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Hell Girl Volume 2: Puddle

01/05/2009. Contributed by Neale Monks

Buy Hell Girl Volume 2 in the USA - or Buy Hell Girl Volume 2 in the UK

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region2 DVD: pub: Revelation Films. FUN72602. 1 DVD 150 minutes 5 episodes plus extras. Price: 15.99 (UK).

check out website: and

'Hell Girl' is an odd, somewhat disturbing but beautifully produced anime series from Japan. The basic gist of each episode is this: people who feel wronged can call upon Hell Girl for revenge via the Hell Correspondence website. But there is a price to be paid. In return for taking the tormentor to Hell at once, Hell Girl will also carry away the victim as well at the moment of the victim's death.

To enjoy these cartoons you do have to suspend a certain amount of disbelief. Seriously, who would accept sending themselves off to Hell when the died in return for doing the same to their tormentor right away? Doesn't seem much of a deal, but yet there seem to be plenty of people willing to make this sacrifice in the world of 'Hell Girl' and seemingly over the most trivial of reasons.

But that said, these cartoons are so exquisitely made and each scene, so carefully staged, that such things don't matter all that much. The Hell Girl herself, otherwise known as Enma Ai, is mysterious in some ways, though we do get to see glimpses of her life in between serving vengeance. She has a strange coterie of companions and taken together, they're quite an engaging crew of regular character.

One problem with the 'Hell Girl' stories is that they're formulaic. We see the victim being tormented, Hell Girl then gets involved, the victim decides whether or not to accept the bargain and then, quite literally, all Hell is let loose. The storywriters have included another pair of characters, a journalist called Hajime Shibata and his daughter Tsugumi to try and weave some new threads into the series. Tsugumi seems to have some sort of psychic link with the Hell Girl, seeing glimpses of what she sees. Her father views what Hell Girl is doing as wrong and tries to use these clues to prevent people from making the fatal bargain.

There are five episodes in this single-DVD release, each episode running for a little under half an hour. Extras are minimal: a montage of scenes, the theme songs without subtitles and some trailers. 'Hell Girl' is rated as being suitable for viewers aged 12 upwards, but some of the language is perhaps a little stronger than that might suggest.

Neale Monks

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