Plot: Michiru vehemently refuses to become Hell Girl, but the Master of Hell looms overhead and won’t let her escape her fate. He shows her one more case to get her to accept her punishment. Will it work?
Breakdown: Okay, I concede. I totally get why people are pissed about this season going the way it did, at least to a certain degree. I’m not sitting here banging on my desk in anger or anything, mostly because I’m just tired at this point, but I’m not happy with how things turned out.
While I stand by what I said about the rest of the episodes being good and Michiru being the best written Hell Girl parallel/replacement, in regards to backstory, they didn’t handle this ending very well at all.
You could say they handled it terribly.
I thought that they would wrap things up quite nicely and then they’d do the spiel of episode seven onward, which may or may not hurt my overall view on the season, but I’d be able to overlook it if the conclusion was still really good. Sadly, it seems like they just kinda gave up at episode five.
This entire season has been very good to this point, so I felt comfortable getting my hopes up a little bit. I really have to stop doing that.
Being completely fair, this episode is fine. As a standalone episode, it’s about the same level of quality that the other episodes have provided so far. The problem is that I wasn’t lying in the last episode review. Despite this season having twelve episodes, this is the season and (animated) franchise finale. And it’s just another anthology episode with the Hell Girl replacement stuff scotch taped to the background.
Hell Girl finales are always dedicated to the overarching story, usually because the overarching story hasn’t been given a lot of focus over the course of the season. They typically have one episode or so to introduce the main character(s) of the season, you see them pop up here and there throughout the episodes, usually not affecting many plots, the mid-season finale will put some degree of focus on them and then the final couple of episodes are dedicated to wrapping up their story.
In Fourth Twilight, however, they were already given a disadvantage by cutting the episode order in half, and then they made it worse by only choosing to make half of those episodes, which meant they had to introduce a new character, show her throughout the episodes, tease aspects of her life, explore her backstory and make her agree to be Hell Girl all in six episodes while still having the anthology structure that the show always has, and that’s just not very workable.
To make matters worse, it’s obvious that the budget for this episode was the lowest of all the episodes in the season. It wasn’t god awful of anything, but I kept getting distracted by how bad the faces looked, especially from medium to long distances. They looked laughable. The secondary main character, Tatsuya, constantly looks like his face isn’t attached to his head, and most of the time the eyes are not aligned properly. The faces also frequently look like they’re not properly angled to the way the heads and bodies are angled. It’s very weird.
There are also some instances where it looks like the digital effects aren’t quite finished. For example, there was a company logo throughout the episode that looked overly bright and like there never any shading applied to it. One particularly notable scene had a van with this logo have the text be super bright, almost like it was glowing, when the shot showed the van from the back, but on another shot when the van is turning, it’s like the entire logo was suddenly in shadow.
The CGI car that the main characters are driving later doesn’t feel like it’s finished, but that’s less noticeable.
However, the art and animation are the least of this episode’s concerns. What bums me out most of all is the fact that the overarching story part of the episode, as an ending to both the season and the franchise, is massively disappointing and poorly written.
After vehemently refusing to become Hell Girl this entire episode, Michiru just….decides to become Hell Girl….offscreen. She’s watching this case unfold and, for some reason, she suddenly appears as Hell Girl when the main character uses Hell Correspondence. And that’s it.
She never explains what she saw that made her change her mind. Even Ren points out that her decision doesn’t make any sense. The only line that so much as hints as to why she changed her mind is when Michiru noted that the main character, Yui, thanked Michiru for sending her target to hell, even if it meant she’d go to hell too, like she felt this was the vigilante-esque job they keep telling us Hell Girl is NOT.
What’s more is that Hell Girl is also meant to be entirely emotionless and not give out advice or influence decisions, and yet she seems to do that. While Michiru is expressionless, she still shows emotions and gives advice to Satoshi.
Oh yeah, in the credits, Satoshi, from the last episode, came back, asking Michiru to send him to hell because he hates the misery his parents are going through seemingly because of him. I don’t understand how he was even allowed to access Hell Correspondence. Are you seriously able to access Hell Correspondence if you wish vengeance on….yourself? I get that self-loathing is a thing – trust me, I know that all too well – but vengeance is a different beast. Also, he’s not really doing it because he hates himself. He’s doing it because he believes it will make his parents happier, which is another reason why he shouldn’t have even been able to access the website.
The fact that Michiru told him that he wasn’t allowed to send himself to hell kinda drives this point home. If he’s not allowed, how’d he even access the website or get a one-on-one with Michiru anyway? The only reason I can think of for this is Michiru wanted to talk to him to give him advice on staying alive and smiling for the sake of making others, especially his parents, happy. But that would be showing emotion and giving advice, which she’s not supposed to be allowed to do.
Now, I did say that I didn’t care too much how Michiru’s story ended because I just wanted Ai to pass on to heaven. I would think that would be her destination after the Master of Hell found it suitable to find a replacement for her.
But she never passes on after she hands the reins to Michiru. Ai stays in the living world with the Hell Team, whom I guess I should mention at this point are officially called The Four Straws, but I thought that sounded silly, so I started calling them The Hell Team.
