his wife, I guess. He just said that to trick Yamawaro into helping him….I think. He knew he needed a non-human specimen for his research…somehow…and pure luck lead Yamawaro to them so he took advantage of that. But then he muses that it actually worked and that it saved him trouble? Why is he so confused about why it worked?

Fujiko pulls the string and Risaburo is sent to hell.

However, the weirdness doesn’t even end there. After the string is pulled and everything’s all said and done, Yamawaro rushes to the Ashiya mansion to witness it….sinking into the lake….for some reason. Also, Fujiko’s in there….young again….holding Hikaru…..Is she already dead? Why is the house sinking? There was never any indication that the house was at risk of sinking. Truth be told, I didn’t even fully realize it was situated on water. I knew they were near a swamp, but that’s about it.

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So, class, can one of you please enlighten me on what the hell I just watched?

I kinda feel like the Hell Girl stuff was unnecessary. Was the guy a terrible person? Yeah. Did he deserve to go hell? Probably. But the timing was really weird, and I honestly didn’t feel like I hated the guy enough to want him to be sent to hell. I don’t much care that he did, but I wasn’t rooting for it.

This is another one of those times where I feel worse for the client because now she really won’t ever be back together with Hikaru again, no matter what was shown in the window. Unless Hikaru’s in hell too for whatever reason.

She should have taken this into consideration when she called Hell Girl. She’s been so intent on reuniting with Hikaru one day. It’s been her one driving focus in her days after Hikaru died. Why would she sacrifice reuniting with her son in peace in Heaven just to send Risaburo to hell for kinda hurting someone who’s not even human? She could’ve just left him or stopped consuming the potion. She would eventually die a natural death, and Risaburo, without Yamawaro around, would die some years down the line and be sent to hell anyway. It’s rather pointless.

The story, boiled down, is fine. Yamawaro connected with some grieving parents in the twilight of their lives because he took pity on them after they lost their son and decided to fill the void for them. He eventually needed to leave, and, realizing the benefits of relationships to other people, he decided to join the Hell Team. But when everything else is added to the mix, it just becomes too confusing and weird to be worth any real value.

The only two things I gained from this episode are learning a little more about Yamawaro, kinda, I still don’t even have a good grip on what he actually is, and seeing Kikuri be *gasp* nice and tolerable for a change. She’s actually having a good discussion with Yamawaro and is defending him. It’s like she’s a completely different person in this episode (and she didn’t need to be wound once for some reason.)

…….Am I forgetting something?……….

……………………OH YEAH, Yuzuki! She exists! Right. She was here for literally one minute of screentime. She went to the Ashiya mansion to talk to Fujiko about Hell Girl. She thought the person would be in her eighties, but the only people living there were in their thirties, so she just….frickin’ left and never came back.

Protagonist of the year.

Didn’t investigate further. Didn’t ask for their names. Didn’t ask if she had contacted Hell Girl or anything. Just ‘Oh I must have the wrong house. Guess I’ll leave the episode now.’


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 14: The Street Corner of Bitterness Review

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Plot: Yuzuki now possesses the ability to sense people who are going to contact Hell Correspondence soon. The next client is a girl named Hidemi who accidentally garnered a bad reputation after being photographed with a delinquent in the city. She plans on sending the person who spread the photo of her to hell for ruining her life.

Breakdown: (Note: I somehow overlooked posting this episode’s review in the proper order, but it was just brought to my attention today, so better late than never. Sorry about that. Enjoy! :))

…..*lip smack* This is what we’re starting the second half of the season off with, eh?

Okie dokie.

First of all, Yuzuki is basically now all but cemented as being a less interesting fusion of Tsugumi and Hajime. At least she’s actively trying to stop people from using the service now, but she’s bad at it. She’s also bad at seeming like she’s emotionally invested in anything. At the end of the episode, she’s overwhelmed with the amount of people she’s sensing will contact Hell Girl and is clutching her head trying to get the bell sounds to stop, but I don’t really believe her response. She’s acting way too unemotional about it. Even when she was begging Ai to bring Akie back she was just barely emoting.

Also, side note, apparently Yuzuki’s friends haven’t been bothered all that much by Akie disappearing. I understand that because even I forgot for a little while.

Second of all, this story is a massive mess from start to finish.

