|The Back's Front|
Ushiro No Shōmen
|Season:||Jigoku Shojo Mitsuganae|
|Previous:||Hell Professor versus Jigoku Shōjo|
|Next:||Flower and Moon|
"The Back's Front" is the 21st episode of the season "Jigoku Shōjo Mitsuganae" and the 73rd episode from total.
This is one of the more severe episodes of all of the series. Yuzuki arrives at the conclusion that she could escape her fate of becoming the next Hell Girl as she believes Tsugumi had. Walking in a heavy rain, she comes across a young boy named Kikuchu Kaito--菊池海斗--sitting in a playground crying and asking for help. When she approaches him, he collapses in front of her. She notices he has numerous bruses and abrasions on his trunk. She takes him home, nurses him to recovery, then exchanges cell phone numbers.
At home, Kaito has a father and a pregnant stepmother named Nanami. They expect a girl who will be named Mao. She scolds Kaito for being late and accuses him of lying about being sick. That night, Kaito washes dishes with his father. His father asks him to understand that his stepmother is nervous with her first pregnancy. He also promises that they will visit "the forest." Kaito agrees, then takes a call from Yuzuki.
The scene changes to another day, where Yuzuki finds Kaito who has not answered her calls. He claims he lost the cellphone. She asks him come home with her to play a video game, and the inititially excited Kaito changes his mood and states it will be "difficult"--"ちょっと." Instead, he needs to go shopping to help out. Yuzuki accompanies him. However, when he returns home, his stepmother discovers a few eggs broken. Speaking to her unborn child she "wonders" why her "big brother is like this" and declares that such a "treacherous child" requires punishment. She grabs a laddle as Kaito exposes his right wrist indicating he knows what will happen.
The scene shift to him outside running cold water on his wrist. He recalls first meeting his stepmother. At a restaurant, his father introduces Ōtsu Nanami as a former student. She presents a hat with a logo of a character called "Eggman" which Kaito immediately loves. She then indicates that she knows she will not soon be his mother but hopes to become his friend. With this, Kaito realizes his father intends to marry her.
As Kaito stares sadly remembering, Ren and Hone Onna discuss how this is an example of a stepmother bullying a child. Ren wonders why Kaito does not tell his father. The scene shifts to Yuzuki knowing that Kaito will soon access the Jigoku Tsūshin. In an important foreshadowing for the entire season, Kikuri appears to ask her why she does not discuss it with her parents. She will ride down the street laughing only to be stopped by a severe Ai. Kikuri protests that she will become the next Jigoku Shōjo, which Ai declares impossible. She then tells Kikuri to cease pestering her and unwinds her key to Kikuri's irritation: "あいの馬鹿!"--"Idiot Ai!" Meanwhile, Yuzuki still cannot reach her parents on her phone.
The scene shifts to Kaito realizing Nanami has thrown away his hat: "You've already used it for three years so isn't it at its life's end?" His father briefly protests, but she silences him by saying the neighbors have been laughing at him still wearing it, and she then suggests that he has spoiled Kaito. His father relents. Meanwhile, Kaito searches the trash and recovers his hat. The scene shifts to him accessing the Jigoku Tsūshin with his phone. Ai immediately appears. Yamawaro becomes the straw doll. He takes it as Yazuki wakes from her bed realizing this.
After the commercial break, Yazuki sits sad on a swing. Kaito eagerly approaches her. He asks her why she called him. She immediately accuses him of accessing the Jigoku Tsūshin. Stunned, Kaito tries vainly to deny knowledge of it. He confesses that "back then, we were happy." The scene fades to Kaito, his father, and Nanami having a picnic at the edge of a lake. He has dropped his hat in the river, and as he tries to reach it, his father cautions him and Nanami tells him he will buy him another. Before he falls in trying to reach it, Nanami catches him. Concerned, she tells him that if something happened to him "we wouldn't be a happy family anymore." Kaito apologizes and calls her "Mama." Relieved, Nanami hugs him while his father uses a stick to retrieve the hat.
