Shigofumi: Oh, What Fun! Now We Have Split Personalities!

I don’t really know why, but half of Shigofumi is sort-of fluffy and light, and the other half is deeply disturbing. Frequently in the same episode.

And that is, of course, why I like it so much. Episode 8 dealt with the emotional trauma inherent in child abuse. Split personalities are a very common reaction to parental abuse, as the abused has a desire to escape from the abuse and live a different, better life. This was illustrated, of course, through the magic of anime in episode 8. I think the episode also caught the trauma of the abused in a more general sense, i.e. the torment of being abused by someone you love. The pain is worsened here, since Fumika does not know other human beings other than her father, and therefore she thinks that this is perfectly normal behavior. It’s strangely reminiscent (and I really hesitate to bring this particular book up, as I haven’t read it and can’t figure out whether or not it is kosher) of Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called “It”. I don’t know that much about it, but it seems to be somewhat similar. In the case of Kirameki and Shigofumi, Kirameki is abusing Fumika due to lingering hatred for Kirei. He may be a brilliant author, and he may also be a apathetic psychopath, but at the same time he’s also very human and prone to the same fits of passion that overwhelm us all at times. He’s not an easy character to swallow or pigeonhole after this episode, but it is clear that he is the antagonist. Shades of grey, people. Shades of grey.

Of particular note in Shigofumi is the level of twistedness that Kirameki has, and the individual episodes themselves. The general level of over-the-top direction and scriptwriting creates the right sort of atmosphere to drive the points they try to make home. There’s something to be said for subtlety, and, on the other hand, there’s something to be said for getting the viewer emotionally tangled up with a character’s story and communicating via film their pain by using hyperbole. Shigofumi, of course, uses the latter method to great effect.

Looking the director and scriptwriter up on ANN, I see some quite interesting credits (this is the part of the post where I start having pretend film-nerd freakouts). Sato Tatsuo, the director, directed and was otherwise heavily involved with Stellvia, which is something I need to go back and watch again (doubly so now that I have this juicy tidbit of information). The scriptwriter, Okouchi Ichiro, was also involved in writing Stellvia, as well as Planetes and (brace yourselves here) is the original creator of Code Geass. Yes, that Code Geass. Now I understand why Shigofumi is so over-the-top. Taniguchi Goro’s influence must be spreading!

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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a ridiculously long and only partially organized list of subjects


March 2008

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