Hell Girl: Two Mirrors (Hell Girl Season 2) Full Series Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: The second season of the horror anthology, Hell Girl. Ai continues to do her job, taking requests on her website to send people to hell and marking the clients for hell (when they die their natural death) after she’s done the deed. Day after day, request after request comes in, but she starts to falter in her duties when she meets a boy whose story becomes eerily similar to her own.

Breakdown: Continuing on right from where we left off in season one, Two Mirrors continues exploring the cases of Ai’s clients while also including new additions to the formula and the cast of characters.

Ren and Hone Onna, who originally were really only used for hell torture shenanigans, are also used as dolls in this season, relieving Wanyuudou of having to do it every time. Why he was the only one used in season one, I don’t know.

The Hell Team is also being far more involved in cases than they have been in the past. Before, they pretty much laid back and just waited for their client to pull the string. Sometimes they’d get involved, if the circumstances of the case were wonky, but for the most they wouldn’t even really appear until the final scenes. I really liked this change because it allowed the main cast to actually be, oddly enough, the main cast. It’s hard to really connect with the cast if most of what we see of them is brief glimpses where they’re playing dressup and tormenting targets.

They still do that, of course, but we get so much more of them actively watching and talking about cases, and numerous times they actually get directly involved, which is obviously a very risky move. They’re not supposed to have any influence on whether or not characters pull the string, but there are a few times where their presence and interference has seemingly affected matters either for the better or worse.

For example, in one episode Ren accidentally triggers a sequence of events – events that otherwise likely wouldn’t have happened at all – that lead to the client pulling the string. In another episode, it seems like the Hell Team, including Ai, are trying to protect an old man who is their current target from being sent to hell because he was very innocent and had noble causes in what he was doing that was earning the ire of the client.

It definitely makes the stories more interesting to have the Hell Team even just commenting on the situation in the background, but it adds so much more when they get emotionally invested and even see themselves being reflected in the stories of the clients.

Speaking of the Hell Team, we also finally get all of their full backstories – Hone Onna’s being the most fleshed out and interesting, but all of the stories being pretty good.

With good additions come bad, however, because this season also introduces us to Kikuri – a little girl with massive purple bug eyes who is basically irritation incarnate. Her true identity isn’t revealed until the final episode, but her existence still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Even knowing her true identity, which is confusing in its own right, she neither needs to exist in this story nor does she need to be nearly as annoying as she is.

The individual stories, as you can imagine, vary quite a bit in their quality, being an anthology. It’s really hard to find any anthology where nearly all of the stories in the set are equally as good, and Hell Girl is never the exception to this rule.

There were only a couple of outright stinkers, there were some shining gems in the lot, but even the moderate/mediocre episodes never usually bored me.

A disheartening theme throughout most of the stories this time around did start weighing on me, and that’s utter depression. Part of the appeal of this series is watching horrible people be sent to hell in comeuppance for their actions towards the client. It’s always bittersweet considering the client is also literally marked for hell as a payment for this service, but many times the client’s life is made much better or they have a better personal outlook towards the future. Some instances during season one even seemed to bend reality or time or what have you to make the client’s life a little better after pulling the string.

It’s essentially a problem that was plaguing Hajime and Tsugumi’s mission as well, because they, or moreso Hajime, were always trying to stop clients from pulling the string. They thought using the service was wrong, even if the targets deserved it or the clients really had no other options – sometimes in a life or death manner. Hajime basically had the catchphrase of “Revenge is bad and that’s that.”

It was difficult to really root for them too much because it always seemed like it was actually for the better for the client to pull the string instead of continuing to live the way they were. Sometimes, they had other options and means of escape and it was more or less just a ‘they deserved it’ type of deal, but many times it seemed like it wasn’t the worst thing to just send the target to hell.

Yes, this sounds terrible because it’s pretty much saying it was difficult to root for people who were, plainly, trying to stop murders, but that’s the way it’s been framed for us. The writers had to go to ridiculous lengths to create a situation that actually supported their viewpoint. It involved an unrealistically perfect woman being sent to hell by a random psycho just….because. In order to avoid writing a reason why, they immediately killed the client off. And, as you can imagine, even that wasn’t strong in their favor because, being honest, Hell Girl’s rules should have prevented that situation from ever happening.

This season would have actually worked more for them because so many of these stories are just flatout depressing. Many are very well-written, despite the downer…everything, but that doesn’t change the fact that I wrote ‘depressing’ way too many times in my individual episode reviews. There’s even an episode that seems specifically designated to just say ‘Humanity’s nothing by evil scum, has been since the dawn of time….but some of them are okay a little, I guess.’

Our very first episode, in fact, gives us a bit of a bait and switch because, while it does go back to business as usual with a horrible person tormenting a young girl, it’s later revealed that the target wasn’t the only one tormenting her – the other being her only friend – so she basically sent that person to hell, damned herself to hell and didn’t get full revenge nor end the problem.

Not every single episode is a complete downer, some even have kinda-ish happy endings, but a good chunk of them are borderline heartbreaking.

One of the worst examples was Tragedy of the V where the client is a serial killer, though he’s doing it out of vengeance for his lost family. The only family he has left is a daughter who is lost in a coma, seemingly forever. He’s deathly ill, which is why he resorts to Hell Girl for his final target, and accepts his fate after he pulls the string.

However, as horrible fate would have it, and by ‘horrible fate’ I mean Kikuri being a bitch, his daughter wakes up from her coma immediately afterward, sending him spiraling in a personal hell, realizing his horrible actions and what he’s done to his daughter. This ending wasn’t just depressing for him, it was really depressing for his daughter. She had been in a coma for years and now has to cope with learning her family, barring her father, is dead, that her father turned into a serial killer to avenge them (and not even really avenge them, but moreso avenge their honor because the targets were assholes who were goofing around on TV as they filmed the wreckage of the house his family died in) and that he’s knocking on death’s door himself.

I think the writers actually realized how much they’ve shifted into just being sad sacks this season because the hell tortures this season were sparse. The ones we actually got were typically very awesome and creative, so that’s good, but part of the fun of watching this series is seeing how the Hell Team gets creative with their torments before taking the target to hell, so it’s a bit disappointing that we didn’t get to see that very often.

Speaking of Hajime and Tsugumi, though, I was disappointed that they barely got so much as a cameo this season. Hajime wrote a book about Hell Girl that a Detective, Meshiai, uses to learn about Hell Link, but it’s also implied that he died some time between seasons one and two. I mentioned in my review of season one that Hajime never appears again, and I was a little right because he only appears in a very short flashback as Meshiai reads the book. However, Tsugumi shows up very briefly to convince Meshiai that the story is true and heavily implies that Hajime is dead.

Tsugumi only looks about one year or so older than she did in season one, so what could have happened to Hajime in the meantime remains a mystery. Tsugumi does reappear in season three, now grown into a woman, and she gets a brief few shots in season four, but we never learn of Hajime’s fate as far as I know.

Tsugumi is horribly underutilized. She could have been so much more important than what she was in season two. All she gets is literally one scene, that is actually badly written, in one episode and then she’s gone.

Before I expound upon that, let’s explore the overarching plotline for this season; the story of Takuma Kurebashi – the ‘devil’s child.’

….Oh god…Where do I even start with this kid?

First of all, Takuma’s story isn’t really overarching throughout the entire series. He first appears in episode 14, which sets the stage for all of the other horrible dominoes to fall, but doesn’t appear again until episode 22, which is the start of the rest of his story until the end of the series. Yup. He gets the last five episodes all to himself.

Second of all, he’s a really likable kid, which makes watching him suffer so much all the more painful. He did contact Hell Girl, but when he realized exactly what her services entailed, he respectfully declined and decided, instead, to let the cops handle his problem (Spoiler alert – they don’t.)

He’s always very kind and respectful of people, even when they treat him like garbage. When he’s hearing whispers in the mall, he hums to himself and ignores it, only to cry when he’s all alone. When things start getting worse, he holes himself up in his house and does disturbing things like lay in his overflowing backtub in the dark singing the Seven Sending song to himself.

He’s very non-confrontational, which might be why, when he does become confrontational, he’s pretty bad at it…..almost comically bad….I’m sorry, I still can’t get over what he did in the finale. It was just a gem of nonsense.

Third, I can’t even begin to convey to you how much horrible garbage this kid goes through over the course of this show. It was seriously getting hard to watch after a while, and it was hard enough just in his first episode. Do you know that TV Trope ‘The Woobie’? If they had an award show for Woobies, he would clean up.

Rarely have I ever seen a character go through so much shit in succession with really no bright spots along the way – and if there were bright spots, they were snuffed out within 24 hours. I’m not exaggerating, by the way. If he’d get a friend or even someone trying to clear his name, they’d be taken to hell, die in an accident, savagely assaulted into a coma, beaten and kidnapped or driven to suicide and left in a coma all within about 24 hours of either meeting them or hearing good news about something they’re doing for him.

I have a master list of all of the bad things that happened to Takuma over the course of the show in the final episode review.

If you thought the individual stories were getting to be too depressing to enjoy, you certainly won’t have a single drop of enjoyment watching Takuma’s extended plotline. You’re not meant to, obviously, but it drags on for way too long. The kid gets six episodes of torment – nearly a quarter of the entire series – suffering from one blow after the next, and usually doing it all alone. It, honestly, could have been cut down by at least two episodes and have the same effect. Hajime and Tsugumi’s story spanned many episodes in little pieces before getting their main focus, and the show continuously inserted them into regular episodes, even if they barely did anything. All of this happening at once, barring the gap between episodes 14 and 22, is just too much to pile on.

Nearly everyone either shuns, hates or is terrified of this poor kid who did literally nothing to deserve it. He’s even made the scapegoat for tons of Hell Girl clients in order to avoid suspicions being directed towards them for the disappearances they’ve caused.

Not even that makes much sense because, outside of this particular storyline, no client has ever been charged or convicted of a Hell Girl disappearance because the service never leaves a trace behind. That’s partly why the service is so appealing to many people. It’s basically the perfect murder. All you need to do is pull a string on a doll and they’re gone for good. There’s no evidence to lead investigators towards accusing the client, considering both the doll and the target disappear upon the string being pulled, and the suggestion of Hell Girl is just laughable to investigators, so it just seems like these bastards are blaming Takuma for no reason.

