What Is It?
Kamichu! is a 16-episode series from Brain’s Base. The show was directed by Koji Masunari, and featured a soundtrack by Yoshihiro Ike.
The series revolves around middle schooler Yurie Hitotsubashi. She’s an average girl in most respects, as she goes about her life in a city on the island Onomichi. She spends her days admiring her crush, and trying to stay afloat in classes. However, her life changes one day, when she is suddenly granted the gift of godliness. She managed to become a Shinto goddess overnight, What kind of goddess she is, or what abilities she has are still unknown.
This doesn’t stop her friend Matsuri from trying to capitalize on the situation, though. To save her family’s shrine, Matsuri enlists Yurie to serve as the community’s local God. In this new position, Yurie must perform a multitude of duties, from curing the ill, to granting wishes, and meeting with those in the realm of the Gods. Will she be able to perform these duties, while maintaining her day-to-day life?
Why Was It Passed Up?
Kamichu! came out in an incredibly crowded year, as far as anime releases go. The year saw retail debuts of Naruto, Samurai Champloo, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex 2nd Gig. In addition, Howl’s Moving Castle hit DVD, as Disney began re-releasing a number of Ghibli classics that included Whisper of the Heart.
The show was simply too small, and too low-key to make a major impact on the market at the time. Neither the show’s overall quality nor the staff’s pedigree (Koji Masunari directed the stellar R.O.D the TV) simply wasn’t enough to keep this on the radar of many potential customers.
Why This Show?
Kamichu! is often likened to Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away with good reason. The show combines a similar dream-like world that is overflowing with unique and charming characters. From the countless gods to Yurie’s friends, one can’t help but want to learn more about them. These charming personalities combine with lush, detailed landscapes and gorgeous animation to bring the world to life.
The plot is simple, yet effective as it traces Yurie’s day to day life. Small, seemingly insignificant events are masterfully handled, and give context to the new goddess’s life as she tries to come to grips with school life and her newfound divinity.
Kamichu! is the kind of show that only comes about once every few years. Many like to compare it to Spirited Away. However, unlike Spirited Away, this series had me absolutly riveted from start to finish. The show is simply a joy to watch, and sixteen episodes seem to fly by far too quickly.
Every facet of the show, from the gorgeous visuals, to the fantastic writing radiate a warmth and passion rarely seen in today’s market. FUNimation recently let the show’s license lapse. So, before it gets rare, do yourself a favor, dear reader, and pick up a copy.