「切り裂き魔」 (Kirisaki Ma)
When I heard about ‘The Ripper’ who killed women, I thought we were heading towards a darker episode. Especially since it was set in a town where every resident was obsessed with having their own life-like replica dolls – which set a rather creepy tone. However, that didn’t prove to be the case – with context being that hair is symbolically used to represent a woman’s life. So when she gets her hair ‘cut’, she is figuratively ‘killed’. And so begins an investigation into the mysteries behind random women having their hairs mysteriously cut off.
I think we all knew it would be the shopkeeper when she appeared towards the start of this episode. Those dark bags under her eyes, that slightly crazed expression, and her ominous whisper of ‘We wants her’ when Elaina walked out of the shop. But it’s one thing to have our prime suspect and another thing to gather enough evidence to pin them down. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on perspectives), Elaina becomes a victim to the Ripper – waking up the next day with her beautiful, long hair cut short. Her only clues are an open window, a missing doll and some strands of cut hair that are a different color from hers. With the help of Sheila, Elaina deduces that the Ripper uses doll magic to carry out their crime.
After interrogating the innkeeper, a logical step considering he must have been in on the plan to some extent, Elaina and Sheila discover the existence of a secret auction, where the dolls using illegally acquired hair are sold. Elaina restrains herself for the most part, until the doll using her uniquely ashen hair comes up for auction. At that exact moment, she completely flips out and eviscerates the doll – much to the shock and horror of the doll loving collectors at the auction. And her desecration of the doll draws out its creator, who you’d think would be outraged at the destruction of her hard work, but ecstatically revels in Elaina’s anger.
To be honest, I initially brought into the Ripper’s explanation of artistry being her primary motive in cutting away women’s hair without their consent. However, that wouldn’t explain why she never attempted to obtain consent like a normal person. I’m sure that many women would be willing to give away some hair for free, or if compensated appropriately for their troubles. In the end, the doll maker showed her true colors by expressing sickening delight at the vexation of other people. So it goes without saying that she gets detained. And is fortunate enough to have Saya presiding over her, since she manages to get a massive rise out of Saya after Sheila reveals to Saya that the doll maker stole her beloved Elaina’s hair. Most importantly, the Ripper’s reign of terror has finally come to an end.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week – where according to the series director, we will be receiving the darkest episode of Majo no Tabitabi to date.