At the start of episode 16 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, “Trap of Seduction”, Yuzuki is preoccupied with the events concerning the Jigoku Shoujo. In fact, it drives her crazy when she hears bells all over the place at a crosswalk and sees a lot of people accessing the Jigoku Tsushin through their cellphones, although the latter is probably just her imagination as it’s not midnight. Yuzuki does encounter a young man who has actually accessed the Jigoku Tsushin soon enough and follows to try to stop him, but before Yuzuki can approach the young man, Ai appears in front of her and stops her. And Yuzuki is forced to witness the young man pull the red string off a voodoo doll right in front of her eyes, signaling the end of the episode.
Well, obviously the episode wouldn’t be ending just when it has started, so we get to see the young man, Nawa Akihiro, again some time later. Given the unusual way the episode started, it’s quite obvious that Nawa is going to have the Jigoku Shoujo sicced on him in turn, and the rest are just details, albeit interesting ones. He is quite close to a little girl called Kayo, although despite the suspicions of his coworkers, there is nothing untoward about his relationship or feelings for the girl. Funnily enough, Kayo is friends with Kikuri: it’s a bit of a surprise that her holy brattiness could spare enough time from needling Jigoku Tsushin clients and making work for Yamawaro to make friends with normal girls, although Kikuri did show up when Kayo noticed the Jigoku Tsushin mark on Nawa’s chest and asked about it.
One day an attractive woman, Miyajima Yuki, starts a job at Nawa’s workplace. She attracts quite a bit of attention from some overly aggressive male coworkers, but she ends up befriending the somewhat distant Nawa since he doesn’t have any ulterior motives regarding her. The two people get closer together, to the delight of Nawa’s little friend Kayo. However, on and off during the episode, we hear people talking about the disappearance of a person called Nakajima, who is obviously the person Nawa must have sent to hell at the beginning of the episode.
It is this guilt about what he had done to Nakajima that eventually makes Nawa decide to break up with Miyajima. He considers himself to be unfit to be loved by anyone, and explains to Miyajima about what he had done. He reveals that Nakajima had befriended himself and Kayo. Nawa had an odd feeling about Nakajima, but the three spent time together with no particular problem at first. However, Nawa’s suspicions grew until he found out that Nakajima was a pedophile who took a liking to Kayo, when Nawa discovered a photo album with pictures of Kayo. And Nakajima even confirmed Nawa’s suspicions when confronted, although Nakajima made it quite clear that he had no intention to cross a certain line. To protect Kayo, Nawa decided to send Nakajima to hell through the Jigoku Tsushin.
The next day, Miyajima approaches Nawa and says that he still deserves to be loved, given how he is able to make other people like Kayo happy, and asks to be with him for the rest of their lives. That night, after having to put off playing with Kayo, Nawa shows up at Miyajima’s home at her invitation. But Nawa discovers a picture of Nakajima and Miyajima together. It turns out that Miyajima was Nakajima’s girlfriend since high school, and she had been investigating his disappearance as no one else took it seriously. So she hit the jackpot with Nawa’s confession the previous day. While I am very uncomfortable about punishing a pedophile who can control himself and would never cross the line, Miyajima has no question about what she thinks about it: she can’t forgive Nawa for sending her boyfriend to hell and promptly sends Nawa to hell through the Jigoku Tsushin. And Nawa will never be able to fulfill his promise to Kayo to play again.
The scene cuts back to Yuzuki at the beginning of the episode, who is still paralyzed by Ai and prevented from approaching Nawa. Most of the episode turns out to be a vision of the future that Ai had shown Yuzuki, to show her how things will play out, how one grudge brings about another grudge, and how the cycle never ends. In contrast to Ai’s own pessimistic view based on what she had seen happen again and again throughout her life, Yuzuki still has hope that some of it can be stopped, although Yuzuki loses track of Nawa when Ai sets her free and will not be able to change Nawa’s particular future.
I had no idea that Ai had the power to see the future, or at least have access to someone who has the power. It might just be a really good guess at the future, though. It’s also quite obvious by now that Ai is trying to drive a point home for Yuzuki, although it’s still unclear exactly what point she’s trying to make, much less what Ai’s ultimate goal is. It would be crazy if Yuzuki is actually Enma, the lord of hell, in the flesh with her memories suppressed, so that Ai could show her just how screwed up the whole Jigoku Tsushin thing is. But as can be seen from episode 13, it does look like that Yuzuki has some connection to hell.
From the preview for the next episode, it looks like it will be about Yamawaro’s past, so hopefully we’ll finally get some background on the new character that appeared in this season of Jigoku Shoujo.