Hell Girl is an interesting 26-episode horror/drama anime. In this series, anyone with a grudge can access a website at midnight and summon a strangely beautiful red-eyed girl named Ai. Ai appears to them and gives them a straw doll with a scarlet thread tied around its neck. She tells them that if they untie the scarlet thread from the doll's neck, their tormentor will be sent straight to hell. However, untying the thread also has a severe consequence for those who pull it - when they die, their soul will also belong to hell.
The first several episodes of the series focus heavily on telling single-episode stories. Each episode features a person with one reason or another to hold a grudge against someone. Some people have better reasons than others to summon Hell Girl, but all are offered the opportunity to make this bargain with her. Hell Girl doesn't seem to care whether the person on the receiving end is deserving of eternal punishment or not - the choice is completely up to those who summon her. She and her comrades seem to have fun torturing the unlucky subject before they are ferried off to the underworld, though. For example,
The later episodes focus on three things. One is a reporter named Hajime and his daughter. For whatever reason, his daughter can sometimes see through Hell Girl's eyes. Hajime is determined to stop Hell Girl from taking human souls and uses his daughter's ability to see what she is up to. Second, there are still many stories of those who summon Hell Girl, but now Hajime usually comes in and tries to convince them not to pull the thread. Third, in the last few episodes you finally get to learn more about Ai and how she became Hell Girl.
A schoolgirl whose friend abandons her for the popular group. A woman stalked by an unstable and dangerous man. A child whose dogs are held hostage by a woman who may make good on her threats to kill them. Who will decide to pull the thread and enter into this morbid contract?
After watching the first six or so episodes I was worried that the plot was going to get repetitive. Although each episode had a very interesting cast and storyline, the same thing happened in the end every time. However, later on the episodes actually get better and better, and plot twists and new characters come into the mix. You never know who the truly innocent people turn out to be and who is harboring some dark, twisted secret. Sometimes this anime gets pretty emotional, though - some truly horrible things do happen. This is DEFINITELY not a series for young children. If you like horror anime and/or ghost stories, this is the series for you.