Episode 20 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, “Doctor Hell versus Hell Girl”, starts off with someone ominously typing in the name “Shibata Tsugumi” (yes, that Tsugumi) on the Jigoku Tsushin website in a dark room.
After the opening credits, Yuzuki is desperately running up the emergency stairs on a building to stop someone from sending another person to hell, only to be overtaken by a little girl who also fails to stop it. Yuzuki wakes up, and it turns out to be a dream of hers while she was sleeping in the school infirmary. As the school nurse, Shibata Tsugumi is obviously in charge of the infirmary, and only now does Yuzuki ask Tsugumi about her appearance during the Six-Script Lantern Festival in episode 13. Tsugumi claims not to remember, which is probably true since she would be asking what Yuzuki was talking about if she were trying to deny it. And she only laughs when Yuzuki asks whether Tsugumi knew about the Jigoku Shoujo.
Outside, the three Jigoku Shoujo assistants are talking about how they missed the presence of Tsugumi at the school. They must have really been oblivious about the rest of the school staff, since they must have missed even one mention of a “Shibata Tsugumi”. They only learned about her presence when someone kept entering and erasing her name on the Jigoku Tsushin website. Yamawaro was sent to investigate, which means “that” (i.e. Kikuri) would be following. The potential client lives in an old abandoned building that has been reoccupied again only this year, but when Kikuri tries to recklessly head in to investigate, she encounters some sort of barrier that repels supernatural entities.
Later, Yuzuki is making a phone call to her parents for no particular reason, which destroys one of my pet theories that “Mikage Yuzuki” was just an identity she made up when she came from hell. Ai is also having a calm moment, although she doesn’t answer when the grandma asks whether Ai wanted to come back. But they both hear bells at the same time: someone had just entered Tsugumi’s name into the Jigoku Tsushin website. Tsugumi also seems to have sensed something, and she even knows that it was her name that was entered. Even though she’s surprised, she seems to accept it resignedly, much preferring to be a sendee rather than a sender.
It is then that someone to arrives take Tsugumi somewhere. It is a man called Kikyou, who works for someone called Mizorogi. Despite Tsugumi’s disinterest, she changes her mind when she hears that Mizorogi is interested in her because of the book her father wrote about the Jigoku Shoujo. Meanwhile, Yuzuki arrives at the building where the potential client is, where she sees Ai and the gang arrive. The previous school employees don’t seem to find it awkward, though, which may at least be reasonable from Ichimokuren and Wanyuudo since they were never human in the first place. Anyways, the car with Kikyou and Tsugumi soon arrive, and Yuzuki is surprised that Ai and Tsugumi knew each other. She must also have been surprised to learn that Tsugumi knew that she was the intended victim for the Jigoku Tsushin.
Inside, Kikyou takes them to a machine called a “reverser”, which supposedly generates some sort of field that repels supernatural entities. Ai promptly destroys it. But the existence of the machine must imply that there is someone who has an impressive scientific knowledge of the supernatural, and it also means that at least some “supernaturalness” can be reproduced mechanically. Perhaps in a couple of centuries or so, the Jigoku Tsushin could work all by itself with no conscious entity in charge … In any case, Yuzuki notices that there seems to be children observing them from above, although it’s too dark to see them clearly.
Kikyou takes the group to another room to see Mizorogi. Tsugumi doesn’t recall ever meeting him, and Mizorogi confirms it. He asks Tsugumi to sit in a chair, which immediately restrains her, although there isn’t any protest from Tsugumi herself. However, Mizorogi doesn’t have any grudge against Tsugumi: in fact, he admires her father for the book on the Jigoku Shoujo. Mizorogi Shougo is an applied mathematician who disappeared from public view twenty years ago after developing a certain mathematical theory. It turns out that his theory was incredibly useful for military unmanned aerial vehicles, so he was in the employ of a certain industrial group for his work. But at some point Mizorogi realized that his theory implied the existence of another world, in other words, hell.
The existence of hell as implied by his theory immediately mesmerized Mizorogi, and there was a reason for that. When he was a child, he had witnessed his mother sending his abusive father to hell using the Jigoku Tsushin, although he didn’t know what had happened at the time. Mizorogi started his investigations into the Jigoku Tsushin based on Shibata Hajime’s book, from which he learned about it existing as part of the classified section in newspapers, a BBS written in BASIC (I’m surprised it had to be written in any particular programming language; does this mean there’s actually a programmer for the Jigoku Tsushin?), a website, and even a mobile site accessible by cellphones currently. Yuzuki certainly found it to be a surprise how long the Jigoku Tsushin must have existed: she may be even more surprised to learn how long it existed even before there were newspapers.
