Episode 2 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, “Caged Bird”, starts off with Yuzuki being preoccupied with what happened with the Jigoku Shoujo, with Akie surprising her to cheer her up. We then get to see a new opening sequence where Yuzuki is featured rather prominently and which heavily implies that Ai and Yuzuki are closely intertwined in some way.
The grudge this week is by a boy called Akira who has a crush on a woman working at a shop nearby. He peeks in every now and then to witness a certain man seemingly abusing her. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the man and woman actually have a fetish for sadomasochism, so that what looks like abuse to Akira is actually what the woman wants. He summons the Jigoku Shoujo after learning the name of the woman’s husband, although Akira could be heaping mistakes upon mistakes in case the apparently abusive man is actually not the husband. For all we know, she could be having an affair and indulging in bondage.
Akira also happens to live near Yuzuki, and they know each other. All the while, Yuzuki is witnessing him trying to summon the Jigoku Shoujo to avenge his hate, and this weighs heavily on Yuzuki. It’s no surprise that she reacts the way she does when two boys try to pull a prank on her about the Jigoku Shoujo.
After the break, Akira goes to Yuzuki to discuss his situation, albeit in rather ambiguous terms. Yuzuki suggests that he leave them alone, saying that there could be many forms of expressing love. But he pretty much ignores her advice and goes to confess his feelings and deal with the husband.
When he goes to the shop, he declares that he knows what’s going on and tells the woman to run away to her chagrin. The husband is obviously keeping a lookout on the shop, so when he calls and no one picks up the phone, he arrives at the shop very quickly. Seeing Akira grabbing his wife’s arm, he goes into a jealous rage and is violent not only against his wife but also Akira.
Given the situation, Akira pulls the red string and sends the husband to hell. As he’s being sent to hell, the husband’s excuse is that he was protecting his wife. At least Akira isn’t sending the wrong man to hell. Meanwhile back at the shop, the wife is strangely calm despite seeing her husband disappear right in front of her eyes, and tells Akira that they can talk again the next morning. But she was gone the next day. And Yuzuki witnessed all of this through her connection with Ai.
The episode doesn’t quite make it clear whether the husband was truly abusive or whether the couple were indulging in a fetish, but either way, I think Akira did a lot more harm than good. If their relationship really included a sadomasochistic fetish, then perhaps sex education for middle school students should encompass bondage, lest young teenagers unjustly send people to hell willy nilly. And did the shopkeeper disappear because of a psychological breakdown at seeing her husband disappear, or was it because she was afraid of what Akira might be capable of?
There weren’t any particular revelations concerning the relationship between Enma Ai and Mikage Yuzuki, except that maybe the operating range of the Jigoku Shoujo is limited to the small region Yuzuki lives in. But I wonder if there is any credence to Ichimokuren’s speculation that Yuzuki is just a random person Ai picked to incorporate herself. I still think that there’s something special about Yuzuki herself that connects her with Ai, however.