I can only recommend one show in this trio to viewers: Gamers! Regardless, I somehow always have more to say about the shows that bothered me than the ones I loved. Why is that?
Summer has arrived in full force, slamming us not only with heat and humidity, but also with an endless supply of shows, many average and a couple extraordinary. Made in Abyss and Princess Principal top the lot, but shows like Nana Maru San Batsu and New Game!! follow closely in ranking. We are still at the start of the season, though, so my opinions are subject to change.
I ended up with far too many, as usual. I’m at 29 shows this summer, including hold overs from the spring, so hopefully I’ll have plenty of material for topics of interest and maybe even get back to the kitchen! If there’s anything in particular you’re interested in seeing me blog about, please let me know.
Notes: This review only considers the first season of the three-season show. Also, please forgive the lack of screenshots. I watched this anime through the Netflix stream, and was surprised at how bearable the dubs were. Enjoy the wallies, instead!
Jigoku Shōjo focuses mainly on episodic revenge through the majority of its first season, with touches here in there on Enma Ai’s own vendetta which comes to full bloom in the remaining few episodes. I have never before come across an anime so drenched in vengeance, including its birth, culmination, and fall out. What I like so much about Jigoku Shōjo is that it doesn’t provide one-sided revenge, but presents a trade system. In exchange for taking the requested soul to hell, Enma Ai also sets a clock on the person who sought revenge; with death, be that soon or many years later, he or she will also go to hell. She does not hide the fact that both revenger and revengee will go to hell, which makes each individual’s desperation and eventual acceptance all the more amazing and incomprehensible.
It is this sense of hopelessness that intrigues me. In every single case, I am able to see an additional option the person could have taken that would have had a favorable end compared to the one Enma Ai gave. I don’t think any revenge is worth sending your own soul to eternal suffering. In the cases where revenge is taken to help another, even then I believe that if that helped person knew what was done and the price, he or she would not think the charge worth the temporary relief. What is it that drives these people to Enma Ai? Is it their lack of self-motivation or sense of non-control? And maybe most importantly of all, does revenge equal punishment, and what’s the difference between the two?