Episode 13 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, “Six-Script Lantern”, starts on a nice and sunny day with Yuzuki and Akie outside. Being the good friend she is, Akie has noticed that something has been distressing Yuzuki for a while and offers a chance to talk about it, but Yuzuki says she’s fine and doesn’t talk about it. It’s not surprising that Yuzuki turned down Akie’s offer as having the Jigoku Shoujo inside her is a pretty unbelievable thing to talk about. But Akie is still someone who is helping Yuzuki maintain her sanity.
It is almost time for the Six-Script Lantern Festival, a regional festival which floats lanterns down the river. As we learn from the discussion between Wanyuudo and Hone Onna, it started as a ritual for criminals to atone for their sins by sending away their crimes, but it is now a general festival for everyone to send off their regrets and things they want to forget. It is also a time when the gate along the river actually becomes a gate to hell for a short time, and Wanyuudo mentions that something is going to be sent to Enma Ai from hell.
After the opening credits, we see a scene where a young woman calls a police official a hypocrite as he leaves. This woman has recently been accessing the Jigoku Tsushin often, mentioned as Ichimokuren, Yamawaro, and Kikuri are watching. Later that evening, we get a surprise as we see the police official is Akie’s father. She lives with her father and a housekeeper, and they are on good terms with each other. Akie also happens to mention that her new private tutor, Aketagawa, is pretty good. The revelation that Akie’s father could be a potential target brings up the possibility that the Jigoku Tsushin affairs could become even more personal for Yuzuki.
The next morning as Akie is jogging, she sees her private tutor watching a group of old men wistfully. In the evening when Yuzuki comes by to visit Akie, she sees Akie with the private tutor and the two being friendly with each other, and leaves so as not to interrupt Akie’s tutoring session. This wouldn’t be anything notable, except that Yuzuki sees a vision of someone who looks awfully like Akie’s private tutor receiving a voodoo doll from Ai.
On another day, Aketagawa has invited Akie to her home. Oddly enough, the sign on her door doesn’t say “Aketagawa” and instead says “Mayama”, although Akie doesn’t notice it. Aketagawa introduces her paralyzed father to Akie and explains that he was injured while working as a taxi driver when some rich kid beat him up. The kid himself has moved outside the country, but Aketagawa has an even bigger grudge against the police official who supposedly ordered the halt to any investigation. The police official is Akie’s father, which causes an onrush of disbelief, disappointment, and guilt in Akie, all according to her private tutor’s scheme to torment the father. In fact, it’s most probably no coincidence she became Akie’s tutor.
After the break, Akie announces that she would be moving out to the surprise of her father and the housekeeper. She doesn’t bother to explain why or demand answers from her father, and just says that she’ll be moving into the mansion that the father owns in another apartment building. Obviously the father gives in without knowing what’s really going on, as Yuzuki is soon helping out Akie with her move, although Akie seems to have just said it was to have a change of scene. Yuzuki is disturbed a bit when Akie’s private tutor, Aketagawa Azusa, drops by, as she had seen her receive the voodoo doll in a vision.
That night is the Six-Script Lantern Festival, and Yuzuki is at the riverside with Akie about to float lanterns on the river. Yuzuki floats her lantern with “Jigoku Shoujo” written on it, while Akie has written “Father” on hers. However, before Akie floats her lantern, she changes her mind and runs off, leaving behind the disappointed Yuzuki who will have to spend the rest of the festival night alone. But Yuzuki soon sees a light from the gate down the river.
As Yuzuki walks down the river to investigate, fog begins to roll in and the lighting turns into something not quite of this world. Near the gate, Yuzuki sees a small boat with a cherry inside floating out of the gate, and she also sees someone standing at the gate. It looks like herself, but when Yuzuki approaches the figure, she is stopped by a call from the school nurse from school, who says that once Yuzuki goes over that she won’t be able to come back. And Yuzuki virtually confirms that the school nurse is indeed Tsugumi by calling her with the surname Shibata, unless I missed mention of the name in episode 4 which would have confirmed it then. However, both the school nurse and the mysterious figure at the gate disappear, but for some reason Yuzuki recalls an old memory with Akie and runs off to help her.
