The first season of Jigoku Shoujo introduced us to Enma Ai and her cadre of assistants. Unfortunately, most of the episodes ended up with “grudge of the week” plots, although the plot got interesting at the end. Still, the mystique of the Jigoku Shoujo and the surreal feeling from the series compelled me to watch the second season of Jigoku Shoujo. This time the stories were more varied and interesting, with more focus on the assistants and stories that explore the vagaries of the Jigoku Tsushin (Hell Communications) system. However, it ended with Enma Ai being freed from the duties of the Jigoku Shoujo, so it made me wonder how they would do things when a third season was announced.
With the airing of the first episode for Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, “Taken Girl”, we got some answers, but even more questions were raised. Kikuri gathers all of the original Jigoku Shoujo assistants back together from their lives among humans, and Ai also has a new subordinate called Yamawaro. Hopefully we won’t see too much bratty mischief from Kikuri, since she possessed a mechanical doll to incorporate herself (she needs to be wound up every so often). She’s still an annoying brat, though. And Enma Ai is back as the Jigoku Shoujo.
There doesn’t seem to be any change to the Jigoku Shoujo’s modus operandi, however, so we still don’t know what consequences the events from the second season had. And we don’t know why Enma Ai is back; not even her original assistants know. Kikuri and the new character Yamawaro might know, but they’re not telling. I do wonder where Yamawaro is from; he’s an assistant instead of a non-working brat like Kikuri is.
The grudge that is avenged in this episode is due to a misunderstanding and overreaction by an overly emotional middle school girl against one of her teachers. In other words, it’s another case of sending an undeserving person to hell. The background behind the grudge and its avenging is nothing out of the ordinary for the Jigoku Shoujo. Although Ai seemed to be showing her latent humor again. It’s really hard to tell with her lack of emotional expression, however.
However, there seems to be one huge difference from previous operations of the Jigoku Shoujo. Enma Ai seems to have taken up residence within a certain middle school girl, Mikage Yuzuki, who also happens to be friends with this episode’s grudge holder. Ai entered Yuzuki while she was taking a bath, and the way it happened is bound to make yuri enthusiasts go wild. Of course it’s nothing of the sort, but it makes me wonder if Ai ever gets into a romantic relationship with a high school student (which I somewhat doubt is possible), would her actual age make her a cradle robber, or would her physical age make her a lolita?
Ahem. Anyways, Yuzuki can sometimes see things that happen around Enma Ai, similar to what Tsugumi experienced in the first season. But the connection between Yuzuki and Ai appears to be much stronger. In fact, it appears that Ai emerges from Yuzuki whenever it’s time for her to fulfill a contract. What is the connection between Yuzuki and Ai? Is Yuzuki supposed to be Ai’s reincarnation? Is she the one who can truly set Ai free? Or is Yuzuki being groomed as the next Jigoku Shoujo? For that matter, will Tsugumi play any role at all this season? Will we learn what happened to her father and how she got acquainted with Kikuri?