Posted 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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  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 05:08 AM)
    @Emma I think society is too squeamish as it is. Morality is just an illusion, but people are so anal about everything.
  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 05:07 AM)
    @K-Off Case in point: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10784448
    and then on Dollys Death: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_%28sheep%29#Life I told you, telomere degeneration which is a main cause of aging is a current issue with cloning. Why don’t you learn what you’re talking about.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 05:05 AM)
    Actually theres something to worry about =< Societies become pretty damn desensitized =<
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 04:53 AM)
    On the hentai thing though…I mean I really do have no soul or heart to destroy. I feel absolutely nothing, blank at netorare for example .
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 04:44 AM)
    @Ultimate Yes, it’s modern cloning. Look this shit up.
    http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/cloning/whatiscloning/
  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 04:40 AM)
    @K-Off Are you familiar with telomere degeneration in DNA? A genetic clone only has the remaining lifespan, unless there is another process of cloning I am unaware of, this is scientific fact. Are you sure what you refer to is cloning? I’m partial to science, so I tend know a little bit about these things.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 04:39 AM)
    There is a Japanese-British author Kazuo Ishiguro that wrote a novel dystopian novel about clones which were used solely for organ harvesting for “higher people”.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 04:36 AM)
    @Ultimate Shame on you, you have no clue as to what real cloning is. Clones aren’t grown in a test tube; the seeds are fertilized in a lab, then transferred to a surrogate mother who then raises the unborn fetus. The baby will have a full lifetime, but it’s father wouldn’t have had to have sex with it’s mother to have him.
  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 04:33 AM)
    Genetic engineering is the future. The only question is how it’s used. First of all, clones only have the remaining lifespan of those who are cloned, on the second, it would be easy to create a large army, relatively shortly. There really is no point for it. The focus should be on stem cell research and genetic enhancement and the like.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 04:32 AM)
    @Emma Yeah, she’s vehemently against the cloning of humans AND animals for moral reasons.

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