At Akie’s apartment, her private tutor dropped by again for a visit. Aketagawa Azusa deliberately drips juices from the grapes she’s carrying onto Akie so she can suggest that Akie take a shower. Once Akie goes to wash herself, Aketagawa makes an ominous call to someone, and soon a man arrives to molest Akie in the shower. Akie is shocked and terrified not just at what is about to happen, but also that her tutor is doing nothing to help and in fact is responsible for it, while Aketagawa calls Akie’s father to gloat. Surprisingly for Aketagawa, Akie’s father arrives right after she hangs up and saves Akie. It was Yuzuki that had told him about the impending danger, and when Aketagawa runs to the voodoo doll to pull the red string, Yuzuki actually manages to wrestle away the doll from her. Akie’s father recognizes that Aketagawa is actually Mayama Azusa, the young woman who bears a grudge against himself, and realizes that Azusa had become Akie’s private tutor as part of some twisted vengeance scheme.
Later, Yuzuki is walking the riverside in sadness at what happened, when a ball of light emerges from the gate down the river and flies towards her. It hits Yuzuki and causes some sort of reaction from which Enma Ai emerges. This ball of light must have been the package that was intended for Ai, and she now has a full-fledged existence again independent from Yuzuki. Before she leaves, though, Ai tells Yuzuki that the rest is Yuzuki’s to decide, which has Yuzuki and me wondering what Yuzuki is supposed to decide. And the voodoo doll that Yuzuki had taken away from Mayama Azusa disappears. But at least Yuzuki is happy that Ai is now out of her. And Ai meets up with her gang as an independent entity again, although for some reason Yamawaro is not among the gang to welcome her back.
As Yuzuki walks home, she promises to herself that she would go see Akie the next day. To her joy, Akie is waiting for Yuzuki at her apartment building to meet her, and Yuzuki runs towards Akie. But just as Yuzuki reaches Akie and almost grab hands, Akie disappears. Mayama Azusa had pulled the red string from a voodoo doll and had sent Akie to hell. It must have been past midnight as Azusa must have gotten a new voodoo doll in the meantime, and with Ai no longer possessing her, Yuzuki had no warning at all of what was going to happen. Yuzuki cries in anguish as it starts to rain, something I’m tempted to do myself, and we see that Yuzuki was more than just a hapless vessel for Ai as her eyes momentarily flash red.
The next day, Yuzuki narrates that it’s the beginning of a new torment for herself as she walks by a girl we haven’t seen before, but Yuzuki notices when she appears to hear a bell ringing when she passes her. Now that Ai is no longer possessing Yuzuki, what sort of new torment would she go through in addition to the existing torment with the loss of Akie?
I can’t believe they got rid of Akie. She was a well-adjusted regular character and my favorite normal person in the show. Even though many other undeserving characters had also been sent to hell, they were all throwaway characters, so the exasperation, frustration, and anger is so much more greater with the loss of Akie, one of the people who least deserve to go to hell. How could they do this to us and Yuzuki? Which may be the whole point. I’ll just have to tell myself that we haven’t seen the last of Akie, as I suspect that Yuzuki’s flashback of a younger Akie is a prelude to some later plot point concerning the two girls. Yuzuki should use her hidden magical girl powers to rescue Akie … (And Mayama Azusa deserves to rot in hell.)
What are Enma Ai’s intentions? Is she being forced to be the Jigoku Shoujo against her will again, or is she implementing some scheme that revolves around Yuzuki? What is Mikage Yuzuki? Maybe she’s a reincarnation of a previous Jigoku Shoujo or the next person destined to become the new Jigoku Shoujo, and Ai is manipulating things so that Yuzuki would want to send Ai permanently to hell. Or Yuzuki could be an avatar of some important figure in hell. Or maybe Ai is working some scheme to reverse much of the work she has done, as this season of Jigoku Shoujo has made a point of showing so many of the grudges to be grossly unjust. And what about Tsugumi? Is she helping Ai somehow, or is she only subconsciously aware of what is happening with Yuzuki and Ai? Yuzuki could sure have used someone like Tsugumi to talk about the Jigoku Shoujo.