Shibata Hajime becomes interested in the Jigoku Tsuushin legend after reading about it in a magazine. Unbeknownst to him, his daughter Tsugumi has had an encounter with Enma Ai before by some railway tracks. Ai tells her grandmother of the experience, calling it nostalgic. Tsugumi herself starts to have visions of Ai and even recites Ai’s classic “Ippen shinde miru” line after her father mentions the subject. Meanwhile, a girl named Tanuma Chie accesses the Jigoku Tsuushin for the sake of her friend Yuuko, who is in a coma. Yuuko apparently fell off a building onto a car, and Chie saw Ishidu Gorou, who Yuuko liked, as the culprit who caused the accident. After a bus trip that takes her to red world, Chie recieves the speech and the doll from Ai and her companions. Back with the Shibata family, Hajime is still researching the Jigoku Shoujo when his daughter once again starts to have visions, first of Ai’s home, then of the hamburger place where Gorou works. The two go to that location, and arrive just as Gorou is trying to strangle Chie after she confronted him again about Yuuko and the money he stole. However, Chie has already pulled the string to her doll. Gorou runs off, but his screams are soon heard in the distance; Hajime chases and sees Gorou getting sucked into a store window. After Ai sends Gorou to hell, she appears in the shadows in front of Chie, Tsugumi, and Hajime, but only the two girls can see her. Visiting Yuuko again after Gorou’s disappearance, Chie reveals that she also liked him. And at the Shibata home, as Tsugumi sleeps, Hajime sits hunched over his computer, trying to access the Jigoku Tsuushin.
Without a doubt this is the best episodes so far, mainly for introducing a pair of characters that look to be like they’re going to tie the series together. But in addition to that, the little girl Tsugumi seems to be channeling Ai! She doesn’t have the creepy red eyes yet, but she’s getting there, even saying Ai’s ippen line. There are a lot of questions to be answered about what connection she has with Ai, why Ai called it nostalgic, and what the future holds. As for Hajime, he doesn’t seem like a very savory character to start (since he makes a living selling scandalous photos it seems). He does care about his daughter, but is quite obsessed about the Jigoku Shoujo by the end of the story. Hopefully he won’t become a bad guy figure.
Of course, Tsugumi and her father shouldn’t completely overshadow today’s story about Chie. Chie actually confronts Gorou and threatens him with the doll and the prospect of the Jigoku Shoujo. I was half expecting Gorou to take the doll out of her hand and break it or throw it away or something. However, Chie still pulled the string on her own, meaning that her soul’s still liable.
And so needless to say, I’m more than pleased with the developments of this episode. The preview doesn’t show either of the Shibatas, and I suspect that in order not to exhaust this new story element, they won’t feature the pair every week.