Hidemi was in the city for a test, she spent too much time at her friends’ house and ended up missing the last train home. She also broke her cell phone. Unlike most people who would visit various shops, or even stop people on this busy street in this highly populated city, and ask if she can use their phone to call her parents or even the friends she was visiting, she decides the best course of action would be to spend some money at the arcade trying to get a stuffed cat, then sit on the sidewalk and fall asleep…

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It’s implied that she was worried about getting caught by the cops because she was young and out late at night, but is anyone really going to press charges against this kid for missing the train? Also, if she’s worried the cops might hassle her, why did she choose, of all places, the middle of the sidewalk to sit down and even fall asleep?

She’s awoken by aforementioned delinquent, Kinya, and he offers to take her back to the convenience store in which he works where the only other person there is a guy who looks just as skeevy if not moreso as Kinya does.

She finally has the opportunity to call home, though….and chooses not to….because she sees this as an adventure or something. Let me make it clear that Hidemi is very much a shy and proper young woman. Nothing about her even suggests that she has hidden desires to be any sort of rebel or anything. She comes off as the kind of girl who would find not putting the chip clip back on the reduced salt kettle chip bag as an act of rebellion. I’m not saying she can’t just be really good at concealing this part of her, but I am saying that it is strange. Not to mention the fact that it’s a dickish thing to do to stay out in a strange city all night and neglect to call your parents. Even if you want to have some neat little convenience store adventure, they’re still probably worried sick and it’s rude to not at least tell them that you’ll be okay on your own until the trains start back up.

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She spends the night there, and Kinya walks her to the train station in the morning, which is where she gets her picture taken by someone off-screen. It’s in the morning, not at night, and it’s not like there’s any implication that she’s romantically with him or that she’s a prostitute or anything. She’s literally just walking next to him and talking.

The photo spreads and ‘ruins’ her life, which I don’t get. Do people really have nothing better to do than gossip about a photo that looks about as incriminating as a picture of her jaywalking? And that’s all they’re doing by the way – gossiping. No one’s treating her differently outside of whispering around her. Yet that’s somehow enough for her to wish whoever spread the picture to be sent to hell.

The only way it gets worse is through more stupidity.

Kinya was a punk, but he was legitimately nice to Hidemi because some old guy in an alleyway was nice to him and told him that being nice was good or whatever.

It seemed like Kinya might actually be turning into a decent guy, but then, after the commercial break, Kinya’s suddenly viciously beating the old guy in the alleyway because he believes he’s secretly super rich. His reason for thinking this? The old guy wears a big coat when it’s really hot out….so he’s…hiding…money in it something, I dunno. Why he suddenly starting thinking this I also don’t know.

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He gets arrested for the assault, but he also acts like he’s proud of it. He wants to be a big shot and getting arrested by the police will only increase his prestige. He even plans on bragging to the cops about everything else he’s done….This guy is a major league moron.

Yuzuki had convinced Hidemi to go with her to see Kinya in order to help clear her name and improve her reputation, but they both witness his spectacle as he gets arrested. She flips out because he’ll probably be featured in the papers (doubt it) and people will connect him back to the photo. Fair enough in that respect, I guess. She immediately contacts Hell Correspondence on Kinya.

Kinya….Oh geez…*sigh*….Kinya escapes police custody, obtains a gun and takes Yuzuki hostage. No I’m not kidding. No, I also have no idea how those events transpired.

The point is, Hidemi sees him do this. Kinya doesn’t even recognize her until Yuzuki mentions her name, so she pulls the string.

The hell torture is okay. Everyone’s giant-ish and intimidating Kinya. Ai is massive, like kaiju-sized. It’s playing off of the fact that he said he wanted to be a big shot, but now he’s little. Haha.

As he’s ferried away, he laments being nice to Hidemi, but, uh, dude, do you really think letting some lost girl take shelter in a convenience store you don’t even own, feeding her stale bread and then walking her to a train station is properly weighted against beating a poor old homeless dude in an alley, escaping the police, popping off some shots and taking a teenage girl hostage?

Yuzuki waits for Hidemi and, here’s where I get REALLY confused. A girl with completely different hair both in style and color, a much more revealing sense of fashion, tons of jewelry, makeup and a tattoo suddenly bursts in and…that’s Hidemi. She has the little stuffed cat she wanted earlier and the curse mark on her chest, so that’s proof it’s her.

