Hell Girl: Two Mirrors Collection 2
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Whenever there has been Hell to pay, Ai Enma has been the collector. Now, however, the volatile emotions she has kept entombed are slowly beginning to exhume themselves, and as a monstrous cycle of reprisal and retribution wields its deadly scythe across the people of Lovely Hills, the Hell girl and her companions suddenly find themselves confronted with visions of their own mortality. Who were they, before becoming Hell's Collectors? And what will be their ultimate fate? As she seeks to cope with the ceaseless inhumanity of mortals consumed with vengeance, Ai Enma must take a journey she never expected, and answer the question she never dared to ask: When you're already in Hell, are you allowed to die? The truth lies buried in the second shocking collection of Hell Girl - Two Mirrors!
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Top customer reviews
Quality of the storyline of the episodes varies (there are a few that are quite weak), but the stories are more complex and ambivalent than in the first season. As before, there is a strong message that might does not make right, and that individual conscience matters more than convention and prevailing opinion. There is no magical righting of wrongs - in one episode Ai says explicitly that she is not a champion of justice - but the entire series takes a sympathetic view of the weak, the excluded and the wronged. And as before, the stories do not shy away from uncomfortable topics: derangement, sadism, family dysfunction, sexual obsession, and incest.
Ai's three main companions play prominent roles in the unfolding of the stories. Second season is largely built around them, and they develop into compassionate, witty and likeable characters. They are supernatural figures from fairy tale, but they move around in the modern world in a natural and relaxed way, which is very charming.
Transition of the character of Ai to the second season is somewhat disappointing. It is clear at the end of the first season that Ai Enma is a tragic figure, victim of her community's folly and hounded by revulsion against her own fate: she was killed as an adolescent girl (shoujo) at the threshold of adult life. There are lyrical intimations of her approaching adulthood in the scenes immediately preceding her capture and death, contrasted by the most unsettling scene of the first season, her memorable "danse macabre" through the burning village.
Second season opens with a rather sentimentally preachy follow-up on that dance, in which Ai's fate is explained as punishment for her vengefulness. First season had built up the portrait of Ai as a persona frozen in time, her emotional unfolding arrested by the monstrous wrong that was done to her. Second season falls short of either developing or resolving that picture, as if the creation had outgrown the imagination of its creators, although the season's ending does give the character of Ai something of a meaningful closure after all.
The end is not disappointing, it was great. Even with the main character Ai showing her pain for the madness being involved, this is as I said the best one of all the Hell Girl DVDS out there now, period.