Hell Girl Fourth Twilight Series Review: Half a Series Review?

Overview:

So we got half a season of new material and then half a season of re-run episodes, however it had been so long since I’d watched Hell Girl that fact escaped me as I hadn’t really read anything about this series until someone pointed it out. Makes you wonder why they actually bothered.

Review:

The first half of this fourth season of Hell Girl is actually really good. Pretty standard if you’ve watched through Hell Girl, but why mess with a formula that is working. It is all dark and negative and people kind of suck and then someone gets cursed and taken to hell. It works well enough as an episodic narrative even if it isn’t terribly exciting.

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Ai herself remains fairly enigmatic as the central but scarcely seen main character but for the first half of this season we have another girl appearing at the scene. Her story is actually the more interesting part of this as we see how the girl gave in to vengeance and ultimately has now got to become a hell girl. It is an interesting story that comes together in bits and pieces before we get two episodes that more or less finish this plot off.

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That’s the half-way point and up until then I was really enjoying this fourth season, which was odd in itself because while Hell Girl is usually watchable, it isn’t normally all that noteworthy. After that point we returned to business as usual in more ways than even I realised. The stories are all pretty samey and began to feel repetitious, and then I found out they were in fact repeating old stories that I’d just forgotten because I hadn’t paid enough attention back whenever it was I watched this in the first place. While these episodes are marked by the characters sitting around in a bar discussing the case when, so you know when you’ve crossed from new episodes to repeats, you just have to wonder why they couldn’t either make a whole new season or why not just not release a new Hell Girl if they didn’t actually have enough material.

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So judging this on the new episodes, it is actually pretty good. You get the usual round up of suspects. People who are horrible, people who are confused, people who are innocent victims but get pushed over the edge. All of them end up reaching out to Hell Girl for revenge only sometimes I think even they are confused about who they want revenge against and why. For some the hesitation on pulling the string becomes the main point. They want revenge but fear the consequence, whereas in other stories they have been pushed too far and simply want to yank that string as fast as they can.

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As with every season of Hell Girl you could spend a lot of time discussing the nature of vengeance and how it is a double edged sword.

Basically I would recommend the first half of this season. It was actually the most fun I’ve had watching a Hell Girl series to date. But, after that, there’s probably not a lot of point in continuing on.


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Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight Episode 10 – Don’t Trust Rumours

Review:

This episode of hell Girl has the novelty of not really involving a curse. Certainly the main character wanted to curse someone but it turns out that wasn’t needed (for a number of reasons). It gave us a bit of variation from the usual routine.

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Still, they were playing heavily on dramatic irony this week by showing the audience both sides of the story so that we could clearly see where the main character was wrong in his assumptions about the old man. Not to mention, he himself says that he shouldn’t trust rumours after he tried to summon Hell Girl and she didn’t appear. It would seem he should apply that same advice to his understanding of the man’s motive for not selling the house.

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All and all though, the episode, while slightly novel, isn’t overly interesting as we spend a lot of time driving along a dark road. The concept is interesting but the execution is so-so.


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Hell Girl Episode 9: That’s Some Poor Decision Making

Review:

Well, here’s a case of why did we involve Hell Girl? A girl doesn’t want to go to school so the teacher visits her home everyday and she refuses to talk to him. She does talk with a friend via emails and texts though and starts thinking she should write her teacher’s name on the website to send him to hell. Kind of making you feel sorry for the teacher early in this episode.

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And then we get our twist. The teacher is actually her pen friend and rather than being concerned that she was going to send him to hell he asks her to do so because he hates his life. Really? This is your solution to not really liking your job?

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Things continue and he goes to hell but is kindly informed that the student will one day follow him and then the story ends.

I can’t help but think this was a somewhat less than satisfying story. There seemed no catalyst for the girl wanting to curse her teacher as he didn’t necessarily seem like the reason she wasn’t going to school. There seemed no reason for the teacher to actually want to go to hell. It all just seemed kind of ‘so whatever’.


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Hell Girl Fourth Twilight Episode 8: Delivering Vengeance

Review:

This episode again starts with all the side characters playing around and then reminiscing on a previous case of revenge. In this case it involved suburban housewives (or I guess they were living in some kind of company compound) pretty much playing petty politics with the Queen of the area making life hell for the new arrival after the new arrival saw her involved in an affair.

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It is a pretty straightforward story really and ends rather predictably. However, it also highlights some real issues as the victim’s husband does not talk to her about what is happening or believe her when she tries to explain anything. The victim’s daughter complains that her family is already ruined, but to be honest with that lack of communication going on between the parents the family wasn’t exactly going well except for superficial appearances anyway.

