Episode 8 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, “Neighbor”, starts off with a middle-aged woman just buying a bracelet from a home shopping channel.
A few days later when Yuzuki is coming back from school, she sees Kikuri chasing down a chihuahua dog. When Yuzuki picks up the dog, Kikuri demands it, saying that it would look delicious with some seasoning. While Yuzuki is bewildered, Yamawaro pleads her to get away from the seemingly silly girl.
Yuzuki decides to return Momo, the chihuahua dog, to its owner personally, since she lives close by. The dog’s owner, Hatsumi, is a nice young lady who invites Yuzuki in for tea. When they go in Hatsumi’s apartment building, they meet Hatsumi’s neighbor Shintani, who brags about buying a pretty bracelet that she’s wearing. Hatsumi remarks that she bought the same bracelet, but she uses it as a necklace for Momo since it’s cute on the dog and it’s a bit too large for herself.
For any normal person with a modicum of emotional maturity, this would be a somewhat embarrassing segue into a friendly exchange between neighbors. Shintani is not one of those people. She’s one of those people who can’t stand any blot on their vanity and think nothing of tormenting others to get what she wants. It only gets worse when Shintani builds up a frustration and anger far in excess of Hatsumi’s somewhat insensitive remarks, with Shintani escalating in her efforts to sully Hatumi and Momo’s reputation.
Hatsumi doesn’t quite realize what’s happening at first, or maybe she’s just too good-natured to suspect anyone being so nasty, but she eventually realizes what Shintani is doing when Yuzuki comes over for a visit at Hatumi’s invitation. Shintani had dumped a bagful of trash onto Hatsumi’s balcony. But Hatsumi is still trying to think the best of her, and wants to fix things to be better. Shintani ignores her attempt, of course.
Things come to a boil when Shintani poisons Momo with food that is bad for chihuahua dogs. This crosses the line and sparks an extreme hatred in Hatsumi which even causes pause in Shintani, although it doesn’t affect Shintani for long. On the way back from the veterinarian, she encounters Kikuri and Yamawaro. Kikuri shows that she’s still quite capable of mischief despite being a wind-up doll as she mentions the Jigoku Shoujo in passing, which gives Hatsumi ideas. That night, Hatsumi summons the Jigoku Shoujo, which is witnessed by Yuzuki.
Shintani continues her antics as she steals a shipment bound for Hatsumi, a set of toilet sheets for Momo. Shintani is waiting on the roof, which Hatsumi heads towards soon enough. Shintani provokes Hatsumi as she expresses regret at Momo not dying and scatters the toilet sheets, after which she goes back downstairs. Hatsumi barely holds back her tears as she picks up the sheets, but there’s one single sheet on the other side of the roof fence which she tries to pick up. Unfortunately, she slips and nearly falls from the roof, but she barely manages to hang on to the ledge.
It is then that Momo comes to Hatsumi carrying the voodoo doll. It gives Hatsumi some hope for rescue, but given that Momo is a dog, and a really small one at that, there’s not much Momo can do. Hatsumi finally loses her grip and falls from the roof, and she pulls the red string as she reaches for anything to grab on to. This sends Shintani to hell as she so richly deserves to, if not in proportion to her deeds then in proportion to her black heart.
At least Hatsumi won’t be going to hell with her at the same time, as Hatsumi had survived the fall. Unfortunately for her, a whole lot of bones were broken that she’s now cooped in the hospital. The most painful thing for her is being apart from Momo, since no pets are allowed in a hospital. Yuzuki can’t say much to console her when she pays a visit.
This is the first episode this season where I actually wanted the victim to go to hell, which might be an indication that the apparent pattern of Enma Ai only satisfying sucky grudges might just have been a false positive, after all. I wonder how long Yuzuki will be able to stand what she sees without doing anything about it? She should try to talk with someone at least. Maybe the school nurse?
I can hardly finish this post without mentioning the best part of this episode, though: Inumimi Ai!