Hell Girl

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
When one soul is damned, two graves are dug.


"O pitiful shadow, lost in the darkness,
Bringing torment and pain to others.
O damned soul, wallowing in your sin.

Perhaps... it is time to die."
Ai Enma

Schoolrooms all over Japan are abuzz with the rumor of the "Hell Correspondence" (Jigoku Tsushin), a mysterious website which can only be accessed at midnight. If you submit the name of someone you hold a grudge against, that person will summarily be sent to hell. This service is not without a price: by sending someone to hell, you enter into a contract with Ai Enma, the Hell Girl (Jigoku Shoujo), condemning your soul for all eternity. Well, that's only after you die.

Such is the premise of Hell Girl, a genre defying, Victim of the Week, anti-Magical Girl, social commentary series with a Japanese horror edge. Originally broadcast in 2005, followed in 2006 by a second season Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori (Hell Girl: The Two Prisoners). This was followed two years later by Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae (Hell Girl: The Cauldron of Three).

The first season introduces Ai Enma, the Hell Correspondence and the series' episodic format. Each episode introduces a victim and an antagonist, and the circumstances surrounding them. As each story unfolds, the antagonists' actions push their victim further into despair, and it's only through the use of the Hell Correspondence that their victim can overcome their circumstances and send their tormentor to hell. After the formula has been established, the series introduces a complication into the mix: single father and reporter Hajime Shibata notices the increase in the site's popularity and starts a personal investigation. Aided by his young daughter, Tsugumi, who has a mysterious connection to Ai, he tries to convince users of the Hell Correspondence not to complete the contract, generally making bad situations worse through his meddling.

The second season picks up a few years after the conclusion of the first season, and continues the established formula (minus Hajime and co.), this time telling each story from the side of Ai and her associates as they investigate and influence the circumstances in each case. Though diluting the simplicity of the concept, this season swaps out the Black and White Morality found in most of the first season cases for a Black and Grey Morality, in which neither antagonist nor victim is really in the right. Fortunately, the new angle manages to keep the series watchable in spite of the overdose of misery and woe.

The third (and possibly final, again) season switches up the formula a third time, introducing a new third angle to the standard format, this time in the form of Yuzuki Mikage, who, through interactions with the victims and Ai's associates, is given the rare opportunity to watch her hometown and her entire life crumble around her courtesy of the Hell Correspondence. Amazingly enough, it goes further downhill from there.

The series as a whole is mainly a social commentary, using the Hell Correspondence as a tool to analyze and deconstruct the less appealing aspects of Japanese culture and society (there's even a Nice Boat-inspired episode in Mitsuganae). While many themes are universal, Values Dissonance means some storylines (like Mitsuganae's Wham! Episode) are inevitably lost in translation.

This anime also has the distinction of airing on American television- IFC holds the broadcast rights to the first season of Hell Girl and shows episodes of it in varying timeslots. Check their website for more details.

There is also a manga adaptation, which shares the premise and core characters but follows its own storyline. The first series ran for 9 volumes, the second for a few more, ad the third currently ongoing.

A Live Action Adaptation also exists, in series form; set within the timeline of the first anime season, retaining the anthology format while notably averting the anime storyline. At a mere 12 episodes, there wasn't much room for them anyway.

No connection to Hellboy.

