When someone dies, what should their final words be? Words that couldn't be said while still alive—of love, hate, hope, regret, or perhaps words without any importance. These words are sent through letters called "shigofumi" from the recently deceased to the living. Mikawa Fumika is a mail carrier of these shigofumi, delivering them alongside staff and her partner Kanaka. However, there must be something more behind Fumika's silent exterior; shigofumi mail carriers are deceased humans with the same appearance they had just before death. Despite this, Fumika is still aging...
Upon reading the summary for this show, most would think it's just another episodic and unoriginal anime with silly stories and characters that have no depth. I, too, was one of those that wasn't expecting much of Shigofumi, but after taking my chances, I was thoroughly impressed.
At first we're presented to separate stories that revolve around the delivery of Shigofumi, the letter from the dead. But the themes and characters involved are a lot more serious than you'd normally see in shows like Jigoku Shoujo and Shinigami no Ballad, shows that follow the same basic concept of Shigofumi. Bullying, child abuse, teenage suicide, the list goes on. They're all recent issues that are so real to us, treated without sugar-coating. The characters are so human and their situations so easy to recognize that it's hard to be indifferent to them.
And we're not served of only parallel stories. The main character actually holds a story of her own, some dark secret, and often we think we know something, but the unexpected pops up. A mixture of supernatural, reality, human characters and those that are just meant to be eccentric, mixed with a pretty good soundtrack and a beautiful art that J.C.Staff is known to deliver.
Shigofumi is a definite enjoyment if you're looking for a quick but still meaningful series. The ride is good, and it definitely stands out among its "episodic series that deal with death" sisters.read more
Shigofumi is a Psychological, Supernatural, Drama about a mysterious courier (Fumika) and her talking staff (Kanaka) that deliver letters from the dead. Even though they are the main characters, the series tend to follow the person/people related to the person in account (person who wrote the shigofumi). The short series is full of episodic stories, with each being different from the last but they all deal with the same issue… ‘death’. Each story varies in the levels of disturbing content so if you thought it would be a walk in the park then you are sorely mistaken but there are also plenty of heartfelt stories to supplement that.
The characters of this anime series are great and that is because they are all well developed. Being able to develop specific characters, bit by bit, in such a small space of time and then move onto the next is an amazing feat. I also must say that the main characters (Fumika & Kanaka) don’t necessarily receive the same treatment, as they have plenty of time to be developed slowly.
The animation quality both has it’s good and minor bad points. The animation is noted for its amazing artistry with marvelously detailed environments, the deaths were nicely dramatized and everything, including the characters move fluidly. On the other hand the characters designs are somewhat lacking, yet I guess it’s just me searching for some minor faults.
The music was pretty eerie, especially the OP theme but it helps bring about tension and does a good job building up towards a climatic scene.
Overall Shigofumi is a sublime short drama series that does an amazing job with tying in the supernatural theme of shigofumi with real life stories and issues. The great thing about this series is that there are episodes that are bound to touch people, due to how close to home it may feel (bullying, suicide, illnesses, etc). Yet it also can remove the uneasy feeling with a bit of light comedy, mostly from the talking staffs. This is a most watch if you want a serious but short drama, but I must say that the ending could have been better.
First time I heard this series, I was hesitant to watch it due to the fact "shinigami" or other death-related themes are proliferative in the anime market these days but boy...was I wrong. :D
The story is well-made with "death letters" being the main dish. No beating around the bush since all storyline will end with each episode in the early parts. Although at first, it may be bit confusing, especially Fumika's story but will eventually be revealed later on.
Not as appealing or dazzy such as Shakugan no Shana but J.C. Staff made good use of the artwork and styling. Some episodes however are not consistent with the animation quality but only in fair details.
BGM done in the series was good and very much appeal. ALI Project made use of their stylistic approach for the OP theme making it haunting and adds a mystery around the series. The ED theme also was done fairly but not compared how the OP was done.
Character styles was done nicely in good amounts such as Fumika, Chiaki and especially Fumika's father character of evil but pure intention. Character development leaves a fair amount to the series due to it being short thus focusing mainly on the main character (Fumika). Voice acting is good especially Fumika and Kanaka.
Considering "death" as one of the factors in the series, the average otaku might be intimidate at first due to some "controversial" topic such as child abuse, suicide, and school bullying. Nevertheless, this series aims to expose the dark side of humans and how people came to notice that death may be the answer.
