Forum - View topic
Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight (TV).


Goto page 1, 2  Next

Anime News Network Forum Index -> General -> Series Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Harleyquin



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 1243
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:52 am Reply with quote


Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight (TV)

Genres:
Themes:

Plot Summary: Hell Girl Enma Ai and her group return for another series to continue their task of transporting cursed people to hell. New questions arise when a previously unseen girl dressed in green appears before them. As her appearances grow more frequent the mystery behind her purpose is gradually revealed even as the task of carrying people to Hell continues.
----------------------------------

Almost a full decade after the last adaptation, Enma Ai is back performing the task she is doomed to continue with after the events of the last season.

The series plot centres around a mysterious girl Michiru, who has no memory of who she is when she appears mysteriously before Ai. Ai makes contact with her and the mystery behind Michiru slowly unravels...

#1

There was a preview episode last week which was a behind-the-scenes look at the first episode which has just aired. I never thought I would see another adaptation of this franchise since the ending of the third season had a bitter aftertaste.

Not sure about the choice of OP song, I'm not keen on an upbeat number for a series like this. Fortunately the ED song is a better fit to the series and as always is sung by Enma Ai's VA.

As for the episode itself, bullying is still the topical issue in Japan as it has been over the last few decades. A convenient theme to base what is essentially a very standard episode typical of the franchise, complete with the twist at the end.

I wonder if Michiru is related to the two key protagonists from the first two seasons. She seems capable of appearing and disappearing at will and is capable of traversing the worlds to boot. Unlike the other adaptations, this will only be 12 episodes long so it's hard to say if that's enough time to bring the threads together in a satisfactory manner.

[EDIT: Added all the Encyclopedia info and changed the name to the official English title. -TK]


Last edited by Harleyquin on Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:52 am; edited 3 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
HandofBobb



Joined: 06 Jan 2010
Posts: 29
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:43 pm Reply with quote
Harleyquin wrote:

I wonder if Michiru is related to the two key protagonists from the first two seasons.


I would guess so, her appearance is very reminiscent of S1 Tsugumi.

I didn't catch it, but I'm guessing the name she originally typed in was the girl who picked up her eraser, cause in Hell Girl logic, that would be the person she remembers...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harleyquin



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 1243
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 2:21 pm Reply with quote
HandofBobb wrote:


I didn't catch it, but I'm guessing the name she originally typed in was the girl who picked up her eraser, cause in Hell Girl logic, that would be the person she remembers...


Not quite. The name she typed was of a girl who looked at her and laughed. It's not explicitly said who this person is, it might well have been the one who picked up the eraser since she's also part of the bully group but that scene was after the first contact with Enma Ai.

I doubt it's Tsugumi, there is at least one animation that features Michiru and trams from the Meiji/Taisho era. Perhaps an ancestor, but I think it more likely this is someone who is familiar with the system and has objected to it for a VERY long time.


Last edited by Harleyquin on Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harleyquin



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 1243
PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:50 pm Reply with quote
#2

If the first episode was a conventional episode from seasons past, this second episode is also conventional but in a different sense. The franchise has always focused on the dark side of human nature, especially on the breakdown of relationships and the desperation it can force on those sliding deeper into the abyss.

The featured pair have a complicated relationship with one becoming increasingly dependent on the other. Odd thing is, the partnership started on a whim became the very anchor the veteran didn't expect and tried desperately to avoid based on past experience. In some twisted way both parties got some satisfaction out of the outcome, which is why it's just the target being sent down the river instead of being tortured by Ai and company beforehand.

Once again Michiru makes an appearance. It's interesting that she's unable to discern why Ai continued to take an interest in the pair despite the refusal at the very start of the episode, so there are limits to her connection with the dolls and their recipients.

The psychology behind both characters this week isn't straightforward, so watching it a few more times might help me appreciate it better. Next week looks to be simpler since families with abuses in the closet are easier to relate to.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 12128
Location: Windsor Ontario
PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:53 pm Reply with quote
It's probably because I've gone through 3 seasons of this already but the endings for these are pretty predictable. As soon as she changed her mind about sending the other girl to Hell, you knew right away that she'd be the one getting sent instead. The advantage of this season is that they can tell stories based on today's culture. The first episode made use of that, but this one didn't. It was just sorta okay.

Though since Nanako's candle is still lit at the end that means she didn't kill herself right away. I was expecting another "Here comes your friend" ending.

It will be interesting to see how that little girl factors into things, but characters who try to stop Hell Girl never have things work out for them.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime
niji9t



Joined: 12 Jul 2017
Posts: 18
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:19 am Reply with quote
Wait, there's another season of Hell Girl? Why haven't I heard of this? Liked the first three seasons when I was in my teens. I feel like they're bringing back so many things from the past. They're definitely running out of ideas, but I ain't complaining lol I am however sceptical towards the new Code Geass season tho, I feel like they're gonna ruin the ending.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harleyquin



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 1243
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:54 pm Reply with quote
#3

More straightforward than last week's character piece, but this is a nasty episode. If this week is based on real cases which sometimes get reported in the media, it has an even more bitter aftertaste.

