Jigoku Shoujo – Recap
There was once a show with a very dark sense of irony, mixed with a deeply cynical world view and a touch of beautiful music and artwork that captivated my heart with its beauty. That show was Kara no Kyoukai.
Jokes aside though, the first season of Jigoku Shoujo was highly enjoyable. I love a good revenge story and it definitely delivered with a winning combination of heartrending grief, beautifully ironic punishments, and an emotionless girl with huge, expressive eyes. The best of all worlds. The second series followed suite but focused on expanding the backstories of Enma Ai’s three assistants and their interaction with clients. It didn’t have the same kind of charm that the first season did but very few shows do, and Futakomori was very good at forging its own path. I loved each episode but not for the same reasons as I did the previous season. There were also more instances of people getting sent to hell who didn’t really deserve it; these episodes underlined the disturbing nature of the Jigoku Shoujo universe – even if you have lived a good life beloved by all you can be damned simply because you pissed off the wrong people, even if they were batshit crazy/overreacting. This was taken to its logical conclusion in the last few episodes where an entire town went crazy in the style of The Crucible, tearing itself apart by condemning an unknown amount of people simply because others did not like them.
It was also kinda cute seeing Ai taking part in the investigations, in various costumes. It warmed my heart a little. Someone somewhere on the internet wrote something to the effect of if only she were 9 years older, they’d date her. I’m inclined to agree.
Which brings me, at last, to the third and probably the final season – Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae. I had heard very bad things about it; some of my friends had ranted about how far downhill the series had gone. Of course I wasn’t watching Jigoku Shoujo at the time so I couldn’t agree one way or the other. 8 episodes in, I can sorta see what they’re talking about. I can’t always bring myself to care about the aggrieved in the same way I did for the other two seasons and there are a fair few more cases where I feel the victims didn’t deserve to be sent to hell, although in these cases I’m guessing that was the point. The problem kinda stems from the fact that they chose to centre the plot around a single school in a single town, thus making most of the Hell Correspondence users middle school students with all their weird grudges. Seriously, if I had to tell you one thing I learned from watching Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, it’s to never piss off Japanese middle school students because they’re all batshit crazy. They will fuck you up.
The punishments, my favorite part of the series, got a little ridiculous too and they seem more and more like a vehicle to get Ai dressed up in all sorts of fetish clothes. Not that I mind, but that kimono is awesome. They got the patterns to move around! What’s wrong with it? Also they’ve kinda lost that ironic bite to them. Episode 8 has been my favorite so far, returning to the classic style of an ever-escalating torment with a definite antagonist that deserves to be punished for what they’ve done. Also, Ai with kemonomimi is love. I will keep watching this season I think, I don’t dislike it enough to drop it completely and think it can still redeem itself.
Damn, what is it with me and emotionless girls? Heh…