Yasuda Haruka and her mother are walking home one day in their housing complex when her mother sees something in a nearby window that causes her to pause and stare. Over the next day, the entire family is bullied at school and work, all thanks to Todaka Namiko, the woman Haruka’s mother saw in the window. Namiko even has a man come and harass Haruka’s mother when no one else is there. The stress is too much, and Haruka’s mother tries to commit suicide with pills and gas. Fortunately for her, Haruka arrives in time to save her and hear her mention the Todaka name. That night, Haruka accesses and uses the Jigoku Tsuushin, and Emna Ai soon pays her a visit. The first thing Haruka wants to know is what happened between her mother and Todaka Namiko. Ai gives her a doll, and then takes her back to the day when her mother stopped in front of that window. What she saw was Namiko having an affair with the delivery boy. The bullying was in response to that, but in addition, Namiko took pictures of the guy she hired forcing himself onto Haruka’s mother the same day she tried to kill herself. Though having seen enough, Haruka still doesn’t use the doll, instead returning home where she finds her father yelling at and beating her mother. With that as the final straw, Haruka realizes that it’s all Namiko’s fault, so she pulls the string. The next day, Namiko gets a visit from another delivery boy (Ichimoku Ren), who she takes in and seduces. But her husband then appears and her entire life soon spins out of control as everyone, including her daughter and neighbors, sees what she’s doing. She quickly loses it, and can only laugh as Ai rows the boat to hell. In the aftermath of Namiko’s disappearance, Haruka is happy that her mother’s smile returned, but the mark is now present to remind her of her fate.
This episode greatly surprises me with how adult the themes are: rape, adultery, domestic violence. Todaka Namiko is one of those people who cares too much about their image, and Haruka’s mother happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I almost feel bad for her…almost. I really would, but the ending where the tables are turned on Todaka Yuria (Namiko’s daughter), with Haruka’s mother as the new ringleader of the group of women, changed my mind about her. I’m more inclined to feel sorry for Haruka, who had to go through the whole ordeal and ended up sacrificing her soul, and has to live with that fact for the rest of her life.
Other thoughts about this episode:
-I enjoyed the animation quality this week, though the shaky camera in certain scenes seemed a little out of place.
-The stock footage scene of Ai getting dressed and leaving in the stagecoach gets some cool action music. I really like it, but it feels like it comes out of nowhere (ie. very abrupt start).
-Ai seems a little more insidious this week, reminding Haruka several times that she (Ai) is there to help Haruka get revenge.
-Is next week a tribute to Glass Mask?