Plot: Hone Onna tells the story of how she fell into a situation with a good-for-nothing bum of a screenwriter named Testuro. He has a nasty habit of getting women to fall for him, using them for a place to stay, food and money, then leaving them for the next best thing or when the relationship inevitably falls apart due to Tetsuro’s behavior. While she remains good friends with his other failed relationship prospects for quite a while, she soon learns that he is their next target. But who is the client?
Breakdown: If there is one episode I distinctly remember during my first watch of this series, it was one I was irritated enough by to mention in my personal blog numerous years ago when I was getting started in reviewing. I didn’t give it a real review, I just mentioned the insanely stupid reason behind the person getting sent to hell.
But let’s back up because there’s a lot more to this episode than I gave it credit for back then.
This is an odd episode in two ways – One, the tone is noticeably much lighter than many Hell Girl episodes. Two, Hone Onna plays a big part, and an actual one at that. Not just being relegated to the sidelines and commentating, but actually participating.
Hone Onna giving this guy the time of day in the first place seems odd. They do note that Tetsuro has an irresistible pathetic puppy dog face, but Hone Onna should have no issue with combating that. She didn’t even meet him through a Hell Girl case – that comes much later down the line.
As for Testuro himself, it’s hard to really have sympathy for the guy because, like everyone says, he truly is a good-for-nothing mooch. He does appear to have a strong passion for film making and writing, but he’s too lazy and self-absorbed to do anything with it.
The last girlfriend he has almost convinced both the girls and the audience that maybe he really does just have a self-confidence issue and would go very far if he had someone who was supportive by his side, but he completely ruins that and any hope you might have for him near the end.
She gives him 3 million yen, which is almost 30,000 US dollars, to use for a budget for a new movie he wrote. He actually gets a producer to hear him out, but once he learns how much work it will be to get the movie made, he throws his script into the river and loses her money gambling on horses.
This one scene makes you lose any sympathy you might have had for his situation. It’s not a lack of confidence or life getting him down, it’s pure laziness and lack of caring for other people. He doesn’t even care a little bit that he lost his girlfriend’s money. When she kicks him out, he goes crawling back to his trio of exes, including Hone Onna.
And, truthfully, the best part about this episode at this point really is watching Hone Onna get to be human for a while and have some fun while not working. She gains actual friends here, and I loved that. It’s a different dynamic than with her and Ren and Wanyuudou. Here, she gets to cut loose and enjoy herself.
But, eventually, we have to get to the dumb part.
As I mentioned way back in the day, a storyline like this would lead you to assume the one who called Hell Girl would be a jilted ex-girlfriend, perhaps even his last ex who lost all of that money.
Let me paint a picture for ya.
He takes the girls on a road trip to scout for shooting locations for some reason. As he parks the car in a ramen shop parking lot, he badly scrapes the side of someone’s car. Instead of owning up to it, he pulls a hit and run.
When they stop at another location, he accidentally dumps coffee all over some guy and, again, tries to scoot away instead of owning up to it or apologizing.
The guy who got coffee spilled all over him was the owner of the car.
And the owner of the car is the client.
Yup. This dude was so pissed that Tetsuro scraped his car that he called Hell Girl, though how he knew his name is beyond me. He’s an unknown character with his face half cast in shadow with a baseball cap, and the only interaction he had with Tetsuro was the hit and run. I guess he could’ve looked up his license plate number? And then the coffee thing was the tipping point, I suppose…..
Japan must have an epidemic of sociopathic idiots wearing baseball caps, because someone who looked eerily similar to this guy was also in the first season and killed a nurse for seemingly no reason.
We’re not stopping there with the silliness, either. This guy was driving a Toyota AE86. Why do I bring that up? Because they named this character Toyota Hachiroku, which literally translates to Toyota 86…..So, either his parents hated him or he loved his car so much that he named himself after it.
Speaking of the car, if you were going to have such a dumb plot based on scraping a car, could you not have chosen one that wasn’t an ugly POS? Apparently, this is a very popular style of car, and much of its popularity is stemmed from its appearance in Initial D, but, dammit all, it’s just ugly to me. What’s even weirder is that the Wiki page of the car lists many pop culture references to itself, including many very obscure ones, but Hell Girl, despite the most blatant reference ever being included in one of their episodes, fails to make the list.
Testuro’s hell torture is actually one of the more entertaining ones we’ve ever had. They put him in numerous movie scenes and have him suffer in various ways like burning him up in a scene where he’s trying to save the girls from a fire and a dated-even-back-then Titanic reference where he gets swept away by the water.
This all leads up to one of my favorite scenes in Hell Girl where the final appearance by Ai is done in silent movie form. It’s fitting, really cool-looking and it adds a very eerie atmosphere to this otherwise goofy episode.
Whether or not he deserved to go to hell is not really up for debate this time. Yeah, you can’t really sympathize with him. Yeah, he treated his girlfriends like disposable food, sex and money machines, yeah, he was lazy and self-absorbed, but it’s hard for me to say he really deserved to go to hell for all that.
In the end, Hone Onna is forced to wipe her friends’ memories of her and leave them forever, which saddened me deeply.
This is an interesting episode with a very stupid Hell Girl plot. I know it would’ve been predictable to have one of his exes send him to hell, but it’s better than a random dude he doesn’t know sending him to hell because his precious Toyota AE86 got scraped and he got a little coffee spilled on him.
Two more notes before we end – There’s a bizarre scene where we see a live-action music video briefly as the original Hell Girl theme plays. This is the real music video for the song, Sakasama no Chō, sung by SNoW. This isn’t the first time they’ve played this song in the second season, but this is the first time they’ve included live-action footage. It was really strange.
Second, this episode was supposedly in memory of Ed Wood. I’m not sure how to take that.