a.k.a.Kamichu!, Teenage Goddess, Kami-chu! ~Kamisama de Chugakusei
"Last night, I became a god."
Kamichu (かみちゅ) is an anime series produced by Aniplex.What would you do if your best friend suddenly announced that she had just become a god during lunch at school? Well, if you're anything like Mitsue Shijo, you'd probably assume the awkward and young-for-her-age eighth grader Yurie Hitotsubashi was joking with you, at least until you are approached by classmate and local shrine miko Matsuri Saegusa who also claims to have recognized little Yurie's “air of divinity”. Together they set out to uncover Yurie´s supposed powers and place in the world of Japanese Shinto, where cities, places, objects and even concepts can all have their own minor deities and the local goddess may just well be a cute and unassuming middle school girl. On the way they encounter a little more than they had bargained for.Set in a faithfully reproduced version of Onomichi in the 1980s, the show has sometimes been called "My Neighbor Totoro the TV", for its lush, Ghibli Hills layout and casual insertion of a spirit world idling away between the cracks of the "real world". A surprisingly easy to enjoy series, provided with buoyant comedy where deification is less an earth-shattering shift of views and more of an after-school job - and far less stressful than being an insecure, easily flustered young lady whose biggest problem is still getting a certain boy to remember her name.
This series provides examples of:
Actor Allusion - Arguably, at least in the English adaptation. Yashima, voiced by Yuri Lowenthal, who is also the voice of teenage Ben10, is a major fanboy of a certain god musician named Benten. Coincidence?
Bishōnen - Yashima-sama fits the mold of a bishonen boy... er, god.
Blush Sticker - Everyone at some point. Yurie sports a near-perpetual set.
Butt Monkey - Shika the deer assistant gets whacked around a lot by his teammates.
Call to Agriculture - Matsuri and Miko's father, Saegusa Kouun, the chief priest, prefers farming.
The Cameo - Episode 11, when Miko and Shou run away from the fast-food restaurant on their magical running away from home adventure, you can see Yomiko Readman in the background as they run. This is because Koji Masunari (the director for Read or Die) co-wrote and directed Kamichu with Tomonori Ochiai and Hideyuki Kurata.
An interesting variation pops up during negotiations with the neighborhood association, when the head negotiator's eyes suddenly stop being open and switch to this. Negotiations for Matsuri's shrine holiday suddenly complete successfully and wisely.
Almost non-existent in the anime, but the manga often has the girls in various states of undress—especially Matsuri (who also received an "upgrade"◊ of two cup sizes).
With the exception of the Beach Episode, in which Mitsue and Matsuri seem to have WAY too much boobage for girls still in middle school. Padded bathing suits, or just early bloomers? It does happen.
Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Apart from Shintô deities and magic, the world also has Martians, as well as apparently other natural sentient species living on Earth. While they are seen as newsworthy and interesting, no-one's mind is exactly blown by having the UN communicate with extraterrestrials and mole-people.
A God Am I - Averted wonderfully; Yurie is completely unassuming and seems vaguely uncomfortable about the obligations of her new divine status. Rather than pontificate about her newfound power, she almost freezes up when asked to speak at her first festival.
Jerkass - Matsuri. In almost any other series, her use of Yurie to help the shrine wouldn't be anything special, but considering the tone of Kamichu, Matsuri is being quite exploitative.Justified in the manga where it's revealed that they're on the verge of repossession and she's constantly worried about providing for Miko.
Miko and Matsuri's names can be interpreted as "shrine maiden" and "festival," respectively.
Yurie's assistants (Ino, Shika, and Chou) all have names synonymous with the kanji representing the animals they resemble (the boar, deer, and butterfly respectively), despite Yurie using a completely different rationale for naming them. (E.g., "chou" means "clever" or "butterfly" depending on the kanji used to write it.)
Miko - Matsuri and her appropriately named sister Miko at their father's failing shrine — thus their interest in Yurie.
The number of Yurie's fortune in the last episode.
Also, her rank (dead last) on the midterm exam at her transfer school in episode 12.
Patriotic Fervor - Matsuri FREAKING LOVES Japan almost as much as she FREAKING LOVES its indigenous religion, Shinto (or at least, the series' interpretation of Shinto). Her patriotism seems to be mostly deployed as an excuse to set up a (well-remunerated) shrine holiday to compete with Christmas, though.
Pillar of Light - Yurie pulls one of these when she teleports. And promptly takes a nap.
Pun-Based Title - Kami (かみ/神）meaning God(s) and Chu (ちゅ/中) meaning middle. Because Yurie is both a middle schooler, chuugakusei (ちゅうがくせい/中学生) and a god, Matsurie suggests she uses kamichu (かみちゅ/神中), sort of like "God of the middle", as a spell word to invoke her power.
The names of all the major characters incorporate kanji normally used to write numbers: Yurie Hitotsubashi includes the kanji for "1," Kenji Ninomiya includes "2," the Saegusa family's name includes "3," and Mitsue Shijou includes "4." Yashima's name includes the kanji for lucky number "8."
The spirit world is just there, to Yurie, certain sensitives, users of her omamori, and the viewer of course. For the most part the villagers are oblivious to the activity of the little gods and spirits around them, though they are generally aware and accepting that such things exist.
Yurie's godhood is pretty much acknowledged from the moment her face appeared in the eye of the typhoon she inadvertently created.