A post in the ‘Released and Relinquished‘ series.
(In case you missed it, go see Part Four: Fighting Spirit over at The Gaming Dungeon.) For our fifth series, we have another beloved cult hit, the 2005 anime Kamichu!, which is one of the coolest slice-of-life-shows around, as well as one of the most well-animated shows of the decade. Let’s have a look!
Kamichu! is a show about a middle-school girl named Yurie Hitotsubashi who wakes up morning to realize that she has become a god. Fun ensues. The best way to describe Kamichu! is that it’s pretty much Spirited Away: The Series. (I might also call it Miyazaki meets Ichigo Mashimaro.) It’s a very creative fantasy series with lots of interesting creatures and gods and stuff, but all contained within a very realistic world in a quiet little Japanese town.
Kamichu! has a lot of Japanese history ingrained into it. Most importantly, it goes deep into the bones of the Shinto faith, which is the classical Japanese faith wherein pretty much everything there is has it’s own god. You can definitely learn a lot about Shintoism and how the Japanese think of Gods from watching this show. The series also takes place in a rather quaint Japanese town in the 80s, and the series creators did a lot of research on the real town and the culture of that time period to make the story accurate, so you can learn about that as well.
One thing you’ll probably notice about Kamichu! when you watch it is that the production values are insane. This is probably one of the best-looking TV anime I’ve ever seen – we’re talking on the level of Ghost in the Shell or Cowboy Bebop or something – it’s gorgeous. (I almost said Haruhi or Air, but I don’t even think those two quite reach Kamichu!’s level.) The show was animated by Brains Base who also worked on great shows like Baccano! and the second season of Spice and Wolf. The director, Koji Masunari, is best known for having directed both the OVA and TV versions of Read or Die.
Kamichu! is a really cute show, with most of it’s episodes being sort of calm, low-tempo, feel-good stuff. And then there are a couple of really strange, wacked-out fantasy episodes as well. This is definitely a show that you should watch with family. I showed it to my little bothers and they loved it, and it can appeal to both boys and girls of really any age, so definitely get your parents and sibliings to watch it with you. I don’t normally endorse dubs, but this one is actually very watchable, so if you need to watch it to be able to get others to watch it, do so.
Kamichu! is yet another series that was released by the now-defunct Geneon entertainment. The series has 16 episodes that were released on 4 DVDs, which were released in a box set called the ‘Shrine Box.’ I only recently found this out, but Funimation actually picked up Kamichu!’s license after Geneon died, so the DVDs are still in production. I’ve seen a ‘complete series set’ release from them, which is evidently a thinpack and probably doesn’t have Geneon’s bonus content; however, you can still pretty easily find Geneon’s shrine box on the shelves, which I’m going to recommend buying just because it’s a higher-quality release. The ‘complete series’ from Funimation is on Amazon for about 35 bucks (which kind of pisses me off because I paid like 80 bucks for the shrine box a couple Christmases ago!) so definitely go for it if you can’t find the shrine box or just want to probably pay less.
I couldn’t find a really definitive AMV for this series nor many videos at all, so I just rounded up a couple of funny scenes that I found for laughs.The first features Yurie’s cat, Tama, practicing to participate in a cat fight club, and the second features Yurie’s crush, who is a very eccentric calligraphy artist. Don’t ask me why either of these videos even exist.