Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Jigoku Shoujo Ep. 25

Ai's energy blast only partially hits Hajime and Tsugumi and they both fall into the waters. Ai may have thought they died and she disappears after enveloping the tree in flames. Her helpers don't know where she went. Meanwhile, the Spider watches on. Hajime and Tsugumi begin to drown... though it looks like they're heading toward the surface... while that happens, they both have a vision:

We see Sentaro as the son of a poor sandal maker. Because of his poor health, the father depends on the help of the other villagers. In thanks, he makes sandals for them. Sentaro had been sleeping, and his father tells him that his cousin Ai came to visit earlier and would be back. He tells him to play with her. Sentaro said he'll help his father make sandals today, but Ai shows up at their doorstep and she's crying. Sentaro asks if the other kids picked on her again. She answers, "yes," and Sentaro goes running down toward the village despite his father's pleas not to.

Sentaro fights a group of kids who say that Ai is a "mononoke" (like a magical spirit). They say that she brought a butterfly back to life and that she'll bring ill fortune to the village... everyone in the villagers feel so. They beat up Sentaro for siding with her. Later, Sentaro and Ai are playing at their favorite spot in the mountains. Ai apologizes to him and says the butterfly was not dead. Sentaro says he doesn't think she is a mononoke; she is just Ai.

Later, Sentaro learns that Ai's been selected to become the priestess for the Nanatsu festival. Sentaro accuses them of selecting her because they consider her a mononoke. But Ai's parents ask a favor of Sentaro; they want him to visit her time to time to give her food and comfort (it appears that the priestess's job is to live solitarily in the mountains in the shrine). Sentaro agrees and says he'll protect her. Ai, hearing this, is very happy.

In the present, we see Ai asleep or unconscious on her hell boat.

Meanwhile, the crops are not growing well... the villagers are frightened about surviving the winter. Sentaro visits her often, and Ai's hair has grown long. They softly sing a song together about cherry blossoms, she takes a skinny dip in the pool, but later, they are discovered by the village kids. They blame their poor crops on Sentaro's forbidden visits to the priestess and that they couldn't forgive Ai. Sentaro tells her to run while he fends them off, but they overpower him and catch Ai and punish her in the water.

Back in the present, Ai's helpers are still at the mountain spot and are worried about Ai. Ren mentions how they owe her a big debt.

Later, the village has Ai and her parents bound and blindfolded. They've dug a pit, then they strike their heads and they fall in. They give Sentaro a shovel and force him to bury them. His tears hits Ai and she regains consciousness while a part of her blindfold slides down. She can hear what's going on... only, she doesn't know what kind of struggle Sentaro's having... all she knows is that the person who vowed to protect her is now burying her alive. She cries out his name and Sentaro can't do it... he runs from the site while the rest of the villagers bury Ai and her parents. Ai burns with hatred and vows vengence.

Later in the evening, we see a while female hand burst out of the ground. Sentaro suddenly awakens as if from a nightmare. He gets up and decides to leave the village. When he turns back, he sees there's a fire... the village houses are on fire. Upon closer inspection, he sees a young girl setting the houses on fire magically. It's Ai... she's singing the sakura song that she and Sentaro used to sing, she dances, her eyes are wide and vacant... she looks like she's fallen off the deep end. Sentaro, in horror, runs away, but he starts laughing... he's become crazed himself and doesn't notice getting cut as he runs past thin branches. He reaches a hilltop and he looks back at the burning village... his eyes turn sad.

Tsugumi breaks out of her vision; she's crying. Hajime's sitting next to her. "Did you see?" he asks her. They are by the temple. "I don't understand," says Tsugumi. "I do," says Hajime. End of episode.

Comment: it was very tragic and chilling what happened to Ai. However, I was disappointed that they didn't go into how Ai officially became the Jigoku Shoujo and what the Spider/"granny" said/did to her.

Next week's preview has Ai's voiceover of her usual instructions and warnings to those sending people to hell... but she ends with "Tsugumi." Tsugumi has a hell doll... why? They show the Spider quite prominently as well.

Pics (click to enlarge):


At 2:40 AM, Blogger Aletta Evelyn said...

Erm...I noticed something, though I don't mean to criticize you in any way.
I think neither Sentaro nor Ai become crazed at the end. Though it's just my own interpretation I hope to have a nice discussion over. I think Ai seems to be crazyly smiling because she's happy that she could complete her revenge and Sentarou is grinning that way because at first he thinks he didn't kill Ai afterall, but then realization hits him as he sees the village burning from the top of that hill, that's why the sad expression in the end. What do you think?


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