Saturday, November 17, 2012

Review: Jigoku Shoujo (2005-2009)

Jigoku Shoujo ~Hell Girl~ (2005-2009) is a Japanese horror anime based in contemporary Japan. It spanned three seasons with a total of 78 episodes.

Season 1 - Hell Girl (2005-2006) 
The show focuses on the existence of a supernatural justice system that allows people to take revenge on the perpetrators through the Hotline to Hell (a website that can only be accessed at midnight) of the mysterious "jigoku shoujo" (literal translation: hell girl). Rumor has it that if you post a grudge there, the Jigoku Shoujo will appear and drag whoever torments you into the inferno. However, those who have the Hell Girl execute their vengeance will also go to Hell when they die. Very little is known about the girl—all we know for sure is that she lives with her equally enigmatic grandmother, that three magical straw dolls accompany and serve her. Shibata Hajime, a freelance journalist, begins to investigate these claims out of curiosity. Not only does he find out that the rumors are true, but he learns his daughter, Tsugume, has a strange connection to Enma Ai, the Hell Girl. Together, they try to end the operation.

Season 2 - Hell Girl: Two Mirrors (2006-2007) 
Ai Enma, her real name, once again returns as the Jigoku Shoujo, who uses the online service, Hotline to Hell, to allow people to post their grudges on their tormentors, sending them straight to Hell. In exchange, the users of the website will end up in Hell after they die. Meanwhile, a mysterious girl with purple eyes called Kikuri appears and seems to have strange intentions towards Ai and the entire online operation.

Season 3 - Hell Girl: Three Vessels (2008-2009) 
After Ai Enma's supposed death, her three helpers, Ichimoku Ren, Wanyuudou and Hone-Onna live out their lives in relative peace. This is suddenly shattered when Kikuri returns to recruit them. Meanwhile, Ai mysteriously reappears from the dead and uses the body of a young schoolgirl, Yuzuki Mikage, to continue the online operation.

Jigoku Shoujo was a popular anime series in the last decade. Revenge, injustice, hatred, and the nature of human emotions are common themes throughout the series. The show also incorporated Japanese mythology and elements of horror. The show was scary enough to frighten me on several occasions, and set the stage to seriously discuss human nature through our desire for vengeance. The sequels would later focus on Enma Ai’s motivations and background. It received such a cult following that a live-action version was produced in Japan. Thus, Jigoku Shoujo has become a must-see classic for anime horror fans.
This anime is available to rent and buy on DVD.

Opening Theme: " Sakasama No Chou ~The Upside Down Butterfly ~" by Snow

Ending Theme: ""Karinui" (かりぬい; "Basting/ Temporary Sewing") by Mamiko Noto

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