Shinigami no Ballad — 01

Want­ed to read the light nov­el because I heard some of the sto­ries were super sad (and I’m a sap for tear­jerk­ers). Nev­er got around to buy­ing it, though.  I ran into the ani­me, which is prob­a­bly the next best thing, I guess.

The first episode revolves around a cou­ple of grade-school­ers named Kou­ta (the boy) and Mai (the girl). They appear to be an item (in a non-squicky sort of way). They find an aban­doned kit­ty, that Mai insists on tak­ing care of despite Kouta’s protests. It’s real­ly adorable, actu­al­ly. Mai says that she’s the mom, Kouta’s the dad, and the kit­ty is their child (nam­ing it “Blue”). AWWW! xD Man, I’m always a suck­er for cute stuff like that. Any­how, as with all cute sto­ries like this, there’s always a catch…

(For­give me for defil­ing such a cute pic­ture with my dirty mind)

Mai is a very sick­ly girl, and after col­laps­ing one day, Kou­ta decid­ed to spend more time with her and walk her home every­day, neglect­ing his friends. Know­ing this, Mai insists that Kou­ta should go play with his friends, since she thinks that his friends feel as if “she’s stolen him away from them”. Kou­ta denies this and gets into tak­ing care of Blue with Mai.

Some­thing sad’s going to happen…

How­ev­er, some days lat­er, he even­tu­al­ly decides to play with his friends again instead of help­ing Mai take care of the kit­ten (he was­n’t being a douche, exact­ly, he asked for her per­mis­sion to hang out with the guys like any good hus­band, after all). It hap­pens to start rain­ing lat­er that day. I’m think­ing, “Aw shit, some­one’s gonna die. T_T”. The last we see of Mai is her giv­ing the kit­ten a blan­ket to keep it warm in the rain, telling Blue that its “mom” has to go home now, and starts to cough like crazy. Dammit, no.

Dammit, I hate it when I’m right.

Mai’s moth­er calls Kouta’s house and says Mai has­n’t been home that day. Wor­ried, Kou­ta quick­ly runs around town, the shrine where they kept the kit­ten, etc. to look for Mai. He finds an ambulance…

Why do the good always die young?

The next day, we see Kouta’s usu­al day go by… with­out Mai. Her shoe lock­er is emp­ty and he notices flow­ers placed on her desk. At this point, we real­ize the sub­ject of death will come up a lot in this show, instead of cute child­hood fluff.

Upon dying, the cat decides to replace the loli in the box.

Filled with guilt over his wife’s Mai’s death, he decides to blame it on the cat, and takes it to a place where it will be sub­ject to the rain, the very thing that killed Mai. Can you say, child abuse?

The kit­ten was just too cute.

The Shiniga­mi Momo (whom we caught glimpses of ear­li­er in the episode) appears to take the kit­ten’s soul away, since Kou­ta was plan­ning on let­ting it die any­way. How­ev­er, hav­ing a change of heart, he stops Momo from killing the kit­ten (some­thing she prob­a­bly was­n’t plan­ning on doing in the first place, yay Aesop!).

Also, I agree with Momo. Blue the kit­ten has very cute eyes.


A glimpse of Mai’s appari­tion appears. She tells Kou­ta that she saved the kit­ten because Kouta’s always sav­ing her, and want­ed to raise it to be strong so she could be strong too. The kit­ten was just like her. She express­es thanks that she met Blue and got to spend time with Kou­ta, and then dis­ap­pears, descend­ing to heav­en, hop­ing that Kou­ta will keep his promise to take care of Blue. We see “Dad­dy” cry­ing, and his child com­fort­ing him.

I admit, I cried too. THEY WERE SO CUTE TOGETHER.

Up above, we see the Momo tear­ing up at this sen­ti­men­tal scene, say­ing that dead peo­ple can’t cry, so she cries for them.

Final thoughts: The first thing I was treat­ed to when watch­ing this was a very pleas­ant open­ing theme. It’s a real­ly calm­ing, yet sad melody, and it was in under­stand­able Eng­lish, which sur­prised me. The show seems real­ly well-made in gen­er­al. The ani­ma­tion isn’t amaz­ing, but it’s a step above aver­age and nice on the eyes. For an episod­ic ani­me of its nature, I actu­al­ly cared a lot about the one-shot char­ac­ters of this first episode. It’s the type of child­hood love in which I’d go “Damn, I’ll be real­ly angry if they don’t end up mar­ried” if I knew them in real life. I was gen­uine­ly sad when Mai died and how Kou­ta dealt with her death. I prob­a­bly would have cried more if I was­n’t so pissed ear­ly today, but it was still sad nonetheless.

A great series starter. Seems like rest of the ani­me will be about the lives of the peo­ple who Momo takes to the after­life. Five more episodes to go, I’m hop­ing the rest of the show is like this (which it most like­ly is).

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