What would you do if you suddenly received a shigofumi—from someone who was dead? The sender could either be a friend or a relative. Would you accept it or no?
Last week, during the day of the class suspension, I had happened to be bored and not in the mood to do any homework. Sure, I tried playing with my PS4, but I quickly grew tired of it. I was alone at home and I happened to be reading manga. Then suddenly, a thought popped into my mind: What was the name of that series I remember reading in that magazine three years ago? Deciding that I would watch that to relieve my boredom, I googled out the details of the show and came across “Shigofumi: Letters from the Departed.” So there I went and watched the anime.
What I saw… was the most amazing blend of death, life, messages and emotion.
Fun Fact: The Kanji for “shigofumi” uses “shigo”, which means ‘after death’, and “fumi”, which means ‘letter’. But for some reason, it types out the title in Katakana.
So what’s the premise of Shigofumi all about, anyway?
Shigofumi tells the story of a postman named Fumika, a no-nonsense girl who works to deliver the final messages and sentiments of the dead to whomever they write down as a recipient. Each episode focuses on Fumika delivering each letter, occasionally throwing in a discussion between her and another character or her talking staff, Kanaka, about the lives of us humans. Postmen are chosen from among the dead, thus they do not age, but Fumika ages—albeit this is unobvious—which signifies she is alive.
An anime that’s just about letters being delivered to their loved ones?! Boring!
No, it’s not the same thing over and over again… Sure, each episode is about the delivery of a letter, but what makes each one unique is the method, the timing by which the letter was delivered and who the receiver was that made each episode unique. Take this one non-spoiler example from the show: the letter was from this guy who committed suicide and the recipient was his friend who looked as if he had crossed a personal event horizon.
And on another note, what’s nice about this show is that characters (who haven’t died) from other episodes appear in the next episodes as well.
The characters are all well-crafted, though some might seem cliche. Each one, despite all their flaws and actions are well presentations of the fact that they are humans. They serve to remind us of the beautiful ugliness of us humans. And their method of presentation is also a factor of what makes them great. Take for example a very minor character who only in the beginning of the OVA. His daughter needs to undergo surgery for reasons not clearly stated. What does he do? Rob a bank to get the funds that he needs, all the while saying sorry and apologising to the staff and the hostages. What happens next? Fumika comes in and gives him a shigofumi…
from his daughter.
In the end, the commotion is resolved peacefully with the father surrendering to the police, crying for his now dead daughter.
I honestly would like to say more, but what this anime has given me… it’s just something that is too amazing to express with words.