Tsuzuki Asato is a shinigami: a guardian of death. Acting as an investigator in Juuouchou, the bureau in charge of ensuring that each soul passes through the cycle of life naturally, his job often involves dealing with those who would disrupt this cycle. His life after death is about to change, however, as he is assigned a new partner, Kurosaki Hisoka, for a case in Nagasaki - a case seeming to involve some sort of vampire. But the two shinigami soon find that something deeper lies behind this blood-sucking menace...
Twelve year old Mitsuki's desire is to become a singer. She has the talent and a beautiful voice, but she also has a throat tumor which threatens to rob her of her gift of song. As if things weren't bad enough, two shinigami inform Mitsuki that she only has one year left to live. However, all is not lost, for they make a deal that if she goes with them, they will help realize her dream by changing her into a healthy 16-year-old, who is able to sing and apply for auditions.
For two rather different takes on the role of shinigami, one has to look no further than the contrast between the low-budget but cheerful shoujo 'Full Moon wo Sagashite' and the classic shounen-ai 'Yami no Matsuei'. While the psychopomps of the former are mascot-types complete with risible team names and deeply silly costumes, the latter is more concerned with sharp-suited bishounen stalking the corridors of the bureaucratic afterlife. However, both have a rather uplifting take on death, and make an interesting contrast.
Mai Taniyama is a first year high school student who lives a carefree life telling ghost stories with her friends. One day, she meets Kazuya Shibuya, the head of Shibuya Psychic Research (SPR); and together, she tags along to help him investigate paranormal activities in a haunted school building. His assistant Lin was hurt during an incident to protect Mai from danger, so what more can Mai do than to take the job as Shibuya's assistant? Along with a team of other ghost hunters, they will uncover the mystery of a strange case coming their way, while Mai starts to discover her own abilities.
Maebara Keiichi, an ordinary high-school boy, has transferred to a new school in Hinamizawa, a small rural village. At the outset everything seems peaceful and Keiichi becomes friends with a nice group of schoolgirls with whom he spends many idle summer afternoons. Suddenly violence encroaches upon the blissful peace of the village and Keiichi becomes entangled in an endless cycle of fear and death. The inconsistent, but inevitable horrors of Hinamizawa are told and retold becoming an endless and inescapable nightmare of insanity. Will it end even if the mystery of Hinamizawa is solved?
Higurashi and Yami no Matsuei are made of up elements such as murder, violence, suicide, character death and the supernatural, mixed in with spastic bits of chibified comedy and, throughout it all, the theme of friendship and love being powerful enough to save people is strong.
Both anime are dark and are, first and foremost, horror/murder mysteries, yet they also send the same messages: that no matter what, there will always be people that love you, and that it's always possible to change.
Or at least, I think that's what was being gotten across. xP
Oh - and both shows contain a lot of symbolism and are, at times, just plain beautiful (literally and figuretively), despite the animation not being very impressive.
If you liked one show, give the other a try - they're really very similar.
In Victorian England it is commonplace for the rich and wealthy to have a staff, led by a head butler, to run their households; the Phantomhive Estate is no different. The young and demanding Count Ciel Phantomhive, child owner of a toy company, lives in the grand countryside manor. Sebastian is his head butler, and the epitome of perfection; he effortlessly and gracefully completes his day-to day chores and fixes the countless mistakes of the other employees. However, whilst on the outside all seems prim and proper, a more sinister secret lies just beneath the surface. Sebastian is in fact a demon bound by a contract with the young count; he will loyally serve and fight for him in return for his soul.
It’s never easy being a transfer student, especially when transferring in the middle of the year. Certain schools have their own traditions and ways of doing things – something Kouno Tooru discovers when the student council of the Fujimori high school insists that he dress like a girl! Along with two other boys chosen for their remarkable beauty, Kouno is given the task of brightening up the dull days of an all-boys high school. The rewards offered by the student council are great, but the life of a “Princess” turns out to be more work than Kouno had bargained for...