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All and all, while the story is pretty ordinary this might be an uncomfortable watch for some as this show finds just the right pressure points.


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Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight Episode 7: Who’s Fault?

Review:

This episode starts very strangely but quickly falls into the usual pattern of meet horrible person doing horrible things leading to tragic results, and someone deciding that some sort of justice is needed.

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And it is hard to argue with our would be curser this week. The guy is a jerk. He killed a teammate and blamed another and felt absolutely nothing but smug satisfaction that everything went the way he wanted it to.

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What’s even worse, is that he would have gotten away with it in this case without supernatural intervention. While I feel bad for the guy who ended up calling Hell Girl, I can’t help but think he made the right call given he really didn’t have all that many options left at the point in time. So, the obvious message here is don’t tell silly lies in the first place because if you’d just told the mother what had happened in the first place, everyone would have known who was responsible right from the start.

All and all, a pretty standard episode.


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Summer 2017 Week 8

This has been one exhausting week and I have really felt relieved most evenings when I have finally been able to watch an episode or two of anything. A few shows moved down the list this week, though it seems almost a race for the bottom of each level and some shows that should have dropped found their position saved simply because they didn’t bug me as much as other shows. That said, I’m really glad that this list I do each week is just a guide because I know that week’s when I’m tired I get far more critical and impatient with shows that probably didn’t go as far wrong as it felt while watching them.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the shows of the season so please leave me a comment below.

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Must Watch

My Hero Academia (Episode 33)

Episode 33 gets us right back on track with the students returning to school all fired up after their internships and about to go into final exams before Summer training camp. There’s some good reveals in this episode and continues the story very well.

Princess Principal (Episode 7)

While not an amazing episode, episode 7 delivered an interesting enough story with the girls hunting down a soldier’s uniform in a laundry. I’m kind of hoping that this show still has a few surprises in store for the viewer but even if it continues in this episodic fashion, it is still fairly quality viewing.

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Usually Entertaining

Sagrada Reset (Episode 21)

I know, that’s quite a jump from ‘They Made This’ to ‘Usually Entertaining’ but my thoughts on this show are fairly confused. Individually, each episode is pretty terrible in terms of pacing and the way the characters are portrayed. But, it has remained consistent in the way the characters have been constructed and more importantly, as a narrative the ending is proving the worth of all of that set up. While it still has time to fall apart or into the trap of pulling a win from nowhere, it really feels like everything prior has had some sort of purpose now and that is making my overall impression of the series far more favourable than it was at the mid-season mark where mostly I just wondered what the point of all of this was.

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Okay, I Guess

Gamers (Episode 6)

Pointing out I am still personally amused by how cliché ridden and filled with teen drama (exaggerated enormously) this has become but to be honest I just don’t think I can actually call this show better than okay. Realistically, it just isn’t very good and the need to repeat the same one second interval four times just to get every character’s internal monologue into the mix kind of proved how poorly this show is constructing its characters that they have to narrate their current feelings for it to make any sense at critical moments.

In Another World With My Smartphone (Episode 7)

Thank-goodness we moved on from slimes. I’m not sure what we moved on to other than continuing to establish the harem, but the sense of fun and entertainment was back and we even got a dragon fight (even if it did seem to be thrown in for the sake of having a cool fight sequence with Touya’s magic). We then had a fight with a beastman, some poorly undercover spies, a random 600 year old fairy, and a few new magical applications. This show remains totally cliché in every sense of the word, but I’m still highly amused.

18if (Episode 7)

Another random witch and her dream, but this time Haruto doesn’t really do much of anything in the narrative. The story just kind of unfolds while he watches on. As he’s the only character that has consistently appeared (other than cat guy) this seems like an interesting choice and I’m not sure what it means.

Fastest Finger First (Episode 7)

All hands on deck as they prepare for the regular meet and learn more about quizzes and each other. This show isn’t trying to be much more than watchable but it is succeeding at that and those into random trivia are still going to have a lot of fun each and every episode.

Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight (Episode 6)

With this episode, I think the fourth season of this show is actually going to end up being my favourite. I’ve really enjoyed these mid-season episodes and hopefully the show can continue to build on this.

Clean Freak Aoyama Kun (Episode 7)

Nothing changing here. Still pleasantly watchable but not good. Occasionally funny and at other times I am pretty sure I’m missing something that maybe was supposed to be a joke. Overall, watch if bored, otherwise you are not really missing much by avoiding.

Knight’s & Magic (Episode 8)

Last week I said the story here was kind of average. I’m going to retract that statement. The story is starting to appear to be missing in action. That doesn’t mean this isn’t fun to watch but at eight episodes in there’s no clear enemy/villain/antagonist/problem and there’s no actual focus other than Ernesti can build robots. While that works well enough for twenty minutes, it isn’t exactly leaving a lasting impression.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (Episode 8)

“I really wish this was better, but it isn’t.” – This continues to be my main thought about this series. There is a lot of potential in the idea of the show and it remains watchable, but basically isn’t doing much.

