Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shigofumi 2

Last we left our show, Asuna had just murdered Shouta. Murdered him with a knife, and now Asuna is stalking toward the shigofumi-delivering-girl. I can’t remember her name right now. Her staff is crying that they should leave because Asuna is bitch ass crazy, but Fumika (that’s her name) says no, she’s not. She’s just like everyone else. Fumika asks Asuna if Shouta was really her lover, or if she even had a lover.

Asuna smirks and says that she has many men. Fumika says that she understands. Asuna runs at them with her knife, but Fumika gives a command, the staff whirls and a clock thing appears, and Fumika disappears just as Asuna is about to slash her throat. We get some pretty good insane running action, but then Asuna just grits her teeth and looks around at the empty air. She turns back toward Shouta. Still dead.

Fumika rematerializes back in Shouta’s rooftop shed. The staff asks Fumika if she’s mad at her, but Fumika just says that someone made her (the staff that is) leave the shigofumi for Shouta to find. The staff goes on, expressing astonishment that a shigofumi could say such a thing, but Fumika isn’t surprised by that, either. She’s quite stoic about everything.

The scene shifts to the empty bedroom we saw in the previous episode. Something about that room… Fumika gives another command and the staff turns into a pair of white wings on Fumika’s back and she flies up into the air (which is what you do with wings). The staff’s pendant turns into a necklace, and she and Fumika talk a bit more about men and lovers and what could have made Asuna murder her father. Fumika thinks a little bit, and we see the naked white female body covered with letters (again from the last episode), and then a pistol going off, and Fumika seems to suggest that maybe Asuna didn’t kill her father after all. Which I suppose would make the girl a little bit better. At least, the Romans punished patricide more severely than plain old murder.

But didn’t Fumika say in the last episode that the writer of a shigofumi always tells the truth? Is there some kind of metaphysical truth that we have to contemplate as well?

We cut back to the river. Asuna is on her hands and knees trying to dig a hole to bury Shouta’s body. She’s using her little knife, so I bet it’s going to take a while. She looks angry and determined; she’s having flashbacks, first of fighting with her father and then stabbing poor Shouta. Her expression becomes more pained than angry. It’s going to take a really long time to dig a hole with a knife.

The next day (I assume), and we’re at a happy home for children. Asuna and Miku are playing with a ball in a yard. Inside the social worker lady from the last episode is talking to the kindly older woman in charge (again, I assume, but my assumptions are usually right). The older woman says that Miku is a little shy, but as we watch Asuna finds a way to get her involved in the ballgame and everyone smiles with joy. The social worker says that Asuna is a good sister, and the older woman says that’s because their father was a pretty shitty guy. Jeez, everyone knew that.

Flashback time. Asuna and Miku stand on a street corner and talk to some man we don’t know. Asuna walks into school. She’s sad. She makes her way to the classroom and finds that people have written across her desk: “SEX MODEL! THRIVING BUSINESS! Part time jobs are against the rules!” Thank you, translators. Also, kids are jerks. Next scene, we’re in that bedroom again. Asuna is standing in a robe next to her father. The robe comes off, she’s naked, and a bunch of guys start taking pictures of her. She’s dead-eyed. Her father talks to some guy. The cameras. We see a line of cameras, with lenses extending, suggestive naturally. Next the room is dark and Asuna is alone and covered up again.

Asuna talks to her father in an alley. She wants a day off. Her father accuses her of having a boyfriend. She hasn’t time for one. She needs to keep working to pay for his medical bills. He’s going to get Miku involved. Someone requested her. The little girl owes him too, after all. Raising two girls is expensive! Asuna stabs him. Mission accomplished: making Asuna not so crazy, just angry and exploited. So why did she kill Shouta?

In the room at the shelter, Asuna is looking at her knife. Miku comes and asks if she can sleep with her. They get in bed. Asuna says that everything will be okay, and Miku says that she loves her sister. Asuna thinks that she’s protected her sister. Next day she’s walking along the river when she hears a commotion. She goes over to see that Shouta’s body has been discovered, and she runs off.

