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Anime / Kamisama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama

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Kamisama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama ("Cocotama: Secret Apprentice Gods") is an anime series produced by OLM Incorporated, based on Bandai Namco Entertainment's line of dollhouse toys marketed to girls. It premiered on October 1, 2015, replacing Tamagotchi. 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 and Ninja tropes and on usual Shojo anime, with stealth elements of Shinto and Christianity 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.

The series lasted 139 episodes followed by eight three-minute shorts that served to set up a Sequel Series or Spin-Off (depending on whom you ask) titled Kira Kira Happy Hirake Cocotama, which premiered in September 6, 2018 and featured 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).

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.
  • Back for the Finale: Just about every side character in the anime comes back in the 139th episode for at least a brief cameo.
  • 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.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Renji will get extremely pissed whenever anyone mistakes him for a female.
    • Oshaki DOES NOT like rude people. GOT IT!?
  • Big Eater: Mogutan likes to overeat due to being born from the Yotsuba family's fork.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: Paline freaks out after getting hit in the face with bird droppings in the first segment of the 31st episode.
  • Books vs. Screens: Used in the first half of the 108th episode, where Geracho and Niche get into a disagreement because the former believes television is better than books and the latter has the opposite opinion. Oshaki attempts to end this squabble by challenging the two to change places and give their respective interests a chance. The effort ends up backfiring in the end when Niche's newfound interest in television causes him to only allow the other Cocotamas to watch specific shows for specific amounts of time and Geracho moves the books on the library's shelves so much that it gets the attention of Kiyomi Nishina and Kokoro has to keep distracting her before she finds out that the Cocotamas exist.
  • 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.
  • The Bus Came Back: Nozomi and Vivit return in the 89th episode after Nozomi's family moved to America in the 76th episode.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Childhood Friends: Kokoro, Hina and Ayaka were best friends ever since Kokoro was in first grade.
  • Constantly Curious: Sui has a habit of asking questions about everything, much to the frustration of everyone else.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue takes place around Halloween months after the Cocotama Festival was held.
  • Eggshell Clothing: The white color and zig-zagged/curved edge of the Cocotamas' pants are supposed to make them look like eggshells, since the Cocotamas hatch from eggs.
  • Everybody Cries: Kokoro's Cocotamas and Sui all cry when they think they have to say goodbye to Kanna in the 139th episode.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening credits of the series changes every time a new character is introduced.
  • 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.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Hikari and her Cocotama Lychee are initially introduced as being an inexperienced Cocotama contractor and Cocotama, but their arc later reveals that Lychee was originally born when Hikari was a little girl, disappeared the first time because of Hikari violating their original contract by tearing up the playing card Lychee was born from in a fit of frustration and that Lychee had returned recently because of a temporary contract being formed, the remainder of the arc focusing on Kokoro and her Cocotamas trying to find a way to prevent the temporary contract from expiring and Lychee disappearing permanently as a result of the contract's negation.
  • 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.
    • The 105th episode has the Cocotamas find Tama-Senin knocked out at their Halloween party and trying to figure out who it was who concussed Tama-Senin. It turns out in the end that Tama-Senin brought it upon himself by accidentally causing a bowling ball to fall on him.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Tama-Senin and Coco-Senin are nearly identical except the latter has a shorter mustache and a small beard, plus their respective loincloth colors are purple and green.
  • 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 is that the Cocotama will return to the object they spawned from and the contractor will forget that the Cocotama ever existed. This plot point is mainly significant in the arc focusing on the Cocotama contractor Hikari and her Cocotama Lychee, where it's eventually revealed that Lychee disappeared before because of Hikari violating their contract in frustration and came back because of a temporary contract being forged. When the temporary contract is given more time before the expiration date from a ritual that involves taking a week off of Kokoro's contract with her Cocotamas, this has the side effect of Kokoro's contract being temporarily invalid, requiring her Cocotamas to avoid being seen by her until a week has passed and Kokoro is made to remember the existence of her Cocotamas without help.
  • 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 Entertainment 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. The plot involves a fungus generating depression and invisible to all but Cocotamas and Cocotama contractors known as Sorrowful Mushrooms that have appeared because of a Cocotama named Tepple falsely believing that the owner of the dancing shoes she was born from has lost hope in her dream of becoming a good dancer.
  • Non-Nude Bathing: Whenever the Cocotamas bathe, they always do so while still wearing their underpants.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: The ending of the finale shows Kokoro and her Cocotamas leaving her house and her hometown foreshadowing their appearance in the finale of Kira Kira Happy Hirake Cocotama.
  • 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.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Mishil frequently masquerades as Cocotama Spy 346 solely by wearing lipstick and a mask. In spite of her insistence of being a completely different person, Luckytama is the only one who ever falls for the disguise.
  • Perspective Reversal: In the first half of the 108th episode, Geracho and Niche get into a disagreement on whether books or TV are better. After Oshaki convinces the two to switch places and give each other's interest a chance, discovering the merits of the other's opinion ends up backfiring greatly. Niche's newfound interest in television causes him to force the other Cocotamas to submit to a strict viewing schedule where they can only watch specific shows for specific lengths of time, while Geracho starts making the books on the library's shelves stick out so much that it puts him at risk of being discovered by paranormal enthusiast Kiyomi Nishina.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy:
    • The twins Saline and Paline are respectively a pink female and a blue male.
    • Two members of the Noratama Trio are this trope, with Yurano being a magenta female and Tokumaru being a blue male.
  • 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. Even the Noratama Trio and the scam artists known as the Black Brothers have redeeming qualities.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Melory, one of the series mascots, first appears in the second episode.
  • Shaking the Rump: Cocotamas cast their magic by shaking their butts. The boys gets a serious butt shake while the female ones are less offensive, save for Saline. Justified as they are also based on either real or mythological animals.
  • Ship Tease:
    • The series constantly teases Kokoro and Ichinose getting together, though she doesn't like to admit it to her Cocotama friends.
    • Luckytama and Melory are going to this path also, but it's in the more of the line of Just Friends/Senpai-Kohai thought; it started to evolve to loving each other.
  • Shōjo Demographic: Young girls are the primary demographic of this anime.
  • 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: The setting is an upbeat, cheerful and sweet one.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Male Cocotamas have zig-zags at the waistbands of their underwear, while females instead have curves.
  • Toilet Humour: There are occasional jokes about the Cocotamas farting, most frequently done with Tama-Senin and Luckytama.
  • 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.
  • Used to Be More Social: It is revealed in episode 63 that Noratama Trio used to be very handy to humans until children stopped visiting the park that the trio resides.
  • 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.
    • The second half of the 119th episode has Kokoro work up the nerve to give Valentine's Day chocolates to her crush Ichinose due to assuming that he will be transferring to another school soon.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Melory ends her sentences with "na no".
    • Geracho ends his sentences with "da cho".
    • Mogutan ends his sentences with "da guu".
  • Voice Changeling: The robotic Cocotama Picota is able to copy the voices of anyone.
  • With a Foot on the Bus: The second half of the 119th episode has Kokoro thinking her crush Ichinose will be transferring to a new school soon, so she prepares a special batch of Valentine's Day chocolates for him and is goaded by her Cocotamas into admitting her feelings for him. In the end, Kokoro learns that she is mistaken and that the one who is transferring is actually Ichinose's coach.