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They Made This

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu (Episode 8)

At episode 8, this show is boring. That’s the only way to put it. It’s pretty, the character designs are nice, there’s some good music and when they fight it gets exciting, but the story and the characters have been painfully dull. It is nothing wrapped up in shiny packaging and getting worse in terms of emptiness as the season progresses.

Vatican Miracle Examiner (Episode 7)

This week shows that once again the writers of Vatican Miracle Examiner just like clutter in their narrative. A simple mystery is being overloaded with references and ideas and the problem is to resolve the mystery is going to need an ending at least as crazy as the one we got for the first mystery and to be honest I’d prefer they didn’t repeat that.

Chronos Ruler (Episode 7)

When a show starts its episode with the main characters standing on top of an aeroplane in mid-flight and then they proceed to have melee there, you just know the show has officially run out of ways to keep you interested and is now just throwing whatever scenario it can at you to make sure you don’t realise the plot is going nowhere.

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Tried and Dropped

Restaurant to Another World (Episode 1)

Centaur’s Life (Episode 1)

Convenience Store Boyfriends (Episode 1)

Saiyuki Reload Blast (Episode 1)

Battle Girl High School (Episode 1)

Hina Logic (Episode 1)

Tsuredure Children (Episode 1)

Fox Spirit Matchmaker (Episode 1)

Aho Girl (Episode 1)

The Irresponsible Galaxy Tylor (Episode 1)

This week I’m wondering who you think the best female character of the season is. Let me know below.


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Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight Episode 6: Another Hell Girl Appears

Review:

This week is kind of interesting because there’s the normal human revenge story going on (although it is actually an interesting story in its own right) but behind that there is the more interesting story of the spirit of the girl becoming a Hell Girl and accepting that fate. That said, there’s still quite the focus on the revenge story for the human girl who’s father was viciously attacked 5 years ago.

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You have to admit, she knows how to nurse a grudge and even though she has momentary second thoughts she’s one of the more certain customers this season has given us as once the doll is in her hand she barely waits a moment to pull the string.

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Very much enjoyed this episode and learning more about Hell Girl.


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Summer 2017 Week 7

Most shows have kind of settled in now and while some are better than expected (Gamers and In Another World With My Smartphone) others are not going so great (Chronos Ruler and Vatican Miracle Examiner). Though even the ones going better than expected aren’t exactly blowing me away. Overall though, I’m not watching anything truly dreadful this season and there’s been some interesting characters and scenes so far. As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the shows of the season so please leave me a comment below.

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Must Watch

My Hero Academia (Episode 32)

Alright, episode 32 was a bit of filler and fluff to be honest, but at this point the show has been going so strongly and even though episode 32 didn’t really progress the main narrative it was still a pretty good episode, I’m going to forgive a little bit of filler. Hopefully though the show doesn’t lose its momentum at this point because it has really been driving forward this whole second season.

Princess Principal (Episode 6)

Finally we’ve finished the introductions and these episodes have been great. Now to stay a must watch, they now need to do something with these characters and the set up. Hopefully they succeed at kicking the story into gear next episode.

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Usually Entertaining

Gamers (Episode 5)

I’m still entertained by this, but I will point out that if we get another episode like this I’m going to have to move it back down into the just okay pile because there’s really no way to say that this show is actually better than okay. The fact that I’m personally amused by it doesn’t actually make it any better. I’m still hopeful that this show will do something with its premise but it seems it is pretty happy to move into cliché teen-romantic-drama territory and while that might make for amusement it doesn’t make for a show that I’d easily recommend.

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Okay, I Guess

In Another World With My Smartphone (Episode 5)

Okay, when you have a whole episode mostly dedicated to slimes dissolving girls clothes in an openly stolen trope like scene and otherwise there is almost nothing of note in the episode, I kind of can’t justify leaving this in the usually entertaining category. I’m hoping the story picks up again next episode but episode five was strictly fan servicey filler.

18if (Episode 6)

This was my favourite episode so far. Still absolutely not answers or any idea what the overall narrative might be, assuming there is one and this isn’t going to remain strictly episodic (though the presence of Lily kind of indicates there is supposed to be a bigger story going on). But this episode really nailed feeling like a dream sequence and was a lot of fun in the process. More like this would be appreciated in this series.

Knight’s & Magic (Episode 6)

And the okay but not amazing continues with this show. It is definitely watchable and also kind of fun, but realistically the story, characters and setting are all just kind of average. There’s a few minor points of interest where it is trying something new, but it isn’t really distinguishing itself from the many other similar stories we’ve seen before.