The last time I saw an organised lynching using the dolls was back at the tail end of season 2, but the boy's attempt to get rid of his abusive family members using a scheme didn't even get off the ground. Ultimately it took the rape of his younger sister to finally drive him into action, which frankly is bolting the stable door after the horse has fled since anything he does after the act doesn't help his sister in any way (if that still shot is anything to go by, the trauma has reduced her to a vegetable).

Again Michiru shows up to protest against Ai and company, but they've seen so many similar cases over the years that they've grown numb and simply accept it as par for the course. The only part of this episode I found strange was Yamawaro engaging in chit-chat with the younger sister Arina early on, few mortals are capable of engaging with Ai's entourage let alone aware of their true identities.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Stark700



Joined: 30 Jan 2012
Posts: 11117
Location: Earth
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:09 pm Reply with quote
Episode 3 is one of the darkest episodes I've seen in awhile.

That is one seriously screwed up family. I felt terrible for Arina...seriously though, she took the worst of it. I wouldn't be surprised if her mind is broken after everything that happened. Oh well, at least Hell Girl did her usual business and that abusive family deserved it, especially the nephew.

One thing I did wonder is why they didn't just call the police or something or seek protection.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website My Anime My Manga
Harleyquin



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 1243
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:36 am Reply with quote
#4

Another episode which is probably a reflection of the times, what with the ageing population and all. But the biggest draw for long-time fans of this series is Shibata Tsugumi (even her theme track from season 3 makes a reappearance!) and that she still retains the connection she has been blessed/cursed with since childhood. Looks like events she witnessed while she was a school nurse took quite a bit out of her.

Wanyuudou might have laughed off Kuboda's assertion that he resembles her first romantic crush, but I have to wonder if years ago Wanyuudou was on the job posing as a teacher when Okuda was still in school. It's not explicitly stated, but it would be an ironic twist that one of Enma Ai's most loyal servants would intervene on behalf of someone who might have been party to a contract years ago yet retained memories of the undercover servants. Either that, or Wanyuudou was too close to Enma Ai when the terms of the contract were being spelt out.

Viewers finally get to see what Michiru's background is like and why she sticks persistently to Enma Ai whilst disagreeing vehemently with her job. Something tells me Michiru's circumstances tie in very closely with the persecuted boy from Season 2.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harleyquin



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 1243
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:33 am Reply with quote
#5

No ferry this week, but in exchange viewers now know Michiru's background and her purpose in this series.

It isn't the most original trope since it's been used before in previous seasons. The malice of a few results in death and then a chain reaction engulfing an entire community. Enma Ai has a very similar background, as did the boy in season 2 to a lesser extent. Enma Ai didn't succeed in uncovering her successor the last season, but I'm not sure if Michiru is intended to replace her or to serve as her future colleague.

Going by the OP animation, Michiru's clothes and the scene featuring the installation of electrical lights, I'd say her time period is late Meiji/ early Taishou. Odd that she's spent at least a century wandering around with amnesia when Enma Ai was almost immediately scouted by the spider for her task.

Enma Ai has been through the mill over the last three seasons with respect to her task, so I'm guessing she's going to take a neutral stance on Michiru during her "apprenticeship".
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Harleyquin



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 1243
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:29 pm Reply with quote
#6

So this week's episode ends Michiru's arc. The next six episodes are specially selected reruns of episodes from the past three seasons but told in a slightly different format from the original airing. Considering how old the series is, I'm going to watch the recap episodes anyway since my long-term memory for episodes initially aired 12 years ago is non-existent.

Unlike the last season, it looks like Enma Ai succeeded in getting a colleague (and losing one of her followers in the process). Although she will continue her job for as long as humanity exists, at least her workload is reduced since the requests can be divided between the two girls. Considering how instances like this week's episode mean a sharing of information away from the regular means of contacting Hell's representative, having a different face might actually help the Spider lower the profile of the system amongst the general public.

I thought Michiru gave in a little too easily this episode, but once the Spider has its eye set on a candidate there is no refusal. Candidates who break the rules face the same punishment endured by Ai's successor in the third season.

Each girl's hell scene is a representative of the sights and sounds they experienced when they were alive. Enma Ai has the desolate hill top from the Azuchi-Momoyama era while Michiru chooses the tram and city she grew up with. A nice touch, but it seems Yamawaro made Michiru's transition easier by requesting for a transfer. Michiru's sentence on the target is a little different from Ai's, but both end with the same iconic phrase.

Depending on how well this season does in retail, viewers might see more of Michiru in the future as Ai's colleague (it doesn't look like they'll cooperate but they're neighbours in a way).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 12128
Location: Windsor Ontario
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:07 am Reply with quote
Michiru's decision to become Hell Girl makes no sense. They don't even show her coming to her decision. Did they even need a 2nd Hell Girl? Ai never had a problem even when a whole town was constantly summoning her.

This whole thing just feels like a watered down version of Yuzuki's story. With only 6 episodes (2 of which had any real focus on Michiru) there was no way it was going to match that greatness so they should have done something different.

