Shigofumi – 04
Yahiro Ran is a high school girl who plays tennis and is very popular with the first-years. Her friend Nanae suggests that she get a boyfriend, but the truth is that Ran and Nanae are already very, very close. Ran lives with just her father, and one morning, Fumika shows up at her home. Fumika’s earlier encounter with Kaname after the hostage situation had ended when she ignored his questions and had teleported out of there. She now tries to give Ran a Shigofumi from someone named Tateishi Naoko. Hearing that name gives Ran pause, but she ends up just slapping the Shigofumi out of Fumika’s hands and running off. On this particular day, Ran and the tennis club are going to a training camp in the mountains, and because it’s outside the city, Fumika is forced to make a business trip request in order to follow them. After the tennis club reaches their destination, Ran and Nanae go to buy some refreshments for everyone, and while at the store, Ran thinks she sees her mother with a man, but it turns out to just be a random couple.
On the bike ride back to the school where they’re holding their training camp, Nanae wonders if Ran thinks that girls who go out with guys are dirty, and she suggests that Ran really hates men. Fumika then appears on the dirt path and shocks Ran into stopping the bicycle, but when Fumika tries to give her the Shigofumi again, Ran brings up how Naoko abandoned her. She feels that there’s no reason for her to accept the Shigofumi, however Fumika claims that there’s a reason to deliver it to her. Ran guesses correctly that the reason is because it’s Fumika’s job, and she once again runs away without taking the Shigofumi. Afterwards, another Shigofumi courier named Chiaki appears with her staff Matoma, and Kanaka remembers that this is Chiaki’s delivery area. Chiaki has a particular interest in Fumika because those who deliver Shigofumi are usually dead, so they don’t get older. Fumika is different because she ages.
Back at the school, Nanae asks Ran who Tateishi Naoko is, and Ran finally admits that it was her mother. She had left Ran’s father for another man, and Ran hated her for that. That’s why when she found out that her mother had been tricked by that guy, she felt that her mother got what she deserved. Later that night, Fumika pays another visit to Ran and finally gets her to take the letter. Ran, however, promptly throws it into the garbage, and Fumika concedes that Ran can do whatever she wants with it once she’s accepted it. The following morning, Ran is thinking about her mother so much that she doesn’t look where she’s running and injures her ankle. After helping bandage it up, Nanae urges her to read the Shigofumi and promises to always stay at her side. Ran still doesn’t though, and she tries to get some rest. Sometime later, Nanae and the rest of the tennis team notice that there’s smoke coming from the school. Unbeknownst to them, the sunlight focused through a plastic bottle had set a shirt on fire, and Ran is now trying to make her way out of the burning building.
Ran gets all the way out to the courtyard, but her injured foot prevents her from going any further, and she gets caught in the middle of the blaze. She had brought out the Shigofumi with her, and as she quietly cries out to her mother, it miraculously starts raining. Lying on the ground, Ran can only think of how her mother had abandoned her all those years ago. Watching from a distance, Chiaki questions Fumika about what just happened, but Fumika claims that it wasn’t her doing. She attributes it to something else, and she refers to the rain as gentle. In the aftermath, Ran does end up reading the Shigofumi, and in it, her mother apologizes to her and expresses how proud she is of all of Ran’s achievements. She had ended the Shigofumi by urging Ran to do her best, and Ran feels a lot better towards her mother afterwards.
Well this was a sweet episode that ended on a high note for once, but it was probably the weakest of the ones so far because it lacked any real surprises (unless you count divine/motherly forces causing it to rain). The first three episodes kind of spoiled me in that sense because the appeal they had for me was in the way the story weaved in plot twists, and this episode really didn’t have any. The most interesting parts this week were related to the first appearance of Chiaki and her staff Matoma (who kind of have reverse personalities compared to Fumika and Kanaka). Though she didn’t really play a big part in the episode, Chiaki’s revelation that Fumika is different from the other Shigofumi couriers seems to support the idea that Mikawa Kirameki became Fumika under some unusual circumstances while still being alive in that hospital bed. I’m hoping next week’s episode will shed more light onto it since the preview shows more of Mikawa and Kaname (and Chiaki).