Hell Girl: Three Vessels
Ai Enma's got a problem: she now needs the physical body of another to do her banishing duties. She picks the body of Yuzuki Mikage as a host, though the host is not a bit pleased about this development, especially as the parties involved (cursers, and the cursed) are often people she personally knows. But as Yuzuki says, that was just the beginning of her troubles.
Well, in Yuzuki we DO have an actual protagonist this time, which deals with my major complaint about Season Two, except for the fact that she seemed at first a bit of a doormat: she knows who's accepted the straw dolls, they (or their intended victims) are often people she's met; often they talk to her during all the preliminaries; and yet I didn't think she did all she could to talk them out of it, at least at first (mid-way through the season, an event happens that does make her a bit less passive, however.) I would have preferred she tried harder, even if it was no use.
Season Three is in fact THE most nihilistic season of the series- more minor sinners, reformed sinners, and utter innocents are banished this time than ever before. Nihilism is not necessarily unacceptable- I liked Gilgamesh, whose theme necessarily made it about the most nihilistic series possible- but I do tend to prefer shows that offer a bit more optimism and hope (or at least more rationality in the universe) than we're shown here. Tsugumi returns this season in a more substantial role than the brief cameo she had in Season Two, but she seems defeated, and in fact says that she feels that way.
But I gave this season one more star than the previous, for several reasons, starting of course with having a continuing character throughout the series. Ai's rather strange relationship with Yuzuki may start as a parasitic one, but things start happening to Yuzuki that are pure Twilight Zone, and toward the end one feels a depth of empathy toward Yuzuki that one couldn't have even toward Tamura in the Second Season, because of the differences in what these two characters actually are.
Even Ai's emotions are more evident than I've ever seen them before; she, too, seems to develop more of an emotional bond toward Yuzuki than toward Tamura, again most likely due to the rather different natures of the characters. (And I can't say more without giving too much away.)
There's another new member of Ai's posse this time, a young boy named Yamawaro. He's featured in an episode that doesn't really quite fully explain his origin, however.
As with "Anna Sonne's Intimate Holiday" in Season Two, there's an episode here that particularly impressed me. This time it involves twin sisters, and it is deliberately designed to mess with the viewers' heads as much as possible. You'll know it when you see it.
I was told that this season was a very strange one, and indeed it is; for example, Kikuri returns as a wind-up toy. On the other hand, maybe I'm just so pleased that Ai finally found a kindred spirit that I'll forgive the season's nihilism and general weirdness. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: The usual unpleasantness abounds, but if there was nudity this time I missed it. Older teens and adults, as usual.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (26/26)
Hell Girl: Three Vessels © 2008 Studio DEEN
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