Posted by psgels on 4 April 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Jigoku Shoujo



It’s quite a challenge to review the third instalment of Jigoku Shoujo, since I’m so incredibly biased for it. The third season basically continues with the same formula, of having 26 episodes, nearly all of them about someone taking a revenge against someone else. The show is evolving, though: the third season does feature a bunch of differences from the previous two, though. A few subtle differences… and a bunch of not-so-subtle ones.

The big difference in which the third season sets itself apart is the nature of all of the different revenges. There never really was a distinct line between good and evil in the Jigoku Shoujo, but at least you could see that the most of the (with a number of notable exceptions of course) ones asking for revenge sort-of deserved some sort of help. This completely disappears in the third season, when the people taking revenge turn into total misguided and deluded bastards, often sending people to hell who haven’t even done anything wrong.

This has several effects. On one side, some of the revenges become totally ludicrous: the formula quickly gets predictable, and sometimes the creators make a bit too generous use of their artistic lisences to send people to hell for the most bizarre reasons. On the other hand, though: it allows them to explore the boundaries of political incorrectness. The only thing it doesn’t touch is racism, but apart from that it confronts the viewer with countless of modern-day taboos, and presents them in a politically incorrect, and yet somewhat realistic manner; and that’s the creepy bit.

Jigoku Shoujo has also been known for its particularly strong climaxes, and Mitsuganae is no different. while I’m not going to spoil anything here, the eventual finale makes optimal use of the huge amounts of building up that the rest of the season put into it, up to the final minute of the show, and this has definitely been the best finale that Jigoku Shoujo has shown us thus far.

So yeah, the first half is mostly nothing special for Jigoku Shoujo’s standards, but the final quarter SO makes up for it. Obviously, in order to enjoy Jigoku Shoujo, you must be aware that it’s an incredibly repetitive series: in nearly every episode, you know for sure that someone is going to get sent to hell. But what makes this such a special series is that even though it has this weakness, its atmosphere totally makes up for it: it’s very consistent and thanks to an excellent sense of build-up, it only gets tighter as the show goes on. And that’s really the strength I see in horror-series: using creepy atmosphere and storytelling to draw the viewer inside the story, and Jigoku Shoujo doesn’t just succeed in it. It succeeds in it for 78 episodes.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10

7 Responses

  1. jin says:

    I love all seasons but I still think the end of Mitsuganae was highly unsatisfactory. The best seasons for me will be Futakomori, with most development and highest enjoyment. No matter what, Jigoku Shoujo will always be one of my most favourite series! ^^

  2. Jas says:

    I haven’t finished this series yet but are you sure its over this time.

    I’d love it to go on but hate the thought of it going downhill. I really hated the start of mitisuganae it didnt feel right butthen it was like and old friend was back!Can’t wait for the subs for the rest of the season but scrolling through your page to get to my eps i caught some spoilers by mistake :(

  3. Carlo says:

    A disappointment that yuzuki didn’t turn out to be the next jigoku shoujo. True enough, the ending was unsatisfactory. The creepiest jigoku shoujo series YET, ’cause it really didn’t “end” yet (if you know what i mean).

  4. passer_by says:

    u all know right that the website exist.. i mean really.. i tried accessing it at midnight with the link that we all saw at all the episodes.. creepy..

  5. Aura says:

    I am really in love whit this serie. I never really wanted ai to continue beeing jigoku shoujo, because of the pain she locks inside her heart, but i am REALLY glad Yuzuki didn’t become jigoku shoujo. If there is to be a jigoku shoujo, then the only jigoku shoujo in my heart is and will allways be Emma Ai

  6. unknown says:

    it is one of the worst series ive ever seen. There is barely any story progression, its the same thing over and over again.

  7. MKB says:

    I just love it. Although the end is very confusing.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:12 PM)
    That might compress things, but I think a good screen-writer can fit pretty much any VN in 12-14 episodes (covering just the main route).
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:07 PM)
    @Aidan: then the best solution would’ve been to make a two cour season covering the 2nd and the 3rd book. Have the cours air two anime seasons apart, and in the middle have an offshoot short OVA that covers the 1st book, but has a more harem comedy feel to it. Think Full Metal Panic and Fumuffu.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @bam, Muv Luv has the problem that most of its brillence lies in the third title. But in order for the third title to have the same effect you need to read the first two. Successful or not, I doubt theres animation studio willing to go all in and adapt the full trilogy. There’s also the issue of the first title being a really mediocre harem.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 12:48 PM)
    just a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg of reasons why y’all need a PS4 for the upcoming year:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Hz8eXWHNY
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 08:09 AM)
    Why they didn’t adapt the original Muv Luv novel or Alternative is a mystery to me. Wasn’t the VN really successful? Whats with these offshoot shows instead of doing the real deal? They are avoiding it for some reason.

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