After all of that happens to him, none of the people who actually deserved to be punished got any punishment. The guy who started the ‘devil’s child’ rumors is sent to hell, but that’s about it – and that was in episode 14 so that was just the tip of the iceberg. Even if the ultimate message is to forgive and let go of anger, at least a little cosmic karma would’ve been nice to see. But nope. Not a single bit of punishment for them outside of being damned to hell once they die naturally.

It’s just such a hard pill to swallow. Nearly every client in this show has to suffer, but they at least get some reprieve when they pull the string, and they don’t go through half the crap Takuma does. This is one kid who even refused getting the doll and refused to lash out on those wronging him for so long, until the very end (and even then, he doesn’t do much) and he gets the bare minimum in return.

Coming back to Tsugumi’s role, she easily could have taken Hotaru’s place in Takuma’s story. Hotaru is the younger sister of Detective Meshiai, who has been assigned to the rash of mysterious disappearances in the town. She serves as Takuma’s one longer-staying confidant (And by that I mean, again, 24 hours) throughout his arc, but her role easily could have been given to Tsugumi. She already knows of Hell Girl’s story, she’s an established and beloved character, she would have plenty of reason to befriend this kid and try to help him out, and she would be able to better convince Meshiai of the legitimacy of Hell Girl. She could also make for a good big sister character if they aged her up a little more.

But nope. Kikuri, for some reason, calls her out to just briefly tell Meshiai to believe Hajime’s words from the book, not even revealing who she is to him in order to give him much more of a reason to listen to her. Then she just up and leaves and we never see her again, this season anyway.

Great use of her character. Good job. I’m proud of you.

It’s a bit of a problem anyway because Hotaru’s not that great of a character. She has her ups and downs and she truly cares about Takuma, even though she barely knows him, but she’s also irritating and ends up betraying Takuma anyway – completely pointlessly even – just so she can play the role of Sentarou in this story.

As I touched upon in the plot synopsis, Takuma’s story is meant to be a reflection of Ai’s backstory, which puts her at odds. For most of the episodes, she and the Hell Team just sit by and watch over Takuma as all of these terrible things keep happening to him. He’s not a client, but they continue to visit him and follow his plight anyway. Things come to a head in the very last episode when he’s sent to hell via Hell Link and Ai has to ferry him away.

This is Ai’s big final test in her repentance. If she decides to go against the Master of Hell’s orders, she and her parents will be doomed to hell for all time. However, if she doesn’t, she’ll be allowing another innocent person to be wrongfully damned (literally) the same way she was 400 years ago.

The resolution to Ai’s story is pretty well done, even if the absolute ending is tainted by the third season. I wanted to view this in same light I originally viewed this season way back when I originally watched it, which was when I believed it was the final ending to Ai’s story, but I just can’t shake how it’s marred by the third season (and fourth) continuing on instead of letting it end here. Is Hell Girl really such a cash cow that they didn’t want to let it end, or was Ai’s character design really so appealing or notable that they didn’t want to introduce a new Hell Girl and gamble on her instead?

Neither the ending to her story nor Takuma’s is really great, though. Ai’s turnaround lacked strong emotional impact, which is disappointing given how emotional the ending to season one was, and Takuma’s was too cleanly scrubbed at the end, even with the implications in play. There’s just no way a kid who has gone through that much horrible stuff can just get up and move along happily like nothing happened. I’m glad he at least got a partially happy ending, but still.

Bottomline: This season got knocked down just half a point from it’s predecessor because it was harder to actually enjoy than season one, and the main plotline was just a little too drawn out and relentlessly upsetting than the storyline with Hajime and Tsugumi. There are many points where this season shines brighter than season one, and I’ve even stated that this season holds some of the best episodes of the franchise, but the problem areas drag it down a little too much to really keep it at the exact same level as season one.

You don’t even get to enjoy nearly as much poetic justice as you’re accustomed to due to the change in writing or tone or whatever they were going for. Even the best episodes, even the ones that do have sweet, sweet karma in them leave you feeling depressed. Not all shows, especially not Hell Girl, are designed to make you feel good, but 26 episodes worth? That’s pushing it.

I really needed Ai’s finale to be one big uplifting hurrah to make up for it all, even if it would have to be bittersweet, but it wasn’t. It was a good note, but it was also weighed down by bad. And, as much as I hate to take future seasons into consideration, even the good in the finale is tarnished just on the basis that it’s not the actual end for her.

I hope her actual finale in Fourth Twilight makes up for it, but all I’ve heard is terrible things about that season (it’s even earned a one star rating on THEM Anime Reviews – ouch.)

Additional Information and Notes: Hell Girl: Two Mirrors/Jigoku Shoujo: Futakomori was directed by Takahiro Omori, who also directed Koi Kaze, Baccano! and Durarara!! It was produced by Studio Deen and is currently licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks, but it has yet to be dubbed in English.

Episodes: 26

Year: 2006 – 2007

Recommended Audience: Like the first season, the subject matter alone calls for a more mature audience, but, specifically, there are some brutal scenes involving people being boiled alive, beating a young girl to death with shovels, miscarriage caused by pushing a pregnant woman down stairs (though we never really see that, if I recall) a woman being shot in the neck with an arrow and more. You also have some iffy themes such as incest and rape appearing once or twice. There’s also some animal abuse and death, but not nearly as bad as some of the stories in the previous season. 15+

Hell Girl: Two Mirrors Episode 25 – Wandering Review

Plot: Takuma’s town continues to fall apart, and now the neighborhood watch group wants his head in order to return their lives to normal. They’ve viciously beaten Detective Meshiai and hidden him in a shed on one of their properties, and now they’ve started to hunt Takuma.

Hotaru manages to find Takuma before they do and scrambles to help him escape from them. Eventually, they are found, and now, since Hotaru’s an accomplice, they plan on killing her too in order to cover their tracks.

Breakdown: Previously on “This Kid Can’t Catch a Fucking Break,” using Hell Link has become the latest fad, apparently. Dozens of people have disappeared in a matter of a week or so. Even the chief of police has vanished. Half of the town is paralyzed in fear, and the other half is snickering in the shadows as they blame Takuma for their misdeeds. With each disappearance, people become more terrified of Takuma and more inclined to use Hell Link since they believe they’re destined for hell anyway due to being in his vicinity.

Hotaru explored the realm of eternal twilight and learned some vital information about Hell Girl. Most importantly, however, she proved to herself that Takuma was indeed innocent as he didn’t have a candle with his name on it, indicating he hadn’t used Ai’s services at all, let alone numerous times.

Detective Meshiai also proved Takuma’s innocence, at least to himself, by researching Hell Girl through a book written by Hajime himself and seeing that Takuma bears no curse mark on his chest. The instant he tried to clear Takuma’s name, however, one of the neighborhood watch guys stopped Meshiai in his tracks. He had used the service, as have most others on the defense squad now. He suddenly attacked Meshiai and yelled to his compatriots that Meshiai was in cahoots with Takuma.

Poor Takuma could only sit and shake behind his door as he listened to the men viciously beat Meshiai.

And now….

We’ve reached a point where the defense squad goons are basically cartoonishly evil now. They intend on killing Takuma and anyone else in their way, even though they’ve seemingly been going out of their way to make sure he stays alive this whole time. And, of course, some of them are even laughing and smiling the whole way through and treating it like some honor to be a part of this messed up Hell Link users club.

After Meshiai got beaten, they threw him into a shed and stupidly didn’t take his phone from him even though they had to have both seen it and heard it several times at this point since Hotaru’s been calling numerous times after returning from the realm of eternal twilight.

Meanwhile, almost immediately after returning, Hotaru finds that Takuma is being hunted by the people of the town and runs off with him, hiding in a shrine for much of the runtime, similarly to when Ai was on the run with Sentarou back when she was alive.

Speaking of Ai’s backstory, it seems Hajime did indeed remember to write her story into the book to share it with anyone who was interested inHell Girl. While I understand why they waited until now to really go into depth about it, it’s a bit strange that they didn’t at least hint at Meshiai reading about it, instead focusing a lot on the technical aspects of how Hell Link works.

Hotaru non-directly points out that what is happening right now is reflective of Ai’s story. Groups of people can easily lose their sense of reason and go mad, resulting in them targeting other people and literally witch-hunting. This is the nature of human beings, and it hasn’t changed in several hundred years since Ai was alive.

However, Hotaru resolves that things will be different this time around since she will protect Takuma from the townsfolk no matter what…..But anyone who knows the other tragic side of the coin in regards to Ai’s story will know immediately where this is going before we even get to the second half.

If Takuma is Ai in this situation, that would make Hotaru Sentarou, and that’s troubling. In Ai’s story, Sentarou also promised to protect Ai at all costs, even though helping her run away and hide put him in danger as well. When Ai was finally found and caught by the villagers, Sentarou was forced to dump the first shovel full of dirt on Ai as they prepared to bury her alive, next to her murdered parents. This was punishment for him as a result of helping her escape. If he chose not to do as he was told, they’d kill him too.

Sentarou tearfully put the dirt in the grave, which Ai took as an unforgivable betrayal, and triggered her initial rage and fury for revenge as she died and was reborn, so to speak. Sentarou had to watch his village get massacred by the ghostly reborn Ai and lived his life in repentance for what he had done, never quite forgiving himself for it.

But before we get to the reflection of that betrayal, let me remind you….Kikuri’s still a bitch.

I’ve been wondering why Kikuri has actually been helping more or less lately. She’s brought Hotaru to the realm of eternal twilight to get her to believe Hell Link is real and Takuma was telling the truth. She put Hotaru in the space where the candles were so she could confirm Takuma was innocent. She lead her to Takuma’s hiding spot when they started hunting him so she could help him escape. She’s been so uncharacteristically helpful….

Well that all combined with what she does in this episode, which is lead the murderous townsfolk to Takuma and Hotaru’s hiding spot in the shrine, pretty much cinches that she was only doing those things so she could put into motion the same events as Ai’s story. She did all of that to Hotaru not out of sympathy for Takuma but because she wanted Hotaru to sympathize with him, help him and eventually betray him.

