Title: Hell Girl (season 1)
Genre: horror, drama, supernatural
Released date: October 4, 2005 – April 4, 2006
Director: Takahiro Omori
Animated by: Studio Deen
Comment: Hell Girl can be disturbingly depressing at times that I do not recommend it to anyone who has had a bad day or is having suicidal idea. Nevertheless, Hell Girl is by all means worth watching. The series markedly differ from other animes. Instead of straightly telling the story of the main character, each episode of Hell Girl tells different stories of newly introduced characters while continuously building and developing on the same issues.
Enma Ai, aka Hell Girl, had suffered when she was alive and in the afterlife she remained between the world of the living and the dead. Typically, the person who needs an immediate revenge against someone will ask Ai for help by sending the name to Ai via e-mail. Enma Ai will send the requested person to hell on one condition that the person who made the request must also go to hell but only after he or she dies. Most of the early episodes are presented in similar pattern; the obviously bad guy hurts the innocent victim, blinded by grief and anger, the victim turns to Enma Ai for quick revenge which leads to somewhat satisfying ending. It seems like those who do evil things are punished just as they deserves. But about half way into the series, many interesting things starts to surface. The story gets more complex; the characters shows more than one aspects, the themes are less black-and-white and Hell Girl’s action doesn’t look as good as it initially did. In the second half, the series try to demonstrate the flaws of Hell Girl’s idea and it is subtly done. In one episode a girl condemns a veterinarian to hell for abusing and killing many animals including her beloved dog. It is just tragic to see a naïve girl pay terrible price for something like this. There are hundreds of other ways to deal with the problem but the girl fails to see them. In the other episode a kind woman is sent to hell by a mentally disturbed man. The two recurring characters, Hajime and Tsugumi, are cleverly used to provide arguments against Enma Ai’s actions and gives the viewers some sense of continuation between each episodes.
I like this anime because it lets me see the world from many aspects and it gets my thoughts running all the time. The anime does not give conclusion about which person is right or whether Ai’s action is decent but the viewers must use their own judgments. The animation quality and original soundtrack are very well done. Some people may feel that the series lack real ending. Conclusion: Despite some repetition and extremely depressing mood, each episode of Hell Girl is great on its own and the series as a whole are powerful and thought-provoking.