Yurie Hitotsubashi was just an average middle school student living in the city of Onomichi on Japan's inland sea in the easygoing times of the 1980s. She spent her days worrying about exams and trying to get Kenji, the clueless boy she likes, to notice her. Then during lunch one day she suddenly announces to her friend Mitsue that the night before she had become a goddess. Their classmate Matsuri quickly latches on to Yurie's newfound divinity as a way to promote her family's bankrupt Shinto shrine. She hopes that replacing their hapless local god, Yashima-sama, with Yurie will make the shrine more popular (and profitable). Now, with Matsuri as her manager, Yurie has to grant wishes, cure curses, meet aliens, and attend god conventions. All the while attending school and working-up the courage to confess to Kenji.
The DVD/BD box set includes the Kamichu! Specials episodes. For a complete list of episodes and the order they're included in the box set, see the More Info tab.
“Sleeping in classes and coming late.
You haven’t changed at all, even after you became a god.”
"God." The word alone brings up images of supposed grace, divinity, and perfection. However, Hitotsubashi Yurie is far from being the embodiment of those qualities. In fact, she's quite the klutz even by mortal standards. Even so, providence has chosen this middle school student for the role of shinto kami (deity). Fortunately, she has friends to help her out with her troubles, whether earthly or divine.
After seeing more than a few other shows featuring magical girls and moe-blobs, one might wonder how Kamichu! could stand out from the rest
of the crowd. The answer lies in its simplicity. Kamichu! may contain many extraordinary elements such as shinto gods, talking cats, and even aliens, but the treatment they get in the show is no more special than that of the more mundane aspects of an ordinary person's life. For example, while getting to know her godly powers and duties is important, Yurie also spends a fair amount of time worrying about her grades or trying to get closer to her crush.
Being a slice of life series, it's no surprise that the cast is another reason for the appeal of this anime. Their conversations and interactions have this candid and casual quality that few other shows could capture. Neither sickeningly sweet nor downright outrageous, their down-to-earth personalities make the characters easy to relate to and all the more lovable.
Whether a spectacular spell is being whipped up or the characters are shown simply passing their time in an idle manner, the animation is generally well above average with a few forgivable hiccups. Also, there's always a surprising amount of detail on the screen. For example, the realm of the gods is certainly out of this world but the scenic city of Onomichi (said to faithfully depict it real-world counterpart) is no less captivating either.
However, the visuals are simply icing on the cake when compared to the audio. The soundtrack is top-notch and it simply sucks you into the soothing pace of the show. Like opium for the ears.
Nostalgic, wholesome, simple, and magical, Kamichu! is a disarmingly cute show that would put smiles on the faces of even the most jaded audiences.
This series encapsulates everything that is right about the slice-of-life genre - honest, character driven situations that one can relate to. Kamichu! manages to do this, and put a smile on your face at the same time. It is simply that good. But it is also more than just this genre.
Kamichu! might not be incredibly flashy, and the pace of the show might put some viewers off. Yet there is a stillness, a gentleness to the story that it is easy to like every single one of its characters. It mixes fantastical elements such as the world of the God's, with the everyday lives
of a group of junior highschoolers so seemlessly, that it suspends one's disbelief and you find yourself enjoying it.
The elements of Shintoism that permeate the show make it original and interesting, and if you are one of those viewers that wants to learn more about Japan's spiritual values, this might be a good starter for you too.
The animation quality is incredible, and very realistic. Even the lip movements of the characters are very well synchronised with the Japanese dialogue. Also, the backgrounds of the town and the environment are so beautiful, it is like watching animated characters super-imposed on top of real life photography. Even the settings for the world of the Gods' are very well drawn.
Every character is drawn very distinctly from each other. And every one of the God's is individual and original, so that you can recognize them quite easily.
The soundtrack conveys a nostalgic feel, a heartwarming accompaniement to the events of the episodes. For me, every time I hear the opening song, I smile. It is just so happy and cheerful...
Overall, I would recommend this show to those who are tired of watching shows which are pure fanservice or to those who are fans of well paced storylines. Not every episode might be to everyone's taste, but, as a whole, Kamichu! is really great.
If you enjoy learning about Japan's religious views, enjoy watching normal people dealing with sometimes extraordinary circumstances, enjoy watching something relaxing and de-stressful, or you just want to watch something which is heartwarming and charming and even cute... Kamichu! is for you :)
The slice-of-life genre has been done to death in anime. Even the most unique of premises have been turned into mundane school yard comedies that squander their potential. Kamichu is a refreshing difference from this. While it does does share the same settings and many characteristic as the typical slice-of-life, it uses its unique premise to set a Ghibli-esque sense of wonder and imagination; tapping into some of the untouched potential of the genre.
The story follows Yurie, a clumsy space-case middle school girl, who one night becomes a god. This however doesn't make her life any easier, as she knows nothing of what being a
god entails, and still has to deal with the issues of a regular middle school student even as she takes up the responsibilities of a god. The mere premise and how it is handled is a reminder of what makes anime special; let's face it, if this premise was used in an American cartoon it would likely be a satire of religion centered around a middle-age man, which would include a lot of pop culture jokes and run so long that it loses sight of its original intent.
