Archive for the 'shigofumi ~stories of last letter~' Category

First, we put Fumika in a box. Then, we set a vial of poison in the box…

Then, we set the vial of poison to open if a certain sort of atom decays in the next hour. Is the Fumika alive or dead when you open the box? Can you even tell?

That seems to be the question posed in Shigofumi 5, wherein a deeper plot concerning the shadowy origins of Fumika are revealed, by the boy who had a crush on her (and she on him), no less. It’s fitting, therefore, that the series made a Schrodinger’s Cat reference in this episode, then, since we don’t actually know what’s going on with Fumika or why she is working for the Shigofumi Praesidium. Is she alive? Is she dead? The plot angle isn’t something I anticipated from the series at the beginning (or, well, I did, but in a different form than it is now). I’m assuming that the mysterious reason she’s doing this is to atone for her sin of killing her gradient-hair father (who doesn’t sound like he’s too hot of a guy from the small clip we see of him at the beginning).

Shigofumi seems to be adept at leavening more serious themes with comedy, which is a good thing. SERIOUS BUSINESS is all well and good, but sometimes you need a laugh, and the character designs are too attractive to waste on a serious show. I’d almost argue that the character designs and overall art style fit a series of this calibre: they’re just “serious” enough to not make the serious side laughable, and they’re soft enough to make the cute moments (such as Fumika terrified of cats) be appropriately cute. It’s a hard thing to explain, but the designs are attractive, and the overall art direction is quite well done. It’s not visually the same as true tears, but it doesn’t need to be. Plus, the Shigofumi uniforms are stylinh–it’s like postal worker uniforms, except anime. And awesome hats. More girls need awesome hats.


Shigofumi Does Yuri

So, yeah. Best episode of Shigofumi yet, on the mere basis that they tantalized us (me) with tasty yuri. They even had finger sucking, which just made me flip out hardcore.

On the less pandering side of things, Shigofumi is somewhat as I expected it to be, and somewhat not. The baseless prediction I made (reminder: the story would be told through a series of interrelated deaths leading to a chain of stories) isn’t actually there, although in episode 4 we find out that the entire series takes place in one city, which means that we’re going to get some overlap. I think the detective character has popped up more than once in the series. And it’s also a lot like Shinigami no Ballad (which, by the way, has its first light novel coming out in the States at the end of March, if Seven Seas keeps up with it; everyone’s going to buy it, right? Right?), except I think Shigofumi is less afraid of being twisted. Asuna basically being molested by her father via proxy was Bokurano levels of twisted, and, although the series hasn’t been quite that bad since that episode, it shows they’re not afraid to show the grittier side of human life.

Comparisons with Shinigami no Ballad are, of course, a good thing, and what Shigofumi lacks in soft, warmth it makes up for it with style. In spades. Fumika isn’t afraid to resort to violence to get her way (as Sen-chan’s father found out rather frighteningly) and, although no one’s actually been shot with the existence-destroying gun yet there’s this lingering ominous feeling that it’s going to be used at some point. The series is confidently and tightly written. The non-recurring characters are largely flat, which isn’t really that much of a problem–there’s only so much you can do with a character in the space of 24 minutes. What it does do well is give you a good snapshot of that character at that particular moment surrounding the receipt of a Shigofumi–conflicting emotions and all.

Also, something else I’ve just noticed: the delightfully bizarre Nanase Hikaru is doing music. You know, the one who did the excellent music for Zettai Shounen and whose real name is Itou Masumi, who composed the similarly bizarre Azumanga Daioh opening song. Yeah. Her. Need soundtrack now.

Shigofumi episode 1: BAD END

I didn’t even notice this scene until I skimmed for screencaps.

So, Shigofumi was seeming like an okay rehash of Shinigami no Ballad but after that ending, no, it’s something different. Can’t fault me for thinking that, though, since both Fumika and Momo have white hair.

The first episode was fairly well-done. There’s not much to say about the plot at the moment (we’ll get to that in a bit), but I rather liked the characters. In contrast with the Shinigami no Ballad comparison, Shigofumi has considerably more light humor to leaven the mood, at least in the first episode (and then it takes said leavened mood and stabs it with a knife–literally). Kino Fumika had a delightfully personalityless personality, and her talking staff Hermes Kanaka* has the sassy personality that magical staves needed to fill the void left by Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha’s Donna Burke-voiced Raising Heart.

On the plot, I’m going to make a huge leap of logic here, and make the 99% baseless assumption on the overall plot structure of the series in general based on two things: one, how the episode ended, and two, the title of the ending theme, Chain. It’s just a passing impression I got, and, again, this is mostly speculation, but somehow I think what’s going to happen is that each episode will tie into the last via the mechanism of the Shigofumi–i.e., end of episode, someone dies, the Shigofumi gets sent to a new person, and we end up with a chain (get it now?) of connected stories that end up far from where they began.

Or I could be completely wrong and they’re shooting for a more standard story arc format. But now that I’ve thought of this concept, I desperately need to see it at some point.

*FOOTNOTE: I bought the Kino no Tabi novel the other day, so I’ll finally be able to experience it! Then this joke won’t look like I’m being a poser!


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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August 2019
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