Hell Girl, Episode One

The very popular anime series, Jigoku Shōjo (地獄少女) known as "Hell Girl" in the US, premiered on IFC (Independent Film Channel) last night. The series is a collection short stories with a common theme: Vengeance! The stories' main character is a young girl called Ai who can be summoned by anyone who's excessively tormented or abused by others and wants to seek revenge. People contact Ai through a website called the Jigoku Tsūshin (地獄通信), or "Hell Correspondence." The website can only be accessed at midnight and contains only a title page with a text-box where the name of the user's tormentor is entered. After contacting the Jigoku Tsūshin, the user enters into a pact with Ai by accepting a straw doll with a string tied around its neck. When the decision to proceed is made, the thread is removed and the contract is sealed; the user is soon avenged! How is vengeance delivered? The tormentors and abusers are dragged away to hell for all eternity, and the user is freed from their unbearable anguish. There is, of course, a price for Ai's service. When it comes time for the user's own death, he or she too must spend eternity in hell.

Jigoku Shōjo is directed by Ōmori Takahiro (大森貴弘) and written by Kanemaki Ken'ichi (金巻兼一). The series first aired on 04-Oct-2005 on Animax, Tokyo MX, MBS and is now preparing to go into its third season in Japan. (Wow -- the U.S. is three years behind Japan). The first episode made a really good impression on me and I look forward to following this series to see where it goes. It seems to me that the stories could really be very interesting and exciting as the fine details of each new character and their contracts with Ai are revealed. I will definitely keep watching-- this is a perfect series to jump in and out of; be sure to check it out!

Click here for the official English Language website on Funimation's webhost.

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