Although the sensitive topics the series is shedding light on might be a cause of disbelief and confusion, this anime did aim to teach us how fragile human feelings are. This is a highly recommended short anime series to watch if you are looking for psychological and rare slice-of-life-but-dark theme. Happy watching! ^__^read more
"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
— Robert Frost
The story of Shigofumi revolves around Fumika, one of many magical postal workers who deliver mail from the diseased to whoever the dead intend their final words to go to. Unlike her fellow postal workers Fumika slowly ages which creates a bit of an overarching plot in the latter half of the anime in order to explain her origins and why she differs from other postal workers.
Throughout the anime we get to follow Fumika on her many adventures delivering mail to people from the dead, while also learning about herself and human nature.
On paper Shigofumi is genius, as the concept of getting a final message from a dead acquaintance opens up a vast array of possibilities for character exploration. Sadly Shigofumi failed to step up to its potential and ultimately offered a somewhat lack luster experience. The first half of the anime is mostly made up of episodic stories which focus on Fumika simply doing her job and delivering letters from the dead. The execution on these stories tend to a bit of a mixed bag, on the one hand these stories do at times tackle many variations of death and the regrets the dead leave behind in a fairly mature way, looking at very serious issues such as apathetic depression, bullying, and living with a fatal illness such as cancer. On the other hand at times they go for a much simpler and lazier approach, for some reason choosing to go the thriller route and straying away from being grounded, throwing in things such as insane homicidal psychopaths into the mix.
At times the episodic stories feel very genuine while at others they are over the top and boarder being unintentionally comical. Luckily when Shigofumi does choose to be a drama rather than a thriller it manages to pull it off rather well utilizing its premise to tell an engaging story.
A big problem the anime faces is that despite it’s very interesting setting it fails to ever go into depth about the various facets of postal workers as well as the way the afterlife works. It’s established that the postal workers themselves are deceased people but it never explores why or how the dead become postal workers, can anyone who dies become a magical postal worker or must the person meet some sort of requirements? The ambiguous nature of Shigofumi’s world acts to only hurt it as it only takes away from the experience. There are moments in the anime where Fumika does not try to hide her identity and in fact is very blunt about it as we see her flying in public and at times even causing a ruckus. This makes the viewer question how the society this world takes place in had no knowledge of the existence of these magical postal workers, Fumika does not erase people’s memory of their encounter with her nor does she deliver her letters in a stealthy way, at many times catching the attention of bystanders. I know this one is a bit of a nitpick but it really annoyed me and left me confused at points.
Anyways I digress, when the anime does get into its overarching plot the entire show takes a turn for the worse as the drama begins to feel a bit cheap and the characters begin to feel less and less human. The Fumika backstory arc features a character who is a sadistic writer who abuses and tortures other for the sake of art, now if that’s not over the top I don’t know what it.
Speaking of characters as a whole Shigofumi’s cast was fairly solid, Fumika was a decent main lead who filled her role fairly well, while she is a bit distant and stoic some of the supporting characters make up for whatever emotions she lacks, adding a bit of energy into the title with some lighthearted comedy to break the monotony. The humans, or rather undead humans were a bit of a mixed bag, some of them exhibited very clear personalities and even developed in their short time which is admirable. However in some cases such as the aforementioned insane sadistic artist the characters can be a bit extreme to the point that they could disengage someone from the anime. While I found very few characters to be bad per se none of the characters managed to really stand out or leave their mark on me, one can attribute this to the show’s episodic nature but even so I have seen many other episodic titles that managed to create very strong and memorable characters with ease such as Kuuchuu Buranko.
Art & Animation: 3/10
Shigofumi was animated by studio J.C. Staff and honestly they did a poor job. The art style is nothing special in and of itself, the only thing that makes it differ from most other anime is that the color pallet is a bit light, giving it a look very similar to the anime Kino no Tabi. While the art style is average the actually animation is a whole different story as it’s simply subpar, especially considering that this anime aired in 2008. Very few scenes in this title are fluent or carefully animated, a lot of scenes lack any detail, and at times characters have horrendous proportions. There’s also a big lack of consistency.
Despite all of Shigofumi's short comings the soundtrack is by far not one of them as the OST is home to various beautifully composed ambiance pieces that help bring emotion to the otherwise dull and bland scenes. The OST fits very well for the tone of this title and I have no complaints about it. My personal favorite tracks were Shintan, Shinsekai, and Kirameki.
At the end of the day Shigofumi felt very underwhelming for me, the overarching story disengaged me and while there were some very good stand alone episodes, such as ep 10 as a whole I was not really entertained and was left a bit disappointing.
All around while Shigofumi is by no means a bad anime, it’s definitely lacking when compared to other titles of a similar nature, it does not really do much with its very interesting premise and to me just feels like wasted potential. If you love drama anime this title may have something for you but other than that I find this particular title very hard to recommend as honestly it does not offer too much worth noting. read more
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