I get that Kikuri is the embodiment of the master of hell, something we’ll learn in the final episode, so we’re pretty much meant to hate her, but yeesh. She and Naraku should have an ‘annoying as shit and loves to screw with people’s lives’ contest.

Thanks to Kikuri, the defense squad goons arrive at the shrine early that morning (What was their plan? Just hide in the shrine their whole lives? It’s not like the shrine Sentarou and Ai took refuge in – it’s a very public place.) tie them up, throw them in a boat in the lake, tie large rocks to them and smash a hole in the boat (using a comically sized mallet for some reason). They’re pushed into the lake to sink, drown and disappear so the townsfolk can ‘get on with their lives.’

Interestingly, and somewhat annoyingly, the one guy in this group who is being very apprehensive about this whole thing and is voicing his concerns, says this as he smashes the hole in the boat;

“It’s not my fault.”

Not only is that exactly what Kikuri just said after Ai asked her why she told the defense squad about Hotaru and Takuma’s hiding spot, but it’s just so disgusting that the one guy in this group of monsters who was seemingly showing us that humanity’s not all walking trash basically washes himself of any guilt or shame by saying it’s not his fault. Not ‘sorry’ or ‘I have no other choice’ just ‘It’s not my fault.’

But fear not, there’s a light in this situation. Headlights. The headlights of….

*drum roll*

Meshiai’s car!

Yes, those idiots not only left him with his phone, but they also didn’t tie him up nor did they properly lock him down, apparently. They just beat him up and threw him in a shed. He’s a detective you numnutted asshats. Be smarter.

However, I should also be saying ‘be smarter’ to Meshiai because, while he did have the forethought to get his gun (Did he just go and get a gun or did they not even remove his gun from his person when they kidnapped him too? Just how dumb are these people?) he did not have the forethought to maybe call for some backup when facing a group of five people, trying to save two children, while recovering from a severe beating.

They all run off at Meshiai shooting his gun into the air anyway, and he rescues the kids in the nick of time.

And then Ai erases Takuma’s memories of all the trauma, half the townsfolk are arrested, everyone else in town has their memories erased of all the devil’s child bullshit, Takuma’s dad wakes up, makes a full recovery, they leave this shitty town filled with shitty people in lieu of some cool place with a theme park and everyone lives happily ever after.

The end.

Oh wait.

I forgot what series I was reviewing.

There’s still five minutes left in this episode.

So…for some reason, Meshiai doesn’t immediately find a phone or use the one he had on him to report his beating, kidnapping and the attempted murder of two children to the authorities.

He says he will do so later as they’re driving home. At least an hour has gone by. He still has his phone on him. Last we checked it was still receiving calls, and if he hasn’t been using it, chances are the charge is pretty high. There had to have been a phone in the house where the shed was located, too. There’s no reason Meshiai hasn’t called the authorities yet. Some cop he is.

Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, why didn’t Hotaru use her own cell and call the police at any time during this? At no point did they show her leaving her phone behind or it dying or anything. She was trying to call Meshiai several times over the course of the episode, even when they were in the shrine. The existence of cell phones really does create massive problems in a lot of horror stories, doesn’t it?

I should point out that Meshiai had the time to find and put on a coat, though. One that might not even be his because he wasn’t wearing that when he was at Takuma’s house. Staying warm when it’s moderately cool out>getting backup in a very dangerous situation against a group of people trying to kill two children, one of which being his litter sister. Priorities are good here.

No worries, though. They’re all happy and hopeful, driving home to see Takuma’s dad in the hospital and assuring him that they will certainly clear his name of all the accusations one by one, no matter how long it takes.

Takuma and Hotaru even hold hands to comfort each other. Aw.

Uh oh. A partially happy moment! Something horrible better happen to fix this travesty!

And it does.

Meshiai disappears.

The apprehensive guy from before was actually the only one in the group who had yet to use Hell Link. They had him use Hell Girl on him and pulled the string on his doll as they were driving away.

This was foreshadowed, actually. Earlier, they talked about what they should do about Meshiai and they all looked at the guy. Later, Hone Onna and Ren note that it’s Wanyuudou’s turn, but so many people have been using Hell Link lately you wouldn’t think to question where he is. Also, you’re really lead to assume all of the people in the defense squad group have used Hell Girl already, and you can’t use it more than once, presumably. It was pretty clever in the way it was framed.

Even though this was a pretty shocking and good plot twist….why did they opt to use Hell Link on Meshiai instead of just straight-up murdering him? He was already beat like a rug on a weekend. Might as well go all the way – it’s not like they’re averse to murder or anything, and he was their greatest threat.

Or why not use Hell Link on Takuma and murder Hotaru and Meshiai? You wouldn’t even need to hunt the kid down – you’d just need to pull the string. You can’t tell me they have enough hatred for the cop to call Hell Girl on him but not Takuma. Why call Hell Girl for Meshiai and then not force the guy to pull the string while they were there? Why leave him there with his phone and free hands….and gun? They can’t have planned this all out to point where they knew Meshiai would wake up at just the right moment, go after them, not call for backup, not shoot them all in the face, actually rescue the kids, and then drive away while still not calling for backup just so they could pull the string while he was driving. That was in no way necessary and just serves to overcomplicates matters.

Without a driver, the car crashes into the ditch. The kids are both fine after the wreck, but Takuma and Hotaru are now all alone again. The only thing Hotaru has left of her brother is his laptop.

Suddenly, Hotaru stops in her tracks and opens the laptop.

She accesses Hell Link.

She claims she has no choice but to make Takuma disappear….But…No…Just..no. Of course she does. Sentarou was forced under threat of death to put the dirt on Ai, and they were going to bury her alive no matter if he helped or not. The only difference would be how many bodies would be in that hole.

Does she really think killing Takuma will fix anything? Like I said, people in town could still easily use Hell Girl as much as they wanted and blame Takuma’s vengeful spirit or something. I know she’s upset and not thinking clearly, but that was quite the turnaround from ‘I’ll never let anything happen to you’ to ‘Gonna send ya to hell, bye.’

Also, I must point out that she’s using the Internet….meaning they could have used THAT to call for help too. Not that that would’ve saved Meshiai, but still. At least the defense squad pricks would probably be arrested.

————————————-

This episode was exciting and interesting in how it tries to mirror Ai’s story, even if there are a bunch of writing hiccups to make the plot work as such. The twist with Meshiai was surprising and sad, especially considering he was a pretty cool guy who just wanted to solve the disappearances and help Takuma. We never see him in his hell torture, which is good, nor do we see him traveling down the river with Ai, which I think is a bit of a missed opportunity for a character who has been so important these past few episodes.

Even though I’m pretty sure they’ll try to redeem Hotaru a bit more in the next episode, I still don’t agree with her choice to send Takuma to hell acting like everything will be fixed if he dies.

Ai’s story was basically the same as Takuma’s, and the betrayal from her only friend and subsequent death started the cycle of hatred. You really think the crappy people in this evil town will suddenly turn good and everything will be sunshine and kittens after Takuma’s dead? I really thought Hotaru was smarter than that, even if she is grieving and scared.

Also, if Takuma just needs to be dead in order for this to stop, why not just murder him outright? I know that seems like a really cruel thing to say, but hear me out. Calling Hell Girl will allow her to send Takuma to hell immediately. Killing Takuma will probably allow him to pass on to heaven. The kid’s as pure as the driven snow – he would certainly go to heaven. The only bad thing this kid ever did, as far as I can see, is calling Hell Girl, but he denied her services immediately upon hearing how it works. Why damn the kid to hell? Just because you don’t want to have to do the dirty work yourself?

I never considered this before, but Takuma vanishing without a body being shown as proof of his death to the townsfolk would also not help things. The townsfolk might just think Takuma’s damning them all from the shadows and become even more paranoid.

Rating: 8/10

The finale is coming up! Will Takuma really be sent to hell? Will Hotaru be redeemed in her choice? Will Ai find it within her to help stop all of this? Also, we get to see Kikuri’s real face. Is Ai nearing the end of her journey as Hell Girl and this is all a plan or test to free her? Or is it just Kikuri’s twisted sense of humor causing more heartache for Ai?

And the most pressing question will be answered – WILL this kid catch a fucking break?

Find out in the final episode!


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Hell Girl: Two Mirrors Episode 23 – Distrust Review

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Plot: Takuma continues to be targeted by people in the neighborhood with glares and rumors, and they’re getting worse every day. Now, he’s being directly blamed for disappearances caused by Hell Girl clientele from the clients themselves. As people get increasingly paranoid of Takuma, more people are demanding he be arrested, even though there’s not enough evidence to arrest him for anything.

No one will believe his story about Hell Link, and those that do believe Takuma is using Hell Link over and over to make random people disappear whenever he pleases. A new detective and his little sister investigate the disappearances and Takuma’s possible connection. Will they be the only ones to believe him? Or will Takuma continue to suffer alone?

Breakdown: Previously on “This Kid Can’t Catch a Fucking Break” Takuma, unjustifiably labeled as a murderer and ‘The devil’s child’ around town, finally found a friend. After drowning in loneliness without his parents and being shunned by everyone else, finding someone who neither knew nor cared about his sordid past and was willing to befriend him was more than welcome. Things looked up for about 12 hours until his new friend not only left town but was sent to hell soon after.

And now….

I warned you before that things for Takuma were only going to get worse. Well, welcome to worse.

While Takuma didn’t get blamed for Seri’s disappearance, he is getting blamed for another Hell Girl victim – and this time it’s entirely on purpose. Some asshat who sent a guy to hell because he made fun of his singing ability (I’m not kidding…) claimed that Takuma ‘ambushed’ them while walking home (Because a ten-year-old can totally ambush two grown men) and the guy who was hellbound walked off with him, never to be seen again.

You know how I frequently find Hell Girl stories bittersweet because I feel bad for the clients since they’re also booking a ticket on the cruise line down the river Styx? I don’t feel that for this guy. How ridiculously villain-esque is this dude to not only send a guy to hell for making fun of his singing but also to frame a CHILD on it?

It’s not even just that. All of the recent Hell Girl related disappearances seem to be getting blamed on Takuma either through simple rumors or the clients blaming them on him. Of course, there’s no evidence to pin anything on Takuma, but the rumors are getting so out of control that the men in the neighborhood, including the asshat who framed him, have started monitoring Takuma’s house at night, even implying that they might be rearing up to kill him if these activities continue.

