|wMay 4, 2008|
Hell Girl, eps 1-2
Because I am lazy, the Anime News Network synopsis: Somewhere in the vast sea of the Internet, there's a website that can only be accessed at the stroke of midnight. Known as the Jigoku Tsushin [Hell Link], rumor has it that if you post a grudge there, the Jigoku Shoujo [Hell Girl] will appear and drag whoever torments you into the inferno. 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, and that whenever a posting on the Jigoku Tsushin moves her, she becomes the Jigoku Shoujo.
When Hell Girl receives a message, she takes the person who made the request to an alternate reality, where there is a constant sunset, bathing the sky and surrounding water in red. Emma Ai, the Hell Girl, then makes sure that the person understands the terms of the contract: the person against whom they have a grievance will be immediately sent to Hell. But when the person making the request dies, they will also go to Hell, where their soul will experience eternal pain and agony. Given the severity of the price to use Hell Girl, people only use it when their lives already are a living hell. In the first episode, the user is a girl who is picked on, bullied, and manipulated by a classmate every day. In the second episode, the user is a girl who has had a male stalker for over a year.
The character design and animation quality are solid, and even gorgeous at times. The series also has a nice soundtrack. What I don't like, though, is that it seems like it would get pretty formulaic, even down to recycled animation being used in every episode (not that that deters me too much - Revolutionary Girl Utena remains one of my favorite series). I guess that things could get interesting if a user were to accidentally make the contract, and then watch in horror as somebody died. It might also be interesting to see what the Hell Girl would do if someone made a request for a situation she didn't find severe enough.
And while I haven't read/watched much of the xxxHolic series, the Hell Girl looks pretty strikingly like Yuuko, down to the haircut. Her kimono-wearing and wish-granting don't exactly help her case, either. I'd have to see more of both series before accusing it of being a rip-off, though.
I don't care for the song playing in the opening sequence, but I figured it would be nice to show how pretty the animation and character design are.
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