Saturday, March 11, 2006

Jigoku Shoujo Ep. 22

Episode title: Rain of Regret (Kaikon no Ame)

This episode focuses more on Hajime's relationship with his wife, how they met, got separated, and how she died. It also focuses on Tsugumi's & Hajime's different attitudes toward Jigoku Shoujo's job. The target this time is a money-hungry girl who uses and discards men when they're out of money.

Spoilers: First of all, we get a name of the boy that Jigoku Shoujo sees: Sentaro. It's the anniversary of the death of Tsugumi's mom, Ayumi. She prepares to go to the cemetary, but it seems Hajime never goes. Tsugumi tells Hajime to go this year, but he just ignores her. She leaves to visit her grandparent's house.

Ai vandalises the shouji (paper covered sliding doors) of her house by licking a finger then poking holes... the grandma's voice (sounding puzzled and alarmed) tells her that there is a new case, but Ai keeps poking holes. Ai's helpers watch this outside the house and they comment that something must be disturbing Ai.

Through flashbacks, we see that Hajime met Ayumi in college. They got married, but so focused was Hajime on his reporting job that in the middle of their own wedding reception, he leaves because there's a big case. The scenario keeps repeating, as he frequently leaves Ayumi for some case. It's clear that she loves him but is feeling lonely and abandoned. She thinks that after Tsugumi is born, he'd spend more time with them, but there's no change.

Meanwhile, as Tsugumi and her grandparents get ready to go to the cemetary, Tsugumi gets a vision from Ai. Ai says a name and her eyes scan up and down the building's name. Tsugumi realizes that Ai's clearly giving names and locations this time. She's disturbed but finally gives Hajime a phone call and gives the name and location and hangs up. Hajime rushes to the site.

In the taxi, Hajime remembers how he was staking out a politician who was rumored to be having an affair. Out of a love motel, he sees the politician come out... with Ayumi. Hajime runs toward them, angered, punches out the politician, and has to be restrained by his boss. Ayumi falls to her knees, devastated.

The taxi arrives to the hotel site and Hajime runs out... he scans the area and he spies a man holding the hell doll. "Noriko!!!" he yells and pulls the string. Hajime yells at him to stop but of course he's too late. Hajime roughs him up, yelling that he's just killed someone. The man, in tears, said he'd loved her but she only saw him as a source or money and nothing more, and that she couldn't be forgiven. The words strike Hajime hard, as he remembers his own words to his boss saying that he couldn't forgive Ayumi for cheating on him. Even after she pleaded to get back together, he stubbornly refused. She drove off in the rain that night but died in a one-car accident. The man's comments echo too closely to Hajime's feelings at that time. Meanwhile, the girl, Noriko, gets punished and is sent to hell. Hajime tells the man vengence is not good, but the man just laughs, brokenly. Ai looks at them from high above.

In the end, Tsugumi and her grandparents go to the cemetary and are surprised to see flowers and a bento of chestnut rice already offered on her grave. "Who..." says the grandparents. "Hajime-chan..." says Tsugumi, tears in her eyes.

Next week, Tsugumi's belief that the Jigoku Shoujo's job is a necessary evil gets tested.

Pics (click to enlarge):
Vision of the place Ai remembers Sentaro.Tsugumi buys chestnuts in preparation to visit her mom's grave.Ai licks her finger...
and proceeds to poke holes through the shoujiAi's helpers are worried about herA photo of Ayumi and TsugumiHajime finds his reporting duties more important than his own wedding receptionThis week's target: the money hungry NorikoHajime and his supervisor stake out a case of a young politician rumored to be having an affairIt turns out the politician is dating Hajime's wifeHajime slugs the politicianBack in current time, Hajime is angry with the client for having pulled the string and sent another person to hellIn flashback, we see that Ayumi tried to ask for forgiveness and try to get back together with Hajime, but he just won't hear it... she drives off and it starts to rainHajime hears about a fatal car accident... it's his own wifeMeanwhile, back in current time, Noriko undergoes a variety of punishments involving money... finally, she is locked in a vault full of money that is set on fire by Hone Onna before she disappears. While she is burning, Ai sends her to hell.... on the boat, Ai tells her that she no longer has the looks that will deceive men... her face is now a skull.From high above, Ai looks on upon Hajime, a man full of regret, and her client, a man crazed by love and anguishAt the cemetary, Tsugumi and her grandparents are surprised...Someone has left flowers and a bento of chestnut riceTsugumi is moved, realizing Hajime finally came to pay his respects


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