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Why does she suddenly look like this, especially since there’s no implied time skip of any kind after the hell torture? How do you go from “Oh dear, my life is ruined because I was photographed talking to a punk.” to “I’m going to change my appearance so drastically that the gossiping people from before will basically feel justified in believing I was a girl of loose morals, and more rumors will spread about me and ruin my life some more! Ya know, the reason I was miserable enough to call Hell Girl to begin with! I love being smart!” not just in general but in minutes/hours? I almost wanted to believe it was days later, but Yuzuki’s wearing the exact same clothes between when she’s taken hostage by Kinya and when we see the new Hidemi. I don’t get it.

Time issues aside, again, maybe she was just really, really good at concealing a desire to be a more rebellious girl, but they didn’t do a good job of making this connection with the audience outside of one line which could easily just imply a desire for a little more independence not that she suddenly wants to completely change herself both inside and out. Kinya’s character turn was a little more understandable because we knew he was a punk at the start, even though he was on the receiving end of the violence there, but even then he was nearly as bad in his car crash of a personality shift.

Finally, Ai’s back to being Ai fully, which is good, even if I feel bad she has to return to this job at all. They brought back the classic scene of her preparing to take someone to hell, including…her grandma….Yup. Grandma’s back. Where did she go and why is she back? No idea. She’s just here again. Somehow. I like Grandma and everything, but I never once understood her character.

Ai’s trying to teach Yuzuki about the futility of trying to save Hell Girl clients, which is more poking at Tsugumi and Hajime. I know this is for the sake of training her to be a new Hell Girl, but I am so far from caring about that plot element. She better have some gem of a backstory otherwise I’ll just feel like her entire story was a wash.

Overall, this episode was confusing and blah and I really hope things actually pick up soon, especially when it comes to Yuzuki.


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

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

Breakdown: This episode left me feeling so conflicted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now it’s time for a….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 15 – The Tortoise and the Hare Review

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Plot: Usagi is known by many people as a ‘tortoise’ because she’s mentally slow. In contrast, her brother seems to be quite successful as a DJ. What could possibly lead either of these two to contacting Hell Girl?

Breakdown: I’m gonna need you to bear with me because, dear god, this episode requires so much unpacking.

It is, for the most part, certainly one of the best and most thought-provoking episodes we’ve had in Three Vessels so far. However, with that comes a lot of horribleness and questions I never thought to ask about this series before.

First of all, I never thought this series would touch upon anyone with special needs. I am actually quite baffled they went there. They never outright say Usagi has special needs, but there’s no dancing around it – she does. She can’t make a decision on what to get out of a drink vending machine without a line of 20 people forming behind her, when she always gets the same drink every time. She can’t figure out how to open her drink, which is basically a juice box, or cut a pizza. She takes a very long time to organize her thoughts and schoolwork, it even takes her a very long time to pack her school bag. She doesn’t react verbally immediately when approached. I’m not going to diagnose her with anything specific, I’m definitely not the person to do that, but it’s obvious that she has some form of special needs.

Everyone acknowledges this, it seems, but she doesn’t receive any actual help from anyone. It’s one of those situations where people acknowledge it and they make adjustments but no one’s trying to actually provide her with true care of any kind. Again, I can’t diagnose her with anything so, for all I know, she doesn’t absolutely need any sort of professional care, but I feel like someone should be doing something for her.

Second of all, the kinda obvious play on words. Usagi’s called a ‘tortoise’ implying she’s slow, but her name is ‘Usagi’ which means rabbit, implying she may actually be faster, so to speak, than people might think. Which kinda makes sense considering the ending, but we’ll get there when we get there.

Third, back on the special needs thing……I am extremely, extremely, extremely uncomfortable at the confirmation that people with special needs can not only be clients of Hell Girl, but they can also be targets. Usagi’s not terribly impaired. She makes her way through school relatively fine, I think, and her parents apparently think she’s capable of becoming a nurse because they come to her with a plan for making that her career path. But there’s no getting around the fact that she is impaired in some fashion.

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The fact that people with mental disabilities can be clients and targets of Hell Girl is horrifying and horrible. I guess if kids can be clients and targets too then Hell Correspondence really has no limits. That’s rather frightening and upsetting.

Then there’s point four, which is how badly Usagi is treated by others. In general, people tend to treat Usagi poorly because she’s viewed as annoying and hopeless, but she gets the worst of it from the people who are closest to her.

There are her three friends, who constantly express how annoyed they are that they have to take care Usagi. They talk about her like she isn’t literally inches away from them, and they directly tell her that she should show more gratefulness for them being so caring when she’s such a bother to them.

