Anime: Di Gi Charat

Official picture by Koge-Donbo*
Moe parody franchise about an alien Catgirl named Dejiko who is an aspiring Idol Singer, and her cute hijinks. The ultimate example of the Otaku-oriented series.

The franchise began with Dejiko being an Advertising Mascot for the "Gamers" store chain. The character proved popular, and the company decided to capitalize on her popularity by giving her a backstory and an actual personality.

In a huge subversion, however, Dejiko's personality turned out to be the complete opposite of the cutesy-innocent moe girl she appears to be. She does her best to appear sweet, but when provoked (and it doesn't take much) she can be vain, petty, argumentative, selfish, and downright violent. She often takes out her frustrations by physically abusing her guardian, a floating sphere named Gema, or firing eyebeams at those who annoy her. She does have a good heart deep down, though, and the show's borderline-surreal sense of humor plays her anti-social tendencies for laughs, so somehow Dejiko manages to be endearing despite it all.

The main characters, common to almost all the incarnations of the franchise, are:

  • Dejiko, aka Di Gi Charat, aka Chocola: The titular protagonist, princess of planet Di Gi Charat and aspiring idol. However, she is less than princess-like. Can shoot Eye Beams. She will use them any time, on any being who annoys her. She has a Verbal Tic and ends everything she says with "-nyo".
  • Puchiko, aka Petit Charat, aka Capucchino: Supposed sidekick of Dejiko and inhabitant of her planet. Her EyeBeams ability is weaker than Dejiko's, but she compensates with extra cuteness and a sharp tongue. Often Hypercompetent Sidekick to Dejiko. Another Verbal Tic here; she ends her sentences with "-nyu". She is a subversion of the quiet and shy moe girl, in that she is so quiet that she is often completely withdrawn from everything around her, and when she does speak, she tends to be quite rude.
  • Gema: A big floating yellow ball with a simple, tiny, upside-down face. Long-suffering Non-Human Sidekick and failed mentor, usually the victim of Dejiko's eye beam. He ends all his sentences with "-gema".
  • "Rabi~en~Rose": Real name, Hikaru Usada. Sometimes The Rival to Dejiko, sometimes a Worthy Opponent. A young human teenager, also an aspiring idol, with a bunny-like cosplay and a sob-story backstory that changes depending on the franchise's incarnation. One of the few characters who doesn't have a Verbal Tic. She is a parody of the typical "rival" character in anime, in that she's more sympathetic than Dejiko and often shows superior skill, yet she still loses most of the time because she's not the main character.

The universe of Di Gi Charat has been presented in the following incarnations:

  • The original TV series, which was basically a Gag Series and star vehicle, mind blowing on its own merit. It featured Dejiko as a penniless retail worker at a Gamers store, where all manner of ridiculous things occur.
  • The seasonal Specials and The Movie, that presented the real enemy of Dejiko (Piyoko) and expanded the universe.
  • Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat, that was basically a Prequel set at least 2 years before the first series. Mostly ditched the subversive otaku humor for cutesiness.
  • Di Gi Charat Nyo!, which just retold the first season without the commercial references, added the information given in Panyo Panyo..., and expanded the history of secondary characters further.
  • The Di Gi Charat - Winter Garden OVAs, which are Spinoffs in an alternate future and continuity, with the characters being ten years older and living a typical romance scenario.
  • Leave it to Piyoko an OVA series which was released on Nico Nico Douga with Piyoko as the protagonist and Dejiko as The Rival.
  • There is also a visual novel game called Di Gi Charat Fantasy.

There are also many volumes of manga. Some of them are collections of the original "Gamers Magazine" 4-panel strips, some are anthologies of short stories by various artists and writers, and some are longer adventures.

Di Gi Charat is generally silly fun, with characters who subvert the traditional kawaiiko (all of the main characters can be selfish, petty, or outright cruel at times), and lots of otaku in-jokes.

These series provide examples of:

  • Alternate Continuity: There are several continuities that were established when the franchise started to branch out. The original series is connected with Panyo Panyo (serving as prequel, as well for Di Gi Charat Nyo). Nyo is a retelling of the original series without the obvious Gamers chain store setup (nor side-characters). Winter Garden is set in an alternate future continuity from the other series.
  • Animal Motifs
  • Bellisario's Maxim: Invoked in the original series. In one episode, Gema falls into the river and becomes huge. He later goes to the bathroom and comes back normal-sized. Rabi~en~Rose pops up and tells the viewers not to think about where or how much.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Abarenbou
  • Bishounen: Ky, Coo, Rik and Murataku
  • Blondes Are Evil: Piyoko
  • Butt Monkey: Gema
  • Cat Girl: Dejiko, Puchiko, Rinna, and Mee-K
  • Childhood Friends: Coo and Piyoko
  • Continuity Reboot
  • Easy Impersonation: In one episode of the original series, Dejiko is accused of various misdeeds by the other characters. Sure, Dejiko is mean spirited at times, so that's one of the reasons of why no one believes her to be innocent. When attempting to bribe them with candy, it also happens to draw out the attention of her imitator, which is a blob with a similar cat hat as hers.
  • Eye Beams: Dejiko has `em. Puchiko does too, but not as good.
  • Expy: Puchiko appears as a downloadable character in Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, under the name 'Broccoli'. The protagonist even refers to her as Puchiko a couple of times.
  • Faceless Masses: The minor characters in the original series are portrayed as literal finger puppets, even when they are in the foreground.
  • Gag Series
  • Girlish Pigtails: Rabi~En~Rose
  • Hair Colors
  • Heavy Voice: In the seventh episode, Gema falls in the river and drinks a lot of water, making him grow huge and giving him a deep voice.
  • Hospital Hottie: Piyoko's henchmen, Rik, Coo, and Ky who all work as doctors.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Puchiko attempts to do Eye Beams like her sister Dejiko and... doesn't quite make them.
  • Idol Singer: Dejiko and Rabi~En~Rose are aspiring to be one of them.
  • Image Song: The franchise had lots and lots of them that were released continuously from 1998 until mid 2000s.
  • Improbable Age: Coo is only 13, but he's already a certified doctor like the rest of the black Gema Gema Gang.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dejiko, most of the time.
  • Kawaiiko
  • Last Name Basis: Dejiko refers to Rabi~en~Rose as "Usada" (despite repeated times she denies to be called as that, she eventually gives up).
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: And worked in both ways.
  • Magic Misfire: Puchiko's attempts to use her Eye Beams power cause her eyes to emit strange slime creatures that crawl away.
  • Megane: Ky and Rik
  • Ondo
  • Occidental Otaku: Rodoyan, a Wholesome Crossdresser who claims to be Dejiko's biggest fan, who is protrayed as very annoying for everyone in the cast.
  • Otaku: The otaku culture is generally portrayed very positively in the franchise— Bukimi, in particular, are incredibly sweet, good-natured and unfailingly loyal to Dejiko no matter how she abuses or disregards them. Rodoyan (who everyone finds horrifyingly creepy and obnoxious), however, is portrayed according to the Japanese perception of an American anime otaku.
  • Panda-ing to the Audience: Piyoko
  • Parental Abandonment: In the first series, Rabi's parents leave her for America, so she can have a "difficult, penniless childhood until you [Rabi] make your debut as a great idol." They also give her a pair of dice which she'll need to help her become an idol. How exactly, is anybody's guess.
  • Poke the Poodle:
- Waiting till the dinner is served and leaving without eating it: such is the way of evil, pyo.