Death Note and Bleach popularize a different brand of Shinigami and Shinigami-kun tries to make their own brand of grim reaper with Ohno Satoshi as Shinigami no. 413.
“Shinigami-kun” started well with an average of 11% in ratings.
Here is a short recap of Shinigami-kun: Episode 1
Oonishi Fukuko (Ohara Sakurako) visits her friend Kobayashi Mami (Takada Riho) at the hospital where she is being treated for burns and blindness following an accident.
Fukuko was surprised to see a suicide note from Mami who thinks that she can’t live anymore after her accident.
True enough, Mami jumps-off from the hospital’s rooftop only to find herself floating above the flower bed. She hears a voice, who introduces himself as a Shinigami, and tells her that it’s not yet her time to die. She falls on the flower bed and still alive when Fukuko rushes toward her.
Mami tells Fukuko that she must be dreaming because she heard a Shinigami talking to her. Fukuko helps Mami back to her room when a black crow feather lands on Fukuko’s back.
At school, Fukuko encourages some of her classmates to visit Mami. These are the same classmates who literally worships Mami for her beauty yet no one even visits Mami following her accident.
On Fukuko’s way back to the hospital, Shinigami-kin no. 413 (Ohno Satoshi) arrives, introduces himself as a Shinigami and hands Fukuko a calling card for a good measure. 413 (I’m assuming that there’ll be other shinigami’s so let’s call Ohno 413.) informs Fukuko that she’s the next one to die and she only has 3 days left to live. She chooses to ignore and goes on her way to Mami’s room.
At Mami’s room, Fukuko consoles Mami that she’ll be fine, the burns will eventually heal, but Mami is so bent on her own pity party. Most especially is the fact that not one classmate of their even visited her. Isn’t that fairly obvious?
On Fukuko’s way home, 413 again appears. Fukuko thinks that he’s just a weird man so she heads to a doctor, who is passing-by, and informs him that she’s being followed. The doctor looks around and tells Mami that he don’t see anyone.
413 tells Fukuko that as a rule, they are invisible to anyone else except to select few and those that are scheduled to die. To prove that he is a shinigami, 413 shows-off his flying skills.
At Oonishi’s residence, Fukuko heads to her room and looks at the pictures posted on her wall. Most of the pictures are Mami and she when they usually starred in plays. In those plays, Mami is always the pretty princess while Fukuko is always the ugly servant or a mere tree background. She muses as to what kind of life she has been living.
413 again appears in her room as he tastes one of those giant crabs (yum!) though he didn’t seem to enjoy it. He’s surprise to see Fukuko actually crying. Fukuko goes-out to further contemplate her incoming death and she recalls a moment when she meets Mishiro Naoyuki (Watanabe Shu) when she was reviewing for University exams.
Mishiro and Fukuko gets a bit friendly until Mami arrives and all of Mishiro’s attention goes to her. 413 again arrives and Fukuko asks, “why she? She’s only 18…” and stuff. Fukuko also adds that she still wants to be beautiful and make beautiful memories. 413, being a shinigami, can’t really comprehend some of those “human emotions” especially human’s physical obsessions when the body is a mere container for the soul.
Fukuko was like, “I’m gonna die when I haven’t dated anyone yet”. Geez, if you want to live to date then just die. 413 points to Mishiro and tells Fukuko that she can ask him for a date before her time is over. Fukuko muses that Mishiro, as a man, will only like pretty girls. 413 points-out that in his eyes, he couldn’t care less about physical aspects but what important for him is the heart.
Coincidentally, Mishiro calls Fukuko and asks her out. However, Mishiro only asks Fukukoout to ask about Mami who hasn’t been returning his calls. Fukuko says that Mami got into an accident and it would be nice of Mishiro if he’ll visit Mami.
The two went looking for a perfume, Mishiro’s visiting gift for Mami since she’d gone blind. While they were perfume-hunting, a saleslady commented that Fukuko has a lovely boyfriend.
Mishiro and Fukuko separated after their shopping and 413 appears as to why Fukuko didn’t take the advantage and ask Mishiro for a date. Fukuko says that going shopping together with Mishiro is enough.
On her final day, Fukuko spends her day thanking her parents, she also tries to ask Mishiro out but the guy reason’s-out that he has a previous engagement, and her final stop is to visit Mami.
Mami, still wallowing on her pity party, tells Fukuko that she must be happy for using her to take advantage of Mishiro. Mishiro now sees Fukuko as an awesome person for being a kind friend to Mami. Somebody slapped her.
Fukuko gives Mami her much needed slap and tells Mami that they are now even, after all, Mami has always been using Fukuko. Fukuko have always known that Mami finds her pitiful and hanging around her will give people an impression that Mami is nice and kind.
Afterward, 413 asks Fukuko to go somewhere with him where they rode a boat, eats crepes, and Fukuko feels like she’s having a date. That is your last meal so it’s good to see you happy.
The next thing we see, Mami is being wheeled-off to an operating room because (surprise!) she gets herself a cornea donor. The said cornea donor happens to die the day after she applies as a donor.
That cornea donor happens to Fukuko whose dead body is lying just curtains away from Mami. Mami tells the nurse that she’ll live with all her might for that person (her cornea donor) and the moment she can see, she’ll ask for Fukuko’s forgiveness and hopefully, they’ll be together as friends.
Fukuko hears all of this as she hangs-around with her body with 413 and hears Mami’s words. Fukuko and 413 goes up to heaven and once Fukuko is gone, 413’s supervisor (Kiritani Mirei) chides 413 for breaking some rules, one of which is letting the soul hang-around for a moment to see what she has left.
When the supervisor asks 413 for his death notebook, 413 lost it and true enough, the books has been found by an individual who now has the power to write deaths.
Shinigami-kun’s first episode started weak with an equally weak characters and cold plot. I’m not talking about Ohno, he fared-well as Shinigami no. 413 with similar characteristics to that of Enomoto from Kagi no Kakatta Heya particularly having “flat affect”.
However, this particular episode has me cringed from bland acting of guests stars, trite story, and it was such a bore that I have to press “fast-forward”. I can’t even empathize with the episode’s main character that I find her death more appealing than her way of living.
Acting and plot aside, Shinigami-kun reminds me of the line from the song, “If I die young” of The Band Perry, that goes, “Funny when you’re dead when people starts listening…” which is just so true.
The first episode is such a waste that skipping it probably won’t affect the next episodes. Judging from the sneak peek of 2nd episode, it looks more promising than the first one to which I have no words to make it more bearable.
For first impressions, Shinigami-kun has a disappointing start that I hope will get a more solid plot before ratings falls their way to death.
Usual disclaimer applies.
Cross-posted at JE Fandom.