Kamisama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama ("Cocotama: Secret Apprentice Gods") is an anime series produced by OLM Incorporated, based on Bandai Namco's line of dollhouse toys marketed to girls. It premiered on October 1, 2015, replacing Tamagotchi during the Fall 2015 Anime season. The series has also been streaming in Nico Nico Douga, but it's region-locked outside of Japan.
The anime follows fifth grader Kokoro Yotsuba, who is a rather Cute Clumsy Girl but has a tendency to take good care of her belongings. One of the things she treasures the most is a colored pencil set, which her grandmother gave her during her kindergarten years and told her that everything has souls, including items. Grandma's words are proven to be literally true one day, as while Kokoro is at school, her colored pencil set at home starts glowing and an egg pops out, revealing itself to be a tiny but powerful furry creature known as a Cocotama. This Cocotama, named Luckytama, has fun by running around the desk until...
...Kokoro gets home from school, and is somewhat surprised and shocked to see him! It gets worse from here as he is doomed to disappear unless she signs a Cocotama Contract in order for him to exist. Despite him having the worst magic ever, she decides to do it, but is faced with rules, including not revealing their existence or talking about them to others. After that, she encounters other Cocotamas that befriend her or cause her trouble as well as dilemmas of her trying to keep them a secret and keeping a very low profile.
First revealed at the 2015 Tokyo Toy Fair, the anime and toy franchise is a cute and adorable take on the Pals with Jesus trope and on usual Shojo anime, with stealth elements of Shinto Animism mixed in. Let's say it's a cute, unusual mix.
On April 28th, 2017, a Cocotama movie was released in Japan alongside a Tamagotchi short film, Eiga Tamagotchi: Himitsu no Otodoke Dai Sakusen! ("Tamagotchi the Movie: Big Operation Secret Delivery"). The movie and the short film were first announced around the 1st anniversary of Cocotama and the 20th anniversary of Tamagotchi, respectively.
In 2018, it was announced that the series would get a new installment called Kira Kira Happy Hirake Cocotama, with a completely changed cast of characters (they got rid of almost the entire previous cast, with Luckytama and co. shoved Out of Focus as they've so far only appeared in the Hirake! storyline in a poster and their series finale). This sequel series premiered on September 6th of that year.
Kamisama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama provides examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight: Some supporting characters in the anime gets their time to shine on some episodes only, particular to Kokoro's human friends.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: All Cocotamas comes in different colors while Amanda, the pet cat of the Yotsuba family, is colored purple.
- All Your Powers Combined: Luckytama, Melory, Oshaki and Geracho used all of their magic together in Episode 6 to find their way back to Kokoro.
- Badass Adorable:
- Cocotamas don't usually fight but their magic can pack some serious punch when cast at the right moment. Episode 9 proves their magic helped Kokoro's team win a friendly Futsal competition.
- Vivit alone gets an good mention, since her magic and resolve to find problems for Nozomi to resolve is what makes her a good fan favorite.
- Big Eater: Mogutan likes to overeat due to being the Hunger God.
- Bird-Poop Gag: Paline freaks out after getting hit in the face with bird droppings in the first segment of the 31st episode.
- Born as an Adult: The titular Cocotamas come into being in their present forms and fully articulate. Nikori is one of the few exceptions; she came into existence as an infant because she was born from Nozomi's old baby blanket.
- Box-and-Stick Trap: The eighth episode has the Cocotamas create this kind of trap out of a cake box to capture Mogutan. While they hadn't yet come up with bait to use in the trap, the cake box catches Mogutan anyway because he tried to lick the frosting underneath.
- Bunnies for Cuteness: Episode 3 Part B involves bunnies.
- Central Theme: "Everything has a soul". It doubles as Arc Words referring to Kokoro's bond with her Cocotama friends.
- Character Development: Characters in the anime tend to develop their overall personality with each episode, with Kokoro, Luckytama and Melory being the main examples. The Noratama Trio, Nozomi and Vivit are also getting some character development.
- Cherry Blossoms: Present in Episode 27 during the start of the second arc of the series.
- Childhood Friends: Kokoro, Hina and Ayaka were best friends ever since Kokoro was in first grade.
- Evolving Credits: The opening credits of the series changes every time a new character is introduced.
- Fansub: Wasurenai is subtitling the series and has most of the episodes covered as well as the movie.
