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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