Episode 4 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, “Big Brother”, starts off with Yuzuki noticing an old classmate of hers, Yukawa Takeru, having changed considerably recently. The scene then changes to the past, which shows us Takeru being bullied. I just hate bullying and wish they get the same torment they also inflict on others.
Anyways, we see Takeru going to the school nurse about his injuries from the bullying. The school nurse thinks that he might be being bullied, but Takeru denies it. And he threatens to skip school if she tries to do something with her suspicions of bullying. For some reason, we aren’t given a clear look at the school nurse’s face. Any close-up look at her always has her looking away or having her eyes above the screen. It makes me wonder if the show is trying to hide or imply something. Perhaps the school nurse is a grownup Tsugumi?
In any case, Takeru continues to be bullied, until one day he’s saved by a practitioner of kendo from being pelted by a rock-filled snowball while tied naked to a tree. It is Nishida Shin, a college student studying law, and Takeru almost looks like he’s fallen in love with him at first sight. Even as he continues to be bullied at school, Takeru and Shin get closer together like brothers.
When summer comes, Shin suggests that it may be a good idea for Takeru if he practiced kendo. Takeru starts kendo with Shin, during one session where they end up in a compromising position that would be ideal for a first kiss if they were a boy and a girl. In fact, I suspect that is exactly what they did, even if they were not shown doing anything like that. As Takeru practices kendo with Shin over the summer, he steadily becomes more confident and extroverted, until we come to the present day.
After the break, Takeru is no longer a target to be bullied. He has a different hairstyle and holds himself much more confidently. The school nurse is happy at the change, and is glad that Takeru would no longer be bullied. Takeru’s attitude to life has taken a very good turn thanks to his admiration of Shin, who wants to be a fighter for justice.
Then one day when Takeru and Shin are taking the bus somewhere, with Shin worrying about his bar exam and Takeru trying to reassure him, they witness someone who looks like yakuza threatening a certain passenger and doing things like cutting off all his hair. As Takeru witnesses what is happening, he also notices Shin being gripped by fear and unable to make himself help the passenger being bullied. The yakuza ends up dragging the hapless passenger with him to do who knows what, and Takeru ends up being disappointed by Shin.
Shin apologizes for being such a coward, but he also tries to excuse his inaction by claiming he couldn’t do anything in fear of harm coming to Takeru. This only disappoints Takeru more, and he silently determines never to see Shin again. While I think this is an overreaction, I would have accepted his decision to do so if he didn’t go any further. Unfortunately, he goes way overboard as he summons the Jigoku Shoujo to send Shin to hell.
Afterwards, we witness that things had turned back to the way it was for Takeru. He has quit kendo and is being bullied again, which saddens the school nurse. But Takeru seems to be oddly satisfied by the return to the status quo. This is a rather frustrating ending for me: Takeru is now willingly being part of the problem, after sending someone who wanted to be part of the solution to hell.
Now at the fourth episode of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, all of the grudges so far have been due to varying degrees of emotional immaturity, with the targets being sent undeservedly to hell. The pattern seems to be pretty clear and is probably not a coincidence. Is Enma Ai indeed trying to make a point? Is she somehow trying to stop the Jigoku Tsushin system and maybe even try to get some of the people she sent to hell back? Or am I projecting too much good will on to her?
And is there something about the school nurse? Throughout the episode, most shots of her have hidden much of her face one way or another, with only a few scenes actually showing her face. Is she just a throwaway character for this episode that the animators were too lazy to attach a face? Doubtful. I suspect she’s going to be playing a recurring and steadily more important role throughout the series. Maybe she really is a grownup Tsugumi like I suspect. She fits the general physical attributes, and her butterfly earrings seem to mean something.