It’s not only Takuma, either. It seems like no relatively good person can catch a single break.

Yoshizaki returns. She’s the woman who sent Kakinuma to hell – the man who started this whole ‘devil’s child’ thing and murdered Takuma’s mother as well as assaulted his father and sent him into a coma. She felt bad that Takuma was being blamed for what was partially her actions, so she decided to go into the police department to explain that Kakinuma had purposely vanished and Takuma had nothing to do with it. This testimony does help clear Takuma of those suspicions, but the main thing was accusing Takuma of the assault on his father and the murder of his mother, so this doesn’t really mean much of anything. I guess it’s the thought that counts. At this point, I’ll settle for anyone trying to help this poor kid.

Thing is….she dies immediately after going to the police station. Yup, dies in a car crash on her way home.

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I can’t make this stuff up. The world of Hell Girl is, for lack of a better term, cursed.

But hey, let’s keep this hell train going. We’re introduced to two new characters – Detective Seiichi Meshiai and his little sister, Hotaru. Meshiai has been tasked with solving the string of disappearances in the area lately that are all connected to Hell Girl. Like I mentioned, Takuma is being heavily blamed, either indirectly or directly, for the disappearances. Even though Meshiai is suspicious of Hell Link, he doesn’t put enough stock in the idea since it just seems like an Internet rumor to him.

Hotaru actually seems like a better detective than her big brother and figures out certain aspects of Takuma’s story that he couldn’t, but she’s still barking up the wrong tree because, like her brother, she doesn’t believe in Hell Link. She believes Takuma is entirely innocent, but he’s hiding something about the circumstances of his father’s assault and Kakinuma’s disappearance that is entirely non-supernatural.

Surprisingly, the Hell Team is watching over Takuma this entire time, and it seems like this time they’re not there for the sake of another client. They’re there because they appear to be legitimately concerned about Takuma. They want him to tell anyone who will even feign to listen about what happened to Kakinuma just to reach for the chance that someone may believe him and clear his name.

This is pretty big because rarely do they ever actively intervene in anyone’s lives, especially someone who is not a client.

But even this act of kindness goes horribly wrong and Takuma has to pay the price for it.

Hotaru meets with Takuma at his house to interview him about what happened during his father’s assault. Upset that Hotaru doesn’t believe for a second that Hell Link is real, Takuma goes off to his bedroom without another word. While the Hell Team tries to talk to him about it, Kikuri kidnaps Hotaru and takes her to the realm of eternal twilight.

Let me repeat that – Hotaru goes missing after several witnesses see her enter Takuma’s house.

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Have I mentioned I hate Kikuri?

Aforementioned asshat practically tortures poor Takuma into confessing that he used Hell Link to send Hotaru to hell, but Meshiai is actually the more reasonable one here and starts pulling the asshat off of him.

As terrible luck would continue to have it (or…maybe good luck in a way?) at that very moment, the wife of the guy who was sent to hell by said asshat reveals that she’s a client of Hell Girl. And, for some reason, she decided to pull the string just now, at the worst possible moment.

I say this because the guy disappeared while he was hurting Takuma, which obviously makes it seem like Takuma has the power to make people disappear. Another guy who was with the asshat crawled away from the scene, surely to spread the word on what he witnessed, so the rumors are sure to get out of control now. On the other hand, Meshiai now realizes that the power of Hell Link is real and may possibly be open to believing Takuma’s innocence.

At the end of the episode, Takuma isn’t arrested or anything and Meshiai is left with a tangled mess to sort out as he tries to get his sister back. Meanwhile, Hotaru wanders through the realm of eternal twilight and starts making her way towards the familiar house.

All in all, this is a good episode, but it’s also horribly depressing because every nice person keeps falling into terrible circumstances. Even though the asshat did get sent to hell in the end, I didn’t feel much in a way of catharsis because poor Takuma is going to be getting heat 100x worse now, Hotaru’s been kidnapped, Yoshizaki is dead (and in hell) and Meshiai lost his sister.

Rating: 8/10

Believe it or not, things are still going to get worse. Shit is going to hit the fan in the next episode.


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Hell Girl: Two Mirrors Episode 22 – Longing Review

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Plot: A familiar face, Takuma, shows back up on Ai’s radar. He meets a wandering girl named Seri who quickly forms a bond with him – something he desperately needs now that his mother’s dead, his father’s comatose and the entire town has ostracized him, believing he’s responsible for both events. Seri has a dream of going someplace far away, and she may need to resort to less than ethical means of getting what she needs to achieve her goal.

Breakdown: Previously on “This Kid Can’t Catch a Fucking Break,” Takuma was a normal boy who had recently moved back to Japan with his famous producer father and loving mother. However, almost as soon as they had arrived back in town, they started being targeted for harassment. Piles of garbage would wind up on their yard time and again, and fliers claiming Takuma was a ‘devil child’ who killed animals were being strewn about town.

These incidents escalated until it reached the point where the mysterious harasser shot Takuma’s mother in the neck with an arrow – killing her almost instantly. Takuma was blamed for the murder. Only his father believed he was innocent. And soon, not even that would matter.

The real culprit behind the incident was an old friend of Takuma’s father – a jealous writer who felt his failure was on Takuma’s father’s shoulders. Once Takuma’s father realized who was really responsible, the man viciously attacked him with a broken bottle, leaving him on the cusp of death. Takuma arrived on scene during the attack. Just as he was about to get assaulted as well, the man vanished – he was a target of one of Hell Girl’s clients.

As fate would have it, the police arrived on scene shortly thereafter. Seeing Takuma in front of his badly wounded father and no one else in the room, they instantly suspected him. The town’s ire towards ‘the devil’s child’ got exponentially worse. Takuma’s father was lost in a coma, and Takuma was forced to bear the brunt of the whispers, glares and general hatred and fear of him all alone. No one would ever believe the real assailant vanished in thin air…

And now….

Takuma episodes are just so depressing. There’s just no real turning back for this poor kid. Even if his father wakes up and tells everyone point blank that his son had nothing to do with his assault, no one will believe him. They’ll just believe it’s a father trying to protect his son from being ostracized. Even if they get new identities and travel someplace far away, what’s done is done. This kid has an assorted box of trauma-filled chocolates.

Today, Takuma lives alone because anime just does that, okay? No parents? Live alone. Don’t care how old you are. He was let off of murder and assault charges because there wasn’t enough evidence, which is understandable. He’s trying his best to ignore practically everyone whispering about him as he goes about life, but he’s obviously badly effected by it.

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A breezy girl named Seri, who seemingly has no idea of his past, befriends him. She explains that she used to live in the area, but her house was torn down for a train station that never got built due to lack of funds. She used to love going to a nearby creek, which was also destroyed, to see the frogs at night. The frogs were a nice distraction from listening to her parents argue. She grew to love frogs so much that she even has a frog charm on her cell phone and it’s very obvious that her favorite color is bright green.

Takuma and Seri bond very quickly – he even invites her to stay at his house while she’s in town, which she accepts. Apparently, Takuma’s yard is still covered in garbage – it’s unclear whether this is old garbage from the previous Takuma episode or new garbage from townsfolk who despise him.

It eventually comes to light that Seri is involved in some rather shady business. She wants to run away from the town forever and just live freely in some place where there will be a lot of frogs. She even invites Takuma along, though he declines because he has to stay with his father.

In order to leave, however, she needs a lot of money. Thus she started blackmailing a man named Hasue. He was one of the people involved with the destruction of her home, so he was a perfect target. She lead him into having a date with her and then threatened to tell his company that he was having an explicit relationship with a minor, even though they hadn’t done anything together.

He agreed to pay her off, but he started to back out. Seri decided to visit him at his house to talk about it….with his wife present. He vehemently denied the relationship, but the wife didn’t believe him. This was just a taste of the backlash he’d get if she told everyone about them.

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As a result, he once again agreed to pay her. He’d have the money for her the following day. Takuma tries to stop her, asking her to live there with him instead of running away, but she just hugs him, gives him the little frog charm as a gift and heads off.

Now, you may be wondering where Hell Girl and friends come in.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll……..

They pop up here and there throughout the episode, but we’re not really sure why until the end. Kikuri definitely makes her annoying ass presence known, however. She barges in on Takuma and Seri eating dinner and acts like a big pest. Hone Onna and Ai have to come in and wrangle her away. Also, she’s naked when they take her back and I have no idea why….She was wearing clothes when she entered the house….

When Seri goes to get the money from the mailbox, the designated drop-off location, we see who the client is. Hasue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….’s wife!

Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

Legitimately, this actually surprised me. I thought for sure it would be Hasue. But nope. It was the wife the whole time. She put fake money in the mailbox and pulled the string as Seri rode away on her scooter, relishing in the sound of the bike crashing.

I’m not really clear on why she did it – was it for supposedly sleeping with her husband or blackmailing him about it? Maybe a little of both?

I’m not really sure what the purpose of the fake money even was. Did she want to see if Seri would actually extort them before damning her to hell or was it for the lolz?

Kikuri returns shortly after Seri leaves Takuma’s house, because she’s a purple-eyed bitch, and explains that Hell Girl is here for Seri not Takuma, something she wouldn’t divulge earlier.

Struck with this realization, he rushes off to try and save Seri only to find her crashed scooter in the middle of the road and Seri nowhere to be found.

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In conclusion, Takuma made a friend for a day only to have her both leave him voluntarily and then get sent to hell immediately after. Not only that, but he’s standing in what could be considered another crime scene. They don’t show any police there, but he technically is.

This isn’t a bad episode by any stretch of the imagination. It was nice to get an update on Takuma, even if his life is horrible right now, and I liked seeing him have a confidant. The Hell Girl angle was also well-handled. The client’s identity really threw me for a loop, and the motive behind targeting Seri is understandable, even if the exact details behind why the wife was the client are a little hazy.

However, it is tainted by the fact that this episode is a bit overly depressing. Hell Girl’s not sunshine and butterflies (Well, okay, twilight sunshine and weird glowing butterflies) but I’m already sick to death of Takuma’s life being blown up ten ways to Sunday. The kid already has a shitty enough life. There’s no reason to have whole plotlines dedicated to beating him down some more. He’s a sweet kid and it’s just difficult to watch.