Tropes used in Hell Girl include:
  • Seventh-Episode Twist
  • Affably Evil: Ai's teammates have a fairly even-minded opinion of human kind, and happily support their co-workers, students, and friends in their many, many jobs. It almost makes you forget what their real job is.
  • Alpha Bitch: Aya Kuroda, the very first person sent to hell in the anime.
  • Anti-Hero or Villain Protagonist: Ai Enma.
  • Asshole Victim: Most of the time, if the string is pulled, the target was one of these. First subverted in episode 12, where the target is actually Yoshiki Fukasawa, a depressed man who ultimately asks to be killed, and is sad that his student, Akane, the one who killed him has to go to hell as well. It was first inverted in episode 7, where Ayaka seeks revenge on her (strict) adopted mother for not casting her in her show and later for refusing to finalize the adoption. She ends up sent to hell by her rival, who she had sabotaged. Later goes both ways (subverted and inverted) during episode 23.
  • Badass Grandpa: Wanyuudo. Super strength, martial arts skills, and fire-manipulating/creating powers, if you can look past the fact that he's A sentient, shapeshifted wheel-demon
  • Bishounen: Ren, who uses this to his advantage when required.
  • Brand X: Everybody uses the Google Deegle search engine.
    • This troper remembers seeing Mahoo in there a couple of times.
  • Break the Haughty: Several of the people who are vengeance targets go through this.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: One Squicky episode from the second season (episode 9, more specifically) revolves around a pair of siblings, Maho and one of whom contacts the Hell Correspondence Website to take revenge on her brother Mikio whom she feels is deliberately sabotaging her relationships out of spite, by dressing up as a woman and hitting on her boyfriends. However, it is eventually revealed that the real reason he is doing it is because he lusts after her sexually and wants to have her all to himself. He still gets sent to Hell.
  • Bumbling Dad: Although he's something of a pathetic loser and a rogue, Hajime Shibata, the journalist, is actually a doting and loving father.
  • Buried Alive: How Ai and her parents died.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Enma Ai's soul, in Mitsuganae, takes the form of a blue butterfly
  • Catch Phrase: No doubt Enma Ai's "Would you like... to see your death once?"
    • Also her "This grudge will send you to hell" (Kono urami, jigoku e nagashimasu.).
    • Both of these are rendered in the official dub as "Perhaps, it's time to die" and "Your grievance shall be avenged" respectively.
    • Ippen... Shinde miru?
  • Closed Circle: One episode of the first season has Hajime and Tsugumi trapped in an old asylum by a doll that believes she's her owner.'
  • Contractual Immortality: Enma was dead by the end of season 2 but they wanted a third so...
  • Crapsack World: You can be the nicest guy in the world and someone will still find reason to send you to Hell. You can go to Hell for pissing someone off. Even if they are overreacting or are crazy. You can be sent to Hell for the slightest reasons, or no reason at all. Someone just has to hate you enough. As Mitsuganae shows, you can be sent to hell before even BEING BORN!
    • That and the general depiction of the world being a filthy, sinful and extremely hateful place.
  • Creepy Child: Again, Enma Ai. Her gigantic, unnaturally red eyes and white, expressionless face only add to her eeriness. Kikuri, an otherworldly child introduced in the second season, is—thanks to her purple-sclera eyes and her childish sadism—perhaps the only character in the series even more creepy than Enma Ai. This is understandable, seeing as how she's actually an avatar to the Lord of Hell, Enma Ai's boss (although, judging from her reaction when she was being taken over by the Lord of Hell in the ending of the third season, she isn't aware of that).
    • Kikuri and Ai can be quite cute and amusing when they're interacting with each other, one instance where Ai and Kikuri get into a typical "Yes!-No!-Yes!-No!-etc" argument, so Ai reverse-winds Kikuri's spring (she's possessed a wind-up toy right now) so she can't move. When they're on the job though, man do they ever revert back to the Creepy Child trope.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Enma Ai.
  • Dead All Along: Yuzuki.
  • Deal with the Devil: The driving premise behind the series.
  • Demon Head: Wanyuudou has the ability to turn into a flaming carriage with one of these on the side. He serves as Ai's primary form of transportation.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Virtually every character who calls on Ai crosses this line. Specifically in regards to the EXACT moment when they pull the doll's string.
  • Devil but No God
  • Disappeared Dad: A Lonely Rich Kid named Nina thinks her father abandoned her...
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Seriously, do I have to explain it?
    • In a few cases, Disproportionate Retribution (e.g. episode 6 of the first season) begat Disproportionate Retribution.