Fastest Finger First (Episode 6)

With a bit of a break from anything resembling serious quizzes or quiz practice, the show took a little bit of a dive this week. It wasn’t enough to really move it on the list, but I definitely enjoyed this episode less. I’m kind of hoping its a mid-season slump and next week I’m back to having fun with it.

Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight (Episode 5)

Episode 5 packs a bit of an emotional punch so if you’ve dropped off watching this it may be an episode to pick up. Of course it really is working the tragedy angle but it is doing it well. Nothing particularly mind blowing here but a strong episode in the series.

Clean Freak Aoyama Kun (Episode 6)

This continues to be watchable, mildly amusing, and occasionally slightly clever (also occasionally too stupid for words but that was to be expected from the premise). Anyway, it seems I’ll be sticking out the season of this show which I didn’t think would be the case when I started it.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (Episode 7)

I feel bad that Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun is now above this on the list because just reading what these shows are about, that should not happen. Yet Elegant Yokai Apartment Life spent most of episode 6 making me sleepy before giving me maybe five minutes of entertainment. Then episode 7 delayed actually dealing with that situation and ended on another cliff hanger to find out what happens next. I really wish this was better, but it isn’t.

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu (Episode 6)

Take the fight sequences out of this and what you have are semi-attractive male anime characters walking around talking a lot about things they’ve given you no reason to care about. Admittedly, some of the dialogue in episode 6 kind of makes it seem like we are heading towards an actual point but it is all a matter of wait and see.

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They Made This

Sagrada Reset (Episode 19)

Sagrada really does need its own category. It isn’t good, and the first half was barely even okay when viewed as a half season, but the story remained full of possibilities. This second half is drawing on all those possibilities and weaving something that is actually a really fascinating narrative and yet the question of whether that offsets the robotic characters and pacing issues remains to be seen.

Vatican Miracle Examiner (Episode 6)

Okay, we are starting a new mystery so here is Vatican Miracle Examiner’s chance to not be crazy and actually bring together a nice story. It has everything it needs, now it just needs to deliver.

Chronos Ruler (Episode 6)

This show is owning this category this season. The writing remains dreadful and the characters remain completely erratic and nonsensical. While the premise is really interesting, everything about the execution is kind of failing hard, except its appearance which is actually kind of nice.

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Tried and Dropped

Restaurant to Another World (Episode 1)

Centaur’s Life (Episode 1)

Convenience Store Boyfriends (Episode 1)

Saiyuki Reload Blast (Episode 1)

Battle Girl High School (Episode 1)

Hina Logic (Episode 1)

Tsuredure Children (Episode 1)

Fox Spirit Matchmaker (Episode 1)

Aho Girl (Episode 1)

The Irresponsible Galaxy Tylor (Episode 1)

I’m struggling this week with deciding who the best villain is. I’m thinking it is going to go to Hero Killer Stain but what are your thoughts?


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Hell Girl Episode 5: All About Perspective

Review:

This episode contains content that is definitely designed to be confrontational to the viewer. While it starts with the funeral of the three boys they aren’t going to leave it there and you the viewer will sit through the flash back as you see precisely how they came to their end. While you won’t feel particularly sorry for them, their young age and the fact that they don’t shy away from showing you the bodies will probably leave you feeling just a little queasy. So here’s a light hearted moment amongst the support cast.

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Yeah, even I’ll draw a line on screen caps including dead children. However, the more interesting story is happening behind the scenes as we are finally going to see a little bit more about the spirit in the green dress who has been hanging around (and while it is more interesting it is no less tragic than anything else this show offers up).

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So, a confronting but fairly riveting episode and looking forward to the next one.


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Hell Girl Fourth Twilight Episode 4: To Curse or Not To Curse

Review Episode 4:

This week the story took place in a retirement home and I’m just going to point out that watching carers be cruel to the elderly is not exactly comfortable viewing. While I don’t worry too much in horror stories about the targets of the misery, there’s just that fraction too much truth in this story for it to sit well, and that probably adds to Hell Girl’s overall ambience with really is one that just likes to make the viewer feel that little bit uncomfortable.

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As she’s nearing the end of her life, Sakura decides to curse the director who runs the facility in order to protect her friends there, but then she hesitates because she is told she’ll go to hell after she dies. Apparently she hadn’t considered the part that came after life prior to being told that.

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However, when things come to a head, she pulls the string.

This episode works just for that story but there’s a lot going on in the background as well which makes it kind of interesting to watch unfold. Overall, another standard entry into the series so if you’ve liked it so far, there’s nothing disappointing here.


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