The Hell Team and Ai all seem retired from the role, except for Yamawaro, who has grown attached to Michiru in the short time she’s been around and chose to remain as her sole assistant after Ai retired. So Ai just…..hangs around on earth….forever? I guess it’s a tiny bit nice because she gets to spend eternity with her friends and doesn’t have to do Hell Girl stuff anymore, but it’s not really a satisfying ending to her character or the franchise as a whole.
What makes this situation even more frustrating is that they act as if Ai doesn’t know that heaven exists. When Michiru points out that Yui won’t be able to go to heaven, Ai acts as if she’s never even heard that word before. Except Michiru clearly knows that heaven exists, and also, uhm, Ai, you have to know about heaven. It’s been part of your Hell Girl speech for hundreds of years. “You will never know the joys of heaven.”
Wanyuudou later says “Heaven, eh? Easy to say.” I can’t decipher what he means by that. Is he implying that Ai still has more to work to do to get into heaven? Is it impossible for her to get into heaven? I don’t get it.
Some commenters seemed to believe there is just another Hell Girl now – that Michiru wasn’t Ai’s replacement, but all of the sources I’ve been able to find confirm that Michiru is her replacement not another Hell Girl. You’d think if there were other Hell Girls in the world, we would have been made aware of them by now. Also, if there were other Hell Girls, Ai wouldn’t have been needed to recruit Yuzuki in the previous season. She’d just get the role the same way that Ai did.
Michiru actually makes for a refreshing Hell Girl. Her character design works quite well, and I love that she has a deep green kimono with roses on it, countering Ai’s flower motif of lilies. I just kinda think her stark green eyes should have been kept instead of giving her red eyes, even if that is a trademark.
I feel I should maybe take back what I said in the previous episode about how Michiru’s story is better overall than the previous three protagonists. I took points off of Takuma’s story because it was so ridiculously drawn out and overly miserable. I took points off of Tsugumi’s story because of how she was handled in later seasons. I took points off of Yuzuki’s story because it was Yuzuki’s story. So I feel it only fair to knock Michiru’s story down quite a bit for this ending.
While I do believe her backstory is definitely the best and certainly makes her a better candidate for a new Hell Girl than Yuzuki, I can’t pretend like her overall story isn’t negatively impacted by all this. I’m going to swallow my pride here and say even Yuzuki gave more of a fight when it came to being coerced into becoming Hell Girl than Michiru did. She resisted for many episodes, and it took her remembering her own ridiculously tragic backstory for her to agree.
After Michiru remembered her tragic backstory, she didn’t agree to be Hell Girl, even after remembering that she had enough anger and hatred within her to slaughter her entire village in a massive fire. Michiru wasn’t even involved in this case, and it didn’t have any parallels to her own story. When Yuzuki’s story closed out, it was with a case involving her best friend’s family and the woman who sent her best friend to hell.
I still don’t understand what was so special about this case to change her mind. It definitely wasn’t what Yui said because she said that to her after she had already agreed. She’s seen several instances of a person getting justice through vengeance via Hell Correspondence. Why did this particular case, that honestly didn’t feel all that special, resonate with her so much that she changed her stance?
They should have just continued the case from the previous episode somehow instead of having Satoshi randomly pop up, say he wants to kill himself and then have Michiru send him off with a pep talk.
All of this combined, if I had to rank the protagonists’ complete stories and their roles throughout the series, I’d rank Takuma’s story first, Tsugumi a close second, Michiru a close third and Yuzuki a distant fourth. I really wish they had ended the series after season two. I wish that so much. It was such a good ending to the franchise. Ai got to pass on to heaven, the Hell Team got to be normal people but Hell Correspondence still existed. It was contained and great, but they had to ruin it….twice.
As for the case in this episode, it was alright. It was a tragic situation, there were multiple levels to it, it kinda made me feel bad for them. What I don’t like about the case is the ending. They both resolved to handle the situation without calling Hell Girl, and, honestly, it may have worked if they could combat the power of the target’s family, but Yui just decided to call Hell Girl anyway behind Tatsuya’s back and pull the string. This wouldn’t be too bad considering that he also used Hell Correspondence, so it’d be poetic that they’d both be bound for hell someday.
However, that wasn’t the absolute end. She visits her father, who has been in a coma for five years, tells him that it’s finally done – she finally got rid of the man responsible for putting him in that condition….and then she pulls the plug on him and is arrested for it. I guess she wanted to end his suffering, but why did she do it in secret? If he’s really been on life support for five years, surely taking him off is an option that she’s legally allowed to make. She just has to tell people about it before she does it, right? I’ve never taken someone off life support before, nor do I know Japan’s laws on this, but I’d assume so.
Anyway, she’s taken away by the cops, seemingly heading for a life in prison, and Tatsuya is left holding an engagement ring in his hands as she’s carted off.
Our final hell torture was pretty good, but a bit sad because only Yamawaro was a participant.
Not an awful ending, but I also wish this had been handled a bit better.
I still have more things to discuss regarding this ending, but we have to talk about episode seven onward to truly close out the season. I did mention once upon a time what the problem was with these next episodes, referred to in the next episode previews as “The Reminiscence Episodes” but I think I’ll reserve that for one more review. Come with me everyone, as we close out Hell Girl in quite possibly the laziest and most lackluster manner possible.