Honestly none of these new stories really hooked me. I think after season 3's ending I didn't really need any more Hell Girl.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime
Harleyquin



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 1243
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:23 am Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
Michiru's decision to become Hell Girl makes no sense. They don't even show her coming to her decision. Did they even need a 2nd Hell Girl? Ai never had a problem even when a whole town was constantly summoning her.

This whole thing just feels like a watered down version of Yuzuki's story. With only 6 episodes (2 of which had any real focus on Michiru) there was no way it was going to match that greatness so they should have done something different.

Honestly none of these new stories really hooked me. I think after season 3's ending I didn't really need any more Hell Girl.


Don't know who "they" refers to, but the series has always been about sin and atonement. Doing something similar to Enma Ai requires some kind of punishment if the soul concerned somehow skipped entry into Hell. Having a second one gives Ai a break every once in a while, if I remember correctly the straw dolls were at their absolute limit at the height of the town lynchings in season 2.

Considering how much time Ai and the straw dolls devote to investigating their commissioner and the target, having Michiru take on other requests probably works out nicely for everyone in the system (bar the girls who don't get to retire).

I'm quite happy there is a fourth season, but it has come with too far a gap between the third and the fourth season. Although the first two were highly rated (director for those two helmed this one but not the third season) time has a habit of obliviating most anime series bar the highest budget and most memorable exceptions. This series was never going to bring in new fans since it's obvious it was the fourth adaptation. Also, the Japanese networks must have discovered that specially selected episodes for reruns remain popular with the viewers which probably explains why the second half of this season follows the same format as season 3 and its reruns.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 12128
Location: Windsor Ontario
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:40 pm Reply with quote
Harleyquin wrote:
Don't know who "they" refers to


The first "they" is the creative staff while the 2nd "they" are the rulers of Hell. You'd think over the hundreds of years the system has been in place they would have had multiple Hell Girls for awhile.

Harleyquin wrote:
Considering how much time Ai and the straw dolls devote to investigating their commissioner and the target,


That's kinda the thing, isn't it? Ai and co don't need to investigate anything. While it works for the purpose of the narrative, in-universe it's meaningless. They're not allowed to directly interfere with anything. Whether the string is pulled or not is up to the person who visited the website and Ai has to follow through on it even if they know the victim doesn't deserve it.

I enjoyed the previous seasons as episodic looks into the human condition but they all had strong secondary hooks. Season 1 had the Shibatas, season 2 explored the origins of Ai's helpers and then Takuma later on, and season 3 had Yuzuki. Season 4 tries to make Michiru this, but there was so little time for her that she didn't click.

Like I said before this season had the perfect opportunity to tell stories more relevant to today's modern world, but outside of people going to the website on their smartphones only episode 1 really capitalises on this.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime
Harleyquin



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 1243
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:34 pm Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:


The first "they" is the creative staff while the 2nd "they" are the rulers of Hell. You'd think over the hundreds of years the system has been in place they would have had multiple Hell Girls for awhile.

That's kinda the thing, isn't it? Ai and co don't need to investigate anything. While it works for the purpose of the narrative, in-universe it's meaningless. They're not allowed to directly interfere with anything. Whether the string is pulled or not is up to the person who visited the website and Ai has to follow through on it even if they know the victim doesn't deserve it.

I enjoyed the previous seasons as episodic looks into the human condition but they all had strong secondary hooks. Season 1 had the Shibatas, season 2 explored the origins of Ai's helpers and then Takuma later on, and season 3 had Yuzuki. Season 4 tries to make Michiru this, but there was so little time for her that she didn't click.

Like I said before this season had the perfect opportunity to tell stories more relevant to today's modern world, but outside of people going to the website on their smartphones only episode 1 really capitalises on this.


Two conditions required to qualify: 1. Female and aged between 13-18. 2. Must have killed a lot of innocent people in retaliation for a grievous injustice. I reckon the second condition is why there aren't "multiple Hell Girls running around".

Those who don't deserve retribution merely get the ferry, those guilty of a specific sin to warrant the request usually get the obligatory hellish torture specific to each individual. Investigation by Ai and followers is to ascertain which is which.

Internet by smartphone was already a thing at the end of season 3. Going episode by episode,

#1 School bullying. Still making the headlines in Japan in 2017, still topical.
#2 Entertainers. This is unusual and has never been done before in the franchise. I think season 2 and 3 had one episode each focusing on just a pair intending to do each other in, but the dynamics of these two are new.
#3 Family from Hell. We've had terrible individuals before but not an entire family with only the children being remotely close to normal at the beginning of the episode.
#4 Nursing home abuse. This is topical for Japan in 2017 and more relevant to the times. Nursing homes franchises depicted in this episode weren't nearly the rage in seasons past.
#5-#6 Michiru's backstory. The grudges in these two episodes wouldn't be out of place in any other season but they play a secondary role to Michiru and her "graduation".

Those expecting a blow-by-blow account of what Japan looks like in 2017 with each episode are obviously in for disappointment, but that's not what the series is about regardless of the expectations of viewers outside its shores.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> General -> Series Discussion All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group