“A Message From Beyond” – Shigofumi (anime) – 7/10 Sugar Cubes


God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled. ~Author Unknown

Genre: Supernatural/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Psychological

Review Status: Full (12 Episodes/12 Episodes)

Licensed: Licensed in the US

Summary: When someone dies, what should their final words be? Words that couldn’t be said while still alive – of love, hate, hope, regret or perhaps words without any importance. These words are sent through letters called “shigofumi” from the recently deceased to the living. Mikawa Fumika is a mail carrier of these shigofumi, delivering them alongside staff and her partner Kanaka. However, there must be something more behind Fumika’s silent exterior; shigofumi mail carriers are deceased humans with the same appearance they had just before death. Despite this, Fumika is still aging… (MAL.net)

Review: I had little idea of what to expect when I picked up this anime. I figured it would be a story about a girl who delivered letters to the dead. It turns out that it’s a story about a group of people who are connected to Mikawa, a shigofumi, and Mikawa, a girl in a coma.

Every episode introduces you to another person that is important and has a tie with another, either through the Shigofumi Mikawa or through the coma Mikawa, often through both.

The pacing of this anime is a little off- things quickly reach an emotional pinnacle during episode 8, which makes episode 9 seem even more like filler than it would usually be. They could easily have clipped the end of 9 onto 8, skipped 9 entirely and gone onto 10, and missed nothing.

The music is typical- nothing too stand-out, though fans of Rozen Maiden will notice the OP is by the same band that did the Ops for that show, and it works very well. The art and animation are also decent. The colors are a tad dull, though clear, while the animation is on-par for a show of that year.

The story itself can be divided into two parts. You have before episode 8, and after. Before is like a slow unwinding of a mystery, with each episode a deliberate introduction to the story and new piece to the puzzle. After, you have a trip into the minds of a shigofumi and a girl, both of who have different views of the world and must come to terms with it. This has two climaxes, and it’s a very interesting trip for both.

Overall, this is an interesting, dramatic anime. Minor issues aside, it’s definitely worth a look.

Recommended: Sure. However, for themes of abuse, I’d say for ages 14 and over. She is shown to have been physcially abused by her father (though this never gets too graphic), and there is some partial nudity.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Paprika (anime),
Millennium Actress (anime)
Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (manga)
Kieli (manga and light novels)
Paranoia Agent (anime)
Hell Girl (anime)
Mail (manga)

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