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Anime / Di Gi Charat

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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.

Do not confuse with Digimon.

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 She is a subversion of the quiet and shy moe girl, in that she is so quiet that she is often completely withdrawn from everything around her, and when she does speak, she tends to be quite rude.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 on 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 Retool of the first series 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 TV specials 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 until....
  • Reiwa no Di Gi Charat (2022), the latest Di Gi Charat anime produced by Liden Films with Hiroaki Sakurai returning as director as well as the original cast reprising their roles.
  • 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 nyo!:

  • Accidental Passenger: In the movie, Rabi~En~Rose ends up tagging along with Dejiko on her trip back to her home planet when one of her rabbit ears gets caught in the spaceship.
  • Alien Princess: Dejiko is the princess of the eponymous planet, Di Gi Charat, with cat ears, eye beams, and who came to Earth to be an idol singer.
  • 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 on dogs. Coo even transforms into a dog in many visual gags.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Gema is Dejiko and Puchiko’s caretaker and tends to often be on the receiving end of their abuse.
  • 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.
  • Bowdlerize: In addition to calling the Black Gema Gema Gang, the "Dark Gema Gema Gang", Nazo Gema's lips are edited out in Viz Media's release of Di Gi Charat Official Anthology.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The third episode of Reiwa has Broccodess take offense to being called a new character by the Black Gema Gema gang with Dejiko bringing up how she’d been around since the 15th anniversary of the series.
  • 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.
  • Cat Girl: Dejiko (white ears and tail), Puchiko (yellow ears and tail), Rinna (also white ears and tail), and Mee-K (white and brown ears and tail) are all this.
  • Childhood Friends: Coo and Piyoko are this.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In Episode 13 of Reiwa, when Dejiko and Puchiko are transported to the world of Nyo!, John and Paul are the only major characters from the series not to appear.
  • Comic Trio: Dejiko is the schemer, Puchiko is the one who goes along with the schemes, although it’s out of indifference rather than stupidity, and depending on who’s with them, either Gema or Rabi~en~Rose is the ignored voice of reason.
  • Continuity Cameo: Episode 13 of Reiwa has Dejiko and Puchiko get transported to the world of Nyo! where they bump into several characters from the series, including Rinna and Meek who originally debuted in Panyo Panyo.
  • 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.
  • Cut Short: Two of the manga series, Dejiko's Adventure and Leave It To Piyoko! were also cut short in America after only one volume of each had been released. The remaining two volumes of the former and one of the latter were announced for 2005, but were on hold for three years until Broccoli USA ceased operations.
  • Dub Name Change: Viz Media's translation of Di Gi Charat Official Anthology refers to the Black Gema Gema Gang as the "Dark Gema Gema Gang" instead, this is the only case of this as every other translation of the franchise maintains the original name note .
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Mr. Manager is only ever called Mr. Manager and is the manager of Gamers.
  • 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: 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.
  • Fiery Redhead: Meek is a tomboy and has red hair.
  • First Girl Wins: Episode 4 of Reiwa has Minataku bump into three different girls while at school who all end up falling in love with him. However, they end up backing off when they see him with Usada and see that he only has eyes for her.
  • 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.
  • Hospital Hottie: Piyoko's henchmen, Rik, Coo, and Ky who all work as doctors and are quite handsome.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Puchiko attempts to do Eye Beams like Dejiko but... she doesn't quite make them as well.
  • Idiot Hair: Dejiko, Puchiko, Rabi~en~Rose, and Piyoko spout a single strand of hair, although it is very much Depending on the Artist.
