31 Shinbi's Apartment Ghosts!
DAY TWENTY: MALODOROUS
Written by Jonathan Wojcik
SEASON 02.2, EPISODE 6: this time, ghostly activity is marked by manifestations of a stinking black vapor that can nauseate and even knock people out. Making its way to the local school, it targets a new, somewhat rude student from an upper class family, possessing her to make her stink horribly and lash out at other children until she's utterly despised.
When driven from its host, this spirit manifests entirely as a head floating in a black, gaseous mass. Its pale blue-grey, noseless face has pointed ears, filthy black hair, glowing red eyes in pitch black sockets and long, sharp enough teeth that it can't even seem to close its mouth. With its amorphous body, it shrugs off almost all physical attacks, but unlike most intangible spirits, it demonstrates a fear of fire.
But as nasty as this spirit seems to be, it wears a small, pink, butterfly-shaped trinket on its forehead...and it's extremely protective of it. When the butterfly in knocked to the ground in an ensuing battle, Malodorous seems to lose all will to keep fighting.
This spirit was originally a homeless, hungry orphaned girl. People avoided looking at her or even walking too close to her, and one day, a wealthy child stopped to laugh at her for smelling and looking filthy.
As they finally turned and left, the rich child accidentally dropped a small toy, a butterfly-shaped rattle, which the poor girl picked up and idly played with while she continued to sit, right where she'd been.
Hours later, she was suddenly seized and dragged away by two men. The rich brat's immediate assumption was that the dirty, gross poor kid must have been a pickpocket.
She tries to give the toy back nicely, but the owner thinks she "ruined" it by touching it and doesn't want it anymore. She's thrown out with it, and that's actually where the flashback ends; we don't actually know how she died, it's even possible she lived quite a while, but this memory was what stayed with her beyond death and festered into a spirit angry enough to torment upper-class children hundreds of years later.
Learning all of this, the same rich girl she had possessed picks up the butterfly from the floor and formally gives it to the spirit. After the two hug, the dead girl's soul ascends to heaven with a spectral copy of the butterfly...and leaves the real one as a gift to the living girl. The last we see of the rich student, she's still keeping that ancient, slightly dirty toy on her at all times. Just from her expression and sweet musical cues, it seems like she really holds a kinder outlook on the world.
This is one with very simple ghostly activity, but another heartbreaking origin and climax. Her anger is reasonable, and even if the modern girl it possessed had nothing to do with what happened to her, the victim still learns an important lesson that likely improves how she treats people in her future.
The design is also pretty menacing; the face looks very much like a deep sea fish, and I like the effect of that floating in and out of the black "abyss" of its own miasma! Some artwork also gives it a pair of floating, clawed hands, or it's possible there's a complete body giving off so much smog, we have no idea what it looks like.