Hello and welcome to G-Views, where SoL reigns supreme, moe is respected and Dokuro-chan sucks poopie. The following show gives true meaning to the phrase “Any Last Words before your final curtain call?”. What would you say if you had the ability to deliver one last message before passing on the the afterlife? In the following anime, you’ll find out what others had to say, expressing their true feelings in one form or another. This is Shigofumi, which translates to “Afterlife Letter”
Shigofumi – Stories of Last Letter (Japanese)
シゴフミ ～Ｓｔｏｒｉｅｓ ｏｆ Ｌａｓｔ Ｌｅｔｔｅｒ～ (Japanese)
Genres: drama, psychological, supernatural
Themes: girls with guns, life after death, magical girl, suicide, tragedy, Dark
Number of episodes: 13
Plot Summary: Fumika and Kanaka are mail carriers- but not the typical kind. For one, Kanaka is a talking staff and for two, Fumika delivers shigofumi: letters from the dead addressed to the living. These letters are a final, true, communication derived from hate, hope, and love. The story unfolds following this pair and their uncommon job as well as Fumika’s unique ‘situation’.
Be warned that this show isn’t all giggles and fun. There will obviously be moments where your heart will be saddened by the events that take place here. As the short summary explains, each Shigofumi contains a special message from the departed. Whether said message is good or bad isn’t the case, it’s the story attached to the messages that matter, for each episode has an interesting premise that has either already been seen before in real life, or an event that will shock you, like for example, the true identity of our leading lady, Fumika.
Most episodes comprise of an event that usually involves the portrayal of humanity’s darkness and those who suffer because of it, eventually leading to the victim or culprit receiving the Shigofumi that will definitely make a huge impact in their life. This show is definitely not for the weak of heart. This show is drama and suspense all the way, not only with the lives of the Shigofumi;s recipients but the two main “Messengers” themselves, especially the main lead. Clues are spread throughout the series that will eventually lead to the revelation of her past and origin, which actually surprised me quite a bit. I guarantee that each story will keep you watching and interested, because they each have a charm that makes them impossible to look away.
My only petty gripe with this show is that not much is explained about the “Messengers” themselves. Sure, we get the complete story of two of them, including the protagonist, but not much else is explained about the Shigofumi society other than they deliver letters from the departed and that they’re located in heaven. I was wondering why they can be seen by everyone and not just the recipients of the letters? I’m guessing that the whole “Only a select few with special gifts can see “them” ” shtick was done too many times already, so the writers figured, screw it, let’s just make them visible to all and that they’ll only appear in public when they’re on the job. Okie dokie, I’ll take it since it makes sense.
The music is just right in my view. I’m a sucker for soft, classical music and the like. Each tune fits the situation perfectly, so I have no gripes with this one.
The animation: The series provides a great atmosphere which it tries to recreate and succeeds in doing, with great scenery and props, well recreated settings and character art, leading to an image that is very pleasing to the eyes, although I do admit that some of the secondary characters do show little to no difference in their appearance. I actually had a tough time telling some students apart at one time during the show.
The characters: As explained in my plot analysis (of sorts), each of the recipients of a Shigofumi is going through one problematic event or another and will make the viewer think about how extremely possible it is for something like this to be happening in real life right now. (Not receiving a message from the dead, but the problem). You’ll most definitely sympathize and question some of the decisions and conditions that each person has in their respective episodes.
As for the main protagonists: Aside from Fumika and the 2nd “Messenger” who are awesome, there’s also their staffs. The most noticeable being Kanaka (Fumika’s staff), the main comedy relief “character” on the show.
Other main characters include Fumika’s childhood friends from middle school, who each have their own reasons for desiring to get involved with our adorable white haired “messenger”. Aside from the obviously bad people on the show, I found nothing to whine about the good guys.
In conclusion: Shigofumi is a magnificent series recommended to anyone who likes their fair share of Dark anime and also for people who want to watch something on a less lighthearted tone. Don’ get me wrong, this show has funny moments, plenty of them, but they only serve as calms before storms, so enjoy the humor while it lasts.
P.S.: I’ll never ever take depression lightly again.