Episode 7 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae 7, “Liar”, starts off with a new transfer student, Inuo Atsushi, to a neighboring class of Yuzuki’s. Outwardly, he seems to be a pretty great kid that soon becomes popular with everyone, with great manners and good at sports. The odd circumstances of his transfer, odd because he transferred during the last year of middle school, is explained by his sick mother. The mother had to move to the country to convalesce from an illness, and with his father unable to come because of work, Atsushi had to move schools and take care of his mother.
In reality, it’s a lie that Atsushi is forced to tell, because his mother wants to keep it a secret that she has separated from her husband. She’s afraid of how she would be treated if the secret is known, so she stays inside all day with Atsushi doing all the work. This is an enormous stress for Atsushi, who is tempted to connect to the Jigoku Tsushin, although he changes his mind. The only people who notice anything wrong are Yuzuki, who feels that something is a bit off for an unknown reason, and Washizu, the guy sitting next to Atsushi who notices that something seems to be stressing him out.
One day, after having seen Atsushi several times at the supermarket, Yuzuki approaches him to introduce a mobile vendor that sells vegetables cheaper than the supermarket. The vendor is operated by Wanyudo and Yamawaro, and yet for some reason neither of the teenagers seems to recognize the school janitor. Anyways, Washizu comes across them, and bidding farewell to Yuzuki, Atsushi decides to load off his burden on his friend. Washizu tells Atsushi that he should just tell the truth to everyone, but Atsushi says he can’t and asks Washizu to keep it a secret. For some reason, I have a feeling it won’t stay a secret for long, however.
When Atsushi comes back home late, his mother is very unstable as she’s afraid that Atsushi might have told the truth to someone, and is even more so when he admits it. That night, Atsushi finally decides to contact the Jigoku Tsushin. Hone Onna serves as the voodoo doll this time, but he doesn’t recognize her, so obviously it must be their supernatural influence over memories that hides the identities of the assistants, not a rigorous discipline of keeping themselves hidden from potential clients like I had previously speculated. In any case, this wakes Yuzuki up after she sees it happening remotely.
After the break, by now the secret about Atsushi’s mother is out. It wasn’t Washizu that was the source of the leak apparently, although he did seem to be tempted to consult a teacher. It was the mother herself, who carelessly went out to be seen by people after getting stir-crazy in the home. This just puts a lot more pressure on Atsushi.
Washizu tries to convince Atsushi to leave his mother, saying that what she’s doing to him is tantamount to abuse. But Atsushi refuses, but accidently spills out the voodoo doll as he does so, so Washizu decides to take a dramatic course of action to change Atsushi’s mind. He decides to follow Atsushi’s mother when she goes out for a night’s entertainment, and summons Atsushi. At seeing the stark reality of his mother flirting around with someone outside a bar and actually denying she has a kid, and with the constant pecking by Washizu about how wrong the whole thing is, Atsushi is finally pushed over the edge and pulls the red string off the voodoo doll, which is what Washizu was trying to stop.
Unsurprisingly, it is not Atsushi’s mother that is sent to hell, contrary to Washizu’s expectations. Also unsurprisingly to me, it is Washizu that’s sent to hell. It was somewhat expected considering how twisted this season has consistently been, although I couldn’t figure out a reason and half-wondered whether the target might have been someone who hasn’t even appeared in the episode. The reason is made clear enough while Washizu is sent to hell: Atsushi may have thought that Washizu’s attempts to help were just a torment to make Washizu himself feel better.
After the whole sordid and dragging series of events, Atsushi has finally broken down and gone psychotic. Part of him actually starts believing the lies he has been telling, which becomes apparent even to his normally uncaring mother as he suggests going out for dinner with the father while at the same time violently tossing the dinner he had been cooking.
This episode was rather a drag as it was pretty obvious there would have been something seriously wrong with Atsushi from the start, nor were there any unexpected twists. Neither was there any special relevance to the overall plot of the series, except for the minor fact that the Jigoku Tsushin assistants still have the ability to make others forget that they existed. (Hone Onna did miss quite some time from school despite teaching there, and no one made a peep about it. And none of the students recognized the assistants when they were doing their actual jobs.) Hopefully this means that Yuzuki herself is going to get fed up with what’s going on soon enough, like the way we might start getting fed up with the repetition, and actually start doing something about what she’s witnessing. Or maybe not.