Mizorogi learned that the activities of the Jigoku Tsushin are usually focused in a certain area at a time, and that there was even an entire town that was destroyed because of it (this must refer to what happened at the end of the previous season, and Hone Onna mentions how terrible it was). When the disappearances started occurring in Saigawara City, Mizorogi realized that the Jigoku Shoujo must be back. And he also found out that Tsugumi was in town, and realizing that this would be a chance for him to investigate the Jigoku Tsushin even further, he prepared the building with its supernatural repelling machine so that he could get the chance to talk with them in depth.
However, Mizorogi had the minor problem of not hating anyone enough, which means he wouldn’t be able to access the Jigoku Tsushin website. That’s why he hired a hypnotist to implant in himself a hatred of Tsugumi, enough that he would be able to access the Jigoku Tsushin. That would be one twisted way to attract their attention at the same time as Tsugumi’s. When Tsugumi asks Mizorogi what he wanted to prove, he talks about the contradiction with the Jigoku Tsushin system, about how only the hatred of the grudge holder mattered with no consideration of whether there were any misunderstandings or ridiculous justifications. Yuzuki must be agreeing with this assessment, as we saw it happening throughout this season along with her.
In fact, Tsugumi had heard bells whenever someone was sent to hell: what Yuzuki saw in the beginning of the episode must have been a vision of the past. But no matter how wrong a grudge was, Tsugumi could never stop any of them. In fact, everyone pretty much agrees that so many of the cases were just wrong, although the Jigoku Tsushin says that it’s still their job. Even Ai can’t contain herself against Yuzuki’s accusation of being so unthinking, and asks Yuzuki in return whether she thought Ai really didn’t think about the injustice. (Even though it was just a calm question, for Ai to respond to any of Yuzuki’s condemnations at all, it may as well be an outburst.) Ai’s response really surprises Yuzuki.
At this point, Mizorogi is ready to start whatever twisted observations he wants to make, and Tsugumi’s chair turns into a cross for her to be hung high up near the just opened ceiling like the sacrificial lamb. She is followed up by Mizorogi in his raised chair, who has just received the voodoo doll from Ai despite Ichimokuren’s protest. And Tsugumi seems resigned to what is going to happen, partly fueled by guilt with whatever had happened to Hajime and being tired of being alone, and perhaps also from the powerlessness she has felt after dealing with the Jigoku Shoujo. Mizorogi is very much looking forward to seeing what will happen, and he is about to pull the red string off the voodoo doll.
Ai floats up to say her catchphrase when sending someone to hell. Except she’s facing Mizorogi when she says it, and he hadn’t even pulled off the red string yet. Despite the initial confusion, what happened becomes clear to Mizorogi soon enough when he sees Kikyou holding a voodoo doll and standing with the children. Mizorogi had felt guilty about his work being used to kill people, so he had taken in children whose parents were killed in war. This was hardly enough to stop the children from hating him, so Kikyou had accessed the Jigoku Tsushin in their stead to send Mizorogi to hell.
This explains where Yamawaro and Kikuri were all this time, as they were investigating someone other than Mizorogi as a potential client. And the use of his theory to military applications turned out to be more than just an irrelevant side note. Unlike many others before him, Mizorogi readily acknowledges his sins and is quite understanding, asking Kikyou to take care of the children when he’s gone. As Mizorogi is being sent to hell, he wonders if he’ll be able to see his mother, who may have been the person he has really been wanting to see all along.
When everything is over, Yuzuki chases after the leaving Tsugumi to ask whether she was also supposed to be the Jigoku Shoujo. Tsugumi wonders whether that was the case, and states that she believes destiny cannot be denied. The episode ends with Yuzuki wanting to know what destiny was and who gets to decide it. I’m wondering the same thing, too. Unfortunately, it looks like Yuzuki will not be getting support from Tsugumi any time soon, since Tsugumi is far too fatalistic concerning the Jigoku Shoujo. And with what little Ai said during this episode, yet again it makes me wonder what she is trying to accomplish.