Ai Enma and her companions continue to offer their service of revenge against those who have wronged others, and the price is as steep as ever—for damning the offender to hell, the person exacting vengeance is sent to the abyss as well. As they cast soul after soul into the darkness, a new sinister force is watching them: a little girl named Kikuri.
While Ai continues her duties, she meets a boy named Takuma Kurebayashi, known as the "Devil's Child" because of the horrific events that occur around him. Unfortunately, Takuma's reputation leads the townspeople to use him as a scapegoat for those who have been ferried off to hell. When things quickly spiral out of control, Ai must find a way to bring an end to this senseless violence, as it poses a threat to her very existence.
Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori is the sequel Jigoku Shoujo. Its basically where the previous story left off. Enma Ai continuing her work as Jigoku Shoujo. The same job she has had for the past 400 years. This time around, it appears that the staff has listened to the fans of this show and pretty much made a brand new show. It still follows the same formula as part one, plot, retribution, and conculsion, but this time around they seem to mix it up alot more often this time around. Some episodes they progress it normally, in other ep\'s they tarintino it and start from the middle
or at the end and work from there. For a show like this its just what the doctor ordered. Each ep doesnt feel like you just watched the same ep over and over again. Even the stories are alot more contraversial this time around as well. There are alot more stories that conflict between the worlds of good and evil and really challange the player on a "what would you do if" basis.
Another update is the introduction of Kikuri. Nothing much is known about her except for the fact that she acts the complete opposite of Enma Ai. She\'s mainly the show\'s comic relief/lolicon. Which is another improvement... you\'ll see Enma and Kikuri (and company) in alot more different costumes than before. You\'ll see Enma and Kikuri in so many cute costumes you\'ll most likely get a kawaii overdose!
With more variety in charcaters clothing, the next natural step was to give more tv time for Ren and Onna. Wanyuudou was the only one doing the work before, now that has been more evenly distrubuted between the other 2 demons. You also get to understand how and why they end up helping Enma. the artwork is also looks like a huge improvement as well, showing different angles of Enma\'s home, and different "kawaii situations." Enma cutting her toenails sounds gross yet it was amazingly cute. Personally i think Kikuri almost stole the show, she definitely grows on you. Lolicon alert: enma and kikuri get nekkid more often in this series.
Overall i really enjoyed this show alot more than before. Its like the series did a complete creative 180, totally redoing everything than before. More money is probably the culprit here. Regardless, the viewers win out because this is a much higher quality product. There is a large warning tho, if you cant stomach sensitive situations like incest, insanity, and mob brutality than steer clear of this show.
If you even thought JIGOKU SHOUJO should have been better, watch this show! This is what the first season should have been like. Even the ending will leave you speechless...
9/10 (would have been a 10/10 except for the yaoi episode)
Anime: Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori continues to be directed by Takahiro Omori and produced by Studio Deen. It is twenty-six episodes long and ran from October 7th, 2006 to April 6th, 2007. Futakomori has yet to be licensed Stateside.
Story: There is a rumor that if there's someone giving you absolute hell and you want to get revenge on them, there's a website that you can access only at midnight, known as Hell Correspondence. Once the name is submitted, Ai Enma (aka Jigoku Shoujo/Hell Girl) will appear to the client and give them a straw doll with a red string wrapped around
its neck. If the client wishes to take revenge, then all they have to do is pull the string and Ai and her helpers will ferry the person to hell. However, there is a small catch to all this: Once the compact is made with Ai, the person who took revenge will go to hell once they've died as well.
Notice no change in the plot summary? That's because Futakomori is pretty much more of what we saw back in season one; Revenge of the Week, same episode format, which is disappointing in and of itself.
There are some pretty good stories in this season, yes; but the ratio of good episodes to mediocre decreases this season. And they finally get around to telling us the background of Ai's helpers, but the added backgrounds are all that are given in terms of development for Ai and her helpers, and don't even add all that much to the fairly one-note personalities that we saw in the last season. We do have a recurring character who, thank god, is not as annoying as Tsugumi and Hajime (who do make a cameo appearance in the second-to-last episode of the show), but is introduced about halfway through, and then dropped until about three-quarters of the way through, as if the writers suddenly remembered that they needed something resembling an overarching plot.
