|Posted by sosbrigademgo on November 4, 2008 at 1:39 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by sosbrigademgo on October 21, 2008 at 4:51 AM||comments (6)|
Jigoku Shoujo or Hell Girl
Ai Enma is a supernatural being with single purpose: revenge. Mind you, it's not her own revenge she's after, but other people's. People go to a special website that appears only at midnight. It has only one page: an entry form. You enter your tormentor's name and click "Send". Moments later Ai Enma will appear before you and offer to take revenge for your sake. She will ferry the soul of that person straight into the depths of hell. But there is a price: when you die, you will also go to hell. "You will never know the joys of heaven. You will wander a world of pain and torment for all eternity."
The first seven episodes of the show is somewhat hard to get through. Each episode seems shallow - one is the same as the one before, but with different characters. The show, for the first seven episodes follows a strict formula: teenager is "tormented" by someone (a fellow classmate, in Episode 1, for example), teenager goes to the website, teenager takes revenge, "tormentor" goes to hell, teenager feels better but is branded and hell-bound.
However, after the first seven episodes, the show deepens in story. You get more persistent characters. By persistent, I mean characters that aren't there just for one episode and are then gone for good. Enter Shibata and his daughter. Shibata is a freelance reporter, and he's been quite interested in the urban myth of the Hell Girl. For some strange reason, his daughter is bound to the Hell Girl. His daughter sees what Ai Enma sees, and at times even utters what Ai Enma says.
When Shibata learns that the Hell Girl is real, he has made it a personal goal to stop her. Taking revenge does not solve problems: sometimes life can be unfair, but surrendering your soul to an eternity of torment just because someone is mean to you is no logical solution. So in the later episodes, it becomes a powerful moral dilemma. In the end, the people that Ai sends to hell are genuinely bad people and deserve to go to hell. Or do they?
Lastly, in the
third and last act of the show, it explores not only the moral division
of taking revenge and its effects on everyone, but it also explores why
Ai Enma is even doing these things. You get glimpses of her in what is
presumably purgatory, simply wasting time, finding idle things to do,
waiting for the next message, notifying her that someone wants revenge.
Clearly, in the show, you can see that Ai Enma doesn't like what she does. And you get a very distinct idea that she does it regardless because she's bound to it. But why?
The final episodes of the show are among the most powerful I have seen in any medium. It had me glued to my seat from midnight to almost noon, watching from beginning to end, because I simply could not stop myself from watching the next episode. The final episodes, as I said, are among the most powerful I have seen in any medium. It has a tremendous emotional impact.
Anime fan or not, this is one show no one should ever miss. This is how anime should be done. Each episode showing more and more of the grand scheme, until the final moments, when the realization dawns on you, at the same time as it does on the characters. From beginning to end, this show focuses on itself, and its details. It doesn't take itself lightly, but it never takes itself too seriously. It makes the viewer feel for himself the consequences of the moral choices made by the characters.
I have never felt so strongly about characters in an anime before. Especially for characters that are only there for one episode. When a show can make you feel strongly about mere extras, you know the writers have done something absolutely right.
I give this show my highest recommendation. Go out there and buy it ASAP!
Story = 10/10 - Incredible depth and moral perception.
Audio = 8/10 - Good sound, the voice acting is well-done. Though some of the "extras" seem a bit off.
Video = 9/10 - the art style is superb. The colors are vibrant, and the character designs are generally attractive.
Overall = 10/10 - This is not an average of the scores but rather the score of the show itself.