One of the best episodes in the entire Jigoku Shoujo series that breathes new life into a season I had once left for dead. If they can sustain this for the rest of the season, I will gladly forgive them the 12 episodes of fan service and rubbish they tossed on us. After all, they have a LOT to work with, given all of the loose ends in this episode. I can see another Futakomori happening, but hey, something new could always arise.
Akie can tell Yuzuki is troubled by something, but Yuzuki isn’t yet comfortable enough talking to her friend about Jigoku Shoujo taking up residence inside of her. The two leave to attend their cram school sessions, where Yuzuki still has a semblance of a normal life. Elsewhere, Wanyuudou explains the Rokumon Doori event, the festival that celebrates an exchange between the living world and Enma Ai’s Hell.
Elsewhere in the city, a woman named Azusa has claimed a grudge against Norisha, and claims that the official willingly “forgot” information, and will seek to end the event at the Rokumon Doori. Norisha is actually Akie’s father, and Yuzuki would find later on that Azusa is Akie’s home tutor.
Akie goes to visit her tutor at her house and finds her sick father, a victim of an official coverup. Azusa explains that Norisha is the reason why her father can’t get any help, as it was ruled that he was the only one at fault. Azusa also reveals that she knew Akie was Norisha’s daughter the entire time, but holds no grudge against her because she likes her student. Akie is disgusted with her father and moves out to an unused (but still swanky) family apartment, getting some help from Yuzuki to move the boxes.
While they unpack, Azusa shows up to tell Akie that she won’t be coming to the evening festival. Yuzuki and Akie still go, with Yuzuki floating a “Jigoku Shoujo” lantern down. Akie decides not to send hers and leaves Yuzuki alone, despite the latter’s calls. Yuzuki then finds herself called by a strange light by the gates; as she arrives, she sees a boat with a glowing cherry, and also sees a statue of herself in a strange kimono. Azusa comes out of nowhere to warn her that there is no turning back, but disappears before Yuzuki can say anything. Yuzuki suddenly fears for Akie’s safety, and starts running.
Azusa and Akie are spending the evening together, with Azusa making some indecent moves towards her pupil. She tells Akie to take a shower, but as soon as she leaves, Azusa calls in a “friend”, who proceeds to the bathroom and tries to rape Akie. Luckily, Norisha arrives, summoned by Yuzuki’s frantic calls for help. Azusa is stopped from pulling the string by Yuzuki, who takes the doll in hand, but Azusa herself gets away.
Still clutching the doll, Yuzuki walks the banks of the river when she is hit by a blue light, separating Enma Ai from her body. Ai informs her that the rest is for her to decide and rejoins Jigoku Tsuushin, and Yuzuki is happy to be released from her burdens. As she goes to see Akie, however, she is horrified to watch her friend disappear in front of her eyes. Azusa, hiding behind the tree, had sent her student to Hell. The next day, Yuzuki can still recognize who would be the next person to use Jigoku Tsuushin…
- WHERE WAS THIS ALL SEASON!? Seriously, this is the best the series has been since I started watching. You knew that it was only a matter of time before Yuzuki herself got involved, and this way, she’s now involved and without hope. Perfect buildup to get this season back on track, but it did have to lose Akie, who was a good foil to Yuzuki’s character.
- Still, this is the first episode where I actually felt a tinge of pain along with the characters. After 12 failed episodes, that’s a welcome improvement.
- Lots of foreshadowing in this one, and you could almost draw conclusions that Yuzuki will be the Jigoku Shoujo by the end of all of this. It would sort of make sense, because at the end of Futakomori, it is said that Ai’s job is done. This way, Ai’s return is explained by “oops forgot to name a successor” (albeit everybody assumed Kikuri would be that person).
- I see Rokumon Doori, I think Wataganashi. Japan must do this floating-type festival a lot.
- Azusa walks away almost scot free? I would be surprised if we didn’t see her again. It seems too short, too sudden. Even the 2nd season got a lot of episodes out of the townsfolk, so it wouldn’t be a breach of tradition to bring her back here and there.
- I think it’d be a good time to get Tsugumi back into some of the action.