Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Jigoku Shoujo Ep. 13

Episode title: 煉獄少女 (Rengoku Shoujo: Purgatory Girl)

This episode focused on Hajime's investigation of Ai, her operations more than 50 years ago, a view of the end of someone's contract and the person's feelings toward Ai, and Ai's indirect attempt to express herself (or maybe even a plea for help?). Detailed summary (spoilers) below the pics:

First the pics (click to enlarge):
Tsugumi has another vision; Ai enters a used book store... is she looking for porno?
Ai's helpers wonder what the hell (pun intended) Ai's doing
Hajime finally finds the novel; the illustration shows the Rengoku Shoujo along with the main characters
Beware... the Rengoku Shoujo beckons you to hell.... (this is not quite Ai though....)
An old photo of the author of the novel (on the left) and his best buddy (in the center)
Ah, there's the Ai we know
The author of the novel, Fukumoto
An empty newspaper ad... the contents can only be seen by those who bear great enmity
The moment you put your request letter in the mail box, the Jigoku Shoujo appears
Fukumoto's Jigoku Shoujo shrine... a room full of Ai artwork
Ai sheds tears for Fukumoto because his candle goes out...
Ai's mysterious smile.... what does it mean?

Summary: Tsugumi has a vision of Ai going into a used bookstore. She sees a scruffy looking middle aged book owner and his parrot, a bookstore full of dirty magazines... and Ai's fingers brush against a certain book on the shelf. Hajime snaps her out of it, she relays what she's seen, and Hajime goes to investigate, thinking there's another Jigoku Shoujo case on foot. Meanwhile, Ai's helpers talk amongst themselves, wondering what Ai's doing. Hone Onna says they'll find out when the time comes... and hints that they'll have to deal with Hajime one day.

Hajime eventually finds the bookstore and with the help of an incredibly intelligent parrot (who seems to be able to have a sensible conversation with him and even speak for him), he finds the novel that Ai's fingers touched. It's a book called "Rengoku Shoujo" (Purgatory Girl). The book owner says the author's name is probably a pen name and directs Hajime to the publisher of the book.

Hajime talks to the publisher, who gives him the real name of the author, Fukumoto. He also shows him a photo of Fukumoto and the real picture that Fukumoto drew (he was an artist) of Ai. The pic of the Rengoku Shoujo in the novel was drawn by someone else because they thought it would look scarier and thus better for sales of the novel. The picture of Ai looks exactly like the Ai that Hajime's seen. The publisher also tells him that there was some tragedy in Fukumoto's life, as his wife had committed suicide and his best friend disappeared shortly after.

Hajime finds Fukumoto, who eventually tells him about Ai. First, he mentions the methods of contacting Ai. Ironically, he was told by his best friend on how to do so. There was a newspaper ad that was completely blank. Only those who had a big grudge against someone could see the ad. Fukumoto at the time couldn't see anything of course. But one day, he discovered that his best friend raped his wife (maybe... he didn't say, I just saw the pic and interpreted it as such). His wife committed suicide shortly after and Fukumoto felt for the first time in his life like killing someone... and he could see the message on the blank ad. The moment he entered his letter into the post box, he felt a presence, and Ai appeared behind him. His vengence was carried out shortly after. He tells Hajime about the condition that he himself had to fall to hell after his natural death, and that he bore the mark of hell on his chest.

Fukumoto said he tried to forget about the mark and his eventual journey to hell by engrossing himself in work, then going on some kind of zen like training, then gambling his life away, then trying to help out humanity in small ways like picking up litter; but in the end, he couldn't forget that his fate was to suffer an eternity in hell.

He shows Hajime his room dedicated to Ai... the room is full of artwork he had drawn and painted of Ai. His last work is a mural on one of the walls and he makes the finishing touches on it. He says that thinking of meeting Ai once again was the only thing he was looking forward to. "What?" says Hajime, "But she messed up your life!" "No," answers Fukumoto, "the one that messed up my life was my best friend. I heard that he carried around a gun; should I had tried to take vengence myself, I would have joined my wife quite soon. No, I'm thankful to Ai." "Just what the hell is she, the Jigoku Shoujo?" "She's not human... or maybe she was once a person. There are records speaking of the Jigoku Shoujo in the Edo period... but it probably goes back to the Azuchi-Momoyama period." "Why did you decide to write about the Jigoku Shoujo?" asks Hajime. "It was probably her will, not mine," says Fukumoto, "She wanted to tell her story to someone." "Someone?" whispers Hajime, "who?" "That's right," says Fukumoto, looking at Hajime, "You."

Then Fukumoto feels some pain in his body... the mural of Ai begans to shed tears. Fukumoto looks at the painting and says, "Are you crying for me?" His candle goes out and he passes away. He finds himself lying on the ferry with Ai. "We finally meet again... you haven't changed a bit," says Fukumoto. "Do you think I'll meet my old friend?" he asks. Ai smiles for a second, then says, "Hell is a big place." End of story.

Why did she smile? It was creepy! Was it just poor animation/artwork or did it mean something sinister? Ki ni naru!


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