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Plot: One last doll. One last red string pulled. Hotaru sends Takuma to hell in order to stop the cycle of revenge, but is this truly the end? Will Ai be forced to watch a child suffer through the same fate she did over 400 years ago, or will she find it within her heart to let go of her own anger, forgive those who wronged her and finally end the cycle of revenge?
Breakdown: Previously on “This Kid Can’t Catch a Fucking Break,” the defense squad viciously beat and kidnapped Detective Meshiai, who finally had some proof in clearing Takuma’s name in this whole ‘devil’s child’ and Hell Girl mess. A good chunk of the town, especially most people in the defense squad, had taken to using Hell Girl to make people disappear left and right and using Takuma as a scapegoat. The defense squad feared that suspicion would be placed back on them if Takuma was cleared, so they kidnapped and beat Meshiai unconscious, holding him in a shed, to prevent him from doing so.
Meanwhile, they set out to kill Takuma in order to end this whole fiasco once and for all.
Takuma wasn’t without a kind hand, however, as Hotaru found him and aided his escape. They took refuge in a shrine where Hotaru started reading the book about Hell Girl written by Hajime that Meshiai left behind. They learned of her horrible and familiar backstory from over 400 years ago and worried that they’d suffer the same fate as she did. Hotaru claimed that won’t happen and vowed to protect Takuma no matter what.
As bad luck would have it, and by ‘bad luck’ I mean Kikuri being a bitch again, Kikuri lead the defense squad to the shrine where Hotaru and Takuma were hiding. They took them, tied them up and lead them into a boat in a lake. They tied large rocks to them and smashed a hole in the boat before pushing it out into the water, waiting for it to sink and the kids to inevitably drown.
It looked like it was the end of them until Meshiai drove up, having escaped from the shed. He scared away the defense squad by brandishing his gun and rescued the kids in the nick of time.
Just when things finally looked like they might get better, as they’re driving home, Meshiai suddenly vanished – he had been whisked to hell by one of the only people in the defense squad who hadn’t used Hell Girl’s services yet.
The car crashed into a ditch, but the kids were unharmed. Still, Hotaru was devastated by the loss of her brother and they had no clue what to do next as they walked home. Suddenly, Hotaru stopped in the middle of the road and used her brother’s laptop to access Hell Link – she intends on sending Takuma to hell in hopes of ending this once and for all.
At this point, Hotaru’s annoying, an idiot and a bitch. Just thought I’d catch you up.
It’s remarkable how quickly her character went downhill. Initially, she was pretty cool – shaping up to be an even better detective than her brother. She also sympathized a lot with Takuma. Then she got kinda annoying because she didn’t believe Takuma’s story about Hell Girl at all, but that’s understandable. Then she was back to good again with helping Takuma escape and hide. Then she was back to annoying in how she acted after they got taken. That’s also understandable, to a degree, considering they were about to kill her, but it doesn’t mean she wasn’t being annoying flailing around in the sinking boat when told not to and knocking Takuma into the water during the rescue because she was still flailing. Then we’re back to good again as they drive home. And then it’s down to full idiot with a dash of bitch when she says she has to send Takuma to hell.
And she does it. Not even five minutes into the episode, counting the OP, she’s demanding the doll and immediately pulls the string even though;
1) Her one goal this entire time was protecting Takuma,
2) She should know that killing Takuma won’t stop the town from continuing to use Hell Link or even just being assholes,
3) She was complaining that Hell Link was causing nothing but suffering and shouldn’t exist, yet here she is calling Hell Girl and even rushing to get Takuma gone,
4) She’s immediately damning him to hell when just flatout killing him would give him a shot at heaven, and,
5) Doing this also won’t bring her brother back.
But it’s okay, because she intends on killing herself immediately afterwards.
Yeah, that’s her ‘redemption’ I guess. Just that she is going to ensure Takuma’s not alone in hell and will follow immediately. Again, I must reiterate – hell is hell. Not a place where you pal around with other people. If something in hell is making you happy, you’re either a demon, Satan himself or not in hell.
She does apologize, but that’s of little comfort or use.
And that’s the last we technically see of Hotaru. She attempts suicide via drowning, doesn’t die but ends up in a coma that she never wakes up from.
Great redemption arc.
But we have to address the most pressing question we’ve had over the course of the series – Can this kid catch a fucking break?
The answer is
Well….I guess as much of a break as this kid can get.
Let’s rewind a bit.
Hotaru pulled the string and Takuma was sent on the ferry to hell. She then immediately walked into the frigid lake to drown herself.
Meanwhile, Takuma is crying in the ferry, and Kikuri, the bitch, is taunting him. First she offers him a candy and then she says, knowingly, that this certainly isn’t the first time someone completely innocent has been betrayed and sacrificed by their friend. Takuma then tearfully begs Ai to help him.
Ai visibly struggles with continuing to row after that, and she, shockingly, decides to turn the boat around and return him to where he originated.
When he awakens, he finds Ai who is now back in her human form – brown eyes and all, even in the clothes she died in. She weakly and emotionally directs Takuma to the water, and he figures out that Hotaru tried to drown herself. Her body somehow ends up on the opposite end of the shore….in this lake…that has no tide….almost immediately after she went into the water, I guess?
