Writer/Artist: Miyuki Eto
Translation: Gemma Collinge
Adaptation: Gemma Collinge
What They Say
Whether you wish to protect yourself, your newborn, an unrequited love, or a sick sibling, the Hell Girl can help destroy anyone who threatens you. If you're holding a grudge, Ai Enma offers a unique "and deadly" bargain. But the price is dear: Both grudge-holders and those they curse are eternally damned.
I think back to the first volume of Hell Girl I reviewed (volume 3) where I complained about the artwork and the “why oh why doesn’t he love me so” teenage angst and wonder… where did that manga go? Because this isn’t it. At all. Somewhere along the line the super shoujo love stories that attempted -- and failed -- to mix some Hell and torture in them have finally succeeded. This is the Hell Girl I’ve been wanting to read ever since I learned there was a manga for the anime series I loved. At last, the manga equals the twistedness of the anime, perhaps even surpasses it?
I enjoyed every single story in this volume -- which may or may not mean that I need to seek professional help for liking a series where a stalker talks about cutting a celebrity’s hair, nails, fingers, breasts, and other parts of her body. Each story provides a different twist and for the first time not every person who is sent to hell deserves it. In fact, in this volume it isn’t Hell Girl that’s creepy, but the people who wish to summon her.
The first story, “The Smiling Celebrity,” is about a young superstar named Ayumi dealing with a stalker. Ayumi use to look a lot different when she first starred in kiddie television shows and her former co-star, Masae, misses the old her a little bit too much. She decides that she needs to change Ayumi by removing everything that has changed about her -- hair, breasts, legs, every inch of her new teenage body… with a pair of scissors.
Hell Girl is summoned by Masae to take Ayumi away when her efforts don’t bare fruit, but the Hell Girl cannot take Ayumi to hell because in this case she was summoned out of love, not hate (because Masae does love Ayumi, its just a twisted form of love), and Hell Girl can only kill out of hatred. Hell Girl turns around and takes Masae to hell instead after Ayumi sends her name to the website.
Someone should’ve read the fine print.
The second story, “Letters to Hell,” is about a young girl who’s led to believe that her grandmother is dead. But when she gets a letter from her grandmother congratulating her on graduating, she becomes furious with her mother for lying to her and goes off to meet her grandmother. When she arrives in the small village she is surprised to see that her grandmother is shunned by everyone in town. After talking with her grandmother she finds out that a long time ago she summoned Hell Girl to get rid of a persistent debt collector who went so far as to set fire to her house while her baby was inside. Her grandmother managed to save her child, but she realized that the man would try again and again to hurt her and her family. Hell Girl fulfilled her grudge, but with his death the villagers started to harass the grandmother so much that her child left home, not wanting to deal with the villagers too. Ever since then the grandmother lived alone, constantly writing letters to Hell Girl and feeling like she had made the wrong decision. The story ends with the grandmother dying, her soul going to hell to end the contract, but she dies in peace knowing that her child and her grandchild have lived a good life.
The third story, “Days of Love,” goes back to the teenage love story formula… only with a psychotic boyfriend twist who decides to use Hell Girl to keep his girlfriend in line. Arisa and Ryosuke have been friends since their childhood, but now Ryosuke is her hot best friend who she’s starting to get a crush on. While she’s thinking about how she will never tell him her feelings she’s approached by another boy named Masaki who wants to go out with her. The two of them start dating and, of course, Masaki is jealous of Arisa’s relationship with Ryosuke. Arisa doesn’t think this is a big deal because any guy would be jealous if his girlfriend was friends with a boy, right? Except Masaki starts asking Arisa to keep a picture journal of everything she does.
Ahahahaha… possessive much?
Arisa talks to Ryosuke about it and decides to leave Masaki, but much to her horror Masaki has sent Ryosuke’s name to Hell Girl! He hasn’t untied the string yet, using it to force Arisa to date him or else he will have Ryosuke sent to hell. Eventually Arisa decides to seek Hell Girl’s assistance and Masaki’s trip to hell is a wonderful thing to read. He sees a rather evil looking Arisa smirking at him, telling him to never leave and constantly calling him. It ends with him being embraced by a beautiful skull headed woman, the others taking pictures of them and saying how good they look together.
The last story, “Request from Hell,” has a young girl named Mizuho trying to track down the man who murdered her parents in a hit and run accident. Both her and her little brother stay with her aunt and uncle and she spends all of her time searching for her parent’s killer, ignoring her very ill little brother. She finds out that the killer is a man named Hideo Sato, but since he has no prior convictions his sentence would be very light.
Cue the Hell Girl now, please.
Mizuho quickly sends Sato to hell, but before he goes he sends Mizuho a letter that apologizes for his crime. It turns out that he was going to confess to it, the reason why he didn’t confess sooner was that he was scared about leaving his very sick wife alone. But his wife passed away, so without her he was going to confess to his crime but never got the chance to because he’s now dead.
To make matters worse, Mizuho’s little brother is rushed to the hospital because he’s getting worse. While there, Mizuho overhears her aunt and uncle talking about how they wish that her brother would die so that they can collect the insurance money. It turns out that they took the two children in, waiting for the little boy to die so that they could get rich quick. So, in a way, Mizuho sent the wrong person to hell.
She decides that she can never forgive her aunt and uncle, but instead of using Hell Girl again she leaves with her brother, vowing to never use such a horrible website again.
This volume is definitely my favorite (so far at least) because of how Hell Girl is used against others. None of the stories have simple solutions and each one has a surprise twist that I never saw coming. This volume is more about the people using the site -- some much more threatening than Hell Girl -- and that’s what makes this volume such a good read. And not every who is sent to hell deserves it -- the grandmother, for example, and even the man who was involved in the hit and run accident. All and all, I absolutely love this volume and wish the previous volumes would’ve had a variety of stories like this one does. If you’ve been sticking with the manga since volume one, this volume definitely rewards you for it.
Meanwhile, there’s a little girl in a kimono hanging around Hell Girl and the others. She’s not explained at all and not even the other characters know why she’s there. But she is a little cute and trips over things.