Friday, 22 February 2008

Shigofumi 6: Planet School of the Beast King

"Mine is a drill screwdriver that will pierce the heavens!!!"

*redundant yet obligatory spoiler alert goes here*

This episode of Shigofumi handles the typical issue of bullying typically. And as a throwback to episode 3, it takes place in that same school once again (whose authorities are by now tired of the negative press the school is getting) and suicide is again involved. With the inclusion of some nasty bullies, this school's evidently not exactly the best place for students - compare that to the school in CLANNAD, where Tomoya and Sunohara are considered the school's biggest delinquents *sweatdrops*. I suppose then that Cromartie High School falls somewhere in between.

Yeap, it's the same 2 emo boys on the roof again.

The story this time: Bully-victim is bullied by bullies in school. Bully-victim tries to get help from apathetic classmate, but is betrayed instead by apathetic classmate to the bullies. Bully victim then dies. (we don't know the details, but given the school's past record, it's safe to assume suicide) Karma being a bitch and all, bullies then set their eyes on apathetic classmate. After suffering through what bully-victim 1 did for a while, no-longer-apathetic classmate AKA bully-victim 2 is summoned to the school's roof at night by bullies. Bully-victim 2 faces certain death when bullies force him to walk across a beam between buildings like they did to bully-victim 1. Fumika, in her usual timely fashion, steps in, incapacitates the bullies for a while to deliver bully-victim 1's Shigofumi to victim number 2, which basically said: "Not so apathetic now, eh?" Immediately after, bullies return to form to torment their victim, only was-once-apathetic-but-now-broken-bully-victim-2 snaps, he sees his only way out in a screwdriver that just happened to be laying around... (He knows he's lost it, he knows he can kill...) So he grabs it and stabs one of the bullies, which scares the rest of them away. Bad end?

Salvation! The conveniently place plot device tool for retaliation.

Obligatory screenshot of Fumika.

Hmm, that was a big turnaround from three episodes ago in (and my last somewhat emo-ey post on) Shigofumi. After watching this episode, it's no wonder the dad in episode 3 jumped to the conclusion that his 'poor' son must've been driven to suicide by bullying (as opposed to just being plain bored with nothing better to try out). The bullying in this episode was of the nasty nasty variety, especially since it involved the whole class against the victim since the rest of them basically had no choice but to follow the bullies' intentions, lest they become victims themselves. The ugly aspect of it was that many of the classmates were actually portrayed as amusing themselves while participating in the bullies activities (bullies go around with their victim's bag, asking everyone in class to dump their trash into it, which they gladly oblige to, etc).

The protagonist this time (screwdriver boy) was at first one of the sheep crowd, who just followed along thinking "Heck, at least it's not me", but his fate was basically sealed when the bullies noticed his connection with bully victim number 1. Either screwdriver boy helped the bullies or the bullied, and either way would've resulted in him becoming victim number 2 - but at least if he chose to help he'd still have a bit of dumb pride to hold on to... Not that it would've occurred to him, since from the start it was obvious he was looking out for himself, which is probably why when he finally snapped and retaliated, Fumika brought up up the survival of the fittest observation - he screwed who he had to screw did what he had to do for himself to survive, the alternative would be to perish like victim number 1. (Well, that's how I finally saw it, otherwise the reference in the post title wouldn't be valid =P)

It's been about half the series now, and Shigofumi has so far featured it's mixed bag of episodes, but what has become apparent is the way it presents its stories - very much like how Fumika does her job delivering the letters every episode, it's a very straightforward, almost blunt process, and it works.

Entertaintment value-wise, it's been solid so far, with the potential grimness undercut by its lighter moments (absent from my Shigofumi posts, but they're there, mostly thanks to Kanaka and in the cat episode Fumika herself), though now it seems the final verdict on the show will ultimately rest on Fumika's own backstory which should be unveiled over the course of the second half.

No comments: