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Hell Girl: Two Mirrors – Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

June 1, 2010 by  



Enjoyably dark and sometimes twisted!  “Hell Girl: Two Mirrors” continues its story of vengeance but this time a twist with Hell Girl Ai Enma.  If you enjoyed the first season, you’ll definitely enjoy the second!

Image courtesy of © Jigoku Shoujou Project/SKY Perfect Well Think-Aniplex. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Hell Girl: Two Mirrors

DURATION: 13 Episodes (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN, Japanese Stereo, English subtitles

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14V

Release Date: May 25, 2010

Director: Takahiro Omori

Original Script by Hiroshi Watanabe

Music by Hiromi Mizutani, Yasuharu Takanashi

Character Design by Mariko Oda

Art Director: Nariyuki Ogi, Yoshinori Hishinuma

Anime Production: Studio Deen

 

Featuring the following voice talent:

Mamiko Noto as Ai Enma

Hisahiro Ogura as Narrator

Kanako Sakai as Kikuri

Masaya Matsukaze as Ren Ichimoku

Shigeru Muroi as Narration

Takako Honda as Hone-Onna

Takayuki Sugo as Wanyuudou

They call her Jigoku Tsushin – the Hell Girl. For endless years Ai Enma has served as the embodiment of revenge itself. If you desire to send another’s soul to eternal torment, contact her via the internet and she’ll come from her land of endless sunset to deliver your revenge… at the cost of sending your own soul, of course, but it’s a price a surprising number of people are willing to pay.

But things are changing with the Hell Girl. Once seemingly implacable and pitiless, glints of emotion now show through the cracks forming in her emotionless facade. And now there is a new girl with infernal connections who seems to be turning up with alarming regularity.

In 2006, “Jigoku Shojo: Girl from Hell” aka “Hell Girl” from Aniplex and Studio Deen has been a well known anime series in America courtesy of being shown on the Syfy channel and also the first season (26-episodes) being released by FUNimation Entertainment.  With a total of three seasons having been aired on Japanese television, the second season titled “Hell Girl: Two Mirrors”, also has a total of 26-episodes and has now been released on DVD courtesy of Sentai Filmworks with the first collection containing episodes 1-13.

Directing the second season is Takahiro Omori who was the director of the first season and also worked on series such as “Durarara!!”, “Kuragehime”, “Koi Kaze” and “Yoiko”.  Character designs are by Mariko Oka who worked on “Detective Loki”, “Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae” and the previous “Hell Girl” and art design by Yoshinori Hishinuma (“Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”, “Gakuen Alice”, “Scrapped Princess” and “Mahoromatic: Something More Beautiful”).  Animation is by Studio DEEN (“Samurai X”, “Ranma 1/2”, “R.O.D. – The TV”, “Patlabor the Movie”, “Fruits Basket” and many more anime series).

“Hell Girl” is a series that features a new standalone episode in which a person wants revenge against someone and they find a website known as Hotline to Hell (Hell Correspondence) and is only visible to those with a lot of hatred.  When a person wants vengeance, the character of Ai Enma shows up and tells them that she will take the person to a realm of perpetual twilight and offers them a straw doll (which is typically one of her three companions) and a red string around the neck of the doll to describe to the client the details of their contract.  Once the client pulls the string around the doll’s neck, she will then lead the target to their demise.  But according the contract, the person who had sought vengeance, when they die, the rules is that they must go to Hell as well.  And a permanent reminder in the shape of a black moon will be seen on their chest to indicate that they have exacted vengeance and are going to Hell.

In the first season, we learn how Ai Enma was sent to Hell and how the God of Hell gave her new life and to become immortal and can not enter Hell.  Her duty is to deliver people’s hatred and vengeance and observe of this happening.  Usually cold and a stoic girl who does her duty, this time around for the second season, we are starting to see Ai going from a cold and emotionless person to having compassion and even interacting with the people who are seeking revenge. Is the Hell Girl starting to deviate from her primary duty?

