Friday 13 August 2010
Hell Girl (season one)
hellcorrespondence.com can only be accessed after midnight. Type in the name of the person you wish vengeance upon and Hell Girl will appear bearing a voodoo doll. She will explain to you the rules, your covenant, and then leave you to make up your mind. Will you choose to send your enemy straight to hell, forsaking your own soul in the process? Or will you find forgiveness in your heart?
Most people, they choose hell.
I had no idea what to expect from Hell Girl. The copy on the box revealed exactly nothing about the story. Turns out, season one is largely episodic. Each episode is a contained story about how one person is so troubled, put upon, or otherwise desperate that their only recourse is Hell Girl. The stories are sometimes curious, sometimes gut-wrenching, and not everyone deserves to be sent to hades.
As Hell Girl and her minions go about their vengeful business they are dogged by Hajime and his young daughter Tsugumi. Hajime is horrified by the idea of condemning souls to hell and interferes on behalf of the antagonist, trying to convince the aggrieved not to go through with it. Tsugumi, for her part, can't understand what the big deal is--bad people should be punished.
Hell Girl deals equally with justice and injustice. Hell Girl herself is supposed to be neutral, simply offering a choice, but the girl is not without her own history and as the series progresses we come to know a bit more about Ai Enma. Building slowly, introducing its audience to different flavours of vengeance--some bitter, some sweet--the show investigates the complex nature of hatred and how we are motivated by our anger, hopelessness, and desperation.
Your grievance shall be avenged.