It all starts with a simple desire to kill. A desire for revenge so strong that you're willing to damn your own soul to hell forever upon your own death. Upon the stroke of midnight you visit a phantom website which will allow you to put in the name of the person you want revenge against. You can take the offer but will be warned that upon your own death you will be cast into hell in order to live out the rest of eternity under constant torture and pain. Whether that's a fair trade is entirely up to you but once you pull the string around the straw doll's neck, that's it. No going back. That's how you summon Ai Enma, also known as Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl).
First airing in the Autumn season of 2005, Hell Girl is a ghastly, psychological horror which will take viewers on a road that will constantly make them question their own values and feelings. Is revenge always so wrong? If you could make your worst enemy disappear forever and not get caught, would you do it?
Running for three seasons, the first season (which lasts for 26 episodes) tells the story of a reporter who is investigating the legend of Hell Girl along with his young daughter. Over and over again he runs into people who want to take revenge against someone. Sometimes he runs into these people by accident and sometimes it's on purpose but either way he's there for the majority of the series attempting to convince people that revenge is not worth the price they'd have to pay.
In these cases the situations are pretty cut and dry. For instance, in one case a young girl seeks revenge against a vet who let her dog die due to the fact that he was busy on the phone talking about his golf game. In another case, a high school baseball player is wrongfully accused of killing his teammate when in actuality it was the star of the team who bullied him to death. In these cases the case for revenge is pretty cut and dry. However, once you start pushing forward into the second and third seasons, the lines start to grow blurrier and you realize that not everything is so black and white and that's when Hell Girl really starts to earn all the praise that it so richly deserves but somehow doesn't get.
The questions that are raised throughout the second and third seasons are all valid. What if someone truly evil seeks revenge against someone who is generally good? What happens if you take revenge and die shortly afterward? The questions keep going on and on and once you think you have the answer, the episode ends and a new question is asked leaving you with ponderings circling around in your head for weeks, if not months, after you've finished watching this show.
What makes Hell Girl such a unique and fascinating title to watch is that it's not all about blood and shock value. The situations presented throughout all three seasons of the series are always truly unique and will challenge the viewer to think outside the box or reconsider their own values all while getting creeped out by the constant string of death that surrounds these characters. And it's not just the stories or the writing that makes this series so interesting to watch though; it's really the whole package which includes the haunting artwork and stirring music.
While some viewers might be turned off by the fact that it runs for three complete seasons (26 episodes each), the journey is more than worth it particularly since the series is getting a revival season later this year.
If you're looking for a fantastic, psychological horror this is the place to look!