cover image Hell Girl Volume 1

Hell Girl Volume 1

Miyuki Eto. Del Rey, $10.95 (194pp) ISBN 978-0-345-49747-5

Enter your enemy’s name at midnight on a special Web site, and Hell Girl takes revenge on them for you. Each chapter is thus a story of someone getting what’s coming to them. The most fully realized, in both motivation and setup, is the first. Nerd Mari is set up to be caught shoplifting; popular Satsuki rescues her but blackmails Mari into buying her treats. Later stories cover a pastry student opening her own shop sabotaged by her jealous former teacher; an aspiring actress starring in the Hell Girl movie who’s being stalked; an evil vet; and a girl sexually harassed by her teacher. As the book proceeds, the stories and resolutions become more perfunctory. It can be difficult to tell which character is speaking, given the lack of tails on the word balloons, since the voices aren’t distinctive. The action is also unclear in key scenes, with too many shortcuts taken. Hell, by the way, looks like a shower of black chrysanthemums, the Japanese funeral flower. Those wishing evil are told that in return for their enemy’s condemnation, they too will go to hell after they die, but that warning is little played up in this anime tie-in that probably plays better on TV. (Jan.)