    • Season 2 episode 10. The victim of the week is a bum, but he isn't malicious or knowingly evil. What does he get sent to hell for? For scratching a guys car. Accidentally spilling coffee on him was just an additional.
  • The Doll Episode
  • Domestic Abuse: Shows up in a few episodes, including one with Yuzuki dropping a jarring Family-Unfriendly Aesop.
  • Downer Ending: Expect one.
    • Averted in one Futakomori episode, where a truck driver's little brother was killed when he accidentally drove off a cliff, due to design faults in a highway, which were only there because a lonely old man didn't want to move out of his house. The truck driver is about to pull the string when Ai's assistants show up and tell him that the old man has died of natural causes. Truck driver eventually finds out that the old man wasn't as selfish as he thought at the end of the episode and in fact was quite thoughtful. Probably one of the few, if only, episodes where NOBODY went to hell.
  • Easy Road to Hell: All that's needed to go to is for someone to dislike you enough to be willing to make a deal to send you there—or to make that deal yourself. People have been sent to Hell for spilling coffee on someone on that show.
  • Eldritch Location: Hell is one of these, and it's personally designed to RAPE YOUR MIND
  • Emotionless Girl: Enma Ai. She shows very little emotions, but on the rare occasion she does, you're really screwed.
    • She'a more of a subversion; she actually has feelings, but after so much time doing her job, she just can't seem to express them anymore. Wanyuudo says he can "hear her heart breaking" in one episode, where an innocent was sent to hell, and although she herself isn't shown crying, her face painted in a wall by one of the persons that made a contract with her starts to shed tears when he is about to die, indicating that she was probably crying at that moment too.
  • Enjo Kosai: In the first episode, Hashimoto Mayumi is blackmailed into this.
  • Entitled Bastard: A frequent trait of the hellbound targets. For instance: Aya Kuroda, the Alpha Bitch in episode 1, right up to the point she enters Hell, expresses neither remorse nor regret for essentially ruining Mayumi's life for shits and giggles, and even behaves as if it was her right.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Ai's companion Honne-Onna. Les Yay with Enma Ai aside, she's so admired and wanted by a bunch of girls of a school where she works at during the Mitsuganae season that one of these girls named Yuna tried to send another of Ai's employés, Ichimoku Ren, to Hell out of jealousy, after mistaking them for a couple.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: The spider is the lord of hell, making Ai similar to Charon in her duties
  • Evil Gloating: most villains eventually get a spot establishing them as Complete Monsters.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy
  • Evil Matriarch: The villain of The Doll Episode is an ancient dollmaker who attempts to mold Inori, her son's young bride into a perfectly compliant living doll. In the end, her son picks up where she left off, for an even worse Downer Ending than normal.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Ichimoku Ren.
  • The Faceless: Ai's "grandmother".
  • Facing the Bullets One-Liner: Sometimes the companions will ask whether the target is sorry for what they've done. Their answer is almost invariably, "No."
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Somebody always gets sent to Hell, despite any attempts to prevent it (there are exceptions to the rule, but they're very far and few between.)
  • Fan Service: There are some instances of this. For example, the hot springs episode of Futakomori and the possession scene from Mitsuganae. Was it really necessary for Ai to kiss Yuzuki, while they were both naked in a bathtube, to possess her? And to show Yuzuki her past in the ending?
  • Faustian Rebellion: Ai and Giles de L'Enfer, alias Hell Boy, who claims to have dragged himself out of Hell through use of his psychic powers.
  • For the Evulz: One episode has a nurse named Kanako Sakuragi, sent to hell. Most of the episode Tsugumi is spend trying to find out if Kanako had any dark secrets or was a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, to find out what could've made anyone want to send her to hell. Turns out, the nice and self-sacrificing image is not a front, it's actually how she really is . . . and she gets sent to hell anyway by a guy she doesn't even know who did it just because he could.
    • One episode revolves around Maki Onda, a girl that wants to send her unknown tormentor to hell. The unknown tormentor writes horrible things on the girl's desk, hides caterpillars in the girl's pencil box, traps the girl in a locker room that appears to be a sadistic Death Trap, and pours hydrochloric acid on the girl's back when they finally meet. And the bully's reasoning? It was an experiment.
