Shigofumi – 03
On a train station platform, a boy named Kotake Tooru starts edging towards the train tracks as he plays a game on his cell phone. He never crosses the edge though, and the proximity of the arriving train catches him by surprise. At school, he asks his friends Senkawa Daiki and Nojima Kaname about thinking about jumping in front of a train when on a platform. Kaname immediately replies that he hasn’t thought about something like that, and Daiki wonders if Tooru wants to die. Tooru claims that he doesn’t and is just talking about jumping, but he has a hard time trying to come up with how those two things are different. When he specifically asks Daiki about ever having wanted to die, Daiki pauses for a moment before answering that he hasn’t. Kaname scolds Tooru for talking about weird things since he has no reason to want to die, but when Tooru asks for Daiki’s opinion, Daiki never answers. Instead, he gets called away by a girl, though he smiles at Tooru before he goes. That night, as Tooru is playing a video game, he receives a phone call from Kaname telling him that Daiki has died.
Meanwhile, a group of yakuza are under a bridge beating up man, but they get interrupted by Fumika who has a Shigofumi for the victim. The yakuza guys try to assault her, but she defeats them all, hands over the Shigofumi which consists of only a bloody hand-print, and then walks away, letting the yakuza continue what they were doing because she’s only a delivery person. As for Daiki’s death, it turns out that it was a suicide via jumping off a building, however no one knows why he did it. The principal and the teachers interrogate the students about it the next day, but even Tooru has no idea why, despite supposedly being Daiki’s friend. All this makes him realize that he didn’t really know much about Daiki, so he starts to feel that they weren’t truly friends. Kaname thinks that it’s natural for them not to know what Daiki was really thinking, and he supports his point by telling the story of a girl from his junior high class who suddenly shot her father one day. He hadn’t thought that that girl could do something like that.
Fumika and Kanaka are also talking about why people commit suicide, and Fumika thinks that it’s because people break and do things like suicide, incest, and parricide. According to her, humans are the only living creatures with so many errors. Back at school, Tooru thinks about what Kaname said about not knowing what other people are thinking, but Tooru feels that he wants to know. His train of thought is interrupted though when Daiki’s father suddenly enters their class and takes everyone hostage. Daiki’s father is doing this because he wants to know the reason why his son died. However, the students truly don’t know what that reason is, so Daiki’s father instead inquires about who his son’s closest friend was. Not really paying attention to Daiki’s father, Tooru instead thinks about how Daiki had killed himself less than half a day after saying that he hadn’t thought about dying. Daiki’s father nevertheless picks on Tooru and asks him to name the person was responsible for Daiki’s death, but Tooru responds by saying that even he wants to know.
This conversation is interrupted when Fumika suddenly bursts through the door so that she can deliver a Shigofumi to Tooru from Daiki. The father wants to be the one to read it, but Fumika steps in and points her gun at his head in order to prevent him from interfering. Still, at the father’s request, Tooru ends up reading the letter out loud. In the Shigofumi, Daiki wrote about this not being a big deal – he had merely wondered what would happen if he jumped. He had said before that he didn’t think about wanting to die, but he didn’t want to live either. Thus, there was no reason; Daiki had just wanted to take a path different from usual. After Tooru finishes reading, Daiki’s father expresses his disbelief, but Tooru confirms that this was definitely something Daiki wrote. Before he can say why he knows this though, Tooru suddenly notices the SWAT team outside the classroom. Wasting no time, the SWAT team throws a flashbang grenade and quickly overwhelms Daiki’s father. In the aftermath, Tooru explains that he knew because he was Daiki’s friend. For him, what Daiki did was just like jumping onto the train tracks.
With the hostage situation over, Fumika heads to the school rooftop where she talks about how death can’t save people – they only disappear. When Kanaka asks, Fumika that these words are from a popular writer named Mikawa Kirameki. Kaname then bursts onto the rooftop and calls out to Fumika, referring to her as Mikawa. Earlier, when Fumika had pulled out her gun, Kaname had recognized it as looking similar to the one a girl from his past had carried. Now, after he identifies that he was her classmate, Kaname questions why Fumika shot her father. Meanwhile, in a hospital somewhere, a girl is sleeping next to a book with the name Mikawa Kirameki and a large sigma symbol on the cover.
Alright, given the themes of suicide (jumping off a building, in front of a train) and talking a school hostage, I can see why the Shigofumi production team felt it necessary to edit the episode for content (like they mentioned on the official website earlier this week). The most evident example of that was the censorship of the gun that Daiki’s father was carrying – it showed up as a large black blob during various parts of the episode. On the whole though, this didn’t bother me too much because of everything else that was going on in the episode. Even the beginning of the episode was pretty intense with the way it looked like Tooru was going to jump off the platform. I thought the jumping-for-no-reason idea was kind of stupid, but I’m willing to bet that there’s more than one person out there who’s done it before, so I don’t think it was unrealistic. If anything, I thought the episode did well in depicting friendships where people don’t know much about each other and in the way the public and media react to such suicides.
The big surprise this episode wasn’t anything related to the suicide though – it was the twist they threw in at the end about Fumika’s past. Even if we assume that Fumika is some representation of the girl in the hospital, then there’s still the question of how she got to be that way and why she quotes the writer who is also called Mikawa. That was the one thing that kept this episode from being entirely standalone. And it’s also what makes me think that the entire series will tie together via Kaname and Kaname’s father (the detective), both of whom are likely to be recurring characters. The former has the connection to Fumika/Mikawa, and the latter’s police work can connect him to all the deaths that result in Shigofumi. Anyway, I really want to find out more about Fumika (damn cliffhanger), but next week appears to be a new story that involves some yuri elements.