  • Idol Singer: Dejiko and Rabi~En~Rose are aspiring to be famous idols in Akihabara, but with little success. In Nyo!, though, Usada 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dejiko, most of the time. Violent and petty as she can be, there’s a good heart deep down in her.
  • Kawaiiko: Deliberately subverted for laughs. Cute as these characters are, most of them are kind of jerks.
  • 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. Characters from other shows appear under different names, and characters from this show appear in other media productions under different names.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: While in the world of Nyo! in Reiwa, several characters greet Dejiko by telling her long time no see, referencing how Nyo! ended nearly two decades before and they haven’t appeared since.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Puchiko is this, whenever she actually talks.
  • Lower-Class Lout: The Black Gema Gema Gang are usually portrayed as being penniless, and usually want to capture Dejiko specifically for the money.
  • Magic Misfire: Puchiko's attempts to use her Eye Beams power cause her eyes to emit strange slime creatures that crawl away.
  • Mythology Gag: In Episode 12 of Reiwa, Puchiko gets transformed into her Winter Garden design.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: Abarenbou often works whatever job the plot demands him to be working, however he is just as likely to be acting as drifter.
  • Occidental Otaku: Rodoyan, a Wholesome Crossdresser who claims to be Dejiko's biggest fan, who is portrayed as very annoying for everyone in the cast.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Takurou Minagawa and Takurou Kimura share the same first name. This is rarely an issue however as they are usually known by their nicknames of Murataku and Minataku. A third Takurou, Takurou Senba, is introduced in Winter Garden and also shares no relation with the other two.
  • 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.
  • Poke the Poodle: Piyoko, at times, participates in this.
    - Waiting till the dinner is served and leaving without eating it: such is the way of evil, pyo.
    • Deji Devil does this too, due to his childish nature.
  • Princess Protagonist: Dejiko, aka Di Gi Charat, aka Chocola is the titular protagonist and princess of planet Di Gi Charat.
  • Punny Name: Quite a few.
  • Retool: Di Gi Charat Nyo! is a retelling of the first anime series, which retains basic elements, but also changes some backstories and some settings.
  • Revisiting the Roots: Reiwa returns to the Gag Series format of the original series and has each episode of the show being roughly three minutes in length.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Dejiko did not appear until the second Gema Gema comic.
  • Short Film: 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 singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada, while "Rabi~en~Rose"note  would be an obvious nod to the song "La Vie en Rose", as well as a likely send-up of L'Arc~En~Ciel.
    • Reiwa has Gema use an attack called "Yellow World" and in the background a Yellow Submarine can be seen.
    • In Digiko’s Champion Cup, Dejiko’s representation of her fairy godmother is Majin Buu from Dragon Ball Z. Fitting as Buu gets his name from Cinderella, his masters are named Bibidi and Babidi.
  • Sleepyhead: Rinna falls asleep a lot.
  • Terrible Trio: Piyoko’s minions, The Black Gema Gang, consisting of Rik, Coo and Ky.
  • Those Two Guys: There’s quite a few of these pair-ups.
  • Totally Radical: The Studio Ironcat translation of Dejiko's Champion Cup Theater.
  • Tsundere: Dejiko, to an extent. She tries to be sweet, but her temper gets in the way.
  • Unusual Ears: A lot of characters have animal ears. Rabi~En~Rose however, only has her bunny ears as part of her idol costume, and lacks them as Hikaru.
  • 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).
  • Valley Girl: Usada in the English translation of Dejiko's Champion Cup Theater.
  • Verbal Tic: So many. Dejiko uses "Nyo", Puchiko uses "Nyu", Piyoko uses "Pyo", Gema uses, well, "Gema", "Geba", Rinna uses "Myu", Mee-K uses "Mya", and Deji Devil uses "Devi". Whether or not they're kept in the English dubs depends on which series you're watching, Synch-Point and ADV Films respective dubs kept the tics meanwhile Bandai Entertainment/Blue Water's dub of Nyo! excised the tics entirely.
    • The episode introducing Mr. Longhair has him going to the store to get them to stop, as he thinks them doing it will cause language to degrade, and providing examples of words that will sound silly if each character says their verbal tic after them.
  • Villain Protagonist: Piyoko in the Leave it to Piyoko! series, where she is attempting to kidnap Dejiko.
  • 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.