Shigofumi – 06
High school student Morishita Shunsuke is surfing an online message board one day when he comes across a thread with a person who calls himself half dead because he’s being bullied. This bullying problem also manifests itself in Shunsuke’s class at school in the form of three of the guys picking on a boy named Kikukawa Kouichi, but Shunsuke doesn’t think much of it and even participates. However, after one particular incident where Kouichi wasn’t allowed to wear pants during class, Shunsuke notices that the bullied person posting on the online message board reports the exact same experience. This makes him suspect that the person posting online is none other than Kouichi, and when Shunsuke runs into Kouichi outside class the next day, he questions him about it. Realizing that Shunsuke knows, Kouichi begs for help and says that he’s at his limit. Shunsuke points out that he’s being bullied because he relies on others, but Kouichi disagrees and blames the bullies instead of himself. Instead of listening to Kouichi, Shunsuke decides to run away, however the bullies who now think that he’s Kouichi’s friend then confront him. Since Shunsuke denies it, the bullies want him to prove it by helping them.
That night, Shunsuke calls Kouichi to tell him to meet on the school rooftop under the pretense that Shunsuke is willing to help him. Shunsuke and the bullies are waiting for Kouichi there, and they want him to walk over a steel beam that’s hanging from one point of the roof to the other with a deadly multi-story drop in between. Kouichi begs them because he doesn’t want to die, and he’s fortunately saved by the night watchman arriving on the rooftop to see what’s going on. The bullies get out of trouble by claiming that they’re the astronomy club, and Shunsuke returns home feeling that things worked out. The next day, however, their teacher reports that Kouichi is dead. Shunsuke thinks that Kouichi was stupid and, in the days that follow, it’s clear that no one cared about Kouichi. Everything changes for Shunsuke though when the bullies turn their sights on. Unable to endure the bullying, Shunsuke starts to post on the same message board that Kouichi was on, and he eventually finds himself in the same situation that Kouichi was in on the school rooftop.
It is at this point that Fumika appears and beats up the three bullies so that she can give Shunsuke a Shigofumi sent by Kouichi. In it, Kouichi wonders if Shunsuke now knows how it feels to be bullied and tells him to die. Fumika disappears immediately after Shunsuke finishes reading this, and the bullies then get back up and gang up on Shunsuke. Desperate, Shunsuke spots a screwdriver on the ground and stabs one of the bullies with it. He then lets out a bestial cry into the night sky, causing the other two bullies to run away scared. Watching from nearby, Fumika comments on how Shunsuke fought to protect himself – he died socially, but he lived as an animal. In the aftermath, the bully that Shunsuke stabbed remains alive but in critical condition, and Shunsuke is put under investigation.
Ugh, this episode is the perfect reason why I tend to dislike episodic series. It had very little to do with the overall story (Kanaka and Fumika’s involvement here was minimal, and the Kaname scenes really didn’t shed any new light onto Fumika’s identity either), so it had to stand on its own merits. The problem there is that this episode dealt with the bullying theme that’s been hashed out quite a bit in other places. There was something like this in an episode of Jigoku Shoujo, and I vaguely remember something similar from Great Teacher Onizuka too, so I didn’t find much interesting to this. Anyway, I hope there’s not many more episodes like this, and next week fortunately moves the focus back onto Fumika and her father.