Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Jigoku Shoujo Ep. 26

Final episode: Karinui

Enma Ai tries to make Tsugumi send Hajime to hell. Click on the pics to enlarge; detailed summary below:
A male voice wakes Ai on the Hell Ferry and says that because her heart has opened, she is no longer capable of doing her job and that he'd take her back to hell. Ai glows with energy, dislodging the spider that was on her. She says that she has unfinished business. The spider throws out a stream of spider silk to restrain her but she breaks through easily and disappears.

Back on Earth, Ai's helpers sense her return, then Wanyuudo turns into his energy form as he's summoned to become the straw doll. The other two try to follow him. At the temple, Tsugumi wants Hajime to explain why Sentaro didn't help Ai, but before he can answer, he disappears. Suddenly, Tsugumi finds herself staring at Ai at the railway crossing, then the image of her mother replaces that of Ai. Ai shows her the night when her mom tried to make amends with Hajime, but he refused to forgive her and told her to get lost. She drives off in tears in the rain later dies in a one-car accident. Hajime, on the scene, says, "It's not my fault." Tsugumi is shocked, of course. Then Ai tells Tsugumi what a bad father he was and how she must have been lonely without her mother. She gives Tsugumi the straw doll and tells her that she'll send Hajime to hell for her.

Back at Ai's house in hell, Hajime are with Hone Onna and Ichimoku Ren. They tell him about how Ai's been working as the Jigoku Shoujo for 400 years to atone for her sins for killing all the villagers. She couldn't flee and had to suffer, forgetting her own hatred and heart. They are startled as the Granny speaks up... she says she'll free them for this place if Hajime would do her a favor.

Meanwhile in Tsugumi's house, Ai's putting the pressure on. Tsugumi remains strong, demanding to know why Ai's trying to force these lies on her. Ai tells her to think carefully about things. Later, Ai uses her mom's image again, and seems to use her powers to put Tsugumi in a trance. She places the doll in her hand, Tsugumi's eyes go blank, and her hand starts to go for the string. Then Hajime's voice shouts her name. He's arrived, and he wants to know what the Jigoku Shoujo's trying to do. Ai's helpers also arrive and beg her to stop; she sends them flying away with an energy blast. Ai takes the two of them to the accident scene again. There, Hajime breaks down in tears and says he wished that he had died in her place, that it was all his fault, and that the tragedy could've been avoided. His sincere feelings begin to affect Ai, and she thinks back to Sentaro's actions before she died. But she tells Hajime that it's too late to ask for forgiveness and regretting wouldn't bring back his wife. Hajime, in tears, says that Tsugumi must have suffered and felt lonely without her mother. He asks Tsugumi to send him to hell. Ai tells Tsugumi to pull the string, but Tsugumi cries and strikes Hajime with the straw doll. "Baka!" she yells. She tells him that she wasn't lonely because Hajime was there to be with her and that they had a lot of fun together. She asks if he didn't have a good time with her; he replies that being with her gave him the most happiness. This scene affects Ai deeply, and she changes the scene to the mountain area with the giant cherry blossom tree. She thinks back to the good times she felt with Sentaro. Tsugumi returns the doll to Ai and tells Ai that she knows she loved Sentaro and he her. Ai changes the scene again to the Shibata temple. Wanyuudo is returned to his human form. Ai blasts away the temple and tells her helpers they are leaving. They follow happily. The spider, watching from the blasted cherry tree, disappears too. Tsugumi asks Hajime why Ai destroyed the temple; he begins to answer but stops. Tsugumi makes him promise he'll never make her feel lonely. He does so gladly. End of story.

But wait, there's an epilogue: we see a girl distraught over the death of her cat; she has a straw doll in her hand, and we see Ai. On her computer, it says, "To be continued." Looking at the official Jigoku Shoujo site, we see that they're going to make a second season.

I'm kinda glad that they'll go with another season, because this ending was unsatisfying in that it didn't address several things: the details of how Ai became the Jigoku Shoujo, the true nature of the Spider and the "Granny." However, if the second season is more of "send someone to hell" type of stories, it could go downhill fast... I want to see more stories unravelling mysteries about Ai and the nature of the characters of hell.


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