The Hell team tries to wring some answers out of Kikuri, who passes out and wakes up as the full Master of Hell. She reveals that, since Ai went against her penance and returned Takuma to life, the souls of those she loves will remain trapped in hell for all eternity.
The Hell Team freaks out at this because they find it entirely unfair for the Master of Hell to renege on their deal just because Ai returned one boy. After 400 years of suffering and doing her work without emotion or breaking the rules (barring the first season finale) they believe she deserves to be free now.
And the Master of Hell agrees….Yeah, we’ll soon find that the previous two statements are really contradictory and I have no idea why. He reveals that Ai’s alive, much to the happiness of Ren and Hone Onna, but much to chagrin of Wanyuudou who reveals that, if she was merely revived in her original body, she’ll age 400 years very quickly and die all over again. Ren tries to punch the Master of Hell, but she easily sends him flying. The Master of Hell leaves and Kikuri is….dead? I guess. Not really, she’s still technically alive, but she’s lying face down on the ground and she’s shown to be fine later, but the Master of Hell is still a spider….I dunno. She’s both the Master of Hell yet she also isn’t. It’s confusing.
Takuma’s seemingly too late to save Hotaru, and this, for some reason, is the straw that breaks the camel’s back in him deciding to say ‘fuck it’ and take his revenge out on the town.
Which is dumb.
Yes, the townsfolk/defense squad specifically are responsible for this, but Hotaru’s the idiot who decided to SEND HIM TO HELL with barely a sentence said in ‘remorse’ under the misguided belief that it would stop a cycle of revenge that has been going on for hundreds of years – even more than that if you just want to put the cards on the table and say humanity’s a species of monsters who have been doing horrible things since the dawn of time.
Takuma barely knows Hotaru, either. They’ve spent about a full day, collectively, together. She was still a friend, yeah, and he should certainly mourn her, but being so upset about her “death” specifically, that’s what finally makes Takuma snap and go for the bloodshed?
To continue the comparison with Ai and Sentarou, they were cousins. He was basically her only friend for her entire life. They were close friends, family and even kinda, squickily, romantic interests. It’s a lot more believable and impacting when he betrayed her than when Hotaru did it.
He’s still got his father, too, even if he is in a coma, so it’s not like he has no one left. And he was just granted a pass from Hell Girl – he actually got a break for a change; a break no one else before him has ever gotten.
Though, honestly, I’m not gonna rag on him too much for finally snapping. The kid has been through so much these past few months, I’m surprised he hasn’t already just gone on a killing spree throughout town.
Takuma heads home to presumably exact revenge, and Ai weakly attempts to follow him in order to stop him from making the same mistake she did.
Before we get to that, however, we have to put more characters through the wringer. Let’s spin the wheel of torment!
Ah, look at that! It landed on ‘All of the Hell Team.’ Yup, it’s their turn now. What’s their special little slice of hell? Once Ai is revived, they find that she doesn’t recognize them at all. As much as they love her, as much as she’s done for them, all they can do is sit back and try to protect her from afar, knowing she doesn’t remember any of them (But this is something else that’s contradictory because, later, she does remember them….) Also, considering her time as Hell Girl is, supposedly, up, she’ll never be with them again.
Back with Takuma, he…for some reason, soaks his house in gasoline and aims to burn it down? What? What will that accomplish? He does also splash gasoline on the defense squad too (Even though that had to have been improvised considering he didn’t know they were still tailing him. Dude literally just set out to burn his house down.), threatening to burn them all alive, but guess what? It, for some reason, doesn’t work. Takuma is grabbed by one of the squad members and smacked around. He drops the lit lighter into the pool of gasoline, which quickly makes his house go up, but I guess the defense squad was so far away it just didn’t also catch them on fire?
Most ingenious plan, Takuma. Top notch. Just amazing.
I understand that Ai had supernatural powers when she returned from the dead and burned her village to the ground, killing everyone, but still, Takuma, do better.
They’re about to just beat Takuma to death in the street, right in front of a burning house, because fuck subtly at this point, I guess.
Ai somehow manages to catch up, shocking the defense squad and concerned she might be ferrying one of them to hell. However, she merely tries to talk them out of what they’re doing and starts to lead Takuma away.
Don’t think we got that happy-ish ending too soon, however, because the apprehensive guy from before, the one who sent Meshiai to hell, is now bonkers. He’s even been trying to scratch the curse mark off of his chest. And now he’s smacking Ai over the head with a shovel, proclaiming that he refuses to be sent to hell.
The whole squad joins in on the vicious beating, aiming to kill her. The Hell Team tries to interfere, but are stopped in their tracks when they realize Ai’s actually smiling at them during her beating, as if she’s finally accepted her fate and punishment for what she had done 400 years ago.
Takuma manages to stop them, however, and we hear Ai’s last words, claiming that, with this act, it’s finally over. She fades into a burst of flower petals and vanishes. Kikuri is shown watching this and crying for some reason. I don’t really know. They’ve been showing the spider and Kikuri separately so I know even less than I thought I did. Maybe Kikuri really is her own person and she was attached to Ai, for whatever reason. Maybe the Master of Hell has a heart? I really can’t say.