The additional background added for the helpers and the better episodes of the bunch do add some redeeming aspects to the plot, as does the last episode of the series, which more than makes up for what came before it. But, still, you're left with a bitter taste in your mouth at the end of this season, especially with the little caveat that's tagged on after the end credits.
There is a third season, Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae, which is supposed to start airing October 4th of this year (2008), which will maybe wrap things up once and for all. Will it? Probably not, but let me have my optimism, kthnxbye.
Art: The art is just as good as last season, if not better, especially in terms of character design in the individual episodes, and in clips which are frequently used as stock footage.
No major changes in style, so what I said last season pretty much applies here as well; rich colors, beautiful designs, combining for a stunning effect.
Music: Again, pretty much the same as what we heard last season, which was well-done and a good mix of Western orchestration, rock, and traditional instrumentation. The OP and ED are done by the same people and. while they're new, the things I said about them last season still pretty much apply here; upbeat, catchy female J-Pop OP and ED with more traditional instrumentation and lyrics that very directly relate to the show.
Seiyuu: No changes. Good performances by all, and Ai's lines are still unvaried; at least it's an easy job?
Length: Again, they could've cut this down to thirteen episodes or so and it would've still had the time to tell its story and get some good Revenge of the Weeks in, even more so since the real story doesn't start till the three-quarter's mark.
Overall: It's pretty much what you saw last season, all across the board, with a few new things thrown in here and there. So, really, if you liked what you saw last season, and don't mind the monotony, you'll like this just fine. But if you wanted more from this season... well, you might not want to watch this. Possibly redeemable in the third season (Mitsuganae), but given it's track record, it's probably not going to happen.
Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori, being the direct sequel to Jigoku Shoujo, offers more of the same but does everything much better.
The story centers around a website called Jigoku Tsuushin (Hotline to Hell), which can only be visited at midnight. If you type in a person that you hate's name and your hate is fierce enough, the red-eyed, black-clad Enma Ai will appear before you and offer you a straw doll. If you pull off the red string attached to the doll, your antagonist will be sent immediately to hell (after being punished for his/her sins if she/he has any). However, by doing this, you automatically
condemn you own soul, and when you die, you will be going to a hot place as well.
The first and second series are similar in many ways; the first 10-15 episodes are strongly episodic and introduce new characters all the time, most of which you will never see again after that particular episode. All the stories are, naturally, dramatic and sad, showing the worst traits that mankind is equipped with. In the first series, the episodes followed a chronologic formula: first a couple of scenes showing the conflict between two persons, then the victim visiting Jigoku Tsuushin, receiving the straw doll and then pulling the string. Aftar that, the culprit receives his/her punishment and is ferried to hell by Enma Ai.
It became a bit repetitive and annoying after a while. In Futakomori, the scenarios are much more varied, presenting different points of view on the conflicts and many twists and turns. We also get much more information on the three demons accompanying Ai, helping her with investigating the conflicts: during what eras they lived, what they were back then, why they couldn't die in peace and how their pasts affect their present actions. Those four, Ai included, are all very intriguing characters, and the more you know about them, the more you like them.
New to the series is a little girl called Kikuri, who apparently lives together with Ai and often shows up in the middle of the conflicts, causing mischief. She is rather evil and her big blue eyes are, simply put, scary. I didn't really like her, but she has her moments.
There are not many new melodies in the music deparment; almost all music is recycled from the first season and is still going strong, enhancing the sad and violent scenes wonderfully. As for the art, it's great as well and Ai is as beautiful as ever.
Around episode 20, the story starts getting really interesting. I will not spoil anything, but the ending is great and I can't wait to see what happens in Mitsuganae, the third season.
Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori beats its predecessor in all categories, sports great visuals, fitting music, excellent characters and a dark, twisted sense of humour. The only thing I can complain about is that Hajime and Tsugumi from the first season got next to no screentime at all, which is a bit sad since I liked them a lot. Apart from that, this is one of the best animes I've ever seen. Highly recommended, especially if you thought the first season had potential but was too repetitive.
So, you people thirsty for a second round of Ai Enma action want to know if it's worth it, right? Well, the answer is: maybe. Read below and find out.
*I'm going to make a lot of references/comparisons to the first season (which I've also reviewed), so this review may not make a lot of sense if you haven't seen it. (Watching Futakomori without watching season one would be pretty stupid anyway.)
