Aida Shizuka is three days from being executed for cruelly murdering his family when a shinigami comes to visit him. It's his little sister Hibiki, who has come to make sure his soul goes to hell! Hibiki has another job on this trip as well, granting the final wish of a girl with heart disease, and she drags her condemned brother along with her. Soon, it becomes apparent that people are not as simple as they may seem, and even Shizuka's guilt is uncertain. Hibiki and Shizuka promise to search together for the truth about their family's death, and they won't let life, death, or trouble in the afterlife get in their way!
Shinigami-Sama ni Saigo no Onegai wo (from now on abbreviated as Shinigami-Sama ni Saigo because the full name is a pain in the ass to type a hundred times) has a pretty straight-forward premise. A boy is sentenced to death for the triple murder of his entire family, and his sister, who is one of the victims, has become a Shinigami, or God of Death, to make sure the sentence is carried out so she can drag him to the deepest pits of Hell herself. But did he really do it?
Art - 7
The art is not the best I've ever seen, but it's definitely not
the worst. Facial expressions fit the characters, environments aren't repetitive and there's a clear difference between characters. Pretty straightforward.
Character - 8
The characters are great. There is a clear developement visible in Shizuka and Hibiki both, Hibiki transitioning from a sister who loathes her brother for what he has (seemed to have) done, to a sister who would give her life to save her brother. Shizuka, at the start of the manga, has pretty much resigned to his fate and accepted death, but later on he starts to actually wonder if he did it at all, and if not then who? At first it seems that all that he does, he does to solve the mystery of the murders he was charged with, but it is eventually clearly visible that he does care about the people that he helps, giving up several chances to solve the case just to help other people.
The side-characters are very well-developed, each with a clear personality that differentiates them from the others, some with a clear background if needed. An 8 well deserved.
Story - 9
The story is an absolute masterpiece, even with a plot as simple as this, there is little to no filler. The story strays from the plot several times, which I thought was unneeded, but by the end of the manga even those little stories seemed to fall into place.
Oh right, the ending.
Let me change the score, hang on.
Story - 5
There is no ending. None at all. I don't know if it's because the manga was cancelled, or because the author intended it to end in a way that would make the readers solve the mystery themselves, but even if it was planned the way it did, many questions are still unanswered and not just the "but then who did it?" that this entire manga is about. All of the clues to the main question of the manga are summarized in the last few pages, and the story ends with a flowchart of all the information you have, which is not nearly enough to actually solve it. The worst part is that in the three years since the story "ended" (quotes because I don't consider this an ending), the author, or anyone else related to this manga for that matter, has come out with who the real killer was. There's tons of speculation all over the web, but no definite ending to the story at all. I really would have given this a 9 for story alone, if not for that ending.
Enjoyment - 7
Nevertheless, the story was good, and contrary to a lot of other mystery/horror manga/anime/visnovs out there, it actually *does* make you think along, list all the clues to the identity in your head. The manga was short and, as mentioned before, ended incomplete, but it was a fun read anyway.
Overall - 7
A great manga with good character developement and an enjoyable story that was ruined with a lousy ending that leaves the reader with a feeling of table-flipping frustration.
I got an impression by the time I was done with the first chapter of this manga. I remember rolling my eyes and thinking "this author thinks he's way smarter than he actually is." While this was an idol thought, I didn't expect this theme to end up permeating the entire series... but it does.
In essence, this manga is about a human boy who ends up working alongside a shinagami who is required to fulfill the "last request" of anyone who died unexpectedly(putting them at risk of turning into a bad spirit), in order to help them die peacefully. The shinagami turns out to
be his sister, who everyone thinks he might have murdered along with their parents, albeit with absolutely no evidence.
Chapter 00 reflects a far lighter version of what this manga could have been which might have been something like ghost whisperer, filled with highs, lows, and the feels. But by chapter 01, we end up with a fairly gory murder mystery that isn't afraid to throw in betrayal, sociopaths, and serial killers just for the heck of it.
For the most part, I did enjoy the manga. It gave me certain Sherlock Holmes vibes from time to time as the male protagonist tries to outwit and outsmart others. It certainly fits a sherlock holmes homage way better than Aria the Scarlett Ammo. The sis-con aspects of are quite nice, and while the harem aspects never develop very much, they're subtle and present enough to satisfy. The art was good, and the story plowed forward at a strong pace that never felt awkward.
Most of the characters were not fully developed, however, this is expected in an manga that gets cancelled prematurely. It is a bit sad though, as I'd like to have seen more adventures with each of the shinigami as the MC continues to build their trust and their affection for him.
The biggest setback, however, was that the writer of this manga seemed to have his head up his own butt when he wrote this, and was quite in love with the scent of his own farts. At times, the story came off as downright pompous. I'm particularly reminded of an early scene where he talks to the head of the shinigami. Supposedly, it shows him "outwitting" her by showing her the logical fallacy of her argument.... but to me it came off more like a 7 year old getting his parent to slip up and say something, and then demanding they hold to that. "But you said I could not not not not go outside, that means I can go out side!"
All of this would be fairly forgivable... if the story then didn't precede to end in the manner it did. Rushing to an end would be an immense understatement with this manga. You can almost see the author just about finished with chapter 17 when the publisher calls him and says, you know what, finish it with 18, we're done.
So what does the author do? <spoiler tag>
He turns it into a "who done it" mystery. It'd be a really cool idea.... if he had actually provided us with enough information to solve it.... but this manga has been out for years and the conclusion seems to be, no one freaking knows.
Then again, I should have expected this after I finished that first chapter. This was a guy amazed at his own brilliance. I'm not surprised he decides to smugly hold the conclusion to the manga, because to him, it's just soooo obvious. No... it's not obvious. You ended your manga prematurely, and you didn't provide enough clues for people to do anything more than make shots in the dark.
I didn't hate the manga, but that ending made me angry. If you know it's coming, you may be able to get some enjoyment from this manga, just be aware you'll never find out what happens.