Hell Girl: Two Mirrors

Alt title: Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori

TV (26 eps)
2006 - 2007
Fall 2006
3.96 out of 5 from 7,728 votes
Rank #1,048

Enma Ai seems like an ordinary girl, but in reality she is Jigoku Shoujo: Hell Girl. If you live in Japan and hate someone deep down, she will take revenge for you, at a price. Access her website at midnight and her services are yours, but in exchange you will spend an eternity in hell once you die. After the events with the reporter Shibata, Ai and her assistants Ichimoku Ren, Hone Onna and Wanyuudo are back to their duties of ferrying more souls to hell. Only this time, they are joined by a mysterious girl named Kikuri whose intentions and nature are completely unknown...

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Everyone who knows my tastes slightly well knows that I'm all for sad/tragic/depressing/bitter/dark stories, and Jigoku Shoujo excels at this. I remember myself being somewhat bored through some of the episodic plots in the first season, but in this second part I really liked most of them, and even the lesser graceful ones were good. It's a fact that my love for dark stuff has grown along the years so that may have some influence... but it's not like I didn't enjoy these kinds of stories back then in 2006/07, when I watched the first season. I've never been a fan of shows that pretend to be serious but fall flat in delivering any actual heavy or emotional material and try to patronize me with cookie-cutter feel-good happenings. If you are going for something like that, don't mislead the audience and go all-out with the comedy/cheerful tone in the first place. And since that hardly ever works beyond 'well', the easiest way to grab me to a show is a mostly serious story (or bunch of stories), which is evident by the sheer amount of such shows in my top list. Jigoku Shoujo does this. Its stories pretty much always follow a predetermined formula: people are bothered by their peers, access Hell's Mail, are given the straw dolls and, after being driven to their limits, beyond the point of no repair, they finally send their fiends to Hell. Of course, such a repetitive scenario is a weak point per se (despite it presenting plenty of variations), but it's the ill nature of each and every of these stories that makes it work. The recurring themes are hatred, deceipt, loss, betrayal, death, egoism, lust, despair, obsession, sadism and anxiety, among many more. Yes, it's very far from a pleasant experience and that's why it's good. While the show may feel exaggerated or overwhelming at times when depicting the evil side of humans, the direction of the stories in general is much to my liking. My favorite kind is probably the one about families crumbling down after an awful experience that escalates eating away at their minds, or through the unbearable harassment of those they consider friends. The reason is that these are probably the ones which pull more heartstrings, as you can see the suffering of every member and how they try to put up with it differently, unfortunately to no avail, until meeting a disgraceful end. Because that's the darkest point of the show: even after taking revenge and disposing of their object of hatred, in almost every case it's already too late for things to go back to the way they were and the protagonists are left drowning in grief and remorse, every day being one step closer to their entrance in hell. My only gripe about the show's storytelling is the fact that most of the stories focus on highschool students. Given that this is not a moeblob antics kind of show that's not a problem, but I'd surely appreciate more variety in the scenarios. Another point of interest and improvement in this season was how Jigoku Shoujo's assistants (Ichimoku Ren, Wanyuudou, Hone-Onna) were also fleshed out in a minimal yet sufficient manner to make them feel as more than soul-less minions. Their thoughts about their relationship among them and with the Mistress are also handled similarly, and satisfyingly enough. The arc that wrapped up this season was wonderful and a great, fitting ending to the series as a whole. As Marius said there isn't really a need for a third season and I'm supposing they'll pull a ''comeback to the past'' to keep telling episodic stories (else they'll be ruining a niiice finale). I'll be starting the third season sometime soon. For now, I'm already enamored by the opening theme. Long story short, I very much enjoyed this new season of the franchise - more than I expected. For those who don't mind the repetitive basic structure, this is a recommendable watch. For those who despise the show for ''not being a good horror'', in my opinion horror was never the selling point of this. This hatred will ferry you to Hell.


I was aware of what I was going to get into when starting Hell Girl: Futakomori or Two Mirrors, and yet I was surprised of what was behind the red thread. Much like the first season, Two Mirrors follows the same episodic style: we have a poor soul being tormented, they ask Hell Girl for help, they resist at first but then banish their tormentor to Hell by trecherous illusion before riding on the creepiest ferry boat in existence. Or does it? Even though Two Mirrors follows the formula above, there are plenty of twists that are provided. Some episodes don't give the viewer of whom is banishing whom, while other times our initial person doesn't even access the Hell Link. Rather someone gets there before they do. This honestly left me guessing and provided another fine twist along with the others to come. Some have said that Two Mirrors is more campier than the first season. This can be seen in that Wanyuudou becomes a race car before running over the tormentor Christine-style. Let alone the image of Ai Enma being a delivery girl. Yes. It exists. Others have also complained that the show is also too slow; making this combo appear to be dreadful to the wary. However, I didn't view the new jigoku or hell illusions to be camp. I personally saw it as the studio further stretching their imaginations along with the stories of hatred, betrayal, jealously etc. Plus, considering that its viewers have seen season one (like I have) than the imagery of the Ai and her assistants poking fun is a breath of fresh air to me. There's definitely pros to this season. The servants Wanyuudou, Ren and Hone Onma are further fleshed out and play a bigger role. Their backstories are discovered and all three become all the more interesting just as the mysterious Miss that they serve. If any of them intrigued you, I recommend this season for these backstories alone. The only downside is that we have a newcompatriot in young Kikuri whose laughter is probably the next creepiest laugh to Majora's. I didn't much care for her, but she has her own inner plot as well that may intrigue others. The soundtrack sets the right mood with familiar songs that have new arrangements and a few new ones as well. They fit into the world of Hell Girl wonderfully. I also liked the opening, but the ending was a bit lacking to me; it wasn't as memorable as "Karinui" Now..the finale. I personally didn't think it was as strong as Hajime's and Tsugumi's fate in the first season, but I did find it intriguing that the show decided to focus on a character that tried to access the Hell Link before. Although I questioned at times that over the trauma the kid went if he was going to be the next Shinji Ikari in the making. It's in those episodes alone that bring forth the psychological bending that fear can cause in people and how it can inspire the greatest evil in anyone. It was the very same psychological horror in a Death Note-esque fashion (Hell Link becoming the latest craze in sentencing death by the ordinary people and how 4 such ordinary people become a cult with the seal) that made me watch episodes 22-26 in almost a whole sitting. Not only do we get connections with those characters where a few first are shown, we delve more in Ai Enma's ever-twilight realm, the loss of humanity, plot twists lie abound, the "what if Ai Enma turned the boat around?" and the fate it brings to not only Ai but the servants that may be interpreted as her family.  All in all, if you have some free time or unsure of your next anime, I recommend Two Mirrors, especially if you enjoyed the world of Hell Girl the first time around. A bent spider lily in a field of wheat where the twilight is always present.

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