Overall Grade: 8
Story / Pacing: 8
Art / Animation: 8
Sound / Music / Voice Actors: 7
MIGHT INCLUDE MINOR SPOILER!
ART & MUSIC
Personally, I really like the art style and color scheme. It's not too striking and shiny, but also not too grim dark. It looks pretty good and appealing in my eyes. The color tone fits the story content and plot very well and adds a lot to the atmosphere.
To me, the character design was outstanding and striking. I really liked similar character designs as well (for example Tegamibachi / Letter Bee) and they are very appealing to me. In Shigofumi, I liked that it's unique and contribute to the whole picture and atmosphere of the anime.
Also, Fumika's white hair looks beautiful in combination with her eye color and the whole outfit. Also the blond hair color and the orange eye color from Chiaki look good.
I liked the addition of their sidekicks too. They are funny sidekicks that add a little bit of cute comedy here and there, and at the same time, they are a part of their character design.
Regarding the sound: I was so happy to hear that Ali Project made the opening for Shigofumi. If you know and appreciate Ali Project, you will recognize her at the first note. The ending song is also pretty pleasing and very calm. Ali Project had been active at that time and made various music for anime. Although I didn't like some of their anime too much (or haven't seen them), I love the kind of music they make. They are very unique and I love the sound of it.
To be honest, I can't remember many OSTs in Shigofumi, but all in all, I think the music was pretty good and it was also fitting into the story very well. Still, I can't remember them and therefore, only the opening was striking to me.
PLOT & CHARACTERS
Personally I like episodic "life drama" stories and I would have been happy, if the anime had been longer and would have included more episodes like this. Anyway, I really liked the episodic stories. If you liked similar anime like Hell Girl, then checking Shigofumi out might be a good idea.
Especially, I liked Fumika's, but also Chiaki's, personal stories. I will explain it in little bit more detail in a paragraph below.
At first, I feared that the whole main plot, but also side stories could become too edgy and wannabe-dark. After the first episode, I was not sure, if I should continue, but then, I did, because I liked the overall premise, art, opening and character designs, so I was ready to give it a chance. In the second episode, the motivation was more fleshed out and I began to understand the girl from the first episode.
In the following episodic stories, I also was able to understand and follow the motivation of the bereaved and the relatives, but at the same time, I could understand the deceased as well.
The anime isn't afraid of touching serious and dark topics, such as abuse, teenage suicide, accidents, grief, etc...
While you are following these episodic stories, there is also a build up for a main plot. I personally like the slow pacing over the 12 episodes and thought it's pretty well done.
Although I was afraid that Fumika's story could be overly edgy, because her kind of condition always has been shown that way in other anime.
I don't want to spoiler it, but only her father is shown in an over the top manner, in a maniac way. Still, I can somehow believe that such people exist, also because I have seen similar cases in real life, just not that exaggerated.
Surprisingly, Fumika herself is in comparison pretty down to earth and you will come to understand where she is coming from and what she is going through. Instead of an over the top presentation of her personality and her mental condition, you can find in her existence and in her story, beautiful annologies of a person, who is trying to accept themselves and have a battle with themselves.
Also, again, I don't want to spoiler, but I'm always happy to see the case, when anime don't make a freaky circus attraction out of people with mental disorders etc...
Chiaki's personal backstory and the way the plot presents it to the audience, was my next highlight. Her story also has been very moving and I might shed one tears or two. It was touching and at the begin I never thought that the anime will give Chiaki so much depth and development.
Even after months, I can remember both backstories very well in detail.
This is an anime with an interesting and touching premise.
In conclusion, I could say that I liked Shigofumi pretty much, because it's fitting my taste very well and many parts of the story and character development were well done, although some elements might have been a little bit over the top. I'm glad that I continued the anime after the end of the first episode.