Shigofumi - A final letter, written shortly after a person's death to another individual of their choice. Thus stands the concept of this anime, which has been adapted from a series of Japanese light novels.
From the concept alone, you should perhaps guess that this isn't going to be the most cheerful and upbeat of series, but to be honest from most of the opening episode it's rather hard to guess exactly where things are going - Unrequited young love coupled with more than a touch of humour from Fumika, the deliverer of these Shigofumi, and her talking staff sidekick Kanaka, leaves you expecting something really quite light-hearted. Just as you relax and smile at the little jokes and inter-personal relations of the main characters, so the series delights in proverbially punching you in the stomach the moment you drop your defences.
Make no mistake about it - These opening episodes of Shigofumi come from a dark, dark place, and that early joviality makes this descent into these murky waters all the more powerful. To be honest, it's not far short of genius, which is perhaps to be expected from Ichirō Ōkouchi, screenplay writer of both this series and the brilliant Code Geass. While the emotions put to use in these early episodes may not be all that subtle, they work perfectly as an emotional rollercoaster that leaves you wanted more... And boy do I want more. A unique and intriguing concept, beautifully yet disturbingly realised, this could well prove to be one of the best anime series of 2008 - High praise indeed, considering it's still January!