Episode 14 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, “Street Corner of Bitterness”, starts off with Kashiwagi Hidemi, the girl we saw at the end of the previous episode, missing the last subway train home. To make things worse, she drops her cellphone and breaks it, so she can’t even call home, especially since all of the public phones only accept cards and not coins. I can understand her frustration, having been in similar situations myself.
Someplace else in Shinjuku at a secluded alley, a young man, Tsuzuki Kinya, is being beaten up about money. After the aggressors go away and Kinya is feeling down, a homeless person comes by and advises him to go back to his hometown, but Kinya says he won’t since his ambitions is to become a big guy in Tokyo. The homeless person gives Kinya a can of warm tea after hearing the response, saying that occasionally being generous makes it feel as he can still afford to do so, that it confirms that he hasn’t reached rock bottom. The homeless person’s words make an impression on Kinya.
As Hidemi recalls that it’s the night of the Six-Script Lantern Festival, Ai’s gang brings Ai to the old house they’ve been using as a secret base soon after Ai got back her own body. They’ve set up things just the way it was before Ai had gone away, although Ai is fussy about a very tiny difference which is fixed by Ichimokuren moving the ancient computer slightly to the right. Ai is a hardcore Mac person, as she again has an original Macintosh the way she did before, although I suspect she might turn up her nose at any suggestion of using a modern iPhone.
Back in Shinjuku, Kinya notices a teenage girl sitting depressed on a street corner. With the impression he got from the words of the homeless person still staying with him, he offers to help out Hidemi with whatever problem she might have. She just needs to go home, but paying a taxi to take her all the way from Shinjuku to Saigawara is much above his pay grade, so he offers her a place to stay at the convenience store he works at.
Kinya is not helping out Hidemi for an ulterior motive, as suspected by his younger buddy and coworker, but rather out of pure generosity. It’s just for the coolness factor for him to be generous out of the good of his heart, as Kinya’s younger buddy understands perfectly when Kinya repeats what the homeless person had said. Inside the employee’s room, on the other hand, Hidemi almost makes a phone call but changes her mind when she sees a cute doll that looked like the one she had tried to get from a UFO catcher earlier, which presumably makes her feel better about Kinya. I don’t know why she didn’t make the call anyways, just to let her parents know she’s fine. Unless she was going to call for help about being entrapped by some evil man and couldn’t think about anything else to call about.
The next morning, Kinya is walking Hidemi to the train station. Hidemi seems to be developing a small crush on him with how nice he has been so far, and this could have been a cute story about a school girl reforming a bum into a great man with her love, but this is a Jigoku Shoujo story, so of course something has to go terribly wrong. Someone Hidemi knows sees her walking with a young man and takes a picture of them together right when they’re passing in front of a love hotel. Some time later, we see the scene from the end of the previous episode: Yuzuki walking past Hidemi and hearing bells.
After the break, people are gossiping about Hidemi, including Yuzuki’s friends when she’s hanging out with them. Hidemi’s picture with Kinya has been uploaded to an underground website and is raising a ruckus. After splitting up with her friends, Yuzuki gathers her resolve and approaches Hidemi to try to talk her out of accessing the Jigoku Tsushin. Kikuri is annoyed by what Yuzuki is trying to do, while Yamawaro plainly states that Yuzuki is now able to sense people who are about to access the Jigoku Tsushin. The Jigoku Tsushin gang are firm in their belief that Yuzuki can only fail in her attempts, although it’s not clear what Enma Ai herself is thinking.
As Yuzuki tries to talk Hidemi out of accessing the Jigoku Tsushin, Hidemi talks about how her life is being ruined by the photograph that was uploaded to the underground website. Not even her parents believes that she had been delayed when she talked for too long with a friend on the way back from cram school and missed the last train. I find the situation rather absurd, as Hidemi has a perfectly good explanation that would be supported by a friend’s testimony and a broken cellphone, and it’s odd that everyone would believe someone who uploads a grainy picture to an underground website over a model student who hasn’t caused trouble so far. Then again, humans can be very absurd, and there’s also the ugly desire to sully someone with a good reputation.
The only reason Hidemi hasn’t accessed the Jigoku Tsushin yet is because she doesn’t know who had uploaded the picture, but Yuzuki convinces her to try another way. The two head to Shinjuku to find Kinya so that they can ask him to clear up the gossip hanging over Hidemi. However, Kinya is back to his usual self, as he is arrested beating up the homeless man who had appeared at the beginning of the episode after hearing the man actually had quite a bit of money stashed within his overcoat. This is a blow to Hidemi’s image of Kinya, and she runs off gripped by fear of what might happen to herself if this gets into the newspapers.
Exactly at midnight, Hidemi uses her cellphone to summon the Jigoku Shoujo against Tsuzuki Kinya. As Enma Ai hands over Ichimokuren in the form of a voodoo doll and gives her spiel, she stresses the price Hidemi would pay, but she doesn’t make her go through what it might be like, and oddly enough, she doesn’t say anything about the price being paid after Hidemi dies. I may be mistaken, but I recall Ai always saying the part about “it’s only after you die”, so it kind of stood out, but this may be another case of myself making a molehill out of nothing.
In any case, Yuzuki had lost track of Hidemi, but a ghostly image of Ai appears in front of her. When Yuzuki demands Akie back, Ai says that it’s impossible. I think she means that she can’t and not that she won’t. Anyways, Ai points out the way to find Hidemi so that Yuzuki can see for herself how the grudge ends. When Yuzuki runs to the police station and finds Hidemi, gunshots are heard within the station and Kinya runs out holding a gun. He grabs Yuzuki as a hostage, but when Hidemi yells for him to stop, Kinya does not recognize her at all. I suspect that this completely and utterly crushes the already shattered nascent crush Hidemi had for him, and Hidemi pulls the red string from the voodoo doll. Kinya finally remembers Hidemi when Yuzuki calls her name to stop, but it’s too late.
At Ai’s secret hideout, it’s time for her to start work. Grandma is back, and she’s prepared number seventy for Ai as she had always done before. And as before, Wanyuudo gives a fiery ride for Ai on her way to work. Kinya is sent to hell, although I would be remiss to not mention Ai appearing as a giant as a result of a wordplay on Kinya’s ambition to be a “big guy”: Kinya is sent to hell as a tiny man.
In the aftermath some time later, Yuzuki is waiting for Hidemi near a train station, but she finds the girl completely changed from before. And she notes the Jigoku Tsushin mark on Hidemi’s chest marking her failure to stop what happened. She resolves that she is not going to give up trying to stop people from using the Jigoku Tsushin, but she has her work cut out for her as she starts hearing bells everywhere.