I started this show hoping to find a great story centered around Hell Girl. Instead I found multiple stand alone stories that are interesting but leave you continuously wanting more. They show a bit of Hell Girl at her home and things are said that make you want to learn more but they dismiss it to continue with a new story. I'm currently on ep. 12 at the time of writing this and I'm not sure if it's worth continuing. The main character is so intresting but I find myself disappointed at the character development. At some point they do enter in other reoccurring Characters but I see zero point to them...or maybe I'm too disinterested to pay enough attention anymore.
Jigoku Shoujo 2 follows in spirit of the first season. The second season has the same dark and grim atmosphere. Fans of the first season won’t be disappointed. The second season starts with follow up to the origin story from the first season. It is a part for the main arc of the second season. After this short introduction the season continues in the beginning as mere episodic series with standalone short stories. I liked how it expands the various circumstances which can foster hatred towards stranger, neighbor, friend or even family member. The stories are not mere rehash of the previous season. Each one of them is unique in its own way. One really good point the series makes with sudden death of one character in a traffic accident just shortly after the character in question pulled the red string i.e. gave his soul to the Hell. This points out how the end of life may be closer than we would expect it to be. A prime example of meditation on one of the four last things. I won’t go further into the details of individual episodes in order to avoid spoilers. Let me just say, that overall I do enjoy them.
The second season follows structure of the first. The difference is that the main story arc and its characters becomes more prominent much later on. It focuses on small seemingly innocent town, where one incident starts an avalanche of requests for Jigoku Shoujo eliminating large number of the citizens. Atmosphere of hypocrisy hidden under thin façade over rotten characters of townsfolk is brilliantly underscored by sarcastic usage of happy song "Our city Lovely Hills". This season also includes origin side stories for the sidekicks of Jigoku Shoujo. These side stories are in a sense reinterpretation of Japanese folk tales and find inspiration in eastern spirituality. Moreover new mysterious character Kikuri joins the Hell Girl.
The down side of the season’s main story arc is lack of strong characters. Shibata Hajime and his daughter were interesting characters, but the second season main story arc’s characters are little boy and younger sister of police detective. Neither of them is that interesting.
Visuals of the Enma Ai are only slightly updated. Musical themes go along the same lines i.e. classic music, but also including play on more aggressive genres such as metal. Just as in case of the previous season I don’t like the opening, but I do like the ending. The music is strong point of throughout the series (season 1 – 3).
The second season despite weaker main arc’s characters upholds overall positive impression. Its themes touch on nature of evil and still it manages to be entertaining. It is not just a random shlock, otaku pandering, etc. Even the second season does deserve a place in top anime list. It’s one of those anime I’m going back to from time to time.
Allright. It's been a while since I've done something like this so bear with me as I try to find my way again. I did quite a lot of them in the past on a different website which you can find here: http://legendsofsatura.net/index.php/forum125/6-reviewing-guild.html
....They probably aren't very good though but please do stop by if you have the time and inclination. Originally the site was for writers, mostly original but also fanfiction.
Also I'm Dutch so there will be spelling errors. If you find them annoying give me a shout and I'll try to fix them.
Oh, I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum but there will be some. Usually the worse I rate an anime the more spoilers this will contain. You have been warned
So, you have probably already read what the animation is about in the discription given by Anime-Planet, which is the same as on the box. I will therefore try not go into the story that much unless I'm ranting about something (spoilers).
CHARACTERS: Main character is Ai Enma, who is known as Hell Girl. She has just one purpose and that is supplying people with the ability to send the object of their revenge straight to Hell. She herself does not judge, only the people who summon her do that. She shows therefore no emotion, whether you curse someone to Hell or not is of no consequence to her at all.
Hone Onna is a vengeful spirit of a prostitute that was brutally murdered centuries ago. She appears as a beautiful woman and used that to lure unsuspecting victims to their doom. At some point Ai seeks her out and she decides to become one of Ai's servants. Her job is to investigate the victim and meet out punishment.
Wanyudo is another of Ai's servants. after dying in a fiery crash while trying to escape some samurai he continues to haunt the mountain road he died on. After meeting Ai he becomes her servant and he often transports her to her victims. Normally he appears as a friendly old man, his spirit is that of a burning carriage with his face as weels.
Ren is the final servant is Ai and he used to a sword. After killing so many men he became steeped in blood that he developed a personality. Ai approached him and gave him a new perpose.
STORY: Well, I can be very short here as there isn't one. Each episode is a stand alone arc where someone summons Ai to banish someone to Hell and, if the curse is released, does so.
Ai simply does not care. If the person asking has a big enough grudge than they will be able to access the Hell Girl site where they can enter the name of the one they want to send to Hell. Ai appears and gives them a doll with a red string. Should they wish to release the curse all they have to do is pull lose the string.
The person cursed will then immediately go to Hell and (s)he will literally vanish from this world. The one who placed the curse will also go to Hell but only after they die.
This is literally it. There is nothing much to add to this premise. Is it enough? Maybe, 'Kino's journey' and 'Mushi Shi' is similar in that the stories are separate episodal arcs. Some episodes may connect to each other but overall that is that and I like those anime's very much. Hell Girl is not something I truly enjoyed and I think that the reason is that she is not a very interesting character.
She doesn't do anything and for the most part does not care about the people she takes to Hell. It is a job for her, one that must be done. Nothing more, nothing less. There is nothing for us to relate to as she is some supernatural being with amazing powers. Kino and Ginko were human. They faced human problems and as such were relatable even though they both share a bit of the emotionlessness that Ai has.
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.
I agree with some here if they say that the staff listened to the fans. for a couple of episodes it was alright but it won't take that long before you realize the changes.
for me here are what I thought are the improvements of this season that the previous.
-Ai is actually taking part of the revenge which is usually done by his comrades. and she is also taking part of observing the Client.
- we got to know more about Ai and her comrades more, though not that much but enough for us to understand them and realize that they have emotions.
-Slowly but surely they broke out their formula where it's a backstory then deal with the devil then revenge. we got to see some interesting revenge stories as well as what if (ex: what if your recipient for revenge has died?)
Yes some reasons for revenge are still shitty but it also makes the show entertaining because you never know why? and it's about revenge not justice.
-Finally this season has LESS TEENAGERS AND LESS GIRLS AS CLIENS, for me They are too young to sell their soul to the devil just because of some problem, they'll grow and experience more problems in the future.
-You will also find yourself rooting for the recipient and will ask yourself "do they really deserve to go to hell?"
- There's also Story regarding Ai during the final few episode which makes you want to see season 3.
-The Art and the Sound is amazing as usual
-Kikuri for me is a good addition, she's like a bomb that anytime might reveal something big.
Te only negative thing I see in this is I don't think this anime is for everyone and if you don't like slice of life or episodic anime then you might drop this.
Overall I Highly Recommend it, if you're bored at season 1 then give this season at least 4-5 episodes so you can truly see it's beauty.