No matter what light MAY be at the end of the tunnel for poor Takuma, it won’t be enough for the viewer. He’s been through too much, and we’re still not done with the poor kid.

Yes, that’s right. The next episode also focuses on Takuma as we come down to the wire in episodes. What fresh hell awaits him? Find out next time!

Rating: 9/10


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Hell Girl: Two Mirrors Episode 21 – Paper Balloons Wafting Review

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Plot: The backstory of Hone Onna unfolds as she follows a case in current day that reminds her a lot of her past.

Breakdown: Barring Ai, Hone Onna definitely has the saddest backstory of everyone in the Hell team. Born as a woman named Tsuyu, her life had been one of servitude, torment and betrayal. I thought just hating the young lord, who tricked her into being sold into prostitution to help settle a debt he had, would be the worst, but nope. That award goes to her ungrateful little pissant of a friend, Kiyo.

I really don’t understand this woman. I get that she was always jealous of Hone Onna/Tsuyu, despite their close relationship, but everything Hone Onna tried to do for her, she’d brush off because she was just that bitter. The fact that it seemed like Kiyo didn’t much care that Hone Onna and another man who was trying to help her was murdered all because ‘oooh look, this douchebag bought me a pretty kimono that is way better than anything you own, onee-san,’ is infuriating. By the way, she didn’t get them murdered by accident – she ousted them as they were trying to help her escape and they got murdered as punishment.

I didn’t have an ounce of sympathy for this bitch when they revealed what happened to her after Hone Onna got murdered.

She continued her life at the brothel only to get pregnant by the guy who gave her the fancy kimono. He wasn’t having any of that, however, so he took his sword and slashed her across the stomach to kill the baby. Devastated, she committed suicide in the same river Hone Onna’s body had been dumped into.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Oh come on, Twix. You’re being a bit harsh on Kiyo. I bet she had just as terrible of a life story as Hone Onna. She made a bad decision and paid for it. Cut her some slack.” Well, maybe I would if not for her story’s resolution.

Yup, Kiyo’s not quite done yet.

Cut to present time where Kiyo is sorta-ish possessing their client of the week. While it’s very unclear exactly how much Kiyo is influencing the client, Youko, she does certainly convince her to try to commit suicide, again, via jumping off a bridge into a river, trying to replicate the circumstances of her own death.

I’m only giving half blame on this to Kiyo herself. I don’t know what circumstances turned her into this wandering spirit outside of her sad story, but she’s still knowingly doing it to continue the cycle of pain and misery through women who have similar stories to her.

She earns the rest of my ire by what she does after Hone Onna saves Youko and confronts Kiyo. Believe it not, Kiyo still has the balls to act like she has the moral high ground with Hone Onna. Apparently, Kiyo is just so woeful that Hone Onna can’t possibly understand what she’s going through. Jeepers. Someone you love betraying you and getting you murdered? Hone Onna would NEVER be able to understand that….

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The situation sucks as a whole for both of them, I get that, but Kiyo’s attitude and actions are so shitty it makes it so much more difficult to sympathize with her.

Hone Onna has been massively betrayed twice in her life, and she still managed to get up, move on and trust others, trying to help them, long after she’s died. Kiyo, on the other hand, had someone who loved her, who tried to help her, tried to free her from a life of prostitution and essential slavery, but she threw that away just to be better than Hone Onna.

And when the shit hit the fan for her, she never even apologized or expressed remorse for her actions. She was still completely wrapped up in her own problems until the very end and continued giving Hone Onna the snub. She did say she was happy to have met her one more time before she, I guess, made the conscious choice to go to hell, but that doesn’t make up for much.

You want to know what else? After all that, Hone Onna still tries to save her from going to hell and even asks Ai if she’ll pick up Kiyo at the river Styx to maybe help Kiyo like she did for her.

It’s sad, but also quite touching that Hone Onna has finally found a family that she can trust, but she had to die to get it.

As for our case this week, a woman named Youko has put out a contract on her ex-boyfriend, Makoto. He has knocked her up, took a ton of her money, and left her for some other woman. He doesn’t give a crap about her or the baby and just wants her out of his life. I did proper research on this and no, this is not Makoto from School Days, but don’t worry, he still gets his in the end.

Youko has contacted Hell Girl, but she is still desperately, and I mean desperately, trying to keep Makoto by her side. She doesn’t care if he’s with another woman or never gives her money back or if he loves her or not – she just wants him to be in her life, and he doesn’t want that at all.

Youko has a friend who basically acts like Hone Onna to Youko’s Kiyo in this situation – trying to convince her to leave him and that he’s not good for her, freeing her of a life with someone so terrible, but she won’t listen.

When Makoto makes it as painfully clear as possible that he’ll never be with her in any capacity again, even being the father to his child, she pulls the string and Kiyo guides her into trying to jump off the bridge because she feels there’s no point in giving birth to a child if Makoto isn’t around. When Kiyo’s influence is torn from her, however, she pats her belly lovingly and goes off to live a good life with her baby, so there’s no arguing that Kiyo didn’t force Youko into attempting suicide.

My question is, how long has Kiyo been influencing Youko? Does she even realize what she’s done, in regards to Hell Girl? Does she know she’s damned for hell? Did Kiyo contact Hell Girl in the first place? I’d imagine not because Ai can see Kiyo, but it’s never really confirmed and that bothers me.

Finally, there’s the hell torture this time around. I’m kinda surprised we got one this episode since the current day plot took up so little time in the episode, but Makoto is certainly a big enough jackwad to warrant one. And what a weird one he got.

He’s transported to a ramen shop where there’s a swaddled baby in his ramen. He’s then drowned in ramen broth, grabbed by Ren, Wanyuudou and Kikuri, clad in bathing suits. When we pull out, it’s revealed that it’s not really ramen broth, it’s amniotic fluid. They’re all in a big womb with a giant baby sitting by them. Zoom out even more and we reveal that they’re all inside of a fish bowl, for some reason.

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You’d think that’d be the end of it, but it’s not. They pull out all the stops with this one. As Makoto wakes up in the boat, he’s massively pregnant and, in Alien-style, whatever is in his man-womb bursts from his stomach.

Holy. Crap. I don’t know why they chose this guy to go all out on when there are so many people who have deserved creative and horrifying hell tortures, with full episodes dedicated to their assholery, but that was so insane and, quite frankly, awesome. Weird as hell, pun intended, but awesome.

All in all, I really loved this episode. Some parts about Kiyo were janky, and it’s very miserable, but much of Hell Girl tends to be filled with misery. At least we know Hone Onna’s content where she is and she got some closure with Kiyo. At least we know Youko is going to love and care for her baby now. Heck, we even know Kiyo’s free from wandering the earth and another dickwicket is having a literal pregnancy from hell for all eternity. It’s about the best you can get in regards to happy endings in this show.

Rating: 9/10

Next time, Takuma, another miserable human being, in a different manner, returns! Will there be any light on the horizon for this perpetual tormented boy?


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Hell Girl: Two Mirrors – Episode 18: That Person’s History Review

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Plot: Rina is forced to care for her disabled estranged mother, Michyo, who seemingly hates her guts and those of her father and pretty much everyone else. Rina’s suffering. Her father is suffering. And it’s all caused by this one woman. If only she weren’t around….

But is Michiyo’s story may not be as clean cut as Rina believes.

Breakdown: I’m going to level with you guys for a second. I had a full review written out for this episode, but I had to rewrite the entire thing because most of my discussion points leaned on a plot point that I misunderstood until I was already done writing it. As a result, my score for this episode went down from a 7.5/10 to a 6/10.

Because my misconceived version was actually rated higher, I’m going to swallow some pride here and discuss what mistake I had made. Plus, it actually makes for some constructive criticism on how this episode could’ve been made a little better, so it works out.

This is an episode that I definitely remembered from when I watched this season several years ago. I couldn’t really pinpoint why because, at the end of the day, it’s fairly cut and dry. Woman is a complete asshole ruining everyone’s lives, so call Hell Girl and put that bitch on a boat. In addition, the more I thought about it while rewatching it, the worse the story became.

That’s not to say that the story is really all that bad. I disliked Michiyo enough to want her to go to hell. I liked Rina enough to want her to not go to hell. And their situation was understandable and not overblown to the point of ridiculous supervillainy. It was simply a case of a woman imposing on the lives of people she hurt before, continuing to be a nightmare for seemingly no reason. Her mere presence and the fact that she required round-the-clock care over the tiniest things was taking a severe toll on Rina and her father on top of that.

But as I mentioned, it’s really not so so simple.

Michiyo is put in the care of her ex-husband after she suffered from an accident that left her almost entirely disabled. Since the accident was deemed her fault, her insurance isn’t covering her nursing care.

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Okay. Ingrate: Confirmed.

Rina despises her mother since she abandoned her and her father when she was young. She never remembered her mother smiling or bonding with her as a child. As time has gone by, Michiyo’s personality has only gotten worse. Now she’s bitter, angry and cruel.

Rina can’t make heads or tails of why her father is willfully accepting the arduous task of caring for her mother night and day. However, she loves her father deeply, so she eventually helps him care for her, no matter how cold and cruel she continues to be.

Eventually, it gets so bad that she believes the only way to solve the problem is by making Michiyo go away by using Hell Girl. She sits on the doll for a while, but adamantly believes she’ll use it sometime in the near future.

When faced with the question yet again of why he lets Michiyo treat him like garbage, Rina’s father shares a very surprising story with her. He owes Michiyo a deep debt because he feels guilty for her being the way she is now, both physically and mentally.

He reveals that Michiyo is not Rina’s biological mother. Michiyo has always been unable to have children. Realizing that Rina’s father deeply wanted children, she begged him to use a surrogate instead of adopting. After a long while of debate, he eventually conceded, believing Michiyo would welcome the child as her own, but he was wrong.

Michiyo changed for the worse almost immediately after that. She never accepted Rina as her child, stopped smiling and grew a horrid personality. After a few years of pretending, she ultimately decided to leave.

