Jigoku Shojo (Hell Girl) has a cool concept, it centers on Hell’s Correspondence which is a web site that can only be accessed at midnight by those with a deep grudge, you submit the name of the one whom you wish to punish and the Jigoku Shojo (Hell Girl) will appear before you. The Jigoku Shoujo, Enma Ai, offers to immediately send that person to hell for you…however after you die you will have to pay a price by going to hell for all eternity as well. She then hands you a straw doll with a red string around its neck, if you wish to make the contract with her you simply must pull the string.
Each episode focuses on those who access Hell’s Correspondence and the events that push them to the point of damning themselves to hell for a bit of revenge. Eventually a detective and his daughter show up in each episode and act as a link and a developing plot between all the episodes as they attempt to stop Enma Ai and those she makes contracts with.
Pretty much what drove me to watch this show all the way through was my curiosity about who exactly Enma Ai and her companions were. She is a beautifully drawn and mysterious character, I wanted to know if she was ever human and how she got this job. Besides that motivating factor though…the show is just alright. As someone who could not envision herself wanting to send someone to hell, and then later having to go to hell too, it was hard to relate to these characters. A lot of the people who made contracts with Enma Ai seemed petty, and had foolish reasons, and just ticked me off. Other people just needed to get a grip on their over sensitive emotions and deal with life. A few had a life/death situation and pulled the string on reflex, which I can understand.
The opening to this show was a spectacular treat…I absolutely adored the song and the accompanying animation. This is one of the few series where I didn’t once skip the opening sequence.
I enjoyed this show but if you have limited resources on how many anime shows you may watch (whether it be time or money) there are many better shows out there. BUT I do not regret watching this show, I really like Enma Ai’s character as well as her companions and I plan on watching Jigoku Shoujo 2 (Hell Girl 2) when it comes out. My fascination over this character runs deep for me.
Please note if you’re considering reading the manga that goes with this show I advise against it. They have gotten so-so reviews and it’s a manga based on the anime…and those don’t tend to be so good.
Similar Viewing Suggestions
If you liked this show then you probably like shows in which each episode is it’s own unique and dark story, there are a bunch of shows that match this but I think xxxHolic is what matches the nature of this show the best. In xxxHolic Yuko owns a shop in which she will grant the wishes of her customers but they need to give her something of equal value to the wish…the ultimate exchange for a wish being that person’s soul. The art in this series is as lovely if not more lovely than Hell Girl, although this series is a bit more light-hearted than Hell Girl I think xxxHolic compliments Hell Girl well for that reason. For reading…I’d suggest Pet Shop of Horrors, the punishments are as dark as Hell Girl’s but this plot actually has some humor like xxxHolic.