  • Genre Busting: A fusion of suspense, drama and horror, with some slice of life and social commentary about the least appealing aspects of the Japanese society thrown in for good measure. The third season is full of Mind Screw as well.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Sending the person who made your life a living hell, well, to hell does not solve everything.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Enma Ai's "grandma". All we ever see of her its her silhouette. The only human character that sees her runs away from the house, screaming in sheer terror.
  • Here We Go Again: The second and third seasons end with someone accessing the Jigoku Tsushin, even though it looked like Ai was finished being Hell Girl.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Enma Ai herself, when she refuses to transport the soul of Takuma Kurebayashi, whose life situation somewhat mirrored her own. As a punishment she becomes mortal and later dies while trying to defend the boy from violent townspeople.
    • She does it again in Mitsuganae to save Yuzuki from being condemned to hell after she oversteps her authority as the new Hell Girl.
    • Some people pull the string in order to save people they care about.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Hone-Onna. No. Really. She was once a human girl named Tsuyu who was sold to work at a brothel.
  • Hime Cut: Ai Enma.
  • Hikikomori: A female one in the anime, a male one in the live action
    • There's a male one in the anime too.
  • Hot Dad: Hajime looks awfully young for someone with a nearly-teenaged kid.
    • Only if "nearly-teenaged" is code for "seven-years old".
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Are they ever.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Hajime Shibata
  • Idiot Ball: As the series starts to move in a more grey morality, some of the people who summon Hell Girl carry this. And lets not forget that this series is all about people trying to improve their lives by sentencing themselves to eternal suffering. Which might not be the most logical of plans.
    • Some of them outright state that they don't care about going to Hell anyway, just as long as their targets are out of their lives.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: One episode features a girl named Tae Sakairi, who is so in love with the idea of playing the "victim" of this trope, that she actually becomes distressed when the object of her affection, her childhood friend Kei, rejects the "other woman" and decides to fall in love with Tae instead. Tragedy soon ensues.
  • Karma Houdini: Subverted by the townspeople of season 2. Sure they've escaped mortal justice but they'll still go to Hell when they die.
  • Kick the Dog: A girl named Miki Kawakami has two Welsh Corgis and their puppies... The evil, greedy, abusive rich woman the girl keeps house for, Meiko Shimono, first kills one of the dogs, then drowns the rest in her bath tub. Miki, who had made the contract with Enma Ai but was hesitant to fulfill it, sends the bitch to Hell immediately as she finds out. (episode 18 of the first season)
    • A girl named Mioi Hatsumi owns a chihuahua and lives in a building with a woman named Shimatani. Shimatani attempts to get Hatsumi's dog kicked out of the apartment, and finally ends up poisoning the dog and causing Hatsumi to fall off a balcony. Yes, she gets it. (episode 8 of Mitsuganae)
    • Let's not forget the veterinary Yoshiyuki Honjou, who doesn't care about treating the animals in his clinic, and eventually allows young Junko Kanno's dog to die. Yup, another one who gets sent to Hell for being mean to puppies. (episode 4 of the first season)
    • And of course, there is Leon Yamada, the town bully, who harasses geeks in episode 5 of Futakomori. He sits outside a convenience store one day, playing with a lighter, and a dog comes nearby. Yamada entices the dog to come closer, and when it does, he lights the flame right under the dog's nose. The dog runs off crying in pain, and Yamada laughs wickedly. Oh don't worry... he gets it in the end. Even though he had made the contract in a completely unrelated circumstance.
  • Knife Nut: Honne-Onna is a skilled knife thrower.
  • Large Ham: Wanyuudo in the live-action adaptation.
  • Little Miss Badass: Enma Ai herself, who takes on the form of a vulnerable young girl clad in either a kimono or a black and red fuku. When angered, she has the power to take out an entire village.
  • Mamiko Noto: Ai's voice.
  • Mind Control Eyes: Tsugumi Shibata, when she "synchronizes" with Enma Ai
  • Mind Screw: Pretty much any time an antagonist is in the interdimension before getting dragged to hell.
    • In episode 13 of season 1, Hajime Shibata gets a mind screw moment when the porn-shop owner's parakeet starts talking to him.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: One episode features a playboy movie director named Tetsuro Megoro. In the end, he's sent to hell by a guy that he accidentally dumped coffee on early in the episode.
    • The sender is also the guy who's car he scraped up a little deeper into the episode (although the flash-backy nature of the episode can excuse the oversight).