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Here’s where I had the major misconception. The dialogue, which at this point was Rina’s narration on the matter, lead me to believe Rina’s father had developed a sexual relationship with her biological mother. That’s why Michiyo was really so bitter. Not only was the child they were raising not hers, biologically, but it was the child of a woman her husband was cheating on her with.

Because of this misconception, I was able to sympathize with Michiyo a little more. I definitely understood her reasons for leaving and refusing to return anyway. However, I was much less sympathetic to her attitude towards Rina because none of that was her fault. Even if she could never accept her as her child, she still should have had it within her to apologize and try to establish a good relationship with her, but she never bothered even trying.

When I rewatched that scene a few times, because I was trying to understand if I missed why or if he and her biological mother broke it off, I finally realized that she was saying he was secretly seeing MICHIYO, not her biological mother, behind RINA’S back after Michiyo abandoned them. He was trying to mend bridges and get Michiyo to accept Rina as her child, but she consistently refused.

In my defense, I was watching and writing that at 3AM.

Rina’s father later states that he should’ve known Michiyo was testing him when she made that request. This was another aspect that kinda confused me at first. She was testing him for what? To see if he’d actually make a child with another woman (I certainly hope through artificial means) instead of giving up his dream of having a child? She never makes it clear why she doesn’t want him to adopt. He just wanted a child – he never made any statement about wanting to continue his bloodline or anything.

He blames himself for her personality shift because of this, even though that’s still pretty flimsy. Michiyo couldn’t have children, and this whole thing was her idea. Maybe she just never wanted to be a mom. Maybe she really did see him accepting this offer as some massive backwards betrayal. I dunno.

As for him being the reason behind her physical condition – during one of his visits to see Michiyo secretly, Rina’s father again tried to convince her to come back home. She felt like she was being pitied and that he was only offering to take her back to make him feel better about his own ‘mistakes.’

She suddenly makes the decision to put an end to his misery herself and jump in front of a tractor trailer. She didn’t lose her life, but she became severely disabled.

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Despite hearing this story, Rina still wasn’t giving up the doll.

The next day, she tries to find it to no avail. Ai tells her that it belongs to someone else now. Here’s where I got confused on a more technical level. Is Ai implying that Rina’s father stole the doll and used it? Because he did see her with the doll and might have known what it was. Or is she saying Rina’s father took out a contract himself on Michiyo? I thought that Hell Girl worked on a ‘dibs’ kind of system. If someone has an existing contract on someone, they have the right to the target. You can’t take out a new contract unless the old one has been terminated, which it wasn’t in this case.

I’m inclined to believe he stole it, because it is the same black doll, but does that mean that, when you pull the string on someone else’s doll, you take the contract? Because he was the one marked after that.

Rina’s father takes her mother out to their favorite spot by the river. He asks her one final time if she’ll ever find it within herself to accept Rina and forgive him. Even if she can’t do the latter, do the former for the sake of Rina because she’s precious to him and doesn’t deserve this treatment.

Michiyo refuses, stating she’ll never be able to forgive him or accept Rina no matter what. In response, Rina’s father pulls the string on the doll, sending her to hell, saving Rina from both Michiyo’s terrible treatment and suffering the fate of being sent to hell.

This was another issue that arose with me only because my initial misconception was now gone. Now that I know Rina’s father wasn’t cheating on Michiyo with Rina’s biological mother, I feel 1000x worse that he’s destined for hell. He did it for the sake of saving Rina, but also for the sake of atoning for mistakes that were never actual mistakes. His wife put a slimy and vague ultimatum in front of him, literally begging him to take this weird bait, and he made a logical choice.

Michiyo overreacted to ridiculous levels over something so stupid, and Rina’s father bore the guilt of making her feel that way when it was completely unwarranted. I can understand if she eventually regretted her decision to push him to having a child via surrogate and that she could never find herself emotionally connecting with a child that wasn’t biologically hers – for all we know she never wanted to be a mom in the first place – but to have such malice against Rina’s father for that and to put such guilt on Rina for literally just being born is disgraceful. She put absolutely no blame on herself for any of this happening and kept playing the victim.

When Rina arrives, her father walks off in a daze and she spots something in the empty wheelchair – a marble.

Hell Girl Two Mirrors Ep 18 Screen5

One of the Rina’s only memories of her mother involved her giving a marble to her, but she didn’t remember Michiyo accepting it. As we’ve already discussed, she never remembered her smiling. However, when Rina picked up the marble, her memories cleared up a bit more. She accepted the marble and gave the faintest of smiles. That may have been the one and only time Michiyo ever even slightly accepted Rina, and, considering she was keeping hold of it during the entire episode and refusing to give it to Kikuri when she popped up on occasion, it’s believed she was holding onto it as a sort of thread to her humanity. But now Rina will never know.

No answer would make up for anything in the slightest, though.

Michiyo’s ride to hell is entirely silent. She has no emotional response whatsoever. No words to say. Nothing. She’s basically emotionally dead.

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And….I just feel miserable again. A terrible person got sent to hell, and an innocent person was spared from that fate for a change, but Rina’s father doesn’t deserve that fate, nor does he deserve to seemingly fall into a pit of despair for his actions.

I liked how Rina was narrating the entire episode. That was a change-up from most episodes. The Hell Team also wasn’t really involved at all here outside of a few visits from Kikuri, which were tolerable anyway and served an actual purpose.

I don’t think the little side-plot of her fiance starting to distance himself from her seemingly due to his parents starting to disapprove was necessary mostly because it just added more misery to her situation and wasn’t even really connected with the main plot. None of what she was doing with her mother or father was affecting her relationship with her fiance, and his parents got on just fine with her father at the start of the episode. But she suddenly learns that his parents are starting to disapprove midway through the episode and we never see him again.

I really believe that this episode would’ve been improved if my misconception was a reality. If Rina’s father had cheated on Michiyo with Rina’s biological mother, so much more would make sense and be less miserable. Michiyo’s reasons for becoming so cold and callous would be more understandable, especially in regards to Rina. Her leaving would be more understandable. I’d be a little more content with Rina’s father damning himself to hell as penance for his actions. And even the part with the marble would be a little sweeter.

But nope.

She was just a terrible person who might not have been quite as terrible as we perceived by about a millimeter.

What a twist.

Overall, I’m disappointed that I had to redo this review just to gain a much worse perspective on the episode and lower the score significantly, but it can’t be helped. This is an alright episode for what it’s worth, and I think I finally have the word to describe this episode that I haven’t been able to grasp in the past – sloppy. The components for a really great episode, even if you don’t use my suggestions, are there. It’s just disjointed and doesn’t build upon that foundation well at all.

Rating: 6/10

Next episode, we learn even more about Wanyuudou’s past as we learn about how he came to meet Ai………..Also, obligatory hot springs episode.


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Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 3 Sub/Dub Comparison: Digimental Up!

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Plot: The new group of Digidestined is outnumbered by the Digimon Kaiser’s group of Tyranomon. They have to find two new Digimentals in order to have a chance at beating them, but they have no idea who the new Digimentals belong to. When Kari and Takeru discover that the Digimentals are theirs, they have to armor evolve Patamon and Tailmon to save the others.

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Title Card: DA02EP3SCREEN1

That title card is another awesome one. Look at those colors.

Title Change: Digimental Up! is changed to A New Digitude….

In the original, Daisuke just asks if the Digimon are there. In the dub, he asks if Demiveemon saying he can smell Davis means he stinks.

Tailmon originally says that, due to the way the Digimon are acting, that she worries for the future. In the dub, Gatomon basically says the same thing but says she hopes her first litter doesn’t act like this. Ooh lala, Gatomon….Pretty sure Digimon don’t reproduce that way….or perhaps at all since I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Digimon have parents.

Miyako doesn’t say that the gate’s open until she actually turns on the computer to check unlike our now psychic Yolei.

How slow of a news day is it when you’re interrupting regularly scheduled programming to announce the winner of a computer programming contest? The original doesn’t say they’re interrupting anything for it, but still it’s apparently a major news story.

The man that they cut to is actually one of the judges of the contest who just says that Ken made an amazing computer program without actually telling us what it did. In the dub, the man is another reporter also commenting on the contest (Seriously, this is a two-reporter job? How slow IS this news day?) who says the computer program was one that brushed your teeth for you (Wouldn’t that be a robot design then? Not like your computer has the hardware to brush your teeth) and that Ken’s developing one with floss next.

The report continues to state that Ken also recently played chess (and I guess won) against 20 adults at the same time, is a master of math, judo and soccer. In the dub, they state that he plays one game of chess while everyone watches (that’s something of note apparently) he balanced the ‘world’s largest checkbook’, which really just implies that he balanced a checkbook that was blown up like the novelty checks lottery winners get, and he’s single.

Continuing still, the reporter then asks how Mr. and Mrs. Ichijoji went about raising Ken. They said they did nothing special, and that it was like they were the geese that laid the golden eggs. Iori then says it’s hard to believe that people like Ken exist. In the dub, the reporter asks what the benefits are to having a genius son. Mrs. Ichijoji says it’s great in the kitchen because Ken invented dishes that wash themselves while Mr. Ichijoji says he gets it from him since he once guessed how many jellybeans were in a pickle jar. Cody then says he heard that Ken was so smart that he once gave his teachers homework.

Takeru says Ken really is a genius. Miyako’s not pleased as she turns off the monitor and says she can write programs too. Daisuke then follows it up by saying that may be true but Ken’s also good at sports. Miyako isn’t, so she just grumbles. In the dub, TK says maybe Ken knows how to defeat the Digimon Emperor. Yolei turns off the monitor and says she knows more about the Digital World than he does. Davis then says that maybe so but he’s still a genius and Yolei grumbles.

The dub doesn’t make as much sense to me. Miyako’s getting jealous because he’s so amazing at something she’s really good at too, writing computer programs, which is why she starts acting that way. In the dub, she seems like she’s jealous because…I really don’t know.

Yolei’s only been to the Digital World once, why would she be so full of herself on her knowledge of the Digital World with that little experience that she would actually get upset at the thought that someone else might be more helpful than her in defeating the Digimon Emperor? Especially when TK’s the one who said it. The one who, out of everyone in the room (including Kari because she went later on) has the most experience in the Digital World.

