|Original Air Date||October 14, 2006|
|The Girl in the Dark||Beloved Kei|
"Bubbles" is the 2nd episode of the season "Two Mirrors" and the 28th episode from total.
The episode opens with a short monologue by the episode's protagonist, Yayoi Kurayoshi, about her visions; visions of something that cannot rise to the surface, something in the shadow of bubbles. We then see Yayoi and her grief-stricken parents handing out fliers of their missing daughter and sister, Sumire. While being inconsiderately hit on by one passer-by, Yayoi receives another vision, accompanied by the sound of bubbles. That night, Yayoi is woken by the bubbles and gets up and goes to her missing sister's empty room. As the clock strikes midnight Sumire's computer starts itself, all the while the flashes of the bubbles and water increasing in Yayoi's vision. Suddenly, Ai Enma is standing behind her. "Who are you?" Yayoi asks. Ai explains that Yayoi summoned her with the computer, but of course Yayoi knows nothing of this. Starting to suspect that it is Sumire co-ordinating these events, Yayoi asks Ai who she is, but she is gone. The Three Straws have set up a fruit and vegetable stall in Yayoi's street as headquarters and Ai walks here to inform them that the request was not from Yayoi, hence her departure. Wanyuudou informs the other two Straws that it is, in fact, Sumire who is accessing the Hell Link as she has become a miserable soul who cannot rest in peace. Yayoi meets with a friend who tells her all about Hell Girl and the Hell Link, slowly the pieces are falling into position and then Yayoi has another vision. This time she can hear Sumire's voice saying how cold it is where she is. Yayoi finally realises that it has been Sumire making her access the Hell Link and that she is, in fact, very much dead. This makes handing out the fliers even harder for her and her parents send her home. She tries going to the police station but cannot even enter realising how frivolous her evidence is. Wanyuudou and Hone Onna decide to investigate further, taking a flier from Yayoi's parents while Ichimokuren trails Yayoi. Wanyuudou manages to find a witness from the day of Sumire's disappearance, however, it is a puppy and only Ai has the power to extract the dog's memory of that day. It turns out that it was following a fight between Yayoi and Sumire that Sumire was walking home alone on that fateful day. We see that Sumire was indeed kidnapped and taken in the boot of a man's car but we are left behind as Ai, Wanyuudou and Hone Onna witness the final moments of the girls life. Yayoi blames herself that it was her fault. She shouldn't had a fight with Sumire in the first place and none of this would have happen if Sumire couldn't have gone missing.
As hard as Yayoi tries she cannot access the Hell Link due to the fact that, as explained by the Three Straws, feeling remorse or blaming oneself for something is far removed from the bitterness required to access the Hell Link and exact revenge. As Yayoi comes to terms with the death of her sister she tries to convince her parents that it may be pointless continuing to look for Sumire but they will hear none of it, convinced their daughter is still alive. Yayoi apologises to Sumire's spirit for not being able avenge her but she feels that there is nothing more she can do. All this changes when Yayoi falls into a fountain during another of her visions. She finally sees her sister's last moments; her abduction, her rape, her murder by sword and her final indignity, being stuffed into a suitcase and being thrown into the lake. This knowledge changes Yayoi remorse into extreme bitterness and a strong need for revenge, the two things needed to access the Hell Link. Unlike other episodes, instead of being whisked into Ai's sunset world, the contract is laid before Yayoi in Sumire's bedroom, Ichimokuren serving as the straw doll, kissing his pendant as he transforms. Ai offers Yayoi Sumire's murderer's swift transportation to the very pits of Hell in return for Yayoi's damnation when she dies. Yayoi's hesitation is very brief, being one the few clients of Hell Girl who immediately unties the red thread, regardless of the consequences.
We are left with the scene of Yayoi and her parents once again handing out flyers at the train station, however, this time Yayoi seems to be somehow at peace with her duty. She has the fire symbol tattoo on her chest but we are left with the feeling that by handing out the flyers she is honoring her sister, and she is no longer having visions of bubbles.