What it’s about: On rare and special occasions, the dead can contact the living. Fumika is one of those responsible for delivering these post-mortem letters, these “Shigofumi” to their recipients on Earth. The contents vary from person to person – some express hope, others forgiveness, still others hatred or warnings. They are all, however, the true final feelings of the departed.
Why you should watch it: Shigofumi is an unusual series. While more or less entirely episodic, there is still an overarching narrative that follows Fumika’s development and interactions with an expanding cast of characters, from talking staffs to workmates to a select few living people who stumble upon her while she’s performing her duties. The show is quite deliberate in its pacing, with a sombre, almost eerie soundtrack. More importantly it manages to tell each episode’s story in full, without stretching out or condensing it beyond its limits. Each arc addresses different issues, but there’s a continuity of theme and tone and the show remains compelling throughout.
Caveats: As mentioned above, this is an episodic series. While Fumika herself receives a good deal of character development, the secondary cast isn’t all that interesting.
Themes: The primary theme is death, and the way people waste their lives over trivial things. There’s also a recurring focus on abuse and the way it damages the soul – the show is relatively hopeful in its message about recovery and moving on from it, though.