Anime / Di Gi Charat

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_digicharat1_dejiko_8026.jpg
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 became 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 an aspiring idol. However, she is less than princess-like. She can shoot Eye Beams, and 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 Eye Beams ability is weaker than Dejiko's, but she compensates with extra cuteness and a sharp tongue. Often Hypercompetent Sidekick to Dejiko. As Dejiko, she also has a Verbal Tic — 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 She is a subversion of the quiet and shy moe girl, in that she is so quiet that she is often completely withdrawn from everything around her, and when she does speak, she tends to be quite rude.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. He is a 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": Her real name is actually Hikaru Usada. She sometimes acts as The Rival to Dejiko, and other times she is a Worthy Opponent. Usada is 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. 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 (1999) that was aired in TBSnote ' program block, Wonderful. The star vehicle that is basically a Gag Series that often pokes a healthy fun to its otaku-advertising roots, but is mind blowing on its own merit. It features Dejiko as a penniless retail worker at an Akihabara's Gamers store, where all manner of ridiculous things occur.
  • The seasonal Specials and The Movie (2000-2001) introduces the real rival of Dejiko, Pyocola Analogue III (a.k.a. Piyoko), and her "bodyguards"/"minions", the Black Gema Gema Gang. Set in the same universe as the original anime, it expands the characters' surrounding backgrounds.
  • Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat (2002), which sort-of serves as a prequel of the original anime, it also sets foot in an Alternate Continuity. Focusing mostly in Dejiko, Puchiko, and Gema, the story takes place in the Planet Di Gi Charat. It introduces new characters such as Rinna and Mee-K. It also abandons the subversive otaku humor, and changes it for cutesiness.
  • Di Gi Charat Nyo! (2003), the Continuity Reboot of the franchise, and Re Tool of the first season without the references to its original commercial roots. It also adds the information already given in Panyo Panyo to expand the cast's backstories and their respective development in that universe.
  • Di Gi Charat Theater - Leave it to Piyoko-pyo! (2003), an OVA series Spin-Off which was released through Nico Nico Douga, featuring Piyoko with the Black Gema Gema Gang as the protagonists. It narrates Piyoko's attempts to kidnap Dejiko.
  • Di Gi Charat - Winter Garden (2006), a couple of Spin-Off Slice of Life OVAs that are set in an Alternate Continuity, starring Dejiko and Puchiko (as normal human teenagers) living a typical romance scenario where Dejiko gets a crush on a boy. This was the latest installment of the franchise in animated form.
  • Di Gi Charat Fantasy, a visual novel originally released for the Sega Dreamcast, in which the player is a boy who gets a crush on Dejiko, and they get sucked into a dimensional vortex to a fantasy world. But as soon as the MC wakes up, he finds an amnesiac Dejiko with a personality swap.
  • Many, many manga series. Some of these are original stories based on the characters, adaptations of any of the animated incarnations, or comic anthologies written by various artists. One example are the recopilations of the original From GAMERS magazine's "Gema-Gema" comic strips.