Story: 9. This time around, we're treated to the refreshing perspective of Ai and her helpers--as opposed to only the viewpoint of the victim resorting to desperate measures. The tradeoff
here, though, is that we lose basically all of the mystery and intrigue present in the first season. Ai appearances are much more frequent, and there's really no more excitement when she shows up behind people. We get to see what it's like for the gang as they gather information about their clients and targets. Just imagine this: Ai in a restaurant uniform, taking your order. Interested? I thought so. We're shown their reactions to those involved, their conclusions, and their emotional responses. They take much more active and hands-on roles in the dealings of their clients. We also get the back stories of each of Ai's helpers, which were very much needed. The boring, formulaic nature of the first season is basically scrapped in favor of a lot more diversity and flexibility. There's really no predictibility anymore: You really can't say for sure what'll happen in any given episode. But again, like in the first season, the only real continuous story occurs in the last 5 episodes. But when it DOES, it's pretty frickin' sweet.
Art: 8. Definitely upgraded from the last season. It's kind of like the art quality of everything else caught up to Ai. (Although, this DOES mean that she doesn't stand out as more. Sad me.) The facial expressions are a LOT better, and the side characters are more creatively done--they don't suffer from the epic laziness of the characters made last season, who hardly looked different at all. They also use some stock footage again in the same place (Ai departing to "fetch" the target), and they even had the nerve to copy Wanyuudo and the chariot pixel-for-pixel from the first season. However, the length of footage repeated is shorter--maybe 5 seconds as opposed to 15-20--and it's only used a few times.
Sound: 8. Some of the tracks from season one's OST are recycled, some are revamped, and many more are mixed in. It's okay, though: It wouldn't really be the same without some of these memorable trademarks. The OST for the franchise is pretty impressive in general, and the tracks fit on-screen events like gloves. The OP is a little better than season one's, but the opening sequence kind of makes it look like it'll be a slice of life series or something like that. But we know better, don't we? I really miss "Basting," the ED from season one, but this one's alright too. Speaking of missing things, I REALLY miss the English dub. Brina Palencia as Ai... *sob*. And she gets considerably more lines now, too! Damn you, Funimation...
Character: 8. Like I said above, the character designs have vastly improved from the last season. (The characters don't look like they were all made from the same generic template.) Ren, Hone Onna, and Wanyuudo get character development, and their back stories are revealed. The supporting cast is pretty good in general; however, there are times where you may find yourself facepalming at the stupidity of some of them.
Enjoyment: 8. (As you can see, lower than my score for season one.) In some ways, it's more enjoyable: Seeing the gang more and their activities is definitely fun (especially Ai; more Ai screentime is ALWAYS good), and so is learning about them as characters. But in others, it's not: If you enjoyed watching people suffer for their sins in the first season, you'll be woefully disappointed here. You get to see very little of that. Like I mentioned, a lot of the mystery, suspense, and intrigue is gone, since it's told from the perspective of Ai's gang, and the supernatural elements have very little gravity anymore. Even Ai appearing behind people isn't nearly as cool and eerie. =(
The first season served the much more basic purpose of focusing on people being wronged and their desires for revenge. Season two, however, serves as much more of a social commentary--focusing less on vengeance itself and more on the situation and circumstances surrounding the characters (the monsters of hate, envy, deception, and anger; politics and social and family life aren't uncommon). HERE is where it's better to ask the question if revenge is really the best option. (The last season was NOT the place; as I mentioned in that review, all evidence pointed to revenge as being the best choice. Basically, it's less one-sided.)
We aren't shown nearly as many of the actual torture sequences the targets are put through, which I was very disappointed by. (The first two, however, are more intense than the ones in the first season, and I loved them.) The sadistic appeal of the first season is gone; instead, you're forced to question yourself and how you think about things.
Overall: 8. In the end, you'll have to decide for yourself if you like the changes or not. As you can see, my ratings for each category are a lot more balanced than the first season. Personally, I enjoyed the justice/vengeance focused first season more; however, this season improves upon the last in the art, story, and character departments. You also don't have to deal with the formulaic-ness all over again.
All in all: If you liked season one, I recommend Futakomori. Just be prepared to have a little bit of an open mind, 'cuz it's a little different.
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