  • Musical Nod: Sakasama no Chou, the opening theme from the first season is used as a ringtone, bowling alley music and on a billboard for the single (in which the music video is shown) in both Futakomori and Mitsuganae. NightmaRe, from Futakomori, gets used in Mitsuganae as well.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Episode 1 of Mitsuganae. A girl named Itsuko sends her apparently mean teacher to hell for throwing away her iPod. 2 seconds later Yuzuki runs into the room to give her back her iPod—sensei was joking. Cue My God, What Have I Done? face.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Often the villain getting sent to Hell also makes whatever trouble they caused their victim to be mostly fixed. This gets less and less common as the series goes more into a Grey and Grey Morality.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tsugumi Shibata, the journalist's daughter who has a psychic link to Enma Ai, lost her mother Ayumi in an accident, although notably, the circumstances surrounding this death have a large role to play in the first series' denoument. Enma Ai herself suffered through the deaths of both of her parents. And their tragic murder was explored in a flashback episode. It was revealed at the beginning of the second season, that the parent's souls were being held hostage by the forces of Hell in exchange for Enma Ai's cooperation as one of Hell's agents of vengance.
  • Offing the Offspring and Self-Made Orphan: Meiko Shimono killed her parents to inherit her fortune. Later, she killed her son so she wouldn't have to share her money. She ended up sent to Hell by Miki, a schoolgirl whom she forces to work as her maid, whose dogs she drowned.
    • Also, at the end of the first season, Enma Ai tries to convince Tsugumi to send Hajime, her father, to Hell, by using the memories of her mother Ayumi's death. She fails, though: Tsugumi rejects the deal and Ai leaves her and Hajime alone.
  • Once an Episode: Someone goes to Hell. Most of the time.
  • Onsen Episode: Episode 19 of Futakomori. Also gives some detail into Wanyuudou's past.
  • Paparazzi: Hajime Shibata used to work with one, Inagaki, who frames an innocent guy and his father. Predictably, Inagaki ends up sent to Hell by his victim.
  • Perma-Stubble: Hajime Shibata.
  • Perspective Flip: Of the urban legend horror genre like Ring or The Grudge except we see from the monster's point of view.
  • Pocket Dimension: The space where they take the "offender" before they are formally sent to Hell. Has to be this, since 1) Ai still hasn't ferried them through the gate to Hell, and 2) it can't just be a Mind Rape illusion, since we've seen the offender be physically removed from our dimension (easiest to see in the first season due to the Shibatas' involvements)
    • Also, the place where Ai keeps the candles with the names of everyone that made a contract with her that are still alive. You can go there by entering into a vase inside Ai's home.
  • Precision F-Strike: Ayaka Kurenai. It's apparently pretty early on that she's not a very good person. The dub translates this by having her swear a mile a minute.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Ai hangs around the hut and her minions work their day jobs when they're not dragging some poor soul into Hell.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: Literally. No matter how much better your life becomes after you send someone to Hell, you will be joining them soon enough. And you get a cheerful mark on your chest to always remind you of this.
    • Although there are a few cases where it's done for the sake of someone else. A girl named Haruka did it to the person who was ruining her mother. And for her sake the mother seems nice to the child of the victim... whether that will hold or not is left unseen.
  • Reality Warper: Ai seems to be able to do this, as seen when she's sending people to hell and during the season one finale, when she's bullying Tsugumi to make her send her father to hell. Although maybe she was just mind raping her, it's not very clear.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Enma Ai who is over 400 years.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Ai Enma has this twice: She has black hair with red eyes and her standard costume is a black sailor uniform with a red collar. She also happens to be a Villain Protagonist.
  • Red String of Fate: Fits mostly to the title of the trope than anything else really. There IS a Red String and it DOES work in binding their Fate, but with no connotations to romance at all. If someone could redirect me to a trope that's more suitable than this, please do so.
  • Reincarnation: It is implied that Hajime is a reincarnation or distant descendant of Sentarou, a boy Ai cared about during her life, forming part of the driving force for the climax of the first season.
  • Ret-Gone: Records of the past few years of Yuzuki's life begin disappearing. Turns out she's been dead all this time, and this life is a complete illusion.
    • Hone-Onna does this to two women she befriended at the end of an episode in Futakomori.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers: After Yuzuki becomes the new Hell Girl, she immediately attempts to use her powers to take revenge on a woman who had unjustly sent her best friend to hell, not even bothering to listen when Ai's former helpers try to warn her against it. If she had waited one more second she might've learned that this was exactly the one thing she was NOT supposed to do. Would it have stopped her anyway? Debatable.