Two cops, looking for Asuna, visit the group home. They’re asking about Shouta. Asuna watches them from around a corner and flees like the criminal she is. She’s confused about how they’ve related Shouta with her. She never talked about him to anyone. She steals some clothes, cuts her hair short, and hops on a train to make her escape. She can’t call Miku anymore. Fumika appears. She has a delivery.

Commercial break, and we’re back on the super-efficient Japanese train. Fumika’s staff is making chatter. Fumika says that she has a shigofumi, from Shouta. Asuna has the responsibility to accept it. Asuna is incredulous. Fumika doesn’t care; everyone dies. How a person dies-if there’s meaning behind it-is more important. Asuna pulls out her knife and runs at Fumika: to kill her! But Fumika swings her staff, knocks Asuna off her feet, and sits on the girl and points a huge gun at her face. Fumika says that if she shoots, everything about Asuna will disappear, but the girl must still have attachments and regrets left. Asuna thinks of poor, dead Shouta.

Next we see Asuna sitting by herself in the aisle in the train. Fumika stands in the little compartment between cars. She flips the gun around her finger and throws it back into her bag. She says something about it’s just another shigofumi to deliver, but we all know better. She’s becoming emotionally involved in all these crazy peoples’ lives.

Asuna sits back down. People board the train. She opens the letter. She runs off the train before it can leave and down some steps. Fumika stands, ghostly, on the stairs, but Asuna runs past her and the shigofumi girl disappears as Asuna flies by.

The two cops that were at the group home are walking down the street. The older one tells the younger one (“the rookie”) to be careful of Asuna. She’s pure-hearted, so more dangerous than a criminal after money or possessions. You have to watch out for pure-hearted criminals.

Asuna runs and runs. We see what Shouta wrote to her. He’s sorry that he never noticed what kind of girl she was (troubled), and he thanks her for believing in him and his rocket. Asuna berates him. How could he be so stupid? She killed him! But, she’s really berating herself. She killed the person who believed in her. She’s the fool here.

Meanwhile, the cops are asking around, showing people pictures of Shouta and Asuna. People are pointing, and I presume they’re on her trail now.

Asuna runs. Her inner monologue kicks in. She hated Shouta. She always lied to him. She was never class president. She never played the piano. She never, I don’t know, promised him a rose garden or something. They were always in the same building. She, to be exploited, and all she could see was the dark roof of the bedroom. He, to build his rocket, and he could see the sky above. Asuna, here and now, bursts into the rooftop shed. She takes the tarp off Shouta’s rocket. She keeps thinking. She never believed in the rocket. What she wanted to believe in was their futures. If the rocket could launch, everyone would be better. Asuna breaks down when she sees that Shouta named the rocket “Asuna & Miku.”

The older cop arrives at the foot of the building.

Asuna writes something else on the rocket and pulls away the support struts. She runs to the launch controls (Shouta had finished all of the preparations).

The cop walks by the bedroom. His younger partner runs to catch up.

Asuna pressed a button, and a one-minute countdown starts. She stands up to see the older cop step out onto the roof. He’s been looking for her, and chats her up a bit, tries to be the good cop. The place used to be an old amusement center. As he’s talking, a strong wind comes and blows the tarp back onto the rocket. The launch will be ruined! Asuna yells and runs, pulls out her knife and dives at the rope holding the tarp to the rooftop.

She cuts the rope, the tarp flies off. We see that she’s added Shouta’s name to the rocket along with hers and Miku’s. She, smiling, falls to the earth. Then she gets shot. The younger cop did it. His partner had told him to be careful of her, after all.

The rocket goes off. Asuna mutters something, that Shouta needs to give it his all. The rocket lifts into the air, high into the air, and Miku, away in her playground, watches the trail of smoke racing into the sky. Asuna can see it, too. She’s sure that Shouta is in heaven, because he was kind and decent. She’s going to hell, because…well, you know. Fade out.

Evening. Miku is standing on the walk and holding a teddy bear. Fumika has come with a letter for her. It’s an unusual letter, but it has the most beautiful sentiments in the world.

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