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. 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.
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! ^__^
For a series that is only 12 episodes long (at the time this was written I have heard nothing of any plans to make a second season) Shigofumi is an Anime with amazing depth and a very well written story. It is one of the best anime's I have seen in a long time, certainly one of the best anime series I have seen with less than 20 episodes.
Story - 9
As I said before the writing in Shigofumi is amazing in itself, even more amazing is the fact that it is presented gradually over the span of 12 episodes at a perfect pace.
I have seen many short anime's try to rush the plot to make it fit but Shigofumi's story fits so well that it would be madness to have more than 12 episodes. The story itself is filled with multiple plot twists and it really pulls at the heart strings in many parts. One of the hardest points of any story is nailing a good ending in the resolution. Shigofumi does not get a perfect score since it does leave some of the more supernatural elements of the series and the late introduction of a few characters unexplained/undeveloped but in the end these elements only play a minor role in Shigofumi so they hardly take away from this Anime's memorable plot.
Art - 8
Nothing really special to mention about the art in Shigofumi. Its well above average and I have not complaints about it but I have seen a few anime's that manage to top it (Clannad for example). I wouldnt call Shigofumi eye candy but it is still far above the art found in most anime. Character design in particular is excellent, each of the reoccurring characters have a unique appearance so the viewer should never get them confused.
Sound - 8
As with the art, the sound in Shigofumi is far better than most but not the best by any means. Everything from the voice acting, to the music, and even the subtle sound effects are very nicely done though they simply do not stand out as much as the story or the...
Character - 9
In the span of only 12 episodes, Shigofumi not only managed to do an incredible amount of character development (without relying too heavily on flashbacks) for the main characters, but it also even managed to provide some background info on some of the minor characters. Even more so almost all the characters are likable (except for the few who are not meant to be) and you will find yourself sympathizing with more than one of them at at least one or two points in the series. Each character has a specific personality which they follow extremely well, in fact I dont think any of them ever "broke character" in the series. To give you an idea of how well done the character's are in this series, at the end of episode 12, while the credits are rolling, some of the more prominent reoccurring characters are shown. As each was shown I found that I instantly remembered each of them, not for what they did, but for who they were. I can say the same for only a handful of other animes.
Enjoyment - 8
If you want an action packed anime, Shigofumi is not what you are looking for. If you want an anime with lots of boobs, Shigofumi is not what you are looking for. If you want an anime that will make you laugh so hard that you need a friend on standbye to shock you back to life, Shigofumi is not what you are looking for.
But if you want an anime with an absolutely amazing story, well developed characters, and all in the span of only 12 episodes, Shigofumi is certainly what you are looking for. Even if you are just looking for a good anime to watch, you could do alot worse than Shigofumi.
Overall - 8
Truth be told, I debated giving this anime a 9 (the same score I gave Clannad, Death Note, and both seasons of Code Geass) but I finally decided to settle for an 8 for the reason that Shigofumi does do a few things wrong IMO. First of all it never goes into much depth about the supernatural elements of the story, we are just given the bare basics of it which is really all we needed to know for the main plot, still it does leave a bit of curiosity on the part of the viewer. The other thing that Shigofumi does wrong is that it does introduce about 1 to 3 new characters in the last few episodes that are presented in a way that implies that they are important or that we should know who they are but then we are never told who they are or their character is never developed at all. The main example here is the woman/women who Chiaki talks to in episode 11. It is implied that she and Chiaki have some sort of friction between them and that she is related to the supernatural element (which as I said is underdeveloped) but other than that, nothing else is revealed about her.
Despite these tiny mistakes, Shigofumi really is still an absolutely amazing story and I highly recommend it to nearly all anime fans.
Sifting through the dark, forgotten recesses of My Anime List like some sort of anime hipster, our writers have brought you 15 of what they consider to be the most underrated anime out there. Under appreciated masterpiece or stinker that got the reception it deserved; you decide.
Sometimes Japan makes movies with real people. Sometimes they're not even based on a manga! Sometimes they're even *GASP* masterpieces of world cinema! There's a wide world of live-action Japanese film out there to explore. These seven masterpieces should get you started.