|A Maiden's Album|
Otome No Arubamu
|Previous:||Hell Amidst the Steam, Lodging for Travelers|
|Next:||Paper Balloon Wafting|
"A Maiden's Album" is the 20th episode of the season "Two Mirrors" and the 46th episode from total.
One night, a young girl named Juri Moriuchi cuts the picture of her identical best friend, Mari Fujimaki. Juri looks at the picture of Mari and swears she wouldn't be able to forgive her for betraying her. Juri accesses the Hell Link at midnight, types in Mari's name, then submits. Ai then appears outside the window with a straw doll.
Later in Ai's world, Ai combs Kikuri's hair and Ren admires that she and Kikuri were wearing the same yukata. Kikuri says to Hone-Onna that she must be jealous, but Hone-Onna replies that she doesn't care. Ren thought about the client, Juri, who had been holding Wanyuudo as a straw doll for quite some time. Later at school, Mari's friends were asking her about going to watch the latest French movie. Mari suddenly remembers Juri and declines. Juri was relieved that Mari rejected going out with others. While walking on the way home, Juri says that she didn't know that Mari promised other girls to go and watch French movies. Mari reasons that they've been in the same school since junior high. Juri comments that she disliked French movies and tells Mari to stop watching French films. She shows her straw doll and threatens that she will pull the string if Mari refused to listen.
Up above, Ren and Kikuri watch them. Ren tries to figure out Juri and Mari's backgrounds and wonders why Juri has been threatening Mari with the straw doll. Ai appears and reasons simply that Mari and Juri love each other too much. Later at Juri's home, Juri show the things she made for Mari all by herself. Hats, mittens and scarves with their names stitched on them are reminders of their friendship. Juri tells Mari that she has been thinking about the good times she had with her and looks at the photos in her room, noting that those good times would not have stopped it she hadn't betrayed her. Later, Mari receives a text message; it's from her mother. Mari was supposed to have dinner with her parents. Juri says that Mari always had dinner with her parents every Friday, so it was fine. Before Mari leaves, Juri gives her a history album to remind her about their long-time friendship. Juri sees Mari run under the pouring rain and wonders if should have lent Mari an umbrella. Guilty, Juri decides that for as long as Mari doesn't betray her, she would not pull the string.
Later at the restaurant, Mari refuses to touch the food and her parents begin to worry that something was wrong. Mari tells them she just wasn't hungry while casting worried glances on the album that Juri gave her, believing that if she tells her parents about her abusive relationship with Juri, they will not believe her, and she could be sent to Hell afterwards. However, when Mari and her mother enters the car, she accidentally but unknowingly drops the album as they left the restaurant. The album was later picked up by Ren. After reaching home, Mari realizes that the album is not in her bag and starts to search for the album desperately. She also searches for it outside, including inside her father's car with no success, at which point, she finally remembers that she had dropped it at the restaurant. When Mari arrives at the restaurant, she breaks down when she cannot find the album there either. However, Ren shows up and kindly returns the album to her. He gives a drink to her and Mari thanks him for finding it. Ren notes that the album seems to be very important to her and Mari mentions that the album was made by a friend.
Ren takes a look at the album and notices that the two of them look alike. Mari says that her name is Juri, a close friend she did everything with, one she could never be separated from. Ren continues to look at the album and notices that after some time, the pictures began to show Mari being depressed, as well as the fact that Juri's leg was broken. When he asks why, Mari tells him that back at the past summer, Mari hurt Juri. Mari shakes and Ren holds her hands to calm her down. Back at Juri's home, Juri texts to her that she is infuriated that Mari hadn't told her about how her dinner was with her family. Mari texts back saying that she was sorry. Ren guesses that message is from Juri and asks if Mari was in some kind of trouble. Mari tell him that if she didn't report to her about everything, she will get scolded. Ren realizes that Juri had Mari on a leash. She asks Ren whether he heard about the Hell Link and Ren said that he had heard about the rumors. Mari tells him that Juri could pull the string anytime and send her to Hell and even though Juri too would go to Hell should she die, she already said she no longer cared.
