KamiChu!

KamiChu!Type: TV Series + DVD Special*
Episode Count: 12 + 4
Genre: Slice Of Life / Fantasy
Vintage: 2005

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 13 Apr 2007
revised 19 Aug 2013

Grade: B+
Grade revised 19 Aug 2013 (was A)
Grade revised 03 Apr 2010 (was B)

*from AnimeNewsNetwork’s Encyclopedia:
Of the 16 total episodes only 12 were originally broadcasted. Episodes 8, 11, 13, and 16 were not included in the original Japanese TV broadcasts, but were first released on the Japan DVD release. Also, some additional material was added to the broadcast episodes for the DVD release, increasing the length from 23 to 28 minutes per episode.

KamiChu! is short for Kamisama de Chugakusei!, which roughly translated means “god who is a middle school student!”.

Spirited Away meets Strawberry Marshmallow.

Plot Summary
Yurie Hitotsubashi is a small and shy middle school student. One day at school while talking to her friend Mitsue, she reveals very matter-of-factly that she just found out that she is a god. Classmate Matsuri suspected that there was something different about Yurie this day, and decides to volunteer Yurie to be the local god at her family’s shrine. KamiChu! follows the daily lives of the three girls, along with Yurie’s experiences in learning to be a god.

The Review
Chances are you’ve heard that KamiChu! is the kind of show that Hayao Miyazaki might have made if he were making television shows today. Those descriptions are not too far off, at least visually; some elements feel similar to Spirited Away. The comparisons are not all that the show has going for it, so it can stand on its own merits as well.

To get the most out of KamiChu!, having at least a basic knowledge of Japan’s native Shinto religion is a great help. In Shinto, kami (or gods – sometimes referred to as spirits) exist everywhere and watch over everything. Not only trees and mountains and other parts of nature as one might expect, but also everyday things such as vending machines and DVD players. Every god has a responsibility over some part of daily life, and it is to these gods that those who practice Shinto pray and make offerings to. Yurie has just found out that she is one of these gods, so must find out what it means to be one. This is just one part of the story, though.

Overall, KamiChu! is a glimpse into the window of Yurie’s life as a middle school student with her family and friends, and offers a uniquely Japanese experience. In some ways, it’s more about watching Yurie grow and learn than it is about her being a god, but the two sides of the story blend very well. KamiChu! is another good example of a series where less is more, and is a title that is relaxing to watch.

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