  • Screw Destiny: Yuzuki tries so hard to do this...
  • Screwed by the Network: Animax Latinamerica licensed the second season and was supposed to have a dub...and then the channel rebranded.
  • Series Fauxnale: Season 2.
  • Shout-Out: Episode 21 of season two. A guy named Makoto coldly rejecting the woman pregnant with his child. Sound familliar?
    • To Initial D of all things, in episode 10 of season two.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: When Ai discovers that Hajime and Tsugumi are distant relatives to a childhood friend who ended up helping bury her alive she decides to try and Mind Rape Tsugumi into sending her father to Hell.
  • Spoiler Opening: Subverted. Mitsuganae's opening credits set it up as the same stand-alone episodic fare of the first two seasons, but this is only to avoid drawing attention to Yuzuki before she's established as an important character, after which it changes to reflect the series's new direction.
  • Soul Jar: In the third season, a girl named Yuzuki Mikage becomes one for Enma Ai through Demonic Possession. Eventually she becomes Ai's successor.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Ai sometimes verges on this trope.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: A particularly tragic example in episode 19, when Inori sends her fiance's mother, who wants her to act like a living doll to Hell. In the end it turns out that her fiance is not so different from his mother.
  • The Unfavorite: With a really creepy twist. See the main article.
  • To Hell and Back: Giles de L'Enfer, if he's to be believed. Due to this, he considers himself a rival of sorts to Ai.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: One episode which begins with a woman named Shizuko Amagi pulling the string on her straw doll. After that, it shows what led up to this, and at the end it's revealed that Kyoko Tachibana, the recluse who was harassing and playing pranks on her was forced to live the ordeal through the woman's eyes, and the entire misunderstanding could have been cleared up had she just calmly talked it over and told her that she had adopted the cat first.
  • True Companions: Ichimoku Ren spent an episode considering how their group is like a family. And in season 3, Ai Enma reiterates their group as such to Yuzuki.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: Mitsuganae takes place in the year 2024.
  • Twist Ending: Lots. Mandatory Twist Ending if you want to be mean about it, The Untwist, Cruel Twist Ending, Karmic Twist Ending.
  • Unmoving Pattern: When Ai wears her flower-patterned black kimono, they look like they're greenscreened on. This is likely deliberate, to show the magical nature of her kimono, as the flower pattern on it is used to induce death in victims.
  • Victim of the Week: Every episode has a different client, and many of them have been abused in a certain way.
  • Wham! Episode: Episode 24 of Mitsuganae: By the way, Yuzuki, you're really just a ghost, and this entire season was a lie.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Untying strings requires dramatic music!
  • Why Didn't You Just Say So?: Invoked by Ren to the victim of #11 of Futakomori, a woman who was angry at her neighbor because she took in her pet cat. Thing is, said neighbor (1) thought the cat was a stray, because it was always hanging around on the outside, and (2) tried to talk to her, but never got any reply. As such, instead of talking things over, she decides to go and push her neighbor's buttons.
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: To keep up with their next client.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: This is essentially the entirety of the third season, and a good amount of the first and second seasons. In the Third Season the question then becomes ... who is the master of this particular game? The cynical might say its the Lord of Hell playing Ai to trap her as his servant for all eternity ... those with a bit more heart might say it's Ai's desperate gambit to save one innocent soul from Hell.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Played straight most of the time (the target of the contract will go to hell if the string is pulled, and the person that pulled it will end up there too after dying), but subverted in some cases; Enma Ai escapes from the Lord of Hell in the ending of the first season even after he said it was her destiny to end up in hell if she ever opened her heart again, and ends up avoiding going to hell at all when everything is said and done. In the end of the second season, Ai saves the life of Takuma even after the string was pulled and he was destined to go to hell. And in the third season, although Yuzuki turns into the new Hell Girl after fighting against it and refusing to accept it as her fate, in the end she does it more of desperation (she was dead all along and never really had the life she tought she had, nor does she had anything left in the normal world) than because she "accepted her destiny"... and she doesn't even keep the position for long anyway.