The story unfolds following Fumika along with her talking staff and their uncommon job as well as Fumika’s unique ‘situation.’
Fumika delivers shigofumi: letters from the dead addressed to the living. These letters are a final, true communication derived from hate, hope, and love.
Genres: Drama, psychological, supernatural
Episodes: 12 + 1 (OVA)
“Death brings not salvation, only evanescent.” – Mikawa Kirameki
Contrary to my expectations, which were none, for this was an unfamiliar title to me, the show carries quite a few positive traits. But before going into that, here is an overview of the anime looks (no spoilers).
The viewers are provided mostly with episodic stories, covering almost 2/3rd of its length, while maintaining a remote connection to an overall main plot, revealed bit by bit. Each of the stories has in common the ‘shigofumi,’ that is a letter from the dead.
A couple of characters exclusive to the central plot appear, in fact, at the beginning of the latter half of the show; not taking away anything because by that time the story has proceeded into the mystery concerning the past life of the main character and her existential crisis, and the viewers are well aware of the parts the supporting characters play in the story.
As for the thematic elements and the strengths of the show – it is a social commentary on the tragedy of wasted lives. The episodic arcs are well-built and shredded into sub-elements complementing the main story.
The subject matter, dealing with suicide, child exploitation, domestic abuse, severe bullying, and psychoses, is obsessed with the ugly side of society and unlike anime like Kino no Tabi, deals with them in a harsh, expository, and straight-to-your-face manner, yet managing to balance it with tender moments of sentimentality.
Art and sound
The character designs are good, a bit moe-ish for the main character; and a dim, flat color scheme is maintained throughout to match the supposedly dark nature of the stories.
Kana Ueda’s voice acting as Fumika stands out. Further, Ueda’s vice as Ayase, a guest character in the first couple of episodes, stand out as well. However, the voice of Kanaka as Fumika’s staff and companion is quite annoying.
Story and characters
Even though a couple of the sub-plots pack quite the emotional punch and are well-written overall, this anime lacks credibility when it comes to the execution of the central story. The main character’s actions are at places self-contradictory, and the plot might fall apart altogether even with the slightest insertion of logical reasoning.
The conclusion too, was a sappy and trivial one despite the intense dramatic build-up.
I was thoroughly immersed in the episodic stories, not so in the main plot.
If you can avoid putting too much logic into the setting, then the sub-plots are going to be a treat. And Fumika’s story is also well-developed, and rounded up quite nicely in the OVA.