When Usagi gets a boyfriend, meaning she won’t be relying on her friends quite so much, they get mocked by some bitches who point out that someone like Usagi got a boyfriend before them – IE the tortoise managed to pass them all, which makes them all very upset so they start making fun of her even worse behind her back, calling her a perverted tortoise grabbing at men.

Then you have Usagi’s parents, who do seem to care about her and love her, but not enough to actually get her any real help or even properly acknowledge her struggles. They ask her to make a decision about a career path, and while she has been reading up on culinary school, she can’t bring herself to say anything about it. When she fails to bring up her decision, they say, somewhat kindly, that they figured as much, so they proposed making her a nurse since she’s so nice, which Usagi accepts even though it doesn’t seem to be something she wants to do.

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Usagi later expresses that she knows her parents have given up on her and that her friends make fun of her. She works hard, but she can’t make progress because she’s ‘a tortoise.’ She smiles through everything they do either to or for her to help bear the pain, which is one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard in this show.

Finally, we have her brother, Michito, who is seen as the reliable and successful sibling. He has a seemingly good career as a DJ and was even featured in a magazine (full page article and everything) and has his own CD. Her friends even fawn over him and ask Usagi for his autograph the next time he’s in town.

Michito, however, is also an asshole to Usagi. Like her friends, Michito outwardly expresses frustration with having to deal with Usagi, even/especially when they were young kids, and also partakes in calling her a tortoise. However, there is some part of him that cares about her. When he realized that Usagi had actually chosen something to do as a career but couldn’t bring herself to say it and just accepted what her parents had chosen, he confronted her about it, seemingly upset that she wasn’t confident enough to assert her own desires over those of her parents, who didn’t even think she’d be able to choose anything.

Their relationship as a whole is rather warped, though.

Yes, people, we’re touching upon incest….again.

Usagi has an admirer named Endo who appears to legitimately have feelings for Usagi. He asks her out, and they start dating. When Michito hears the news, he is enraged. Soon after, Usagi finds photos in her mailbox of Endo dating other women. On their next date, Endo explains that Michito invited him out the other night to some music event. Without explaining exactly what happened, he apologizes to her and says he has no right to be with her.

Later, Usagi meets up with Michito and it’s revealed that they’re both the clients and they’re both the targets.

Usagi is targeting Michito because he was the reason Endo broke up with her (the Wiki says Michito forced Endo to hang out with those other girls so he could frame him and force him to break up with Usagi. I guess that can be inferred by the available information, but it’s unclear. Endo did seem to legitimately have feelings for her, and he was actually upset that he had to break up with her, so I’ll believe that.)

In turn, Michito is targeting Usagi because he is jealous of the fact that he perceived her as the fortunate one. He believes she never tries hard yet always has people doing stuff for her, making life easy for her and giving her attention. He resented the fact that he was seen as the reliable and stable one, so everyone just expected great things of him and didn’t give him as much attention as Usagi.

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Yeah, I don’t much get it either. To make matters more confusing, he claims he’s quitting music because it’s not working out for him, which is directly in contradiction to everything we’ve learned of him to this point. Michito responded to that point by saying their parents misunderstood……Misunderstood what? We saw the article and the CD seems legit too. What is being misunderstood here? He is working at a convenience store, but I just thought that music still can’t pay the bills even with his success, which, considering the fickle nature of the music business, is entirely understandable. Really don’t understand his situation, but the bottomline is that he’s jealous of Usagi.

They agree to drop their dolls into the river and forget the whole thing. Michito tells her that, even as a ‘tortoise’ she can work hard and find one of many good men out there to find love with, which gives her pause because, well, he was the one who orchestrated Endo ‘cheating’ on her and their break-up in the first place.

He returns home, and SURPRISE, he’s now locked in a hell torture. Usagi went into the river after Michito left, retrieved her doll and pulled the string. Why? Flashback to a time when they were kids. Usagi declared that she wanted to someday be Michito’s bride. Michito, however, scoffed at this idea, stating no one would ever want to marry such a tortoise. We only saw that part of the flashback earlier in the episode, but now we get a continuation where Michito returns and says he’ll agree to let her be his bride IF she becomes beautiful.

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Basically, Usagi was in love with her brother since they were kids, but he always manipulated her and treated her badly. I feel like he does have feelings for her too, slightly, but he’s more invested in just keeping her down than he is interested in anything romantic with her. Control over affection, basically. Usagi got sick of Michito manipulating her like that and using her love for him against her while not reciprocating it, so she decided to pull the string.

