Posted by psgels on 22 March 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shigofumi ~ Stories of the Last Letter


Shigofumi is another episodic series that takes an in-depth look at death. At first, it may seem like some strange cross between Shinigami no Ballad and Jigoku Shoujo, but it quickly finds its own style and identity to work with. The earlier episodes mostly focus on random cases, where Fumika, our lead girl for this series, delivers the final memories of a person who just died to his loved ones, while the latter episodes focus on Fumika herself, and why she ended up delivering these letters in the first place.

Shigofumi’s strength is how it’s able to deliver a quiet and engaging atmosphere, with the subtlety of a herd of stampeding elephants. One moment, you’re enthralled by the versatile characters, the next you’re freaked out by some disturbing plot twist that came out of nowhere. The interesting thing is that this series knows fully well how to combine its quiet moments with its eventful ones.

Another strength about this series is the cast of characters. The writers make sure that all the characters are likable before they start playing with them. Especially Fumika turns into a well-rounded character for such a small series. Her development is started early, and not at the semi-final episodes, which seems to be a mistake that many series seem to make.

But yeah, I mentioned that this series has the subtlety of a herd of stampeding elephants. This is in both the good and the bad way. If things seem a bit too quiet, you can bet your hat that a candle will fall over and set a house on fire, just too spice things up a bit, and the entire series is filled with these kinds of plot-twists.

The individual stories basically range from one particularly far-fetched tale of bullying, to very subtle and insightful views on death, and especially the people who have been left by them. Shigofumi definitely has its flaws, but because of this it also has its own identify. You may try, and Jigoku Shoujo and Shinigami no Ballad indeed at first sight seem similar, but you won’t find any series that’s really captured the same essence as this one. If you want a series that’s short, sweet, and yet still packs a punch, then this one could be worth to check out.

2 Responses

  1. Solaris says:

    Sorry to bother futher with an “old” show like this.

    I was just curious about the “double” personality of Fumika and why was she a shigofumi deliverer thus not beng dead.
    So, basically Mika is an IkiryŁE a manifestation of the soul the living Fumika separately from her body cause of the illness.
    Well. You may argue that was clear from the very start, but that actually meets a kind of ghost in the traditional japanese folklore:
    Look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikiry%C5%8D

  2. Anu says:

    I certainly liked the concept and exploration of death in Shigofumi but the plot seemed to go haywire in the later episodes, linking of events became difficult till it bordered on absurd.

    SPOILERS

    The abuse Fumika suffered at the hands of her father was slightly unconvincing to me, especially the part where it is revealed she had never seen people other than her father till she is of roughly middle school age. Its also a bit unconvincing that a girl with no proper basic education can suddenly jump into middle school! I wonder if the viewers are supposed to assume Kirameki did the basic tutoring for his daughter?

    END OF SPOILERS

    Flaws like these kept popping up and reduced the overall impact of the series for me. It was a decent watch, but not something that goes in my rec book!

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  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:43 PM)
    Now granted,deens adaptation of sankarea had some pretty neat visuals behind it.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:14 PM)
    Granted that none of those manga had the type of mass appeal that Sankarea has, but they’re some pof the best manga I’ve read within their specific genre (sentimental ecchi comedies/romances). I love his art style too. It just works so well for sappy romantic stuff. Inu Neko Jump will always be one of my favorite manga.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:12 PM)
    On the subject of Sankarea, I’m about as big of a Hattori Mitsuru fanboy as anyone could be and I have to say that Sankarea is my least favorite manga of his. His strengths and weaknesses just don’t lend themselves very well to that type of horror/drama plot. Umisho, Inu Neko Jump, and Otogi no Machi no Rena even were all better manga.
  • k-off
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:47 PM)
    To be fair to the series though, I thought that the owl was pretty cool.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:18 PM)
    But I’ve heard complaints about the fanservice of rea not making sense considering her past/background and I’m inclined to agree.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:16 PM)
    Ha, and once again another shounen ruined by not being a seinen manga.
    @Aidan: Sometimes..sometimes I feel its the fans that should be writing these things instead…well the good ones =P
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:05 PM)
    @K-Off, Potentail for Rea to go berserk and starting a zombie apocalypse? Or at least enough to have her slowly lose her mind and chiro having to resort to more and more desperate measures to protect her and stop her from hurting others. There was plently of potentail in the premise, just that the author didn’t have the balls to take it that far.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 05:51 PM)
    Wasn’t awful now by any means but I’d rather stop with it before any good memories of it get ruined =<
    I think I'm just fed up with these shounen comedies/dramas and pandora hearts is also the last time I take a chance on a shounen fantasy show.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 05:48 PM)
    Although as a whole sankarea never really geled together for me, series of genre clashing and a master of none, there were little pockets of interest and the art was good and moments did feel like something more. Some of the fanservice, comedy also felt misplaced.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 05:42 PM)
    @Aidan: K-off said it went downhill after the island arc. I also forgot it was ending.

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