Episode 19 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, “Snow, Moon, and Flower”, starts off with Nakiri Kaori, a well-known flower arrangement specialist, looking at her own work and feeling that something important is lacking. Ominously, we see a sort of flashback where flowers are sprouting from skeletons.
After the opening credits, Yuzuki approaches a couple of her teachers and the janitor, asking what they’re doing. They’re actually Hone Onna, Ichimokuren, and Wanyuudo, and they are trimming flowers from the flower bed, and they give Yuzuki the trimmed flowers to her delight. On the way home, Yuzuki encounters Kaori, who happens to be on the way to her father’s funeral. Seeing the flowers that Yuzuki carries, she arranges them aesthetically and impressing Yuzuki. In return, she asks Yuzuki to buy some roasted sweet potatoes from a nearby vendor since it would be awkward for her to buy them herself in formal funeral attire. This is how Yuzuki and Kaori get to know each other.
At a nearby temple as Yuzuki and Kaori are eating the sweet potatoes, they get to talk to each other. We get to learn that Kaori had almost no contact with her father for a long time. Kaori was an only daughter who was supposed to inherit the family legacy, the Nakiri-style of flower arrangement, but she didn’t like the way her future was determined for her and left home when she graduated from high school. While the two are talking, two men arrive for Kaori to take her to the funeral. They work for the Nakiri family, and Kaori seems very fond of them. The elderly man is Kadokura, while the young man is Tsukiyo, an orphan taken in by Kaori’s father. In fact, Kaori seems attracted to Tsukiyo as a member of the opposite sex since she blushes when they make prolonged eye contact with each other, even though Tsukiyo emphasizes that they’re just childhood friends.
Yuzuki is invited in the Nakiri home for tea, where the funeral for Kaori’s father is being held. But when she arrives at the Nakiri home, she is very surprised to see her teachers working the reception for the funeral. However, the others think that they are just similar to other people that Yuzuki knows, as they are supposedly long-time workers for the Nakiri family. Ichimokuren, Hone Onna, and Wanyuudo are surprised themselves that Yuzuki recognized them. Back at the Jigoku Tsushin home base, it is explicitly stated that the assistants have the ability to mislead people so that they would not be recognized unless they wanted to be, so Yuzuki shouldn’t have been able to recognize them. When the gang wonders what was going on, Ai declares that the time of awakening might be close, and that she should tell Yuzuki her destiny.
Back at home when going to sleep, Yuzuki is remembering her encounter with Kaori and admiring the way Kaori decided her own destiny. The next day, Yuzuki gathers her nerve to ask the janitor about the previous day, but her friends come up and say that he’s not at school. In fact, there seems to be a cold that had spread among the teachers, as teachers Ishimoto and Sone, a.k.a. Ichimokuren and Hone Onna, are also not at school. Obviously the Jigoku Tsushin gang are avoiding Yuzuki.
Meanwhile at the Nakiri home, Kaori is facing a Kurozuka Yukina. She was born between Kaori’s father and a Kurozuka Mitsue, the latter who had died nine years ago. Bringing along her own lawyer, Yukina is here for the inheritance after Kaori’s father had died, and in fact she claims she wants to become the head of the Nakiri family, which includes being the successor to the Nakiri-style of flower arrangement. Despite it being known that Kaori had left home because she didn’t want to become the successor, Kaori is still uneasy about the entire thing. And Yukina doesn’t really seem to care about the honor of the family or anything like that, despite the facade she shows in front of Kaori.
That night, Kaori is troubled and is not in the mood to arrange flowers despite trying. Tsukiyo tries to console her by pointing out that her father had just died, and with the business with Yukina, it is no surprise that Kaori would be in emotional turmoil. However, Kaori says that those problems were not really the problems: she has recently felt like she has been in a slump and that something essential seems to be missing from her art. So Tsukiyo suggests that she withdraw for the day, but before she leaves, Kaori decides to act on her feelings for Tsukiyo and tries to seduce him, only to be resolutely rebuffed. And when Kaori asks why, Tsukiyo cannot give her an answer.
On yet another day at school, Yuzuki collects photographs of Ichimokuren, Hone Onna, and Wanyuudo from her friends into her cellphone. She intends to show them at the Nakiri home to confirm that Yuzuki actually did recognize them on the day of the funeral. However, the pictures disappear from her cellphone on the way to the Nakiri home to Yuzuki’s disbelief. When she turns around when hearing bells, she finds Ai looking right at her. Yuzuki starts asking why Ai would erase the pictures, but she stops herself realizing that the teachers must be working with Ai, and Ai confirms with one word that they are her comrades before disappearing.