The last shot of Usagi is her laughing maniacally while still standing in the river proclaiming that she really can do her best despite being a tortoise, which I suppose is in pride of her making the decision to pull the string when she’s had such difficulty making decisions on her own.

God. Damn. That poor kid.

Of course, the sadness of this situation is cut by the hell torture. Michito is placed within a tortoise shell in a wild west setting and the hell team, dressed as cowpokes, shoots at him with a bunch of guns, so he retreats into his shell, which gets spun around. He doesn’t believe Usagi would pull the string after they decided to get along, and he’s thrust into hell by a missile explosion.

Not the goofiest hell torture we’ve seen, but more than enough to kinda wreck the tone of what was happening here.

Overall, though, this was truly a ride to say the least. A really uncomfortable and terrible ride, but a ride nonetheless. I certainly sympathized with the client and pretty much hated the target, but I don’t feel any real catharsis at him being sent to hell, and I feel worse than normal for the client in question. It’s just a terrible situation…..

Oh yeah, Yuzuki came up. She asked Usagi to not use Hell Correspondence when Usagi didn’t even know of such a thing at the time, meaning she may have very well put the idea in her mind.


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Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 3 Review

Chapter 11: A Gloomy Job

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come on, dude, be less dumb.

Chapter 12: The Cheat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 13: Love Betrayed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus Chapter: Tacking Stitches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next time….


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels Episode 13 – Six-Scripted Lanterns Review

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Plot: As the festival of the Six-Scripted Lanterns arrives, Yuzuki tries her best to forget about Hell Girl. However, she can’t hold herself back for long when she realizes that the latest client she saw in her visions happens to be Akie’s private tutor. She has a grudge against Akie’s father, a police chief, for seemingly abusing his power to screw over a case involving the assault of her father, who has spent several years in a vegetative state as a result of the assault. She has her doll in hand and is more than ready to use it, but she wants him to suffer first…

Breakdown: Oh my god, guys. PLOT! And Yuzuki DOING THINGS…..KINDA.

This episode is mostly Akie’s with Yuzuki just sorta hanging around again. Truth be told, even though Akie has been in nearly every instance that Yuzuki has shown up so far, I really don’t care that much about Akie. I mean, she has more personality than Yuzuki and she’s a little more likable, but that’s not saying much.

The client this time around is a complete idiot. And as a bonus she’s also decided to take on the role of the supervillain-y antagonist. Azusa’s father got in a fight with a drunk. The drunk guy hit her father and he fell over. He received a brain injury which caused him to slip into a vegetative state. The drunk happened to be the son of the head of a very powerful family, so he made it seem like the fight never happened and the accident was entirely Azusa’s father’s fault. Later, the son fled to America.

She tried to go to the police, but the police chief, Akie’s father, told his subordinate to make it seem like nothing happened. The investigation never came to be. As a result, she developed an intense grudge against the chief and called Hell Girl on him. However, she wants him to suffer before she pulls the string on him.

She somehow secretly gets hired as Akie’s private tutor and becomes very close to her (Again, some inappropriate behavior for an adult with a young teenager. What’s with this season?) After telling her story, she convinces Akie to move in with her (in the mansion Akie’s dad is ‘borrowing’? I don’t understand rich people.)

The Six-Scripted Lanterns festival is approaching around this time. During the Six-Scripted Lanterns festival, you’re meant to write down something you want to forget on a piece of paper, attach it to a lantern, put in some of your hair and send the lantern down the river to hopefully have your bad memory (or sin) discarded to hell. Coincidentally, the gates to hell do open briefly during this event, and Yuzuki stumbles upon the gateway. Seeing the silhouette of someone who looks oddly like herself beyond the gate, she tries to walk through, but the nurse from several episodes ago stops her, telling her that, if she goes beyond the gate, she will never return.

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We basically get confirmation that this is indeed Tsugumi when Yuzuki refers to her as Shibata-sensei, but other than giving her the warning Tsugumi doesn’t do anything in this episode.

Before she wandered to the gate, Yuzuki had put “Jigoku Shoujo” on her lantern and sent it down, but that obviously won’t work. Also, Akie tried to put “father” on her lantern, but she ultimately decided against it, blew out the candle on it and ran off.