Returning to the present, a tearful Kaito claims he wants to return to those happier times. Yazuki promises she will find a way he can. The scene shifts to her confronting his father in a coffee shop declaring that his wife has been abusing Kaito. He dismisses it with various excuses and storms off threatening her with accusations. Hone Onna happens to be sitting behind her and tells her that she has been "stupid." The scene reveals that all of Ai's companions are sitting at the table behind her. Hone continues that the father knows what has been happening to his son but pretends not to notice it. The scene shifts to a distorted vision--presumably Yazuki's--of the father walking home as he laments the situation. He reaches the door in time to hear his wife beating his son inside. Rather than do anything, he merely sits and smokes a cigarette. He says to himself, "Sorry, Kaito."
The scene shifts to Yazuki's room where she continues to try to call her parents. She begs that they answer in vain. Ai appears behind her watching.
The scene then shifts to Nanami leaving for the hospital. Interestingly, her husband does not accompany her; he and Kaito wish her good luck. Kaito asks him if she will be okay "not going by car," and his father answers that she said "it will be fine." He then promises to take them to the "forest," as he looks at a picture which is the lake where Kaito nearly lost his hat and his stepmother grabbed him before he fell into the lake.
Yazuki walks the street thinking to herself that she could not come up with an answer to Kaito's situation. She then hears the bells as Kaito's father drives himself and Kaito past him. She tries, unsuccessfully, to catch up to him. She runs, instead, to the temple where she calls upon Ai. Ai immediately appears, and Yazuki begs to let her see Kaito. Ai asks her what she plans to do after meeting him. Ai informs her that she cannot stop Kaito. As Yazuki protests, Ai dramatically points to her and announces that, "Real Hell is inside a person. Inside you, too." She then tell Yazuki it would be "good" for her to see it. Yazuki seems to disappear like a reflection on water disturbed by Ai's finger. Yazuki emerges from the lake in the forest Kaito and his father and stepmother visited. She runs, on the water, towards Kaito and his father playing catch with a frisbee. Meanwhile, Nanami waits for a bus. His father over-throws the frisbee into the lake. As Kaito tries to retrieve it, his father asks him, frankly, if he likes his "mother." When Kaito says he does--"she's good at cooking"!--his father continues talking almost to himself saying how she is "pure, cheerful, and was popular amongst the male students."
He approaches his son stating, "I don't want to see your mother falling apart anymore." While Yazuki, standing on the water unnoticed, screams warnings to Kaito, his father moves behind him and continues his soliloquy: "Making your mother bring up two kids might be impossible." As he reaches out his hands, Kaito calmly replies, "I think so, too." Not seeming to listen to his son, his father continues to approach to push his son, and the scene focuses on Kaito's hands removing the red thread from the straw doll.
Interestingly foreshadowing later events in the series, the doll flies along the water. Yazuki stands on the water, but her reflection in the water is Ai. As Wamamaro disappears announcing that Kaito's "grudge has been received," the sitting Nanami suddenly startles and holds her belly.
The scene shift to a reflection in the water of the shocked father with his hands on Kaito's shoulders. Kaito calls him "father," and he collapses crying about what he almost did. Kaito stands and tells him not to cry since, "it's all fine," and they may go home. It is unclear if he sees Yazuki standing on the water whose reflection in the water is still Ai. Yazuki sinks back into the water as the reflection of Ai rises.
The scene shifts to a stunned Nanami in a hospital bed. Kaito enters frankly stating, "What a shame, what happened to Mao." He then puts his hands on her hands and tells her that he and his father are here for her. "It's like before." He tells her her hands are warm, calling her "Mama." She smiles at him. The scene shifts to the garbage area of their home which contains all of the toys intended for Mao. It then shifts to the lake where, once again, Kaito's hat lays in the water. Yazuki, again, stands in the water watching but not seen. The scene repeats the previous scene when Kaito lost his hat, except this time, Kaito reaches it. His father and stepmother laugh. As he says "I got it" and runs happily toward them, Wanyūdo comments that they are quite a family to laugh "as if nothing happened after seeing Hell." The scene reveals that Ai's companions and Kikuri are outside a cottage across the lake watching the family as well as Yazuki standing on the lake. Ren wonders if any of them will realize the "sins they've committed." As it starts to snow, Wanyūdō suggests that the snow will cover these sins. Seeing Kaito laugh, Yazuki, too, laughs, but Ai as her reflection in the water does not.
Kikuchu Kaito's Father