Review: Hell Girl: Futagomori is a sequel to Hell Girl. The series keeps to its old way of storytelling. Each episode contains individual story about people in grudges seeking revenge by making contracts with Enma Ai, aka Hell Girl. In the first season, the story in each episode gets more and more complex, more morally controversial and less black-and-white but in this second season, the earlier episodes falls back to the very beginning; the stories about bad people getting the punishments they deserve. The only thing that changes is the gesture that Enma Ai does when she sends her victims to hell. It is rather boring.
Later in the series, the show gradually gets more interesting. The creators obviously try to avoid repetition by utilizing various different techniques for the show. Some episode hides the one who contacts Enma Ai until the very end, some episode tells the story on flash back mode. In these later episodes, the ones who serve Enma Ai (Wanyudo, Ishimoku Ren and Hone Onna) get involved in the matters of their clients more deeply which proved to be a smart thing to do because the viewers have a chance to know these recurring characters more. Their personalities and their pasts which had never been revealed in the first season are subtly explored.
Despite all the new tricks, Futagomori still lacks one important thing that the first season has; connection. In the first season, the journalist and his daughter whose vision is connected with Hellgirl’s form the thread that binds all the episodes together. In Futagomori, each episode is mostly not connected. One might watch an episode, wait for a year then watch another without any trouble because the previous episode has nothing to do with the next and when one episode ends, it does not make the viewers want to see what’s going to happen. The new recurring character in this second season is Kikuri, a little girl with large dark purple eyes (to my horror, she has no sclerae; the white part of the eyes). She appears in almost every episode, playing ball, running around or purging from tree branch but does nothing significant. So what’s the point of putting her in the series so early if you are not planning to let her play some roles?
The main story arch emerges very late in the series. It picks up the story of Takuma, the boy who has been introduced earlier in one episode. This final part is what the show is really about; the unending darkness inside every person. The presence of Enma Ai is simply the trigger or the amplifier of the grudge and hatred of human. This final part is brilliantly done with sophisticated and compelling plot and it effectively breaths life into Enma Ai’s character. Her pain, her sorrow and her internal conflict is vividly portrayed that Enma actually turns from a wooden faced, demonic girl into a very sad and unfortunate girl the viewers must sympathize.
In general, Hell Girl: Futagomori is a fine anime that can easily live up to its predecessor’s standard. Actually, excluding the final five episodes, it is almost the same as the first season. Both series share some good qualities including good animation and music, interesting characterization, occasional brilliant and thought-provoking script. Nevertheless, I think it is not wrong to expect something superior or at least some development from the previous season because if there is none of these things, why make a sequel at all? Conclusion: If you find the first season appealing and you don’t mind watching the same old stuffs again, then you won’t be disappointed with this series.
Title: Hell Girl: Futagomori (season 2)
Genre: supernatural, fantasy, drama, horror
Released date: October 7, 2006 – April 6, 2007
Director: Takahiro Omori
Animated by: Studio Deen