I really don’t understand why Akie isn’t even trying to talk with her dad about this. She has absolutely no proof that her father did what Azusa is accusing him of, other than Azusa’s word, yet she dropped out of high school (I don’t really understand why she did that.) and moved out immediately after being told this story without giving a word of explanation to him as to why. She also nearly symbolically disowned her father entirely.

I should point out that she and her father had a very good relationship before this all went down. She definitely should have trusted him enough to at least bring up what was going on. But nope. The plot said we not only have to have Akie pick out her own tutor and never have her meet with Akie’s dad, so he wouldn’t recognize her as soon as he met her, but we also have to have her not discuss the reasons behind her moving out or turning her back on her father in the slightest. How do you expect us to fill twenty minutes?

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Her not talking to her father about Azusa’s situation is even worse than that because we as an audience never hear his side of the story. The only version of the story that we hear is Azusa’s. Maybe she’s delusional. Maybe this is a conspiracy theory. Maybe she’s just straight up lying. Maybe she’s mistaken. Who knows? It IS kinda weird that she somehow knows that the chief specifically told one of his subordinates to cover this up, to the point where she can quote him about it. Either way, her situation is sad, but she’s objectively a terrible person, as we’ll soon see.

When Akie comes back home during the festival, we get some more uncomfortable flirting, which leads to Azusa telling Akie that she should shower. I would say ‘Don’t worry. She’s not telling her that to prep her for sex’ but it seems kinda silly to focus on that once I explain why she actually told her to take a shower….

As Akie showers, Azusa calls some skeevy guy over and allows him into the shower to rape Akie. See? Terrible person. While this is going down, Azusa calls Akie’s father to taunt him about it, believing he’ll certainly be too late to stop it. However, Yuzuki….somehow knew Azusa was going to do something bad so she called Akie’s dad and rushed over to the mansion, catching them seemingly before the rape could happen, but considering how long he was in there I can assume she was definitely molested in other ways.

Realizing her plans were ruined, she makes a break for her straw doll, but Yuzuki wrestles it away from her and Azusa finally flees. Akie’s dad was going to pursue her, but Akie stopped him for some reason. I guess I won’t ding her much for this because she’s clearly traumatized, but dude, call for some other officers to find her. She just tried to have your daughter raped!

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Why is she smiling in this shot?

Akie is collapsed on the floor in tears, so Yuzuki thinks it best to leave for now. She wanders down the river when Ai’s spirit suddenly shoots into her. Ai emerges from Yuzuki’s body now with a new body of her own…..Okie….Dokie. At least we’re finally free of that magical girl transformation sequence.

Mysteriously, Ai says only “The rest is up to you…” before walking away from Yuzuki. She wonders what that could mean when the straw doll suddenly vanishes from her hands. She rushes back to Akie’s place where Akie is seemingly all better now? Dressed, happy to see Yuzuki and not a tear in her eye…..Okie….Dokie. They run to each other calling out their names and reaching for each other like the ending of a cheesy romance movie when Akie suddenly vanishes.

From the shadows, Azusa smirks with a red string hanging from her finger….

We’re spared a hell torture, but Yuzuki’s eyes flash red as she silently screams out Akie’s name in the rain.

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Okay, I’m going to try to explain what happened. So, here’s something I never considered before. It’s quite possible that Azusa changed her target. That would explain why the doll vanished from Yuzuki’s hand. I don’t think I’ve ever wondered how you would ‘fix’ it if you knew you chose the wrong target. Like, if you blamed someone for something happening but you later found out someone else was responsible. If you found that out before you pulled the string, I guess you can contact Ai again and get a different doll for the new target.

It’s either that or she was targeting Akie all along and the doll just returned to her somehow. I’m not very convinced this was the case though since the doll has never returned to anyone before, barring one or two occasions where Ai interfered, but she has no reason to do that here. I think she changed her target to Akie as a way of making Akie’s dad suffer since her plans to have her raped went bad. She was probably just planning to have her raped, let the dad stew for a bit and then she’d pull the string on him, but she changed her mind when the attempt was unsuccessful. Now Akie’s dad has to live the rest of his life mourning the loss of his daughter, which is a hell in itself.

It’s also possible that she did that to punish Yuzuki too since she was the reason her plans were foiled.

Nonetheless, they certainly provided enough proof that Azusa is a shitty and stupid human being.

