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Anime / Kamichu!

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"Last night, I became a god."

Kamichu (かみちゅ), a.k.a. Kamichu!, Teenage Goddess, or Kami-chu! ~Kamisama de Chugakusei, 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:

  • Adults Are Useless: Not quite useless, but Matsuri and Miko's father abdicates his role as head priest the instant he thinks the girls are old enough.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Yurie feels very isolated when she's forced to temporarily transfer schools for the gods' conference but it's all due to mutual misunderstandings: the other kids interpret "Yuri-sama's" shyness as aloofness when she's actually quite intimidated by their formality.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In many "empowered child" stories, they lose their power as a sign of growing up. Not here, the girls will face a new year, new challenges in school and Yurie's godhood but they're now full-fledged friends and Yurie has Ken.
  • Animal Theme Naming - The three spirits sent to be Yurie's assistants (Ino, Shika, and Chou) have names meaning boar, deer and butterfly, respectively.
  • Asleep for Days - Yurie regularly falls asleep for days after overusing her powers.
  • Astronomic Zoom - Happens right after Yurie's first spell.
  • Beach Episode - Notably, the girls are shown to have a bit of puppy fat!
  • Be Careful What You Wish For - On one occasion Yurie has a huge pile of papers with wishes written on them in front of her, and she fulfills all them in one big shot. Every. Single. One.
  • 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.
  • Catchphrase
    • "Nothing interesting ever happens to me", as uttered by Mitsue between being possessed by (another) god.
    • And of course, "Kamichu" for Yurie.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: In one episode, the material Yurie reviews about Japanese defense policy proves very useful later.
  • Christmas Episode - Which Matsuri uses to put up another Yurie based scheme.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander
    • Kenji. Dear god, Kenji.
    • Yurie's mom may be an even bigger one. She falls for any story told to her and makes Yurie look like a hardened cynic in the process.
  • Club President - Kenji Ninomiya, since he's the only member of the school's calligraphy club.
  • *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!" - Matsuri's dad is laid low when he plays with his old hula hoop.
  • Cool Old Guy - an interesting version of this trope pops up as played by the Yamato. As in, WWII-era Japanese battleship Yamato.
  • The Ditz - Kenji again.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Yurie's dad is making those for the future: Of her sleeping and drooling on the Kotatsu, of her in pajamas, or her being too lazy to come from under the Kotatsu to use the phone.
  • Eyes Always Shut
    • Matsuri's dad.
    • 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.
  • Fanservice
    • 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, possibly via padded bathing suits, since they go back to normal after this episode.
  • 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.
  • Festival Episode - Many in her honor, being a god and all.
  • Fever Dream Episode
  • Forgot I Couldn't Swim - Tama.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: Episode four moves into Science Fiction.
  • Genki Girl - Matsuri.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The real reason why Miko runs away from home. She's got a crush on Yashima-sama, but she thinks he likes Matsuri. So Miko wants to run away before she might start hating her sister.
  • A God I Am Not: 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.
  • Have You Seen My God? - The basic plot for episode two of the anime. The girls spend a day looking (unsuccessfully) for the previous divine tenant of Miko and Matsuri's family shrine, culminating in the page image above.
  • Hidden Depths: Yurie's parents in the beach episode. It turns out the dad was once an amateur photographer, but he couldn't go professional because his talent only lay in photographing people and the town he loves. Mom is three years younger than dad and the two of them have been in love with each other since the time when they were teens at the beach.
  • Human Alien - Well, okay, she doesn't look human, but the Martian acts and talks just like a human middle-schooler.
  • Iyashikei: Try watching and not end up more relaxed than when you started.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Yurie has these, despite this series not following "colorful hair and big eyes magical girls anime" convention (most of characters have black to brown hair and eyes as Japanese usually do) as does her brother and father. However their eyes are a significantly weaker shade of blue compared to Yurie.
  • 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 as it's revealed in the very first episode that they're on the verge of repossession (even their furniture has been tagged) and she's constantly worried about losing the shrine and (in the manga) providing for Miko.
  • Little Miss Almighty
  • King of All Cosmos - Among other things, the Seven Lucky Gods as a Jpop band, including Benten as a Catgirl vocalist and Bishamon with a cool guitar.
  • Lost in Translation
    • Several puns, including the double meaning of Yurie's three divine assistants.
    • And the banner at the God's Convention, which translates as Welcome to Kami-Con.
  • Luminescent Blush - Yurie often sports two bright pink cheeks at the merest provocation, but her whole face turns pink when she's really embarrassed.
  • Magic Skirt - Maybe literally, as Yurie wears a loose schoolgirl skirt during a hurricane and later while flying into a tornado. Number of panty flashes? Absolutely zero.
  • Meaningful Name
    • 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.
  • Mundane Utility: Yurie uses her divine power to switch the channels on the TV, because it has no remote.
  • Older Than They Look - Yurie may count as a minor example. She is notably shorter and more round-faced than the rest of her classmates and her generally childish demeanor makes her seem even younger. It should be noted that they are in middle school so a mix of Older Than They Look and Younger Than They Look is Truth in Television.
  • 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.
  • Power Incontinence - The Poverty God.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow - When Yurie exercises her divine powers, she gets extremely long hair.
  • 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.
  • Puni Plush
  • Real-Place Background - The show makes great use of Onomichi's typical locales, including the ferries that Yurie and Mitsue use to get to school.
  • Reality Warper: When Yurie really brings it, her powers go beyond simply conjuring up a wind and actually alters reality. For example when the Poverty God has already cursed the city, people were becoming bankrupt and cars were falling into the sea. Yurie then uses her own power and the car reverses itself out of the sea and onto the dock, businesses are open again but with even more profit and a large amount of money magically appears in Matsuri's donation box. Also when Yurie and Ken are flying on his giant paper on a gust of wind, the writing on the paper changes from love to strange without any conscious effort from Yurie.
  • The Runaway - Episode 11. Miko, with Shou following. Much Ship Teasing ensues.
  • The Law of Power Proportionate to Effort: Most of the time, Yurie's fatigue goes up in proportion to how difficult the task her power is used for. When she tries to locate someone on a map one time, she passes out for hours (since finding the person took multiple tries with different maps, it went from morning to evening) but when she turns the school into an amusement park after becoming school president, she's unconscious for days.
  • Scenery Porn - Every episode is rife with long, lingering shots of Onomichi and its surroundings.
  • Selective Obliviousness - Kenji Ninomiya, in regards to Yurie's status, name, or even existence at one point, despite her saving his life in the first episode.
  • Shout-Out
  • Shrines and Temples - Much of the show takes place at the Raifuku shrine that Matsuri and Miko run.
  • Sitting on the Roof - Kenji Ninomiya spends most of his time on the school roof (since the calligraphy club doesn't have a room of its own), and Yurie and her friends are there often too.
  • Sky Face: It's about a schoolgirl who is a kami, for some reason. One episode involves her causing a tornado which has her face in it.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Matsuri and Mitsue slap each other's foreheads to kill the mosquitoes, that sat there, so they claim.
  • Theme Naming
    • 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."
    • Each episode shares its title with the name of a J-pop song from the '80s or early '90s.
  • Title Drop: Every time she uses her divine powers.
  • 12-Episode Anime - Plus four for the DVD.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife - While Yurie's mother is perhaps just generically good-looking, her father is noticeably overweight and has no neck (in his youth, he was better built, probably the office worker life and the resulting lack of movement and time is to blame). Nice guy, though.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Tyler Nyaden is a sapient, magical cat but he's got a glass jaw. Tama K.O's him with an accidental headbutt.
  • Weirdness Censor
    • 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.