High school romance with a paranormal loli and her talking staff turns into shocking horror! Sound interesting? Make sure you check out Shigofumi (シゴフミ), Saturdays at 25:35 JST on CTC spanning 12 episodes.
Despite only having 3 volumes out since it debuted in 2006, Amamiya Ryou’s light novel series Shigofumi is already being turned into an anime. This animated version is handled by director Satou Tatsuo, merited with the classic Martian Successor Nadesico, cry festival Stellvia and more recently Tokyo Tribe 2. The script’s in very good hands – Ookouchi Ichirou dazzled us just last year with Code Geass, but he was also man behind the fantastic Planetes, and has worked with the director previously on Stellvia. The production company should also be quite familiar with light novel adaptations, considering JC Staff has already given us Shakugan no Shana and Zero no Tsukaima.
There are two main characters: Fumika, a mysterious and quiet girl who delivers letters from dead people, and her sidekick Kanaka, a talking staff which also functions as transportation. The letters in question are called “shigofumi”, and are written by the deceased after time of death, where they supposedly get remarkably honest. The first recipient we get to know is the anime-only arc’s amateur rocket scientist Shouta, whose secret crush Asuna gets a call to inform her of the discovery of her father’s corpse. Fumika soon arrives at his workshop to hand over a letter from the girl’s father, as it is addressed to “Asuna’s lover”. Yet learning that Shouta is not quite at the “lover” stage yet, she proves reluctant to give him the message, and Shouta presently decides to realize his relationship by professing his love to Asuna by completing a successful launch of his rocket in order to qualify. But how did Asuna’s father die?
Animation and character design are both good, giving the show a nice look, especially in combination with the pleasant character design. Unfortunately image quality suffers from what appears to be low resolution, but perhaps MXTV will remedy that problem when they start broadcasting in a couple of days. The music’s also astonishingly good, composed by Nanase Hikaru, credited with everything from Galaxy Angel to Zettai Shounen. Voice acting’s done by Ueda Kana (Yumi in Maria-sama ga Miteru) in deadpan loli mode for Fumika, while Kanaka’s perky and talkative voice is done by Matsuoka Yuki (Osaka in Azumanga Daioh). Standing in for this arc are relative newcomer Yonaga Tsubasa (Mihashi in Ookiku Furikabutte) as Shouta and Sendai Eri (Triela in Gunslinger Girl (1st season)) as Asuna. In short, there’s little to complain about.
Let me stress that this is, despite my fluffy plot summary, not a happy and cheerful show. It is in fact the opposite, but I’m trying to be nice and not spoil you too much. The impression I got from the website before the anime aired was favourable, and the show more or less lives up to it. It’s quality through and through, and definitely interesting enough to keep me glued to the screen for another few episodes. The question remains whether Shigofumi will manage to make Fumika into a unique character rather than some sort of mix between Kino and Rei, because I think we’ve seen quite enough of her type. I’m also uncertain about the format the series will take, but from the preview I’m guessing it’ll be 2-4 episodes bunched up into standalone arcs.