- Fat and Skinny: The series features a pair of recurring characters known as the Black Brothers, who are two scam artists consisting of a tall, thin man and a short, obese man.
- Funny Animal: The Cocotamas themselves, considering they all have animal-like features including tails based on the items they were born from.
- Fun Size: The Cocotamas are small to maximize their cuteness.
- Gasshole: Tama-Senin has a tendency to intentionally fart.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: The 75th episode has Kokoro's Cocotamas and Nozomi's Cocotamas recruit every minor Cocotama that has appeared thus far to use their magic to help Vivit recover from a coma she fell into the previous episode when she tried to cast a forbidden spell to ascend to godhood faster.
- Gratuitous English: Most of the toys use English for some names of the characters and the packaging. The same goes for the official website.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Funny enough that the Cocotamas are only wearing underpants as their clothing and nothing to cover their top. Tama-Senin however wears a loincloth instead.
- Halloween Episode: The 55th episode was about Kokoro's Cocotamas throwing a Halloween party and inviting other Cocotamas to join the festivities.
- Lost Food Grievance: In the eighth episode, Mogutan doesn't lift a finger to help the other Cocotamas drive away Kokoro's cat Amanda until Amanda crushes one of the pieces of candy he was going to eat with her paw.
- The Magic Goes Away: The failing condition if a contractor breaks the promise in the Cocotama Contract, which results in a serious Laser-Guided Amnesia.
- Magically Binding Contract: The Cocotama Contract, which has some important guidelines that a contractor must follow.
- Meaningful Name: Cocotama has a rather interesting naming. Coco is short for "Kokoro", meaning "heart", and "Tama", which either means "soul", "god", or "egg". It depends on how you portray the translation.
- Mistaken from Behind: The second half of the 52nd episode has Luckyama mistake a bespectacled girl for Kokoro because she looked like Kokoro from the back.
- Merchandise-Driven: It's a Bandai Namco franchise, so it's obvious there are toys based on it.
- The Movie: A Cocotama movie was released in Japan on April 28, 2017, and a Tamagotchi short film, Eiga Tamagotchi: Himitsu no Otodoke Dai Sakusen!, was screened with it.
- Overly Long Name: Each of the Cocotama's names are so long that they just call themselves by their given name instead.
- Pals with Jesus: A somewhat interesting take on this trope. In this case, Kokoro is friends with small, furry apprentice gods.
- Put on a Bus: The 76th episode has Nozomi and her Cocotamas phased out of the show when her family moves to America.
- The Quiet One: Ukitetsu is the least talkative of the Noratama Trio, frequently only having one line of dialogue per episode.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Just look at those Cocotamas and let's see if you won't go "aww". Also Amanda has an honorable mention.
- Rousseau Was Right: The series has no fixed villain by default and there are no inherently evil characters.
- Second Episode Introduction: Melory, one of the series mascots, first appears in the second episode.
- Sempai/Kohai: Luckytama and Melory's relationship in the first few episodes.
- Shaking the Rump: Cocotamas do this when casting their magic. The boys gets a serious butt shake while the female ones are less offensive, save for Saline and Paline. Justified as they are also based on either real or mythological animals.
- Ship Tease:
- Shōjo Demographic
- Spiritual Successor: Strangely, to Mirumo De Pon due to the series having the same premise (fairies in Mirumo and furry gods in Cocotama, yet the theme and execution were different) and happen to have the same writer.
- Sticky Situation: The first segment of the 25th episode has Geracho get stuck to a tissue box in Makoto's room after getting paste on his back.
- Sugar Bowl
- Trouser Space: The signature Egg Underpants. All Cocotamas keep their Cocotama Contract inside it like magic, and the contract papers are twice their size!
- True Companions: Kokoro's friends are this, and not just her human ones but her Cocotama friends as well.
- Valentine's Day Episode: The 69th episode is a Valentine's Day special, with the first half being about one of the Black Brothers (a pair of recurring con men) falling in love with the daughter of the sweets shop owner he and his brother nearly drove out of business back in the 11th episode and the second half being about the female Cocotamas making chocolate for the male Cocotamas.
- Verbal Tic:
- Melory ends her sentences with "na no".
- Geracho ends his sentences with "da cho".
- Mogutan ends his sentences with "da guu".