Afterwards, we see Kikuri in the ferry passing by the weird thing that was holding the souls of Ai’s parents. It releases them and they pass on to heaven. Kikuri reiterates that it’s all over and thanks Ai for all her hard work as she pokes at a cherry (Ai was sometimes seen eating cherries) in the boat.
In the epilogue, Wanyuudou explains that Meshiai was recording his conversation with Takuma and caught a lot of the stuff the defense squad said on tape too. How they got ahold of the tape considering he was sent to hell and had the recorder on him when he was kidnapped, I don’t know. But it’s just another point in the defense squad’s idiot column because that means they left him untied, not properly secured, with his phone, gun and a running audio recorder. They are the pinnacle of stupidity.
The point is, the recording somehow cleared Takuma of everything once and for all, even though that recording could not have included information on anything useful, being honest. They confirmed that no one believed the stuff about Hell Girl, meaning the lack of curse mark wasn’t proof, and I’m not sure I believe they cleared him of every single disappearance just by also hearing Meshiai’s kidnapping in progress.
Definitely would’ve insinuated the defense squad bastards for their specific crimes, as well as provide good proof of his beating and disappearance, but, not only is Meshiai gone so they can’t really prove he was either actually beaten or kidnapped, but the defense squad goons skipped town and no one has seen them since.
Which is complete bullshit.
Why do they get no comeuppance for their crimes? They framed a young boy for their murders. They tormented the poor kid day in and day out just to keep their cover. They beat up a detective and kidnapped him. They hunted down and tried to murder two children. They sent Meshiai to hell just for interfering in said murder plan. Them doing so nearly got Hotaru and Takuma killed in a car accident. They beat Takuma up, intended on killing him, then they beat Ai to death in the street.
I know they’re destined to hell once they die anyway, but screw it – I want them to actually pay now…Which, admittedly, is a little ironic because the ending was supposed to be about letting go of vengeance.
However, even that’s a little badly written because what ends the cycle of revenge is the defense squad viciously beating her to death? What? I get that Ai fixing her mistake, stopping the same thing from happening and finally dying was her repentance, but the manner in which it happens is just wrong. The bastards should have been arrested (House on fire, beating a kid to death in the street and still no cops or any neighbors coming out to see what’s up. Were just THAT many people whisked away by Ai in the past few weeks?) and she should have just died of old age like she was going to anyway. Pretty sure speed-aging to 400+ years old and dying that way has to be nearly equally horrific and doesn’t require any cold blooded murder.
Also, apparently, no one believing the Hell Girl excuse also means no one in the town ever tried to use it again? Technically that should just be they were unable to use it…..but….Mmmm more on that in a minute.
After that, the area became a ghost town….somehow. I have absolutely no idea why. The local mall is boarded up and filled with trash, many homes are also abandoned, the streets are littered with garbage, the people left behind seem like flippant assholes and everything there is vacant.
The Hell Team returns to the Realm of Eternal Twilight. Predictably and sadly, they don’t find Ai there. All they find is is a darkened computer and Ai’s grandmother, who is still never explained in the slightest (she’s not actually Ai’s grandma, and I have no clue what her purpose is.) She finally stops spinning string and tells them that Ai says ‘Thank you.’ which is very much appreciated considering they thought she forgot them all for good.
The Realm of Eternal Twilight vanishes and the Hell Team is left in the human world. They decide to go their separate ways for now and just live in the human world for a while.
Back with Takuma, his dad has finally awoken from his coma and is back on two feet, though he’s still recovering. As I’ve mentioned before, though, even with his dad healthy and by his side again, the kid is definitely going to need ridiculous amounts of therapy to realistically lead a normal life again. With all the things he’s witnessed and experienced, I’m surprised he can find it within himself to smile.
They visit Hotaru in the hospital. Apparently, she didn’t drown nor did she freeze to death even though Takuma didn’t immediately call for medical services when he found her, meaning she was probably lying out there in the cold snow, soaking wet, for probably well over an hour or so.
Good job. Pointlessly burning down your house, destroying all of your possessions, financially ruining your family and probably also destroying any mementos of your dead mother while also making an incredibly weak attempt at killing the defense squad that you most likely didn’t even know were following you was way more important than trying to save your friend’s life. (Keep in mind, the laptop was right next to him when he was brought back. He could have alerted emergency services with it.)
Also, this is kinda a bummer ending for Hotaru considering we never see her again. We’re pretty much just lead to believe she’ll be in a vegetative state forever. At least she doesn’t seem to have a curse mark, which makes sense because Ai never held up her end of the bargain. She likely won’t be sent to hell when she passes on, but her brother’s still dead (and I think she might be an orphan considering the only other person we ever see at her home is her brother.)
I know Hotaru was a massive idiot in the end and a bit of a bitch, and don’t try to convince me she knew Ai would turn the boat around and all that would happen to end Hell Link and redeem Takuma – there’s no way, incoming pun, in hell she knew that would happen in the slightest, but she didn’t deserve this.
So, everything’s…I guess as good as we can get on this show. It’s a very mixed bag….
