Saturday, December 6, 2008

[Review] Jigoku Shoujo

Hell Girl (地獄少女, Jigoku Shōjo), also known as Jigoku Shoujo: Girl From Hell[1][2], is an anime series, produced by Aniplex and Studio Deen. It premiered across Japan on numerous television stations, including Animax, Tokyo MX, MBS and others, between October 4, 2005 and April 4, 2006. Following the success of the first season, the series was followed soon after into a second, Jigoku Shōjo Futakomori (地獄少女 二籠, Jigoku Shōjo Futakomori?), which premiered October 7, 2006 across Japan on Animax.[3] A live-action television series adaptation started airing in Japan on Nippon Television from November 4, 2006.

Ai Enma (閻魔 あい, Ai Enma?)
Voiced by: Mamiko Noto (Japanese), Brina Palencia (English)

The primary protagonist of the series. With long, flowing hair and red eyes, she is a spiritual entity with a tragic past, who lives in a world of eternal twilight with her grandmother, and is the one who receives and delivers vengeance on her clients' behalf. She normally wears a black seifuku, or sailor uniform (which is usually worn during winter months), but always wears a kimono with floral designs when delivering the vengeance of a client.

Since she has done this (being the Hell Girl) for so long, she initially seemed to have become emotionless, numbed, as is shown by her expressionless face. Wanyūdō noted she still had feelings, though, although she did not express them strongly, and it was later revealed that Ai had been ordered to close her heart by the Spider.

Wanyūdō (輪入道, Wanyūdō?)
Voiced by: Takayuki Sugo (Japanese), R. Bruce Elliott (E

Wanyūdō is the first of Ai's three companions. He generally appears as an old man whose eyes remain mostly shut, wearing fairly old-fashioned Japanese clothing, and a red scarf around his neck. When necessary, he takes the form of the black straw doll that Ai hands to her clients in the series. He also frequently takes the form of a Ai's coach with burning wheels when she goes to the human world to claim a soul.

Despite appearing quite mild-mannered, frail and weak with age at most times, Wanyūdō possesses considerable skills in martial arts and is capable of hurling fireballs and performing feats of inhuman strength.

Wanyūdō's name means "A wheel entering the road" a reference to the flaming wheel form he most commonly assumes. In episode 12 of Futakomori, it is revealed that he was the driver of a princess' entourage, which fell off a cliff. The coach caught fire and all aboard were killed. As a result, he became a yōkai terrorizing people in the form of a flaming wheel with his own enlarged, infuriated face as a hubcap, until he met Ai and she invited him to join her as her first companion. Ai revealed to Wanyūdō his ability to shapeshift.

Ichimoku Ren (一目連, Ichimoku Ren?)
Voiced by: Masaya Matsukaze (Japanese), Todd Haberkorn (English)

Ren is Ai's second companion, and usually takes the form of a young man. He can manifest a single large eye that can be directed anywhere, allowing him to see the inside of a building through projecting the eye on the walls and ceilings. The large eye can also be used as a weapon through projecting intense flashes of light.

When so required, Ren becomes the blue straw doll by kissing a pendant he wears around his neck. He is sometimes referred to as "Moku" or "Ichimoto Ren". Ai was the one who gave his human form body.

Since that time, Ren has apparently grown quite fond of his human form, displaying considerable vanity from time to time. Ai claims she invited him to join her because there is something that Ren is looking for, a fact perhaps manifested in Ren's occasional puzzlement and inability to understand the things humans do.

Hone Onna (骨女, Bone Woman?)
Voiced by: Takako Honda (Japanese), Jennifer Seman (English)

Hone Onna is Ai's third companion, and she often takes the form of a woman in a kimono with its obi tied in front--the trademark of a prostitute (In the second season, her obi is tied at the back).

She becomes the red straw doll when necessary by tossing her red obi strap over her neck.

Hone Onna and Ren investigate the people who make a contract and the ones they have a grudge against. She usually infiltrates human society in casual clothing to investigate cases, on these occasions she tends to use the pseudonym "Sone Anna".

Hone Onna seems to suffer from mild vanity; she can be quite offended when she is addressed as obā-san ('old lady' or 'auntie'; a proper Japanese form of address for any woman of middle age and above). The name Hone Onna literally means "bone woman", which reflects her ability to expose the bones in her body to scare the victims of the revenge Ai delivers.

Ai's Grandmother (あいの祖母, Ai no Sobo?)
Voiced by: Eriko Matsushima (Japanese), Juli Erickson (English)

Never actually seen in the series, other than as a shadowy silhouette behind a paper screen, she is always spinning thread in her room, and occasionally talks to Ai and gives her advice.

More Info: [source]

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