After the break, Yukina is plotting with her lawyer to murder Kaori with poison, which would kill a person in about three days. She has no interest in succeeding the family arts and is only interested in the family fortune, and plans to temporarily return to Tokyo and come back in three days, where in the chaos she should easily be able to claim the inheritance. For a couple of murdering conspirators, they are amazingly stupid and/or careless, and their plotting is overheard by Tsukiyo who happens to pass by their room at the time. Tsukiyo tells Kadokura about the plot, who in turn plans to tell everything to Kaori.
Some time later, the lawyer is nervously carrying a couple of drinks to be shared with Kaori, who is accompanied by Tsukiyo. But to the lawyer’s shock, Tsukiyo grabs the poisoned drink and drinks all of it, telling the lawyer to inform Yukina that this should end everything. Kaori has no idea what just happened or what they’re talking about. Oddly enough, the same held for myself as I had no idea why Tsukiyo would knowingly poison himself instead of getting the police involved to handle the conspiracy to murder. Before anything further could be said, however, Tsukiyo collapses.
That night, Kadokura informs Kaori that Tsukiyo would not last more than three days. Alone in her room, Kaori accesses the Jigoku Tsushin, intending to send Kurozuka Yukina to hell, which is witnessed by Yuzuki as a vision. Afterwards, Kadokura starts telling Kaori everything, starting with the “Snow, Moon, and Flower” (雪月花).
Kaori’s father had wanted to give each of his children a name with a letter from the phrase “Snow, Moon, and Flower” (雪月花), a phrase that expresses the beauty of nature. The “ka” in Kaori is for flower (花), and the “yuki” in Yukina is for snow (雪). And there is the moon, and Kaori figures out the “tsuki” in Tsukiyo is based on the same motivation, the “tsuki” for the moon (月). In fact, Kaori and Tsukiyo are siblings. Kaori’s father had revealed this fact to Tsukiyo, and from that point on Tsukiyo had resolved to protect both Kaori and the family arts. When Kaori can’t understand why that would mean that Tsukiyo would poison himself, Kadokura explains that it was Tsukiyo’s choice to always be with Kaori as the vessel for her flowers, as he could not be one with the woman he loved. Kaori doesn’t understand this, either, so Kadokura explains the rest of “everything”.
Kadokura takes Kaori to a room full of skulls and explains that the family actually possessed two styles of arts. One is the public Nakiri-style of flower arrangement, and the other is the shadow art of Hyakki-style of flower arrangement, both written with the same letters 百鬼. The latter is the art of arranging flowers on the skulls of dead people. When Kaori grabs one of the skulls, it happens to be the one from the founder of the art and her distant ancestor, and Kaori receives a vision from the founder how their art emphasizes both life and death, making the flowers even more beautiful. This was what Kaori had felt was missing from her art. It also explains Tsukiyo’s actions: once he dies, he can be part of Kaori’s life in her art.
Before her first flower arrangement in the Hyakki-style, however, Kaori has a task to do as the successor of the family arts. It is to send Yukina to hell. And at the same time Yukina is being sent to hell, Kaori practices the Hyakki-style of flower arrangement, finishing when Yukina passes the gate to hell. It just looks rather garish to me, but if it makes the artist happy …
Later when Yuzuki arrives at the Nakiri home, Kaori informs her that she had decided to live as the successor to the Nakiri family arts, that it was her destiny. This bewilders Yuzuki since this is such a drastic change from Kaori’s attitude earlier. The episode almost ends with a tender moment between Kaori and Tsukiyo, with Kaori confirming that they will always be together once Tsukiyo dies.
It doesn’t quite end yet, though. Yuzuki yet again encounters Ai, who informs her that it is her destiny to eventually become the next Jigoku Shoujo. This must be very disconcerting to Yuzuki after what had happened with Kaori, who had started out as someone making her own destiny and ended up wholeheartedly embracing her predetermined destiny. Or if the parallel doesn’t occur to Yuzuki, it will definitely be noted by many viewers of the show. This partially answers the question of how Yuzuki is related to the Jigoku Tsushin, but there still remains the why.
The next episode is Doctor Hell versus Hell Girl, or rather Doctor Jigoku versus Jigoku Shoujo except that the former way of saying it is more catchy, which brings to mind Enma Ai’s confrontation with Hell Boy in the first season. But with the end of the season approaching and Yuzuki apparently being part of the events, not to mention the appearance of Tsugumi, who has only appeared twice the entire season so far, it doesn’t seem that it will be anywhere near as light-hearted.