Takuma and his dad walk down the hall of the hospital as they’re leaving Hotaru’s room. The girl they’re passing opens her phone, looks at a message…..
A bright red message….
….and it says her request has been accepted.
Look, I know that anyone working on horror seems to be under this belief that all endings to anything horror need to end in an implication that the ‘killer’ so to speak, is still alive and the story continues, but this ending completely ruins everything they just showed us.
“Twix, calm down. It’s probably a new Hell Girl that the Master of Hell wrangled up. Sure, there’s a new cycle of revenge out there, but Ai’s story has been told. She’s done. She’s moved on. She’s in a better place now.” ~Some person reading this maybe, though I’m probably projecting.
Yes, that is EXACTLY what I thought when I first watched this way back when.
Until, however, the third season of Hell Girl, Three Vessels, came out. Guess who’s Hell Girl…..It’s Ai….again….inexplicably. As if they completely ignored this final, concrete ending to Ai’s story.
What? Did they just like Ai’s character design so much they couldn’t let her go?
Granted, the story of Three Vessels is meant to be Ai training her replacement, which is flimsy in itself because why does she need to train her replacement? Did Ai have anyone train her? Why does the Master of Hell not take this responsibility? What, did Ai come back down from Heaven or wherever to do unpaid training? Did they recall the Realm of Eternal Twilight? Awkward reunions with the Hell Team all around?
Three Vessels is something we’ll definitely have to unpack this October because, honestly, I never finished it because I was so angry that they reconned this ending. I only watched a few episodes when it first aired and I never went back because I was just that bummed. And, from what I read online, I didn’t miss out on much and the ending is…..rrgh. But, again, let’s cross that bridge this October.
So, what of this finale, eh? In my opinion, there’s something here that could’ve really been good, but it was so sloppily written it’s hard to really like it. Many of the decisions made, even taking panic and despair into consideration, were nonsensical and harmful, and I don’t believe about 90% of that epilogue.
A lot of it was just….washed away. The horrible townsfolk who shunned, hated, feared and framed Takuma while also Hell Girling each other like it was going out of style? All left town without so much as a slap on the wrist. The murderous asshole defense squad? No one ever saw them again. All of the accusations over Takuma’s head and all of the ‘devil’s child’ crap? No one believes the Hell Girl stuff, but that being the only evidence to clear his name apparently fixes it all. His dad wakes up and is okay, which is probably the most believable thing. And don’t worry about everything Takuma’s family owned burning to the ground and all of Takuma’s certain mental trauma – everything’s magically good for him.
And even given all of that hand-waving, it’s not okay. Hell Link still exists, and someone’s using it right next to Takuma. For all we know, the finger-pointing and devil’s child stuff could start right back up again, no matter if the original townsfolk have all collectively abandoned the place. His town’s a shithole now, though he needed to move anyway what with the pointlessly burned down house. The people who killed Meshiai got off scot-free. Poor Meshiai is still in hell. And Hotaru, his only friend, is in a coma.
Lest we forget the biggest bummer of all being Ai’s redemption and freedom….apparently never actually happened….
I actually like how they went about redeeming her. Last time, she broke the Master of Hell’s rules just to exact her own revenge against Tsugumi and Hajime, who were the last descendants of Sentarou. Even though it was a bummer to see her return to work, it was understandable that she wasn’t ready to be freed yet, even if she had let go of her anger towards Sentarou. That was her first step in actually healing instead of just repenting.
Reflecting her story in Takuma and having Ai break the Master of Hell’s rules once more, but this time for a noble reason, was a fantastic way for her to actually earn her redemption and finally pass on to Heaven (At least, that’s where I assume she went.) But the fact that she had to be viciously beaten to death after she decided to help Takuma was just the wrong choice, in my opinion. Its was completely unnecessary. It’s not even a ‘bitter irony’ kind of deal because, while Ai did originally get hit over the head with a shovel when she died, she was actually killed by being buried alive.
This story as a whole also dragged on a bit too long for my taking. Were you getting sick of my ‘This Kid Can’t Catch a Fucking Break’ gag? Try watching several half-hour installments of it. Not even Ai’s actual backstory, which this is meant to reflect, lasted a fraction as long. It only got one episode in the previous season. Not to mention that, honestly, I feel like Takuma went through way more traumatic events that Ai did.
Let’s tally up Takuma’s final trauma score, shall we?
– Was shunned by people in town, accused of killing animals and causing destruction.
– Constantly harassed by one guy, who didn’t even have a beef with him specifically.
– Watched his mother be murdered by an arrow to the neck right in his home – the one he still has to live in after that.
– He’s accused of his mother’s murder, and everyone in town believes he did it since he’s ‘The Devil’s Child.’
– He finds out who actually did it and framed him for it, but can seemingly do nothing about it.
– His father is severely assaulted by the same guy, leaving him in a coma. Takuma bears witness to some of this.
– The perpetrator tries to kill Takuma immediately afterward.
– The perp is sent to hell, and since Takuma’s the only one in the room, he’s accused of making the guy disappear and assaulting his father.
– He’s forced to live alone for months while the entire town continues to shun him and spread awful rumors.
