Kamichu Volume 1: Little Deity

Don recently had a list of kid-friendly anime titles, to which I added Someday’s Dreamers because of the appeal that the “magical girl” genre has for my four-year old. Along those same lines comes this recommendation from AnimeAICN: Kamichu, Little Deity.

Kamichu is basically a story about a schoolgirl who wakes up one day to find she’s been given godlike power overnight. God is typically referred to as Kami-san (with the -san suffix indicating great reverence), but here -chu (or -chan) is a endearment suffix, so the implication is of a cute little god. The plot is apparently heavily drawn from Shinto and animism philosophy, with modernistic twists:

The anime offers some interesting and amusing views of Animism. Except for Yurie and a young shrine maiden, the other characters can’t see the active spirit world around them in which a blink or change in perspective reveals a busy ecosystem of rock spirits, water spirits and the like. The complexity of this world is even stranger when Yurie steps into the full spirit world and sees sights like the gods of obsolete disc media formats sitting around kvetching.

There’s something about the idea of gods for disc formats that appeals to my inner geek. The review at AnimeAICN makes it clear that Kamichu is a heavily culturally-specific work, and was not initially designed with kids in mind, but rather for disillusioned adults to help them rediscover joy and optimism. However the end result looks to be eminently kid-friendly, so I think it will be worth the try. The release date is June and will be available on Amazon. Volume 2 will be out in August.

10 thoughts on “Kamichu Volume 1: Little Deity”

  1. a few things:

    – no (or significantly attenuated) fan service
    – young characters, preferably girls, for my daughter to relate to

    and most importantly, either:
    – a message/moral/personal growth (ex. Someday’s Dreamers, Sugar)
    – a sense of wonder (ex. Totoro)

    (or both)

  2. Kamichu is an absolutely delightful series. It’s a bit complex for younger children, perhaps, but it is definitely child-friendly. I don’t think that the intricacies of Shinto belief will bother kids much either.

    No fan service, tick.

    Young characters – well, the characters are in middle-school, but Yurie (the girl in question) is quite childlike in the way she behaves. Not childish; but childlike.

    A message/moral – yes, personal responsibility is a central theme in Kamichu.
    A sense of wonder – yes. The story is matter-of-fact about Yurie becoming a god, but there’s still a sense of wonder there. I won’t spoil it for you though. πŸ˜‰

    You can grab the opening credits here and here and the closing credits here, which will give you an idea of the character designs, animation, and overall feeling of the series. (My bittorrent tracker is messed up at the moment, so I’ve made them available over http.)

    A lot of people have likened Kamichu to Miyazaki’s work, and I agree with them. It was without question the best show of 2005, and I’ll be buying it as soon as it reaches Australia, if not before.

  3. Pixy, you’re the best. I am going to show the credits links to my daughter tonight. If she reacts positively (as I am sure she will) I’m going to place a pre-order for volume 1. After all, if I am going to call myself an otaku, I need to actually buy some anime once in a while πŸ™‚

  4. Kamichu! is actually short for “Kamisama wa Chuugakusei” (The goddess is a middle-school student), rather than being a diminuitive for kamisama–Japanese like abbreviating phrases by snagging the first syllable(s) of words. (on the other hand, I guess I can’t dismiss the idea that its actually both)

    Kamichu! is pretty charming, though I’d stop short of calling it the best show of 2005. I’d nominate Honey and Clover for that.

    (I was involved with fansubbing Kamichu!)

  5. BTW, a lot of the setting is taken straight from a real Japanese town, which you can be determined from the zoom-out that happens in the first episode where Yurie jumps and does her kamichu yell. It’s pretty easy to find it via google maps. A Japanese fan made a video showing scenes from the actual city and dissolving to matching scenes in the anime, it’s pretty cute and I can perhaps send it to anyone interested (or point to where it can be found).

  6. Kayle – Don has a lot of praise for the fansub, so nice job πŸ™‚ How do I obtain a copy of fansubs? I new to all of this.

  7. Being ethical fansubbers, we stopped public distribution of Kamichu! (from our file servers and our torrents) when it was licensed. I’m sure its available if you poke around other file servers and torrent sites. I’m also willing to pass a copy over to friends. (Note: we only did the first four/five episodes because it was licensed while we were working on episode 5–somewhat of a surprise to me as I thought it a somewhat unlikely title to be licensed.)

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