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|“||This is for you. If you truly seek revenge, untie the scarlet thread on this doll's neck. Then you will enter into a covenant with me. I will send your tormenter straight to hell. Two holes appear when you curse a person. So when you die, your soul will also go to hell. You will never know the joys of heaven. Your soul will be left to wander in pain and agony, there to remain for all eternity. Only after you die, that is. And now...the decision rest with you.||„|
|~ Enma Ai after handing the straw doll & telling the client of the consequences.|
|“||I ferry this grievance to hell...||„|
|~ Enma Ai upon reaching the entrance of hell with the client's tormentor.|
|“||O pitiful shadow lost in darkness, demeaning and bringing harm to others, a pitiful soul wallowing in sin... Care to give death a try?||„|
|~ Ai before dragging her victim to hell|
Enma Ai is the main protagonist, on & off anti-heroic and main antagonist of the horror anime Jigoku Shoujo/Hell Girl. The Master of Hell forced her to serve him as the Hell Girl for all eternity or else he'll send her innocent parents to hell.
Enma Ai was born in the late Sengoku period and the beginning of the 17th century of Japan. As a kid she was bullied in her village since she apparently brought butterflies back to life. She was chosen to be a sacrifice in order to please the mountain gods. But her only friend Sentarou saved and hid her, supplying her with food for over a year. The village's harvest was very bad. Eventually they discovered her in the mountains and blamed all the famine on her. They buried Ai and her parents alive. While this happened, she cursed everyone.
After death, Ai then returned as a vengeful spirit and slaughtered everyone in the village and burning it. She was then approached by the Spider, who told her that she will have to serve him. Else her parents will also have to wander in agony forever. Ai is forced to accept and becomes Hell Girl. During her life, she makes many contracts with tormented people and subsequently sends the tormenters to hell. She also picks up three other spirits and recruits them along her way. They are Ichimoku Ren, Hone Onna and Wanyuudou.
Ai has a long straight black hair in a hime cut that she frequently keeps untied. Her skin is frequently pale & she possessed red eyes, which were originally brown before she was buried alive. Ai also has light pink lips. She maintains the appearance of a 13 year old girl, and has remained as such for over 400 years.
Her usual attire consist of a dominantly black seifuku, similar to a Japanese school girl uniform, with some parts colored red and white. However, when performing an act of sending someone to hell, Ai wears a black kimono, with either temari (hand-woven balls) or floral design. Both patterns alternate throughout the series.
Ai wears a mask of cold personality as she never shows it most of the time. Even in situations which are emotional, she doesn't appear to move in at least. Additionally, Ai is quiet and serious, as she seems to chat only when the need arises rarely speaking for the sake of it. In the event that Ai does talk out of ordinary circumstances, it is about something in which is necessary for someone to know, or to correct somebody when needed, notably her clients. The main reason for her introverted personality is that she had been used on growing silent.
- Enma Ai is very similar to Carrie White from the Stephen King novel of the same name as both are social outcasts being bullied by society, both have a single friend who are close to the society & both destroyed their hometowns by setting it on fire out of their rage.
- Enma Ai is very similar to Lucy from Elfen Lied, as both are disgusted and bullied for a bad reason (Enma Ai being a sacrifice to the mountain god & Lucy for her horns), both have friends who later betrayed them out of cowardice (Sentarou Shibata & the Orphanage Girl, though the girls is a debatable case) & both killed their tormentors as a revenge.
- Unlike Lucy however who manages to kill the orphanage girl, Enma Ai spared her traitored friend from her wrath & didn't kill him.
- Enma Ai is often considered not to be the main antagonist of the series, but rather a victim of greater villains such as the Master of Hell.