– He finally gets one friend who cares for him no matter what, but then she’s sent to hell the next day.
– People start using Hell Girl in excess and then framing Takuma for their deeds, while also continuing to perpetuate the idea that Takuma’s a devil’s child, making him even more shunned, hated and feared across town.
– Some bitch purposely waits until her target is close to Takuma before pulling the string and sending him to hell, making Takuma look exponentially worse.
– Has a detective seemingly believe his innocence, and when he’s able to provide some modicum of proof, he’s brutally beaten and kidnapped, right in front of Takuma’s door, to keep him quiet.
– Has Hotaru believe he’s at least innocent, and later believing in Hell Girl, only to have her be whisked away to the Realm of Eternal Twilight while she’s in his house, making him look even WORSE.
– A woman is able to clear Takuma’s name at least in regards to the disappearance of the dude who started this mess, but she dies immediately after giving a statement, and her statement can’t even be corroborated so it doesn’t matter much.
– He’s hunted down like a dog and forced to go on the run.
– He’s captured and nearly murdered in a slow and agonizing manner.
– He’s rescued only to have his rescuer be soon sent to hell.
– He’s involved in a car crash because of it (Admit it – car crashes are terrifying enough without the cause being ‘the driver suddenly vanished without a trace.’)
– Immediately following the crash, his one friend and confidant decides to call Hell Girl on him, pinning everything on him when he has done absolutely nothing.
– And she instantly pulls the string, sending him to hell.
– He’s granted a pardon from hell only to find Hotaru basically dead on the shore, having been driven to suicide.
– He loses his house in a fire that was completely unavoidable and made total sense. No stupidity involved. Nope nope.
– He made a lame impromptu attempt to kill the people who were hunting him, and it didn’t work.
– He got beaten again.
– Ai saves him only to get beaten to death.
– His one friend, Hotaru, even if it’s hard to still call her a friend, remains in a coma forever.
– Bonus: It’s quite possible he’s still on the hook for his mother’s murder at least seeing as how the actual perp was sent to hell and Takuma was the main suspect, only getting away from jail time for the moment because there wasn’t enough solid evidence to charge him. His father wasn’t actually a witness to the murder, and even if he was no one’s really going to believe he’s not just covering for his kid.
All of that spanned out over six episodes (14 and 22-26) when it really could’ve been three or maybe four at most, especially since some things just didn’t need to happen.
At least the stuff with Tsugumi and Hajime was spread out in small chunks over the course of half the first season with really the only final three episodes focusing on their own specific story, which pretty much needed all of those episodes. Here, it was just relentlessly pouring on so much crap on this kid one after the other. And considering one of the main facets of this show is relishing in the assholes getting their comeuppance only to find…no one getting comeuppance after ALL OF THIS is just frustrating. Only innocent people directly suffered through this whole arc, barring Kakinuma, and his suffering is bittersweet because it caused more suffering for Takuma.
I’m not saying kill them or send them to hell, but at least arrest the defense squad, show the other townsfolk paying in some karmic way. Do something! Just saying ‘welp, they all left town.’ and wash your hands of it is just lazy and enraging.
Even if they ended the series here and Ai really never returned, it’s still not all that great of an ending for her. I should’ve teared up, but I didn’t. I should’ve been far happier for Ai than I was. This ending should have been on par with the awesome ending of the first season, but it just fizzles and gives up.
It’s a good ending on paper, but the execution never reached greatness, and that’s just disappointing.
Spoiler alert for the rest of the franchise here, but as far as I know, Ai won’t finally officially leave her post as Hell Girl for good until the end of Fourth Twilight, and as far as I’ve heard, that season is a pile of stinky garbage. As I’ve mentioned, we’ll tackle her fate in Three Vessels this October.
Plot: As the apocalypse surges, Akira struggles to maintain his resolve, and Cadney rears up for his final assault. Meanwhile, the demons plot to finally break Akira by taking away the one thing in this world that gives him hope.
The world’s crumbling.
Will anyone be left standing?
Breakdown: If you’ve already read the ending of the original Devilman series, there’s not really much to hold you to this volume. It is, by default, essentially the ending of the original manga just with a few more details and added scenes put in.
The biggest buildup so far has been Cadney, but since he had no role whatsoever in Devilman, we can assume his role here is nothing to write home about.
And it’s not. It’s incredibly disappointing.
We learn that Cadney was present at the Black Sabbath party, but he was the only one, besides Ryou, to keep his humanity during the whole thing. He huddled up on the floor and believed him to be the only one to truly be a self-controlled devilman since even Akira was losing control back then. However, it’s revealed that Cadney’s demon side is really just fragments of Amon, somehow.
He starts to lose control of his demon powers and tries to assimilate with Amon. Manjirou, who had been assimilated last volume, suddenly pops up and sets Cadney on fire as his final act. That was a pretty nice twist for such a minor character.
Oh yeah, Cadney latches onto Amon later and reanimates Miki’s body to taunt him only to be decapitated a page later. Pretty pointless.
Another new scene we get is Akira fighting Amon, literally. They split off from each other and have an evenly matched fight. It’s pretty awesome, but really short lived because Ryou interrupts.
