BL NC* - $29.75 // Kzka ↑4.½ - $22.0 // Nar ↑0.¾ - $37.0 // Ser NC* - $37.50 // SaiCha ↑15.0 - $45.0 // JkuSM ↓2.½ - $20.50 // GaKu ↑2.¾ - 33.0 // Eprxy ↑2.0 – $32

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Editorial: Jumping the Shoujo

Only one season ago and the hell girl series, Jigoku Shoujo, was a rousing success surely destined for gold stock status at the ASX. Flash forwards to now and it's desperately scraping it's way out the pits of bronze, where only the most questionable series languish. What exactly happened?

It gave the fans what they wanted.

Jigoku Shoujo Screen

It was an interesting concept with a simple format. Each week some asshole would turn up, push someone too far; then Enma Ai would put on her kimono, hit a sweet catchphrase, and said asshole would get his/her just desserts. It was an incredibly formulaic show, but it was entertaining. Which is a rare thing, because as a rule I can't stand purely episodic television if it isn't a comedy series. Especially one as predictable as this was. But maybe that's because the show was tailor-made for my disposition. I'm just that kinda guy.

Jigoku Shoujo Screen

You know when you see little kids in malls, being noisy or throwing a tantrum and then they fall on their face and start crying? That's oxygen for me. And watching Jigoku Shoujo was just like a weekly dosage of that, but with a kickass OST attached.

Jigoku Shoujo Screen

The world isn't as awesome as me, however, and some jobbers started complaining about it's repetitiveness and recycled dialogue (yeah, like you weren't all rolling the streets with your posse saying "ippen shinde miru" like it was the hottest thing out. We both know the truth). Eventually the series started to incorporate a larger umbrella story into it around the 12 episode mark, and that's when it all started falling apart like my relationships.

Jigoku Shoujo Screen

While I would usually be all over a larger plot like clear heels on strippers, the metastory ultimately took away from what made the series great in the first place. All the spooky horror atmosphere that had been done so well in the first half got sidelined as each episode started getting more and more grounded in reality as the Cock-Blocker Arc took off. We lost things like the unsettling camera angles, and gained things like Enma's entourage running after Hajime & Tsugumi like the three stooges instead.

And the problem when you begin time sharing stories is that you've naturally got less time to get things over with the audience. Not so bad for the ongoing plot, but for the singular plotline that has to be wrapped up in 22 minutes? Ow, Brutal difference.

Jigoku Shoujo Screen

But what of the "big" story then?

Well, I was holding out for the longest time thinking that the resolution would make it all worthwhile, but no—I was taken for a rube. Thet got me. While the last three or so episodes brought back some of the misplaced atmosphere, the big climax was ultimately a bust out because noone ever believed for a minute that Tsugumi would send her Father to hell, especially given that she had previously renegged her pro-Jigoku Shoujo stance a few episodes before (strange plot point given where it was headed).

Jigoku Shoujo Screen

I also just wasnt feeling the whole idea of humanizing Enma Ai so much. For the ladies: you know how sometimes you'll have your eye on a sekushii guy and you're fully digging him.. and then he starts talking and ruins it all? For the guys: let's say you're watching Hellraiser 23: Cenobite Boogaloo. You wouldn't want to be getting your watch on; really getting into it, and then have Pinhead time out to go seperate his recyclable trash from the burnables, and then take a large dump while duscussing a New York Times article on the latest Shania Twain CD with his Mum. Sure, it'd enrichen his character, but do we really benefit from it?

Sometimes character dev is good. Sometimes you've just gotta keep the mystery.

Jigoku Shoujo Screen

Anyway, I hear that a second season is in the works. Hopefully they've got all that Smart Writing out of their system and I'll be able to relax with some quality bite size pieces of revenge. Consider me cautious.


Post a Comment

<< Home