Aw man, I don’t wanna watch this scene!….*sigh* Everyone knows what it is anyway!…..Fine. Ken kicks a puppy *audience gasp* I know! D: In the dub, they remove the shot of him kicking the puppy and the puppy falling. He threatens that he’ll call the pound on the puppy instead which makes it run away.

In the original, Mrs. Ichijoji says nothing more than saying she has to go to work and she made Ken some food. In the dub, she adds on that she bought a new label maker and she can’t stop labeling everything with it; she even labeled the toilet. I guess this is supposed to be a joke on the fact that the bathroom door has a sign that says ‘Toilet’.

They edit out Elecmon getting hit with the whip.

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They don’t cut away to the Gatsumon before Ken kicks Elecmon in the original.

I think they shorten the scene of the Gatsumon headbutting each other.

In the original, the group wonders where the next Digiegg is and what Digimon will emerge from it. They also wonder if this means there are more Chosen Children. In the dub, Davis says it’s getting dark (it’s not…) and tells Kari if she’s scared then she can hold his hand. Kari says she’s not scared and TK chimes in saying that’s not Kari’s hand he’s holding; it’s his. Davis then says “Sorry TJ” and Kari corrects him and says his name’s TK. Also, I should mention that Kari and TK are nowhere near Davis when he says this so the hand-holding thing doesn’t really work.

Takeru says the Digimon Emperor before them is a hologram. The dub says it’s an illusion.

They remove Patamon hitting the tree.

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Patamon says they’re useless as they are and Tailmon says it’s frustrating. In the dub, Patamon says he thought cats were always supposed to land on their feet and Gatomon tells him to shut up. It’s actually pretty funny.

Damn dub Digmon and his dumb jokes.

Attack Name Change: Big Crack is changed to his regular attack of Gold Rush. I do believe the dubbed named Rock Crackin’ appears much later in the series, though.

Attack Name Change: Red Sun is changed to Tempest Wing. The dub name, Eagle Eye…I don’t think I’ve ever heard it before but I could be wrong.

This episode has really bad animation….I mean, Digimon’s never been known for fantastic animation, but this episode and the Tyranomon moving…just…ick.

In the original, Nefertimon’s armor evolution phrase is ‘Light of Smiles, Nefertimon’ in the dub it’s ‘Nefertimon; the Angel of Light.’…..Which makes no sense when you think about it. Yeah, Gatomon Digivolves into an angel, but this form has nothing to do with angels besides maybe the white wings. Nefertimon takes her name from Nefertiti and her form from the sphinx. Angels aren’t even part of Egyptian mythology, are they? Well, no one ever said Gatomon and Patamon had Digivolutions that made much sense I guess.

Nefertimon is….friggin creepy. I’m sorry. She just is. Her non-moving expressionless sphinx face is just ughghsdjhasdhksdh…Her main attack is the Rosetta Stone in which she hurls a stone slab with writing on it at her enemies. The reference is neat, but the execution is silly.

Name Change: Pegasmon is changed to Pegasusmon. I don’t really mind this change. It sounds better in the dub, to be honest.

Pegasusmon’s index screen is changed to reflect this.

Attack Name Change: Sanctuary Bind is changed to Golden Noose. It’s weird, they took a holy sounding name and made it sound like a fancy hanging.

Attack Name Change: Needle Rain is changed to Star Shower because Saban seems to have a big thing about giving attacks that are clearly different from the others the exact same attack name. Later, I believe it gets changed to Wind Mane (dub name) a few times.

Attack Name Change: Nile Jewelry is changed to Rosetta Stone for again the same Saban-y reason. I believe this gets switched to its dub name, Queen’s Paw, a couple times.

Dub Kari: “I want to get a digital picture of this” Haha, get it? Digital picture! 😀

Also, who says that? “I want to get a digital picture.” Just say “I want to get a picture.”

In the original, Kari fumes about how the Digimon Kaiser went after Digimon who couldn’t evolve. In the dub, she says the picture turned out great except the Tyranomon all have red eye. Then she says that must be because they always have red eyes. That joke might work if not for the fact that we saw Tyranomon’s normal eye color at the end. They’re blue. The only reason they were red in this episode was because of the dark rings – they always make the affected Digimon’s eyes turn red.

Kari originally ignored Daisuke and asks Takeru if he agrees. In the dub she asks TK if he’ll defeat the Digimon emperor. Right, TK by himself will beat the Digimon Emperor. I think that line was put in there to make Kari give a poke to Davis’ pride, but it’s a silly change.

Iori was pointing out how it’s weird that Takeru and Hikari got Patamon and Tailmon to armor evolve but got no new Digimon when their Digimon were born when the Digieggs were picked up. In the dub, Cody explains what’s happened so far what with them all getting new Digimon and everyone being able to bypass the Digimon Emperor’s dark Digivice, but they keep forgetting that he’s human and they need different tactics to beat him.

Iori thinks to himself that he can’t bring himself to harm another being. Miyako then says it’s like an adventure game and Daisuke wonders why she had the sudden shift from angry/scared to joking. In the dub, Cody believes he shouldn’t have spoken up because now they’ll just make fun of him….and he was basically right.

Yolei says he’s too young to be worrying about stuff like that and Davis says to just let the older kids handle it. Right, he’s practically the only one of the new kids to consistently keep focus and get good ideas and plans yet he should just pipe down because the older usually dumber kids should handle it. Someone should point out to them that TK and Kari were the youngest of the old Digidestined and giving them special treatment because of their age just constantly held them back.

Next up, Yamato makes his appearance as Gabumon has a run in with Digimon Kaiser.

Previous Episode


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Hell Girl: Two Mirrors Episode 14 – The Peaceful Lakeshore

Hell Girl Two Mirrors Ep 14 Screen4

Plot: Takuma, known as “The Devil’s Child,” and his family are being viciously harassed every day. Their yard is constantly littered in piles of garbage and threatening messages. They initially believe that it’s due to the neighborhood behind extremely strict and them missing one day of garbage collection, but they soon realize that it’s a vendetta that runs much deeper. Sadly, the only way to get this message across is through tragedy.

Breakdown: Hell Girl’s not exactly known for being an uplifting anime, but holy hell on Mercury, this episode is one of the most depressing ones I’ve ever seen.

Not only is the story terribly depressing, but the target this time around has to be almost laughably sociopathic and evil to achieve all of this.

This is one episode I actually remember from back when I first watched this season as it introduces us to a character who returns later in the season, Takuma. However, I didn’t remember just how screwed up his backstory is.

For the most part, Takuma lives a rather normal life. He’s the son of a famous movie producer and just got back from living 10 years overseas in New York. However, shortly after he moves back to Japan, his family starts getting horribly accosted by someone who is dumping large piles of garbage on their yard with threatening notes.

Takuma’s family considers moving away since this situation is bad for his mother’s heart condition and they’re concerned over Takuma’s happiness and safety.

Soon after they tell their friend and neighbor, Kakinuma, who used to work for Takuma’s father, about their upcoming move, someone spreads around papers accusing Takuma of being “The Devil’s Child,” claiming he’s killing birds and cats around the neighborhood and causing mayhem.

Hell Girl Two Mirrors Ep 14 Screen1

Not but a day later, someone shoots an arrow into their living room, hitting Takuma’s mother in the neck, killing her. Takuma tries to pursue the assailant, but only finds a bunch of arrows and a crossbow. Someone from the neighborhood sees him with the crossbow and perpetuates the rumor that he’s “The Devil’s Child” by claiming Takuma shot and killed his mother.

The police investigated Takuma but didn’t have any evidence to charge him.

At his mother’s funeral, he overhears Kakinuma’s ex accuse him of the murder, citing him murdering her baby as reason enough to suspect him. He tries to tell his father, but he seemingly doesn’t believe him, telling him to leave it to the police and not have such feelings of hatred in his heart.

Takuma attempts to contact Hell Girl, but he changes his mind and gives the doll back, agreeing that he should just leave it to the police like his father said.

That same night, his father confronted Kakinuma with the accusations, but Kakinuma laughed it off like nonsense. Takuma’s father soon agreed, until, that is, he finds a surfboard prop in Kakinuma’s house. It was littered with holes, like someone had been using it for target practice with a crossbow.

Now, let me back up. Throughout this entire episode, there is no doubt whatsoever that Kakinuma is the culprit before we even see him printing the papers about Takuma (and the photos of the dead cats…) He looks like a psychopath, he spends his time sitting in the dark watching his old movies and he sucks at playing pretend friend.

But Ho. Ly. Shit. He’s a contender for the Most Overly Evil Dumbass award, only finding competition from the bitch from Bound Girl and the guy from The Tarnished Mound.

Hell Girl Two Mirrors Ep 14 Screen2

Kakinuma used to be a writer for Takuma’s Father, Mr. Kurebayashi, referred to as Kure. Ever since Kure made it big, Kakinuma has had trouble getting work. According to Kakinuma, writers like him are seen as parrots of their producers and have no real talent of their own, so no one will hire him. Kure claims he probably hasn’t actively pursued work and just expected jobs to fall in his lap due to the fact that he had worked under a famous producer before. I’m more inclined to believe Kure because Kakinuma’s reasoning makes no sense.

It makes even less sense as he continues. He claims he hated Kure for his success, so he got the bright idea to completely destroy Kure’s life, paint Takuma as a devil kid and write a screenplay about the events that would land him millions.

Thus, he started endlessly dumping trash and threatening notes on their yard, killed birds and cats with arrows and claimed Takuma was a demon child who did it, and the cous de gras, he shot an arrow at Kure’s wife. He supposedly only wanted to wound her, but it hit her square in the jugular vein, causing her to bleed out within seconds.

Logical. Progression. Of. Events.

Since Kure found him out, he decides to attack him with a broken bottle, horrifically wounding him.

Takuma realizes his father is being assaulted by Kakinuma in his house and rushes in. As his father lay bleeding on the floor, Kakinuma attempts to kill Takuma next.

Backing up again, back to the ex-girlfriend of Kakinuma, she had been wallowing in a deep depression for quite some time. She had gotten pregnant and Kakinuma threw her down a flight of stairs to kill the unborn baby. He succeeded. The big plot twist of the episode is that she’s actually the client today.

