If you have a grudge there is a way you can take revenge. A website which is only available at midnight called Hell Correspondence offers just such a service. Just enter the name of the person to take revenge on, and you can send them strait to hell. There is a price to pay however. After the deal is done, you will also be destined to go to hell - after you die of course. Is it worth the price? For some people it certainly seems that way. But a freelance reporter who encounters her work doesn't think so and is determined to stop her, but it doesn't seem like the people who have been wronged are easily convinced otherwise.
Your grievance, shall be avenged.
I'm a fairly vindictive person by nature, so perhaps that is why revenge is one of my favorite topics. Most of the episodes flow in a self contained formula which is like an evil twin of magical girl shows. A person in distress calls on Ai fix their problem. A struggle ensues, but instead of a transformation sequence, Hell Girl summons forth her flaming carriage. Instead of a monster being defeated, Ai sends them to hell and then ferries their soul across the river Styx.
The formula is repetitive, but doesn't get completely tired due to different situations and problems. It's done so well that it's kind of depressing. You see Hell Girl gives her employers a brief taste of what hell is like before they decide to damn the soul of their target. That person knows full well that what they're in for once they die, but they still feel so wronged they do it anyway. And boy are they wronged. Not to say there aren't a few frivolous reasons some people take revenge. There's at least one case where Hell Girl's target doesn't deserve to go to hell at all, but most are in such crushingly terrible situations that you certainly believe their enemy deserves to go to hell. I even felt a little better about my own life after seeing the level of torment in this show.
The story flounders in a few places, mostly with a reporter who is trying to stop Hell Girl. He even makes things worse sometimes. I don't have a problem with the episodic nature of the show at all, but the reporter sub plot got really annoying. Another thing that irked me was the lack of explanations surrounding the three assisting Ai. It's not clear what their purpose is despite obviously playing some vital role. As for Ai, she isn't explained either but some of her story was elaborated on, although predicatble and cliche. According to any title even remotely related to Japanese horror, if you were an attractive girl living in a mountain village hundreds of years ago, your chances of being a human sacrifice were about 99.9%.
As an overall package, the music, designs, and story all fit together really well. English voice acting is good. The voice of Ai is a rare instance where a voice actress (Brina Palencia) captures a quiet but ominous girl perfectly.
The stories aren't perfect, but many of them are good at presenting the anguish of the victims, which is good enough for what is needed. This also makes this anime heavy to watch; especially multiple episodes in one go. While I enjoyed Hell Girl it felt like it was missing something, so I'd grade it about average.
Ai: Perhaps... it is time to die.
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