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It was stupid enough for her to focus her rage on the police chief when it’s far more logical to target either the drunkard or his father, but the way we had to trickle down to Akie is more stupid than I can convey in words. Even when it came to the worst targets and the shittiest clients, they typically never considered sending someone to hell just to make someone else suffer – mostly because that’s not how Hell Girl works.

You’re only supposed to be able to input the name of the person you deem as causing you the most suffering – the person your vendetta is actually against. She shouldn’t be able to target Akie for revenge because, out of everyone involved in this story, Akie did the least to her. Hell, in the end she helped her by telling her dad to not pursue her. She had more reason to input Yuzuki’s name than she did Akie’s.

I believe it would have been the most logical to kill the drunkard. Not only is he the cause of all of this and a main target of Azusa’s anger, but sending him to hell would make his father suffer because he’d mourn his son’s death.

That still leaves the police chief, but the main people who were responsible for the suffering of her and her father would be taken care of.

Yet somehow we had to take the most convoluted and nonsensical paths possible to end up at Akie being the target.

And all for what? Just so Yuzuki would have the drive to actually get off her ass and do something about these Hell Girl visions instead of being a background prop the whole time.

Akie got fridged. Let’s just admit that. She needed to die, specifically via Hell Girl, in order for the “””””””””Hero”””””””””” to become driven enough to actually start being an active participant in the story. The writers just couldn’t come up with a decent way for someone to realistically target Akie directly, so they went to the hoop store and did some jumping.

When you really think about it, Akie would have been a better Ai replacement than Yuzuki. She has a little more personality, is a little more likable, has a more interesting background (that we’ve been made aware of, anyway) and this could have set up something for her easily. For example, say everything went nearly the same, maybe cleaning up some of the lazier and stupid aspects, but everything in the story goes roughly the same. Azusa sends Yuzuki to hell for ruining her plans and that’s the last mental straw for Akie to take at this point. It would still be fridging, technically, but it’d make more sense, and I’d rather lose Yuzuki than Akie, though it’s kinda hard to give a crap about either of them.

The very end of the episode has Yuzuki passing by a woman on the street and hearing bells. She informs us that a new pain was only just starting. Considering this was the mid-season finale, I get that.

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So…..that was a big stinky mess.

The only good things that came out of this episode are Ai getting her body back and the confirmation that the nurse from before was Tsugumi. Everything else is just a big tangled ball of plot contrivance and stupidity. Oh well, at least things are starting to happen in the main plot now. Here’s hoping Yuzuki becomes interesting in future episodes.

Rating: 2/10

Next episode….


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Animating Halloween (Finale) | Hell Girl: Three Vessels Episode 12 – Midsummer Graph Review

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Plot: Nobuo Nomura is an aspiring mangaka who spends his days getting irritated by pretty much everyone around him. It’s gotten so bad that he’s created a graph charting the various people who annoy him. When a specific person’s annoyance level reaches the goal point, he’ll use Hell Girl to send them to hell.

Breakdown: Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo……..I’m very sorry we’re ending this year’s Animating Halloween with this pile of garbage episode.

It seems like Three Vessels has a habit of following up every good episode with a dumpster fire because my god this episode was a stupid salad from start to finish.

First off, Nobuo is not a likable client at all. There have been much worse clients, but he’s quite creepy, cringey, perverted and just an overall sourpuss to be around.

That graph I mentioned? It’s actually a poster of a girl in a bikini. And the measurements he uses are little stickers he makes with caricatures of everyone who annoys him throughout the day. Starting from the foot, he adds more stickers up the length of the girl’s body until he reaches his ‘goal’ which is, of course, her chesticles. And he gets a nosebleed when he gets close to putting a sticker on her Bermuda Triangle.

His motives don’t even really make sense. Even if he did send one of these annoying people to hell, what would that do? He’s obviously annoyed by numerous people. Sending one person to hell would only get rid of about 1/8 of his problems.

Being completely fair, Nobuo does experience a decent amount of crap. He’s harassed by rude people a lot and doesn’t seem to have any real friends outside of Yuzuki’s friend, Nozomi, who works with him, and referring to her as a friend is a bit of a stretch.

However, even if you can claim he’s a good guy, just a bit on the weird and cringey side, the argument falls apart because, when things start going his way, and by that I mean he wins a manga award that is even announced in a magazine and he works up the courage to ask Nozomi out, and she accepts, he still decides that he wants to send someone to hell once they annoy him enough.

