Perhaps it was the name, but for some reason I had relatively high expectations for Shinigami no Ballad - something along the lines of Kino no Tabi lite, if you will. I ended up slightly disappointed to discover this not the case, as in reality it's not tapered to an older audience. The series is comprised of six independent stories, all of which address potential problems young children might face. Unlike what you might expect, the emotional undertones of the series aren't all that extravagant, and I found myself downright bored during a couple of the episodes.
The synopsis actually makes Shinigami no Ballad sound a bit different from how it pans out. Each of the episodes generally involves a kid suffering from problems related to the death of someone he/she knew (sometimes a family member, sometimes a friend), upon which Momo shows up and helps them cope with their regrets. In most of the episodes this also finds itself accompanied by an introduction of a very brief romance of sorts between that child and a friend of the opposite gender, after which the story ends happily. Slightly heartwarming I guess, but it's very obvious in each so there really aren't any surprises or expectations from one episode to the next.
Still, compared to all the trash series out there, this is a more than tolerable anime. Sure it's aimed entirely at children, but it's mature enough to not push away an older audience at first glance. Though I didn't find it all that entertaining, it has elements I'm sure others would find appealing, especially those of the female gender - it seems to have a number of maternal-oriented situations in many of the episodes. To be perfectly honest I have absolutely no idea what that means, but something just tells me if you're female you have a better chance of enjoying it.
For a 2006 production there's really very little to talk about. Shinigami no Ballad was quite obviously a very low budget production, and it shows with the general blandness of the animation. Momo has a little bit of enthusiasm put into her design, but that's probably only due to the fact that she glows a pale white, making her stand out amidst the shoddy backgrounds. Still, despite this, the simplicity doesn't really do anything to harm the series, as its mediocre at best already.
The opening and ending themes were pleasant enough, but other than that the music either didn't catch my attention or just plain sucked. I did like Momo's seiyuu for some odd reason, though. Overall, I've heard worse, and at least most of the music was tolerable even if of low quality.
The characters were all pretty much dead weight, though I think they would appeal to the demographic Shinigami no Ballad was targeted at. The majority of the characters are either of late elementary/early middle school age and tend to deal with typical problems children of that age might face, such as a death in the family, problems with friends at school, etc. As such, they have little to no depth and tend to be rather generic, perhaps making them easier for younger children to empathize with. Personally, I didn't find myself all that impressed, though if you're a sympathetic person take my words with a grain of salt, as you very well might find them very appealing.
Chances are, unless you're looking for a bit of nostalgia, Shinigami no Ballad won't catch your interest, and even then it would be a stretch. I must admit, though, it proved mildly entertaining during some parts and didn't require the use of my fast-forward button to get through. At roughly two hours total runtime it's a quick, OVA-length watch, and will either entertain you for a bit or put you to sleep. I would probably have preferred the latter, but I made sure to watch it right after I woke up to avoid this happening; just don't expect much going in and you'll be fine.
Momo is a sympathetic death god who cries every time she sees a touching moment. Though she brings death, she also allows the victim to complete their last wish before taking them away. Accompanying her through her adventures is a winged black cat named Daniel. With a huge scythe in tow, Momo strives to touch the lives of humankind and overflow the world with pure kindness, by fulfilling the soon deceased’s tasks.
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Though I'm a big fan of slice of life and romance, I'll watch just about anything that catches my interest. My opinions tend to be pretty level-headed, but I have been known to be controversial from time to time! Feel free to lay into me if you so desire, as I always appreciate feedback - positive or negative. I hope you enjoy reading!