Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Shigofumi OVA - Episode 13 (Completed)

Shigofumi was one of those series that ebbed and flowed with its episode quality quite drastically as it progresses, bringing us some fantastic story lines on the one hand but a fair number of average ones on the other. With this in mind, I wasn't too sure what to expect of this one-off OVA, which basically surmounts to the show's thirteenth episode.

Given its "episode thirteen" status, it's no surprise that we carry on from where we left off previously, meaning that the real-world Fumika is back in the land of the living and working her way through school, while Shigofumi Fumika is still doing her thing delivering the letters of the recently deceased. We also return to what must be the worst school in Japan, the home of hostage situations, suicides and bullying during the series proper, where things clearly haven't changed a bit as Fumika is subjected to plenty of bullying of her own. This coincides with some other strange goings on, with students receiving Shigofumi of their own while grafitti is left speaking of the curse of the male student who committed suicide previously. As the episode goes on, so we find out the source of these letters, and so all of the major characters work in their own way to put a stop to it before things get out of hand.

As either a stand-alone episode or as part of the series itself, this OVA almost feels a little odd in that it doesn't particularly take us anywhere. Although I suppose it was nice to see a little of how Fumika is getting on after she was left hanging somewhat at the end of the series proper, beyond her making a friend by the end of the OVA we didn't really learn anything about her, while the Shigofumi Fumika was kept out of the way for most of the instalment. All of this has left me not sure what to make of the episode, aside from simply stating that it was okay.

In a sense this OVA reminded me of both what is good and not so impressive about Shigofumi as a whole - It isn't afraid to take on some pretty dark topics, has an interesting and relatively broad range of main characters and has an apt soundtrack to match its mood (the OST is well worth a look by the way, I kept meaning to review it but never got around to it), yet for all of that it often seems to fail to do anything with those strengths, with the dark mood lost or toned down and the characters left to do little but spout the odd platitude or look somehow troubled. I do get the feeling we might see a second season at some point though, in a way this OVA seemed to open up more doors than it closed.

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