Back in Ai's world, Kikuri puts up the flower clip on Ai's hair and states that it also matches. Kikuri laughs at how Hone-Onna doesn't have one, but Hone-Onna replies that she still doesn't care. Hone-Onna asks Ren what he had found out during his investigation. He tells her it began with tennis training exercise. As they train, Juri begins to tire out. Mari encourages her not to give up. Juri says she will try her best because she wanted to be Mari's doubles match partner. As the girls begin to run, Juri can't keep up with the pace. Once again, Mari tells her to keep on fighting. It was snowing during the tennis doubles practice. Juri and Mari are having a good time as partners. An upperclassman discover about Mari's talents in the doubles match. Later, back in the girls' locker room, Mari realizes she'd forgotten her sports towel in the court and goes to get it. There, the upperclassman kindly returns the towel to her and asks if Mari can be her doubles match partner because she found her very talented. But Mari murmurs that she already had Juri as her doubles partner. The upperclassman said to her that she doesn't have to answer it right away and just to think calmly. Mari hesitantly begins to agree and Juri overhears. She becomes upset and her foot fell into the broken drain, where she ended up with her broken leg. Mari apologizes to Juri about what happened, but Juri tells her it didn't matter since she had now become a burden to her for the rest of their lives. Back at home, Mari notices that Juri had scratched the picture of the upperclassman. Juri reasons that she disliked the upperclassman for tearing them apart and how she couldn't forget the sight of Mari and the upperclassman. Juri reminds Mari of her leg and says that the doctors were saying that it was okay but the pain hasn't gone away, for which Mari apologizes to Juri again.
After hearing Ren's narration, Hone-Onna is baffled about how desire could bring such jealousy and hatred in a woman. Ai takes out her clip and Kikuri tells her not to.
Later, while taking a test in school, Juri tells Mari that she couldn't study for the test because her leg had been hurting too much. Mari understands what Juri was hinting at and replaces her own name with Juri's on her paper. When the results came out, the girls from their class said that they always fight for last place and they matched in dumb-ville by laughing at them. Juri felt that there is nothing to worry about since they will go to the same university. Mari goes to buy lunch and bumps into Ren again. Back at school, Juri thinks about Mari and takes out her favorite picture from her pouch and decides to forgive her. Ren, seeing Mari unhappy, asks if Juri had been treating Mari badly. Mari tells him she didn't mind at all because Juri was all she had, and that all she wanted was to go back to how they used to be. Juri, finally making up her mind, goes to find Mari. Meanwhile, Ren pats Mari's head, encouraging her to do her best. Mari starts to cry and hugs Ren, just as Juri turns the corner and finds them. Juri is shocked and becomes angry, running away. Ren wonders about Juri's leg, and how she is able to run with it. Mari knows that it is not her leg, but her heart that was hurt. Mari goes after her and says to Juri that they will always be together for the rest of their lives.
Shocked yet relieved, Juri turns to look at her and stops in the middle of the road. She was hit by a car and fatally injured. Juri is admitted to the hospital. When she awakes, she finds Mari keeping her company. Mari takes out the straw doll from the pouch and gives it to Juri. Juri tells her to take the picture out from her pouch, saying that it was her favorite picture and Mari is shocked. Suddenly, Juri's condition becomes very critical and Mari, in order to get her friendship back with Juri, does the unthinkable and pulls the string from the doll. Juri asks why Mari did it and Mari explains that she didn't know where they could've ended up but now for sure they will be together in Hell. Mari disappears, the picture she held falling down.
Ren feels sad to hear about their deaths. Later, on the boat, Ai begins ferrying Mari to Hell. Mari had brought along the album, hoping to meet Juri again soon. Shortly after she is taken, Juri opens her oxygen mask and kills herself to join Mari. Mari smiles, as she was glad that Juri was with her.
Back in Ai's world, Kikuri began to get sick and tired of the matching outfits and tosses her clothes away. Hone-Onna tells her to keep quiet, while Ren hopes that Mari and Juri would be able to take good pictures in Hell. After lighting up Juri's candle, the candle is blown out, which means she has died and Hell has claimed her.