For anyone who has never read the original Devilman, I’d imagine this final chapter would be really weird. We gear up for a final showdown between Ryou/Satan and Akira/Amon, but then we cut away to the very start of the story when Ryou’s saving Akira from Dosuroku and his gang back when they were thugs. As he did then, he calls himself crazy and the story just ends. If I was reading this without having read Devilman, I’d be insanely confused, and I’d feel very ripped off.
To recap the ending of Devilman, there’s a massive battle between the demons, humans and devilmen, particularly Satan and Amon, where eventually everyone dies. Ryou/Satan and Akira/Amon are the only ones left, but we see that even Akira’s dead and Satan’s left all alone only to be destroyed when the angels of heaven come down to wipe out every living being left on earth, including the demons, and supposedly restore humanity.
They could’ve redone that, but I dunno. Maybe they felt it redundant?
Nothing else of real note happens that didn’t happen in the finale of Devilman.
When all is said and done, the first half and second half of this entire series seems to be awkwardly stitched together. Some of the additions, due to the constraints of the original series, were just disappointing, particularly Cadney in his entirety. However, each story on their own, while sometimes being difficult to follow, particularly if you’ve never read the original manga (and sometimes if you have read it) is pretty good and adds a fair amount of development and interesting scenes that were missing from the original Devilman.
The art is both beautifully and grotesquely detailed, and there are many scenes that look much better than the original series ever did. It’s not as good as Devilman, but it’s a very solid entry in the franchise.
Recommended Audience: There’s damn near everything outside of sex. There’s full-frontal nudity, though the genitals are never really drawn (nor are they covered usually, though) A lot of blood, gore, violence, and mature themes spread throughout the entire series. 16+
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Wow, the challenge is over already? Time flies when you’re salty, apparently.
I really enjoyed this challenge, and it was a nice changeup from the regular challenges. As someone who appreciates a good rant, this challenge gave me all sorts of opportunities to get some stuff off of my chest and have some fun slamming old anime adversaries.
Oddly, it even got me to appreciate some shows and characters more. The discussions I’ve had during these 23 days have given me some great new perspectives, and I think my bond with the anime community has gotten even stronger. We may not agree with everything, but not a single person gave me any sort of flak for my opinions. The mutual respect is so refreshing and greatly appreciated.
Plus, I’ve been really enjoying the responses from FuelS and Jiraiyan. Check out their challenges, if you haven’t already, and thanks to FuelS for making this challenge!
If there’s one thing I’m salty about…..it’s YOU.
Yes, you, reader! I got some salt to…pick with you! Why haven’t YOU been doing this challenge?!
Are you a chicken!?
Are you a fraidy cat?
Are you watching your sodium intake?
LIKE A WUSS?!
Do The Salty Anime Challenge! If you do, share your responses with me! I’d love to read them, non-wuss!
Wow, the end of our adventure already? Where you going in such a hurry, November? Anyway, I was actually really confused about our final prompt here. Does this mean continue on indefinitely or just a show I wish had gotten more time like another season? Because, in all honesty, even if I love a show, I’d be hard-pressed to say I’d never want it to end. Shows can have a lot of steam depending on their premise, writing and characters, but it’s incredibly rare to find a show that lasts for over a decade and still has the same staying power as it did when it started.
Western shows have the same problem. Even if a show is still okay, after numerous years of being on the air, practically everyone will agree that there is a time already passed for the show to end and give it the perfect ending. Like how in Supernatural most people wanted it to end after the Lucifer arc. Or Rurouni Kenshin after the Shishio arc.
Even my favorite shows like Baccano!, FMA(B) and Cowboy Bebop are shows I’m perfectly fine with being ended because they had a good solidified ending (Well, in Baccano!’s case, not really, but it’s meant to end that way, so yeah) and making them go on would probably just tarnish what is there.
However, I have two shows that I really wish were at least given another season. The first one in this regard is Fruits Basket.
I adore this show and its ending was…….okay, but leaves so much unresolved. We never meet the other two members of the zodiac, Kureno the rooster (though it’s hinted that the bird that Akito has around his house is Kureno given that his transformed state was a sparrow) and Rin the horse, and we never see the curse get lifted.
The only thing that was resolved was Tohru being able to stay with the Sohmas and her seeing Kyo’s true form. Just one more season is all I ask, but alas, my wishes go unheeded.
The second choice here is Ouran High School Host Club.
I’m actually pretty bummed that I haven’t gotten a chance to talk more about this series because it is one of my favorites. The ending of OHSHC is fine. I mean, technically there’s no linear storyline being followed, so the ending is really just a dramatic crescendo, but the ending is okay. I wish this series had continued on at least until their graduation. The fact that the series is mostly comedy with a mostly episodic style makes it a much better candidate for continuation over more dramatic and story driven series. And I really do just love this series to death. None of the characters bug me, practically every joke hits so well, that art and animation are great, the music fantastic and I just wish it had continued on. It may be too early to say it never will continue, but as far as I know there’s no plans for continuation.
And that, my friends is the end of my 30 Day Anime Challenge. It’s been a lot of fun and I even learned some stuff about myself. I always like doing stuff like this so maybe I’ll stumble upon another in the future. Until then, challenge COMPLETED.
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