First Impressions: Hell Girl, Two Mirrors

You should know the rules by now.

If you need vengeance, you know who to call.

This week I bring you a couple of first impressions of horror anime series, and just in time for the holidays! First off is one that I was hoping to get a chance to watch: the second season of my beloved Hell Girl. I’ve already reviewed the disturbingly stunning first season, entitled simply Hell Girl, and I’ve mentioned before that I’m a kind of purist when it comes to watching a series in order. However, I had the chance to watch season three, Hell Girl: Three Vessels, thanks to my on demand, and I took it. Now I finally get the chance to fill in the missing pieces in the middle of the story by watching Hell Girl: Two Mirrors (or Jigoku Shoujo: Futakomori).

She's ba-a-a-a-ack...

Check out my review of season one if you’re new to the Hell Girl franchise. The first episode is classic Hell Girl with a bonus: it’s a story of vengeance, but it begins by showing a more detailed picture of the events at the close of season one, explaining how Ai Enma became the Hell Girl. After that we pick right back up where we left off with a girl who is being viciously tormented at school. However, she has no idea who the culprit is, so night after night she accesses the Hell Link and types in one name after another, erasing them in confused despair. One teacher at school seems to actually care about the girl, and there’s a brief moment of the girl smiling and thinking that things will be alright. Yet, in the inevitable Hell Girl twist, the torment goes to an even darker and more terrifying place of psychological and physical pain, so the girl finally has to call on Ai and her helpers to take the revenge that she cannot.

Ai and pals: better than a "Cheers" reunion show!

It was great not only to see Ai again (and see a bit more of her back story) but also her three helpers: Hone Onna, Ren Ichimoku, and Wanyūdō. The “dolls” were back in fighting form, scoping out the possible site of vengeance and digging up dirt for Ai. The music sounds just like the other two seasons, frighteningly calm at times, powerful and intense at others. Just as in the other two seasons I got chills when Ai set out to exact revenge on the accused set to the pounding drums of “Jigoku Nagashi.” The art is gorgeous, as to be expected, and since I’m already familiar with the main cast it was like catching up with old friends. For despite the horror that envelopes this series, at its heart is a great group of characters that you want to learn more about.

You sleep well now, okay?

I wasn’t too taken with the third season, but the first episode of season two was more reminiscent of the Hell Girl that I know and love from season one than the cheesy, fan service-filled mess of season three. I hope that the rest of this series keeps up the quality while explaining more about Ai and the dolls. And I can’t wait to finally find out who the hell that tricycle-riding creepy baby doll from season three is! Overall I’m excited by what I’ve seen of Hell Girl: Two Mirrors thus far, and I look forward to tempering the holiday cheer with this dramatic horror show.

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