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Monday, January 21, 2008

Hell Girl DVD Impression


Your grievance will be avenged. This is the core theme of FUNimations latest horror anime (more psychological) Hell Girl. She looks like any other school age girl you’d pass on the street with a depressive air about her and red eyes not usually seen in young children. Did I also mention that she will ferry your most hated rival to hell for a price … the price of your soul? Urban legend speaks of a website, the Hell Correspondents that can only be accessed at midnight and only by those willing to pay the ultimate price for revenge. Go to the site, enter the name of the one you have a grievance against and Hell Girl Jigoku Shojo appears, handing you a doll, a simple straw doll with a red thread around its neck. She informs you that by removing this thread you will carry out your vengeance, but every deal has a price, and that price is when you die you go to hell, to suffer eternally. So is the anime Hell Girl.

I’ve watched 2 volumes of Hell Girl so far, and for the DVD and a few episodes into the second DVD viewers are treated to random stories of wrongdoing and vengeance from school ground bullying to cheating wives and corporate betrayers. Each story is tied together as Hell Girl is called in by the wronged. Half-way through volume 2 you meet a writer, an investigative reporter who’s looking into the Hell Girl stories, and his daughter who seems to know when someone has contacted the Hell Correspondents. These two are starting to add a connection to each episode, and it will be very interesting to see where their investigation goes, how, if at all, they will contact Hell Girl. Jigoku is not alone in her acts. She has three associates; one older gentleman, a younger one and an attractive young lady who each help carry out the torture of those who have grievances against them. Interestingly enough each person as they are faced with death are provided a chance to repent, but they don’t and off on their boat ride they go to hell.

The story found in Hell Girl is very engaging as viewers are exposed to the worst of people’s hearts. Each story can stand on its own. There are no loose ends as you will be left satisfied with each episode, but don’t expect gore or fast paced action. This anime is about storytelling, about the bad people going to hell, and it’s a hell of a story. The animation is fluid, soft on the eyes with colors seen in the ordinary world and vivid scenes each time someone in condemned. No two torture scenes are the same as each person’s evil varies. The eerie music with the “Your Grievance will be Avenged” voice makes viewers open their eyes in anticipation of what’s to come. Jigoku would make any top 10 list of scary little kids and each of her supporting characters are average looking in both design and dress allowing the viewer to associate all the more with them. The opening theme Sakasama no Cho by SNoW is haunting and hopeful at the same time, and one of my new favorite chilling tunes.

If you’re looking for a thrilling anime with unique stories and chilling results topped with smooth animation and design then Hell Girl is for you. Much like Mushi-Shi, Hell Girl delivers delicious anime that satisfies on intellectual levels most anime don’t approach. Pick up Hell Girl for yourself.

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