Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kamichu! Anime Review

Kamisama de Chugakusei
Geneon (Pioneer)
Complete Collection - 4 discs
400 mins. - 16 episodes
$49.98 (2008)
$79.98 (2007)
$29.98 (2006) Vol. 1-4/ea.
$49.98 (2006) Vol. 1 w/Artbox
ISBN 013023295490
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Koji Masunari
Studio - Brain's Base

Synopsis: Yurie Hitotsubashi was your average middle school student until one morning she woke up and realized she was a god.  It's a strange feeling and she confides in her best friend, Mitsue, about the change.  Mitsue is a good friend and takes her seriously.  They decide to test out Yurie's newfound powers to see what will happen.  On the roof of the school Yurie summons her will and exclaims "Kamichu!"
The girls of Kamichu! - Matsuri, Yurie, and Mitsue
A massive storm hits the town and it's not just a coincidence.  Yurie's power is real and she is the only one who can calm the raging winds!  It's a difficult adjustment for a shy middle school student to become a deity, but Yurie has some great friends to help her:

  • Mitsue - level-headed, wears glasses, Yurie's best friend
  • Matsuri - runs a shrine with her little sister after her father retired, always trying to get more visitors to the shrine, her zeal for Yurie's newfound godhood is borderline obsessive, a great friend
  • Miko - Matsuri's little sister, shy and very polite, has the ability to see spirits and deities, likes Yashima
  • Kenji - classmate of Yurie's, only member of the calligraphy club, he practices on the school's roof often with his paper floating away on the breeze, Yurie has a massive crush on him
  • Yashima - a minor deity who lives at Matsuri's shrine, he wants to be in a rock band and play guitar, often possesses Mitsue to perform on stage
  • Shoukichi - Yurie's little brother (one grade below), likes Miko
  • Tama - Yurie's cat, she has adventures
  • Ino, Shika, Chou - three small spirits who are sent by the God Association to help Yurie

Yurie meets all sorts of little deities and spirits around her town
Gods and spirits are very common and represent almost everything - telephones, bicycles, poverty, email, rivers, buildings, battle ships and vinyl records to name a few.  They have their own organization called the God Association and Yurie is now a member.  She visits a special land where the gods dwell and have meetings.  The experiences are all new and somewhat frightening for the timid Yurie.
Yurie feels very out of place in the world of gods
She is assigned three tiny helpers to help with her new duties as a god.  When she uses her power her hair instantly grows very long and she usually falls asleep from the strain.  Her life becomes very complicated as she gains notoriety including calls from the President, investigating a cat uprising, dealing with a visit from the poverty god to her town, and attending the annual God Convention.
Yurie is assigned these little guys to help with her god duties
All the while Yurie must deal with typical middle school problems like trying to confess her love to the boy she likes, dealing with rivals for his affections, feeling like her friends are ignoring her, and trying to find her lost cat.  It's not easy being a god!
Miko, Matsuri, Yurie, and Mitsue palling around
Pros: Cute and well-rounded characters, cool/creative designs for all the spirits/deities (especially the little ones who help Yurie), great ending theme song/credits, very solid animation and backgrounds are awesome, whimsical, received an Excellence Prize at the 2005 Japan Media Arts Festival
Yurie turns into a cat while trying to find Tama
Cons: Very slow-paced and mellow without much really happening, a few episodes were duds (boring), subject of multiple gods/deities may not be popular with some Christian viewers (the anti-Christmas episode won't help either)
Hanging out at Mitsuri's shrine after school
Mike Tells It Straight: Kamichu! is a sweet and slow-paced little show with lots of adorable characters.  Yurie is modest and bashful, definitely not a dynamic heroine or god-like personality.  Her story contrasts the regular every day life of a teenage girl with a spiritual world filled with benign entities.  Yurie's friends and adventures are all very charming.  All the various deities have fun and imaginative designs.
Matsuri looks worried after Yurie uses her power and falls asleep
The animation is surprisingly good and backgrounds really shine.  I liked the music and the ending theme song/credits were great.  I guess the only drawback is the show's slow pace.  It was so mellow I got a little bored halfway through and stopped watching for a few weeks.  I picked it up again and finished it.  I wasn't expecting the series to end the way it did, but it was really nice.
Yurie talks to Yashima about being a god
Everything about Kamichu! was really cute and adorable.  Nice change of pace from cliched action and fan-service shows.  It reminded me a little of Studio Ghibli works for the whimsical quality, but didn't have any real danger or intrigue (or excitement).  Overall a good recommendation for exactly what you get.  

Cutest ending ever!
TO BUY and Recommendations: