Episode 5 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, “Cicada”, starts at school, where Yuzuki bumps into a younger girl, Katase Ririka, by accident. Ririka was carrying glass instruments, among which a beaker broke. It isn’t really much of a big deal, and Niiyama Miwa, the teacher who soon comes across them, rightfully treats it as such. If these were normal people in a normal school, this would have been the end of it and no one would even remember it happening. But of course, something is going to be twisted given the show.
We don’t have to wait long to see what goes wrong, as the very next day Ririka’s grandmother, who is raising Ririka all by herself, appears at school and throws a tantrum about the teacher scolding Ririka. Miwa has no idea why she’s being accused of being unreasonably strict and tries to explain things, but the grandmother is having none of it. It’s crazy the way the grandmother goes ballistic when we don’t even really know why she’s so angry. Is she possibly senile? Was there a misunderstanding between Ririka and her grandmother?
This goes on for a while, with the grandmother even going as far as spreading pamphlets attacking Miwa. Even when Miwa has a nice talk with Ririka, with Ririka agreeing to explain things to her grandmother, it only gets worse as Miwa is now being accused of threatening Ririka to say something nice about the teacher. It gets so bad that Miwa is almost tempted to summon the Jigoku Shoujo, although she manages to keep herself in check. I would have thought of suing for libel or harassment before sending someone to hell, though. And Yuzuki still saw Miwa connecting to the Jigoku Tsushin.
At least Miwa isn’t isolated among the teachers. They found out that the grandmother did something similar when Ririka was in grade school, and that the best way to deal with her is to just batten down the hatches until the storm passes. Still, Miwa is frustrated about the way things are happening, and talks to Yuzuki, who she encountered surreptitiously in the corridor, about being unhappy that a teacher is no longer a respected job and that she wasn’t able to say things truthfully like she thought, having to apologize for things that she isn’t even responsible for.
Miwa decides to sort things out by talking directly with the grandmother at her house. Miwa is greeted by Ririka, as the grandmother isn’t there. Ririka apologizes for what the teacher is going through, but it turns out to be rather insincere, as she dashes into her grandmother’s embrace and sobs about how mean Miwa is being to her when the grandmother returns. We finally find out that Ririka is an attention whore with respect to her grandmother, and that she would make things up about being bullied by a teacher so that her grandmother would comfort her.
When Miwa leaves, Ririka follows her outside and apologizes for what happened. But Ririka thinks it’s OK since Miwa is a teacher, that an adult like Miwa could handle it. Unfortunately for Ririka, this seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and Miwa summons Enma Ai to send Ririka to hell. She even knew about the summoner being sent to hell after death, but she had no hesitation at all about pulling the red string. We aren’t shown Ririka being sent to hell, however, but I think Ririka would have been put into the role of a teacher and tormented by faux students without being able to do anything back. At least we still got to see the regular “magical girl transformation”, where Ai emerges from Yuzuki. The next day, when Yuzuki sees Miwa on the way back from school, Yuzuki can only stare at her with the knowledge of what the teacher had done.
The grudge in this episode was a bit less sucky than the ones we’ve seen so far this season. I can feel at least a little sympathy for Niiyama Miwa, although I can hardly condone what she did. Perhaps things might have turned out better for Ririka if she realized that no one is completely resilient. Unfortunately for her, frustration and anger had apparently been brewing inside Miwa for a long time until it grew out of control, and Ririka just lit the fuse.
Is this episode a sign that there will also be deserved grudges in future episodes, grudges that have even a little bit of true justification? Or is it just a fluke, and should be thought of as a sucky grudge that leans slightly towards non-suckiness? I don’t think we’ll know for sure until we learn what Ai’s goals are. And I wonder if Yuzuki will continue to be a passive observer, or will it reach a point where she can no longer hold it in? Too bad the school nurse from the last episode doesn’t appear in this one, though: she might be a good person Yuzuki could talk to. And will anyone finally start noticing the alarming number of missing people in the area? There could even be a local support group for Jigoku Shoujo summoners at this rate.
The preview for the next episode seems to indicate that instead of simply being observers who are pretending to be teachers, Ichimokuren and Hone-onna might actually end up being the cause of a grudge.