Well, I recently purchased a DVD of the most recent of all the Jigouku Shoujo anime series, which is season 3. It was a bit of a surprise when this first came out in Japan as people were expecting the second season to have ended in an open-ended sort of way what with the last frame of the said season showing a shot of a cellphone (which was being carried by a girl) with the all too familiar lines from Ai Enma saying that she will deliver the person’s vengance. Of course, at that time in the series, considering that Ai Enma had been ‘killed’ by the viscious mob of angry villagers, fans of the series believed it to be a new ‘Hell Girl’ following the footsteps of Ai Enma.
This newer season, follows up on the series months after the end of the previous season where Ai Enma’s three loyal ‘followers’: Wanyudo, Ichimoku Ren, and Honne Onna were living (so to speak) their own lives doing normal people work (Wanyudo working as a construction worker, IchimokuRen working at a bath house and Honne Onna working at a bar). Their ‘normal’ lives were dragged back to their hell-work when Ai becons for them once again. It should be noted that although all of them seem to know it was comig that they were surprised still.
Ai, who is nothing more than a spirit as her body is no longer available to use, searches for a host. Her spirit, in a form of a Hell Butterfly, found the perfect host in a senior school girl who goes by the name of Yuzuki. It adds to note that the series have a lot of unexpected twists and turns than the previous seasons with Yuzuki ultimately becoming Hell Girl at some point in the series before Ai regains her status once again. Although it may sound confusing, the series itself is not and one would only understand it throughly if one should watch.
That having been said, I am pretty much caught up with the series as it shows various people having been wronged in some way searching for a way to get revenge and ultimately contacting the Hell Correspondence Website where they input the name of the person whom they hold a grudge against and the Hell Girl, Ai Enma, appears to give them a straw doll with a red string. All they need to do, to sign the contract would be to pull the red string and the person they hate the most (whom they inputted the name on the site) would be sent to hell however, like everything, at a price — that the person who holds the grudge would also be sent to hell after they die.
“When one person is cursed, two graves are dug.” It is a popular saying by Confucious that was implemented on the anime and which Ai Enma states at every episode, whether it be to the person bearing the grudge or after the particular episode had finished prior to the credit roll.
It’s actually a pretty good anime despite the dark theme that most parents would think is not suitable for the young audiences. Why do I say that it is a good anime? Because it teaches those who watch it something important.
Although the person bearing the grudge gets his or her revenge by sending the person they hate to hell, they are bound to the contract that their souls would also be sent to hell when they die. At their standpoint, it is a good enough bargain however, there are several episodes in the series where they send a person to hell for some measly reason only to find that the person had actually not done them any wrong. Other times, it is the person who’s sent to hell who wonders what it is they have done when all they wanted was to help the person who had pulled the string and wanted to send them to hell.
Allow me to give an example from the earlier episodes of the 3rd season.
In that particular episode, Yuzuki’s classmate bore a grudge against a teacher who was constantly reminding her and the rest of the class not to forget to study, often he would be harsh and strict — of course, for us in the real world, that is how teachers should be. Teachers are meant to be strict and harsh at times in order for us not to go astray. However, having believed that this teacher was out to get everyone out of school by kicking them out, the girl who was Yuzuki’s classmate contacts the Hell Girl. After an incident where the teacher was scolding her for listening on her ipod during class discussion and after having confiscated the said gadget, the student snapped and wanted to take revenge by exposing the teacher’s ‘wrong doings’.
After class she wents to an empty faculty room and searches for the notebook (as well as her ipod). The notebook she was searching for was the notebook that the teacher always has and jots down notes on when a student does something wrong. While she was searching, she was caught by the teacher who asks her what she was doing and tell her that if she was looking for her gadget, he had already disposed of it. Angry at what the teacher did, she curses him and pulls the red string sending the teacher, who was confused, to hell. It was only after this that her classmate appears and tells her that she was looking for her as the teacher had handed her the ipod to give back to the student. This of course shocked the student and she sees the notebook the teacher always has. Expecting that this was the reason why she sent him to hell, she looks at the notebook hoping to find a list of student misconduct only to find drawings and nothing else. In short, she sent him to hell for nothing and she is going to hell for nothing as well.
Although Ai is the Hell Girl, I can see that she really does not like sending people to hell especially when the reasons are so stupid. This anime, in my opinion, allows people to think twice on cursing someone and allows them to think of the consequences of revenge.
Although in real life there is no such thing as the Hell Correspondence or Hell Girl, and that there is no way to send a person we hate straight to hell, I think that this anime is still a good wake up call to all who allows anger to fill their hearts and cloud their judgement.
“When one is cursed, two graves are dug.”