Of course, if the show went down the tired old route most slice-of-life anime do, it might have not been any better. What makes Kamichu special is the way it uses its premise to show Yurie grow as a person. Yurie knows nothing about being a god, and is pretty clueless in human affairs as well. Instead of just using this as a springboard for gags, the show pushes Yurie into situations in which she has to take action and make decisions, and thus learning and growing. The imaginative world that Yurie inhabits ties into this, with Yurie's experiences having a whimsical charm to them, whether it be rising the spirit of a sunken ship or attending a god convention, they are pleasant to watch.
Another big thing Kamichu has going for it is its likable cast of cast of characters. First and foremost are Yurie's two friends, Matsuri and Mitsue. The two are polar opposites, with Matsuri being outspoken and charismatic; while Mitsue is more reserved and cynical. The only common bond between them is their friendship with Yurie, which makes for some interesting and fun dynamic between the three. Then there are Matsuri's quiet younger sister, who can see spirits and gods (most people can't see gods other than Yurie, whom they can only see because she is also human); and Yurie's younger brother, who is similar to Mitsue in his cynicism. The rest of the cast consists of a wide array of humans, spirits, and gods including Kenji, Yurie's calligraphy-obsessed classmate and crush; and a poverty god residing in Yurie's cat, Tama. All are charming in their own way... and though they might wear down on some viewers' patience, as overly cutesy characters often do, it is a gripe overshadowed by their general likability.
On the technical side, Kamichu is really very nice. The character designs are generally adorable, especially those of Yurie, Matsuri, Mitsue, and of course Tama the cat; tough each in their own way. Sometimes the spirits and gods might look more weird than cute, but in an endearing way, kind of like in studio Ghibli's films. Actually, the visuals as a whole have a Ghibli-like spirit, though obviously not as polished as a big budget Ghibli film. That hardly matters though, few TV anime look as good as this. The music equally as beautiful, and really adds to the magic. There are some beautifully orchestrated pieces here that will have you feeling all warm inside as you gush about how cute the characters are.
Now, this all may sound like the show has nary a flaw, but actually it has a few very big ones. For as likable as the cast is, and how much time we spend with them, characters other than Yurie don't get a lot of development themselves. Sure, characters have their moments and those are wholesome on their own right, but they are dwarfed by the time the show spends on Yurie, or just being cute. That's another thing, for as wonderfully imaginative the show is, it does get too caught up in its whimsy and cuteness. It doesn't really dangle the cuteness in your face like lesser slice-of-life might, but it is distracting enough to take you out of the story more often than it should; like the alien scenario of episode three (with the alien being super adorable, of course). These are pretty big blows to the show, and take away from its overall quality of the story being told.
Though not without some major flaws, Kamichu is an enjoyable experience. It does what many slice-of-life anime fail to, tells a heart warming coming of age story. A story filled with likable characters and boundless imagination. More than anything, this is a good reminder of what the slice of life genre can be.
Manga, Anime: KamiChu! began running as a manga at about the same time the anime launched. The manga was illustrated by Hanahalu Naruko, and ran in Media Works' Dengeki Comic Daioh! from June of 2005 to January of 2007, and has two collected volumes total. It has yet to be licensed Stateside.
KamiChu! was animated by Brains-Base (famous for their work on Baccano!) and directed by Koji Masunari (famous for his work on R.O.D -The TV- and the Read or Die OAV). It ran on Japanese TV from June 28th to September 27th, 2005. Only twelve episodes of
the total sixteen aired on TV, and the other four were DVD-only. Geneon licensed it Stateside before it went defunct, and its fourth and final volume was released on December 19th, 2006.
Story: KamiChu kicks off with Yurie, a middle schooler, telling her friend Mitsue over lunch that she became a god last night.
Quite a kicker, huh? The rest of the series focuses on how Yurie balances godhood and school.
This is another one of those series where I'm torn.
On the one hand, this is cute done right, like Pino in Ergo Proxy. On the other, the cute is not enough to carry the story (or lack thereof). Each episode is a problem-of-the-week, and it's not that difficult to figure out how each episode is going to turn out.
Another problem that this series has is that Yurie skirts the line that divides special character from Mary Sue far too closely for comfort. And beyond basic character traits, none of the cast, even Yurie, gets any further development, which really hinders this series in the long run.
For a while, the cute overpowered my dislikes. But as I got into the home stretch, I found myself saying, "Yeah, it's cute. And?"
Art: The animation for this was done by Brains-Base, and they show their attention to detail in a different way than they did in Baccano!. KamiChu takes place in an actual town in Japan, and in comparisons done between the background art and actual photos of the town, you can see the detail and the similarity. The detail also shows in the girls' movements, which are a key factor in the all-around cuteness of the series.
Okama, a famous character designer, also did designs for the world of the gods, which we visit occasionally throughout the series, and for the gods themselves. They're absolutely astounding in their creativity (there's a LaserDisc god, for those of you who remember them).
The only thing I have against the art for this series is that the style that they use for blushes gets on your nerves after a while, because people do NOT blush like that.
Music: Neither the OP, ED, nor the background music for this series really stood out to me at any point in time. Average.
Seiyuu: No talent that I recognize, but overall, a good job.
Length: I don't think that they needed to add the four episodes that came on DVDs; twelve was about long enough for this series, unfortunately.
Overall: A cute show with beautiful art, but that isn't enough to save it from blending into the crowd.