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.
    • Panyo Panyo, prequel of sorts to the original anime (since it ditches the otaku in-jokes), but establishes its own rules when it focuses in characters' from the past of Dejiko and Puchiko. This is, instead, the basis of "prequel" for Nyo!.
    • Nyo! is a Continuity Reboot of the original anime, with a better set continuity, and without the obvious Gamers advertising set-up. It also features some obvious side-character expies from the original anime's continuity.
    • Winter Garden, which focuses in Dejiko and Puchiko if they were human instead of hybrid-catgirls, in a slice-of-life future where they are 20 and 15 years old, respectively.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • People from the Planet Di Gi Charat are usually portrayed as hybrid cat-humans (such as Dejiko, Puchiko, Rinna, and Mee-K).
    • Rabi~en~Rose~'s name, real name ("Usada"), and idol cosplay suit are influenced by rabbits.
    • Piyoko's appearance is based on a panda.
    • PKO (Coo, Ryk and Ky)'s looks are based in dogs. Coo even transforms as a dog in many visual gags.
  • 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, who has a distinctive design compared to the rest of the original anime cast, has big eyebrows as a noticeable feature.
  • Bishounen:
    • While the franchise doesn't have many beautiful men, Koge-Donbo* has designed some that could be considered as this, such as Ky, Coo, and Rik.
    • Original anime wise, there's also Murataku, a.k.a "Mr. Longhair", which design contrasts with the rest of the male cast — Mr. Manager as part of the Faceless Masses, Bukimi as the streotypical-looking otaku, and Minataku (who still looks as a kid). His Nyo! expy, Yasushi, counts as a pretty guy, as well.
  • Butt Monkey: Gema, who is supposed to be "mentoring" Dejiko, is often used as her personal punching bag. He eventually gets various revenges as response, but he is still unsuccessful in his attempts.
  • Continuity Reboot: Nyo!, which takes basic elements from the original series and mixes them up with the background already provided in Panyo Panyo, while also abandoning its original otaku-related humor.
  • Easy Impersonation: In one episode of the original anime, 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: This is the basic attack of Dejiko that she uses in frustration with others. Puchiko also has them, but they are still in development, with some random good results.
  • Expy:
    • Some of the side characters from Nyo! are remake "expies" from the original side-characters of the anime, repurposed in similar roles. John and Paul are based on Takeshi and Yoshimi, and the Omocha siblings are inspired by Murataku and Minataku (who shared the same name, but were unrelated).
    • 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. This is based on how Koge-Donbo* originally drew other people that weren't Dejiko or Gema in the original "Gema Gema" comic strips.
  • Gag Series: Many series based on the franchise usually poke fun (in a positive way) at the Akiba otaku culture in the late 90s - mid 2000s, with Dejiko and her friends being parodies of the kawaiiko moe archetypes, while they were also living up to ridiculous situations around them.
  • Girlish Pigtails: When using her idol costume, Rabi~En~Rose uses them as her main characteristic feature.
  • 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.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Puchiko attempts to do Eye Beams like Dejiko but... she doesn't quite make them as well.
  • Idol Singer: Dejiko and Rabi~En~Rose are aspiring to be famous idols in Akihabara, but with little success. In Nyo!, though, Hikaru has a cousin who is actually a well-recognized idol named Akari.
  • Image Song: The franchise released numerous image songs and character-related albums continuously, ever since its first single "Welcome!" was released in 1998. It eventually stopped somewhere in its 10th anniversary, in 2008.
  • Improbable Age: Two members of PKO are very young to be certified in the medical field, if the Di Gi Charat multiverse was similar as the real world.
    • Coo Erhard is only 13, but he's already a certified physician.
    • Ky Schweitzer, at 17, is Piyoko's personal dentist.
  • 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).
  • Magic Misfire: Puchiko's attempts to use her Eye Beams power cause her eyes to emit strange slime creatures that crawl away.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Re Tool: Di Gi Charat Nyo! is a retelling of the first anime series, which retains basic elements, but also changes some backstories and some settings.
  • Short Anime Movie: The movie is 20 minutes long, the same length as many of the seasonal specials.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Both of Hikaru Usada's names can apply. "Hikaru Usada" is an obvious reference to Utada Hikaru, while "Rabi~en~Rose"note  would be either an obvious send-up of L'Arc~En~Ciel or of the song "La Vie en Rose".
    • John and Paul from Nyo are musicians, whose designs and names are inspired by The Beatles's John Lennon and Paul McCartney, respectively.
  • Take That: The Natsuyasumi Special had an extended take that at the Occidental Otaku's stereotype, portraying Rodoyan as a most annoying type of fan for Dejiko and the rest of the cast.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Dejiko is considerably nicer in the Panyo Panyo series compared to the rest of the franchise (the sole exception being Winter Garden).
  • Verbal Tic: "Nyo", "Nyu", "Pyo", "Gema", "Geba", "Myu", "Mya", and "Devi".
  • Villain Protagonist: Piyoko in the Leave it to Piyoko! series, where she is attempting to kidnap Dejiko.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Puchiko is three years old in the Panyo Panyo series, but she can walk and talk and easily keep up with a trio of girls that are five years older than her.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Dejiko is originally depicted as being a fan of the Kyo and Iori ship, wishing to get BL doujinshi of both of them, eventually. Dejiko being a fujoshi is a Mythology Gag used in the original series, when she contemplates the possibility of doing a doujinshi with both Takurou as her pairing subject.


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