“Hell Girl: Two Mirrors” is the second season of the series and features a total of 13 episodes on two DVDs. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 (27) – A high school girl on those who are bullying her.
  • EPISODE 2 (28) – A sister of a girl who was raped and killed wants vengeance.
  • EPISODE 3 (29) – A girl who loves her next door neighbor wants vengeance on his two-timing girlfriend.
  • EPISODE 4 (30) – A man needs money to help his sick wife and commits a crime with his friend.  But when his friend tells his wife, it sends her to a coma and now the man wants revenge.
  • EPISODE 5 (31) – A gangster learns about the Hell Hotline from the person he is bullying.
  • EPISODE 6 (32) – Souta is a teenager that likes a girl who has treated him well but notices that her boyfriend plans to use her badly.  Now Souta wants revenge.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 7 (33) – The Ougi family matriarch has not been the same since the death of her son.  And now with the family in disarray, the only way Emi can end the pain is by using the Hell Hotline on her mother.
  • EPISODE 8 (34) – A fake Hell Hotline was used against a teacher named Shouko and now she wants vengeance on those who did this to her.
  • EPISODE 9 (35) – A sister wants vengeance against her brother who chases away her boyfriends.
  • EPISODE 10 (36) – A man wants vengeance on a guy who hit his car and spilled coffee on him.
  • EPISODE 11 (37) – A woman wants revenge on the person who keeps prank calling and threatening her.
  • EPISODE 12 (38) – Due to traffic accidents on a road, a new road must be developed but due to a house blocking the path for a new road (and the person living in the house having no intention to move), a person who lost his brother in an accident wants vengeance on the home owner.
  • EPISODE 13 (39) – A serial killer who lost his family due to a drunken driver and goes after drunken people wants vengeance on the drunken men who try to make light of the murders.

VIDEO:

Hell Girl: Two Mirrors” is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen.  If there is one thing about the series that is pretty cool is that the series is quite detailed and the fact is that the story is different every episode and thus, repeated scenes are kept at a minimum.  But from the vibrant visuals during the daylight scenes to the memories featuring a grainy flashback, “Hell Girl: Two Mirrors” is a series that features artistic backgrounds that are well detailed and then character designs by Mariko Oka are for the most part pretty cool when it comes to character closeups.  But overall, “Hell Girl: Two Mirrors” is a visually stylish anime series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Hell Girl: Two Mirrors” is presented in Dolby Digital Japanese 2.0.  The series is front channel driven although if you have a receiver and multiple channels, one may want to set their receiver on stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundscape.  It’s important to note that the series is dialogue driven and not action-driven.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Hell Girl: Two Mirrors” comes with Section23 Films/Sentai Filmworks trailers and clean opening/closing animation.

“Hell Girl: Two Mirrors” is similar to the first season in that you get individual episodes that range from dark to creepy to really catty motivations for one to exact revenge upon another.  And although  not yet evident in this first volume of the second season, we start to see Ai Enma start to  become more interactive with her clients and her interest in the world of the living is start to change her.

But Ai Enma, although the Hell Girl is present in each episode, she is not the main part of the story and usually shows up for several minutes in each episode.  This is a series that has standalone episodes and rarely are these episodes connected to each other (unless it was the final two episodes) and by saying that, for those who relish in episodes that are different with each viewing, will find “Hell Girl: Two Mirrors” to be an enjoyable, dark and melancholic anime series.  For those who want a connection with each episode that would impact the overall storyline, unfortunately, “Hell Girl” is not one of those episodes.   The series is about how people choose to exact their revenge upon others and their motivation for doing it.

So, it’s a series that does take some patience and it is one of those series that you can watch in any order (with the exception of the last few episodes of the season) and still know what is going on.  But for those who are used to 13 to 26-episode arcs and expecting some closure or character development with Ai Enma, granted you are getting something but that something is not a big part of the series in terms of its storyline.  It does start play into how things will be affected in the third season (which is currently not available in the U.S.).

As for those who have never watched the first season, there is a brief setup on the first episode but watching the first season is not required unless you want to know the history of how Ai Enma became “Hell Girl”.  If anything, these two seasons are a slow buildup to what eventually will become the third season as the first season focuses on Ai taking on her new duties while the second featuring Ai starting to feel compassion towards her clients.

If there is only one caveat to watching “Hell Girl: Two Mirrors” is that most people who did watch the first season, saw it on television or DVD with an English dub.  This DVD only features the Japanese audio with English subtitles.  For some viewers, this may be a problem.

Overall, “Hell Girl: Two Mirrors” is a fascinating, dark, enjoyable but at times a twisted anime series.  If you enjoyed the first season, there’s no doubt that you will enjoy the second.






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