Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Hell Girl Vol 1 - Butterfly|
Genres: Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
According to rumor, a mysterious message board exists, accessible only at midnight. Those who find the site have the ability to post a grudge they harbor against someone, and the Jigoku Shojo (Hell Girl) will carry-out the... more »
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"Care to give death a try?"
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 11/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Among humans there is rumored to be a website which, if accessed at midnight, can grant retribution to the wronged.... at a price. The website in question is known as The Hell Link and the grievances aired on it are observed by a rather nondescript Japanese schoolgirl, relaxing in a hot spring or perhaps playing a game of marbles by herself. But Enma Ai is no ordinary girl. Her home is the underworld and her profession is a high-speed escort for the souls of the damned straight to hell. Accompanying this Hell Girl on her mission is a small crew of underworld denizens who collectively investigate the validity of each request and then aid in carrying out the punishment, a sort of waking nightmare that serves as a prelude to their journey to the abyss. When some tortured soul enters their grievance on the Hell Link, they are given a choice to send their antagonizer to Hell. But curses always come home to roost and the one who condemns another soul to damnation is destined to join them when their own life ends. When I first heard about "Hell Girl", it struck me as the first of what will probably be many Death Note clones riding the coattails of that series' wild success. But the image of Ai Enma's striking red eyes and vividly beautiful kimono proved to be irresistable to this anime fan so I gave it a try. It turns out that the two series' have almost nothing at all in common, though this show is certainly the inferior of the two.
The problem with this show's first 5 episodes is that, for at least four of them, you are watching the exact same thing over and over. The individual stories of each episode's protagonists are quite good and varied, but Hell Girl herself is consigned to word-for-word the same dialogue in almost every single episode. We catch glimpses of her home life, and her partners are an interesting crew, but the ridiculously formulaic nature of these episodes gets old quick. There needs to be some character development for the main cast here for this show to remain interesting for even one more volume.
That said, I really did enjoy these first episodes. The art is beautiful, the colors are amazing to look at, and Hell Girl herself is one of the most visually striking characters I've seen in some time. The soundtrack is very cool, with the most dramatic piece featuring an operatic choir backed by driving orchestral music and Slayer-esque double bass drums. Very effective, though the beginning and ending themes aren't very notable. The stories behind each curse are very good, but you could set your watch to the formula used in the first 4 episodes. The 5th deviates from that formula while still incorporating most of the same elements, but we do get a little more insight to Hell Girl's operation in that episode so hopefully that will be the series' turning point away from the inevitably boring sameness the show seems to be heading towards.
In the end, this is a show that is certainly worth viewing as there is not really anything else like it out there righ now; but only time will tell if the series can break it's own mold and take itself to the next level. If not, then this first volume will be all the "Hell Girl" you need.