Not to mention that he spends a lot of time drawing comics in which he sends his enemies to various hells and wins the affection of the bespectacled big-bouncy-boobed maid girl, who is drawn to look like Nozomi.

Secondly, the tone of this episode is mostly comedy. Some of the shots in this episode are just ridiculous. He’ll cheer in front of a real live-action tiger picture, he’ll be framed with flowers and pink lights when he’s thinking of his crush, Kokoro, and he flips his hair dramatically with sparkles all around him when he’s happily drawing….And lest we forget the typical feature of the shy anime dude who is secretly a pervert – he gets nosebleeds all the time when thinking of girls.

Hell Girl is perfectly allowed to have comedic moments, but when it tries to do comedic episodes it just doesn’t work. Unless you’re doing those little chibi yonkoma things in manga, it’s hard to make funny stories of a show where the premise of nearly every episode is sending other people to hell and damning your own soul to hell.

This issue is only highlighted more when a character tries to commit suicide later….

Third, the ending is ridiculously stupid. Grab a seat and let me tell you about the dumbest, most ungrateful girl in the world – Kokoro.

Nobuo knew Kokoro from around school, and she was fairly friendly with him. They weren’t friends, but they were on good terms. He had a crush on her, but she never knew it.

One of the people annoying Nobuo the most was Ryuu, who was Kokoro’s boyfriend. He wasn’t really doing anything outside of being affectionate with Kokoro, but it was obviously pissing off Nobuo greatly.

As Nobuo is getting his life together, he spots Kokoro about to jump off a bridge. Nobuo rushes over and saves her from committing suicide. She tells him that Ryuu was cheating on her with three girls, but Nobuo talks her down and cheers her up before walking her home.

However, Nobuo cannot forgive Ryuu. Yes, you guessed it. Ryuu reached the titties…..by reaching for other girls’ titties.

Hell time is nigh!

But wait! It seems that Nobuo can’t access Hell Correspondence. Well, golly, that’s strange. Wonder why. Hey, Ai, who is hovering behind Nobuo for some reason also we didn’t get a transformation sequence with Yuzuki this week, do you know what’s going on?

*gasp* NOBUO’S being targeted for hell!?

Who is sending him to hell and why?

The who is Kokoro.

The why is a black hole of dumb.

Kokoro regretted opening up to someone like Nobuo and believed he would spread what happened to everyone and embarrass her, even though he’s given no indication that he’d ever do that…..so…yeah, yeet to hell. Don’t send that cheating asshat of a boyfriend to hell. Oh no. Send the guy who saved your life, gave you a shoulder to cry on, gave you some inspiring words and walked you home to hell instead.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, while his hell torture is by far the most creative and cool hell torture we’ve ever had in Hell Girl, it’s also, sadly, by far, one of the most brutal. Because he’s a mangaka, the hell torture is performed as a paper doll ‘animation.’ I say ‘animation’ but it’s mostly paper doll puppetry with some camera editing tricks to ensure we never see the hands.

While this is absolutely cool to look at, poor Nobuo gets cut up into pieces with scissors, boiled alive, burned alive, skewered with staples and folded up into a paper airplane. There have been such terrible people who deserved hell tortures of this capacity that barely got a slap on the wrist, yet Nobuo gets the worst of it. I get that they probably had more freedom with the paper puppets, but still. Forgive the pun, but what the hell?

After Nobuo is sent to hell, Nozomi mourns him. And apparently her friends are mean enough to suggest he ran away from home because he didn’t want to date her? Huh? Nozomi doesn’t believe he’d do such a thing, though.

With Kokoro, she’s already got some new asshole to date. He tells her to wear a bikini instead of the one-piece she’s wearing, so she goes off to change, but is conflicted because the new black curse mark on her chest will be revealed if she wears it. #FirstWorldBitchProblems

And that’s it.

There’s not much more to say about this stupid episode other than, holy shit, guys, LOOK AT THIS POSTER.

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TATANIC!! DIRECTED BY HIROSHI WATANAHE! WHAT. IS. THIS?! Do they even have the right to use that image? Because that is very obviously a watered down version of the real poster and those are very obviously images of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

This doesn’t even make sense as a joke. This series came out in 2008. Titanic came out in 1997. I don’t understand.

Hiroshi WatanaBE directed Three Vessels, but I still fail to make the connection as to what’s happening here. Is it an in-joke? Am I missing something? What’s going on?

Rating: 2/10 Score purely for the cool hell torture.


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