Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Horror themed mini-review: Jigoku Shoujo

That's right, got a new mini-review for you! To keep it in theme with the season we're in (with Halloween and all,) it's Jigoku Shoujo, or Hell Girl today!

First off, let me be brutally honest. If you're looking for horror in the form of Corpse Party, this will not satisfy that particular itch. No abundance of violent deaths to be seen here. This is gonna be a bit more of a "think about that for a second and say that isn't scary"-kind of deal. With that in mind, let's continue.

The story, unsurprisingly enough, revolves around Ai Enma, also referred to as Hell Girl. Ai, along with her three sidekicks, get requests from regular people at a website (called Hell Link) that can only be accessed at exactly midnight, and only if you have a strong grievance towards someone.

Your grievance shall be avenged.
We, as the viewer, get to
join in and watch Ai and her sidekicks work as different people submit names of people they want banished to hell. This is also the point where this stops being simple. Should you find, and submit a name to the Hell Link, Ai will visit you personally (within a second of submitting the name) and give you the following deal.

Would you untie the thread?
You accept the straw doll with a red thread. Now you got to confirm that you are serious about banishing someone to hell immediately. This is done by untying the red thread and banishing yourself to hell as well on the day you die, or you walk away. That's right. You thought this was gonna be an easy free ride to send someone you dislike to hell? You're wrong. You're sending someone into an eternity of pain, horror and who-knows-what-else immediately. The price to pay is that you will suffer the same fate on the day you die in the future. "Curses come home to roost" as Ai puts it. This is a question I really liked this series for asking. Just how much do you have to hate someone to see them sent to hell right this instant, and you with them at a later date?

About halfway in the series, the story changes a bit. Instead of just hearing about the stories of unlucky souls, we also get to know Hajime, a freelance journalist, and Tsugumi Shibata (Hajime's daughter). Hajime starts looking into the cases where people have mysteriously vanished (or as the viewer knows, been sent to hell), and at the same time Tsugumi begins to have these visions, where she momentarily sees something Ai is watching. Together they try to figure out why Hell Girl is banishing people to hell, if there is any way they can stop her, and why Tsugumi and Ai seem to have some sort of connection. I won't spoil anything, as this series is definitely worth a watch just to figure out what Ai's driving factor is, and how it all connects to Hajime and Tsugumi.

Final Verdict: 9/10
Pros:                                                                   Cons:
- Great characters                                                - Not as scary as I thought it was going to be
- Great use of suspense                                           for a horror series
- Big moral grey area with untying the
   red thread
- Great pacing.

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