As luck would have it, his ex pulls the string right before he attacks Takuma, but as terrible luck would have it, the police rush in at that very moment and Takuma is again accused of the crime and called “The Devil’s Child.”

Hell Girl Two Mirrors Ep 14 Screen3

Takuma’s story is meant to somewhat mirror Ai’s, and I totally get that. Poor Takuma didn’t do a damn thing to deserve any of this. He wasn’t even involved in any of it. He was the child of a man who had the ire of a sociopathic dumbass and his entire life was ruined because of it. It’s so dumb because, in the end, Kure just seems like a victim. No one will ever know Kakinuma’s real part in it, besides his ex, and Takuma is vilified, possibly being sent to prison for god knows how long.

Even if he isn’t sent to prison, good luck ever having a life with any semblance of happiness ever again. His mother is dead, murdered in front of him, his father is horrifically injured, and the moniker of ‘The Devil’s Child’ will surely follow him into adulthood.

A curious aspect of this episode was Kikuri’s role in it. Kikuri has interfered in jobs before, but she takes a particular interest in Takuma. Why? I don’t know. She goes to his house, draws crayon pictures of dead bodies, talks about him visiting Hell Link (he was visiting the site often to get vengeance on the person responsible for tormenting his family, but all he did was stare at the screen. He never inputted a name and even begged Hell Girl not to come.) and even gives him one of the ‘Devil’s Child’ papers when his family was trying to keep them from him. Nice. Still hate you, Kikuri.

It’s just such an unpleasant episode that I wasn’t even sated by Kakinuma finally going to hell both because they skip the hell torture today (though we do see him riddled with arrows in the boat) and the fact that he seems happy that he’s going to hell.

The fact that his motivations were so ungodly dumb was also a negative. Dumb motivations aren’t uncommon in Hell Girl, but Kakinuma was a gold star recipient here. Being jealous of the fame of someone you used to work with while you wallow in has-been land is rough, but not rough enough to torment a family, destroy a child’s life, murder a person, seriously injure another and laugh about it.

I don’t remember how Takuma’s story ends, but let’s hope it’s at least happier than what he was left with here.

Rating: 7/10


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Hell Girl: Two Mirrors Episode 13 – Tragedy of the V Review

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Plot: A random serial killer is going around killing people with a bamboo skewer and purposely positioning their arms and fingers in a V for victory sign after they’re killed. A man named Kihachi Kusumi attempts to contact Hell Girl to kill someone he’s supposedly never met and has no connection to. Why is he targeting this man and what is the true motive of the random serial killer?

Breakdown: This is definitely one of the best Hell Girl episodes to date. Possibly the best one-off story so far unrelated to Ai’s backstory.

The story is a changeup from the norm. The client is a serial killer, stabbing people with bamboo skewers and positioning their hands and arms in a V for victory sign. The hell team are investigating him, without initially knowing he’s the culprit, because he’s been attempting to input a name into Hell Link but not going through with it. The target in question is a man he seemingly has no connection to.

Kihachi suffered from a horrible tragedy five years ago. He lost his wife and son when a truck driver crashed into their house. For the record, the truck driver died in the crash also, meaning he’s not the target.

His daughter, Tsubaki, survived the crash, but she lapsed into a coma and has yet to wake up. Her doctors have given up hope that she’ll ever wake up and so has her father, after five years of hoping and praying for her to do so.

The mystery surrounding this episode isn’t who the target is, it’s what Kihachi’s motives are and why he’s suddenly turned to using Hell Girl when he’s been killing people this whole time. It’s a nice change of pace, and the entire situation keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Turns out, Kihachi is terminally ill and reaching the very end of his life. These random killings were not random at all. At the scene of the accident five years ago, a bunch of dumbasses jumped in front of the cameras as some reporters were doing a news report on the crash. And, of course, they were all grinning like idiots and doing the V for victory pose. They were rudely trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame….in front of a burned down house in which most of a family died….while the father, the lone full survivor, stands mere feet away.

After a few years of waiting in vain for Tsubaki to wake up and getting the diagnosis of his illness, Kihachi decides to dedicate what was left of his life to killing the idiots who photobombed the news report.

However, he’s getting too weak and can’t kill the final target – hence his need to call Hell Girl. He wanted to try one more time before actually inputting his name, but he was too weak to fight him properly. He escaped, and even managed to see Kihachi’s face before leaving. As a result, he finally resorts to calling Hell Girl.

Now, you’d think this is where we’d start slowing down, but oh no. Here’s where the shit hits the fan.

Ai meets with Kihachi in the Realm of Eternal Twilight and goes through the typical Hell Girl spiel. Kihachi says the price of going to hell doesn’t bother him because he’s certain he’s destined for hell anyway given the murders he’s committed.

This situation actually answers a question I’ve had for a while now – What about clients who are going to hell anyway? Is the covenant really useful when dealing with these clients?

Well, yes and no.

True, these people are destined for hell no matter what, but Ai explains that her only job is to carry out the initial payment of the covenant. The other sins that would’ve lead the client to hell in the first place will be paid for in an additional punishment outside of her knowledge and control.

Kihachi accepts anyway as he feels like he has nothing to live for and no more options. He immediately pulls the string and the man gets sent to hell.

Kihachi is sent to the hospital while trying to navigate a flood of reporters who are trying to question him. The target had ample time to point his finger at Kihachi before he was whisked away to hell. He doesn’t really care anyway…..

Until, that is, he gets some shocking news. Tsubaki has woken up. Kihachi cries out in despair, realizing what he’s done. Not only will he spend what little time he has left alive in jail or otherwise detained, meaning he can never be by Tsubaki’s side, but he’s damned Tsubaki to being known as the daughter of a killer for the rest of her life, and it’s likely Tsubaki will be traumatized upon hearing this news in addition to the news of the rest of her family dying.

The hell team wonder if this was the additional payment Ai talked about – and it is.

Tsubaki didn’t just wake up randomly, either – Kikuri woke her up on purpose. (Through a rather gross French kiss……Kikuri’s like five…..)

This would be another ‘God, I hate Kikuri’ moment, but you have to keep something in mind. Kikuri is, supposedly, the Master of Hell or at least possessed by him. If another payment is required in this circumstance that Ai doesn’t have anything to do with, it makes perfect sense that Kikuri would be the one to carry it out.

My issue with it is that this seems more like a punishment for Tsubaki than it does Kihachi. Tsubaki already has to deal with the loss of her mother and little brother and the fact that she’s been in a coma for the past five years. Now she also has to deal with the fact that her father is a serial killer, killing people in the name of her dead mother and brother, AND that her father is on death’s door with a terminal illness, AND that he probably can never see her in the time he has left since he’ll be in police custody.

Poor girl.

Outside of that, we do get some funny moments as well such as Ai, Ren and Kikuri working at the restaurant Kihachi owns, and Ai being so vicious eating the last hot dog in front of Kikuri, who really wanted it. It’s borderline potato-chip-from-Death Note levels of dramatic eating, and I love those brief moments when Kikuri gets some modicum of comeuppance.

All around, this was a fantastic and brutal episode. While Tsubaki waking up at the end was predictable, the way they handled it was fantastic. You really feel the insane levels of remorse and devastation dripping off of Kihachi when he’s told Tsubaki woke up. He had totally resigned himself and given up, and the weight of what he had done, both to those men and to Tsubaki, just hit him like a meteor.

The hell torture this time around was also really good. The hands on the boat were a bit over the top, though, plus we’ve seen the hands on the boat too many times.

Rating: 9/10

Hell Girl: Two Mirrors – Episode 12: Black Rut Review

Hell Girl Two mirrors Episode 12

Plot: On a quiet mountainside is a lone stretch of road where tragedy has struck. Michiro Ito’s younger brother died after hitting a dangerous section of the road where two separate roads merge together briefly to navigate around a local house. The master of the house, Kazuhito Kameoka, has refused to move since the road was put in no matter how much money he was offered to relocate. Michiro believes he’s nothing but a greedy old man who wants to maximize his compensation before moving. To avenge his fallen brother, he has called on Hell Girl, but she, surprisingly, never arrived.

Breakdown: The Hell Team is interfering a hell of a lot (lolpuns) in this episode. Like I mentioned previously, in the first season, they made a point to never really get involved unless the situation called for it, like clients or targets were breaking protocol or something. Here, I’d say they purposely stalled Michiro’s request because they knew Kazuhito was going to die soon.

Wanyuudou also stated that sometimes Ai sends out her assistants to potential clients to read their hearts before she shows up after a request. I’m sorry – since when? The only heart reading being done here is supposed to be when the clients access the website. They need to have a good dose of vengeance in their hearts to access the site and call Hell Girl. What else are you reading the client for?

I’m glad they did interfere, though, because that poor old man didn’t deserve to go to hell. He was just a nice old man who had lived in a house since he was born, and it was a house his family had owned and loved even before his time. He wanted nothing more than to live out his final days in that same house, and no compensation was enough to change his mind.

And, really, I think the people who designed the road are more at fault here. There had to be a better way to get both roads through that pass without merging them both on a sharp turn with little to no warning. There’s plenty of room on the other side – certainly they could come up with something.

We also get Wanyuudou’s backstory in this episode, but it’s actually somewhat boring. He’s a wagon wheel, if you couldn’t tell that already, and he’s felt a tremendous amount of guilt since his…..’death’ when he failed to avoid crashing over that same mountainside when he was part of a wagon. He was carrying his mistress, a princess of a nearby land, who had been attacked by bandits or enemy soldiers.

I could see why he’d take a personal interest in this case given his backstory, but it’s not the most interesting backstory in the world.

I did really like this episode, though. It’s refreshing to see an episode where no one goes to hell, especially an innocent person. Everything was wrapped up nicely (a little too nicely in some points. I thought the house collapsing immediately after the old man died was a bit much) and I think it showed that, to some capacity, the Hell Team does care about their clients and even their targets. Maybe Tsugumi and Hajime got to them more than I thought.

…..Also, Kikuri poked the old man in the head after he died. I’ll let you in on a secret, I know this might come as a shock….but I hate Kikuri.

Rating: 7/10 Would’ve been higher if it didn’t drag a little, they didn’t seemingly make up new rules on how Hell Link functions and Wanyuudou’s backstory had been a bit more compelling.