The grudge in episode 23 of Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, “Twilight Hill”, is by a boy in Yuzuki’s class who is being bullied by three other classmates. In fact, the episode starts with a tense atmosphere in the class, with most students not liking what the bullies are doing but not wanting to get involved. It must be even tougher for Yuzuki, who is hearing bells ring every few seconds, although she is doing her best to ignore it to the degree that she even ignores how the bullies are tormenting Fumio, the boy in question, while everyone else at least glances at what’s happening.
Fumio is a complete wuss who just caves in to the bullies and gives them lunch money and other valuables in the hopes that they would eventually leave him alone. While two of the bullies might possibly get bored with bullying Fumio eventually, this is unlikely to be the case for Tomohide, the leader of the bullying group. Tomohide even stalks Fumio sometimes, which is how he got to overhear the teacher congratulating Fumio for getting accepted to a high school in another region based on a recommendation. With no apparent reason for being bullied, Fumio eventually accesses the Jigoku Tsushin for his grudge against Tomohide.
Tomohide bullies Fumio because of envy that Fumio has a family that is well off and looks like he will have a promising future. It probably also enflames Tomohide that Fumio shows no signs of fighting back. But at home, Tomohide is a good big brother for his sister Suzumi. However, the mother is always out working, and the family has no father. The family’s economic situation also means that Tomohide has given up on his dreams of becoming a baseball player. It turns out that Tomohide had sent someone to hell, indicated by the Jigoku Tsushin mark on his chest, and the victim was probably his father. No hint is given as to what Tomohide’s reasons were for his own grudge, however, although I’m sure we can all think of several good possibilities.
With Fumio going to a high school in another region, Tomohide mellows out and sets out to make things just a little bit better by returning a video camera that was taken from Fumio. But the group of bullies arrive at Fumio’s home just when the family is going out for dinner. The way the family seems happy and Fumio is looking forward to his own future sparks a rage in Tomohide, and the next day Tomohide crosses a line and start physically beating up Fumio to the alarm of the two other members of the bullying group. But Tomohide is not a complete idiot, so he doesn’t wail about not deserving to go to hell when Fumio brings out the voodoo doll and pulls off the red string. It is only regret for disappearing on his little sister that is foremost in his mind when he is being sent to hell.
The disappearance of Tomohide terrifies the other two bullies, who fearfully talks about it at class the next day, so any of Yuzuki’s classmates that have not heard about the Jigoku Shoujo yet would know about her by now. As for Fumio, it must be rather troubling when he visits the boarding school he will live at for the next three years and sees a student being bullied right in front of his eyes, with the adults being clueless and just thinking that boys will be boys. And this is how the story of an unempathetic bully and an overreacting wuss ends
Throughout the episode, Yuzuki takes a page from Tsugumi and tries to ignore everything related to the Jigoku Tsushin in the hope that it could help her stay away from becoming the next Jigoku Shoujo. She even ignores the Jigoku Tsushin assistants, who show up in this episode as workers at a Chinese restaurant where Yuzuki and her friends eat. She even completely ignores Kikuri who shows up and declares her intention not to “lose”, which might have meant something if Yuzuki had the slightest desire to become the next Jigoku Shoujo. Yuzuki efforts to be uninvolved with the Jigoku Shoujo even goes as far as her giving up on trying to stop anyone from trying to use the Jigoku Tsushin, completely ignoring what Fumio tries to do this episode.
The other assistants find it hard to believe that Yuzuki is supposed to be the next Jigoku Shoujo: while Ai wouldn’t be joking about it, it’s a bit hard to think that Ai would willingly groom her successor. It’s easy to see why it would be hard to believe considering that Ai doesn’t really like what she does, and I would think she dislikes it enough that she wouldn’t willingly force someone to do it. At least Yuzuki has someone to talk to about the Jigoku Shoujo: Tsugumi is a safe person to talk to about the Jigoku Tsushin, even if she doesn’t talk back.
On the way back to home from school, Yuzuki starts hearing bells everywhere and notices many of the grudge holders who have used the Jigoku Tsushin this season around the street. The cacophony of bells stops with the sound of a heartbeat when Ai appears. Yuzuki attempts to ignore Ai in continuance of her strategy of ignoring all things Jigoku Shoujo. But Ai’s accusation of running away starts a rant by Yuzuki where she throws back all that Ai has been trying to impress on her throughout this season, that the cycle of hate cannot be stopped and that hell is within each person. Given all this, why bother with the Jigoku Tsushin and why can’t Ai leave everyone alone and leave Yuzuki to live a normal life? Ai takes the wind out of Yuzuki, however, when she points out that Yuzuki must hate her, that Yuzuki wants to send Ai to hell.
The episode ends with a distraught Yuzuki returning home, but a neighbor reacts to Yuzuki as if she had never seen Yuzuki before or have not seen her in a very long time, while Yuzuki’s apartment looks like it has been abandoned for some time, which goes unnoticed by Yuzuki because she is too distraught. The last thing we see is a memory of Yuzuki’s that reflects her current mood, where she remembers a sakura tree and a girl calling for help.