Jigoku Shoujo – 04
Kanno Junko is devastated by the loss of her dog Candy who has been the only remnant of her original family since her parents died. She struggles to move on until the veterinarian’s assistant Sekimoto calls her up. She tells Junko what really happened that day: the doctor got a call from his friends and let her dog die so that he could go have fun. While in a furious state, Junko overhears some girls talking about the Jigoku Tsushin. After she inputs the name, Enma Ai appears before her and gives the normal speech. Junko is ready to pull the string immediately, but Ai’s warning about Junko’s own soul being tormented stops her. The next morning, Junko gets the idea that maybe she could expose the doctor. She asks Sekimoto about evidence, but the two are unable to find anything while rummaging through the doctor’s files. Instead, they are caught snooping by none other than the doctor himself, who challenges them to find evidence, then displays his cruel feelings towards the dogs. After being kicked out, Junko pulls the string. During the drive home, the doctor gets into an accident and wakes up behind bars in a hospital, being treated the same way he treated the dogs. On the boat to hell with Ai, he gets surrounded by a swarm of dogs calling out to him.
I really thought this episode would be boring and the plot would be fairly stupid. That turned out (fortunately) not to be the case. The plot is predictable, but I enjoyed watching it anyway. They follow a similar formula of story advancement that they have been doing, but I find it most intriguing that Junko would have continued on with her life if Sekimoto hadn’t said anything. She probably wouldn’t have been happy for a while, but she would have eventually gotten over it. Sekimoto may have cleared her own conscience, but it leads to Junko sacrificing her soul in the afterlife. On top of that, Junko tries to find an alternative to using Ai’s powers even though it ultimately failed. I hope that future episodes show more characters trying to find a solution without pulling the string, and eventually feature a character that succeeds in solving their own problems without needing Enma Ai and company.
A combination of those two elements, along with generally better animation, contributes to why this is a good episode for me. Next week features another pair of girls (yay!), though it doesn’t seem like we’ll see someone not pulling the string quite just yet, if ever.