Di Gi Charat (デ・ジ･キャラット De Ji Kyaratto?) is a Japanese anime and manga series created by Koge-Donbo. The series follows a catgirl named Di Gi Charat "Dejiko" who was adopted as the mascot of Broccoli's retail chain store, Gamers. The original anime series and its original video animations (OVAs) are set in a Gamers store. There are twenty Gamers stores across Japan. Gamers opened a store in the United States in 2001, Anime Gamers, that is located in Los Angeles.
Several specials, OVAs, and movies have been adapted as prequels, sequels and alternate stories. Trading cards and video games are among the many forms of merchandise released for the series.
The characters of Di Gi Charat and her sidekick Gema first appeared in July 1998 in From Gamers, a promotional magazine for the Akihabara store, Gamers. In August of that year, the two appeared in Gema Gema, a four-panel comic-strip in From Gamers drawn by dōjin artist Koge-Donbo. Dejiko was later adopted as the mascot of Gamers. An animated Dejiko and her sidekick Gema first appeared on in a television advertisement for Gamers, set to the store's theme song, Welcome! by Hiroko Kato. Dejiko soon starred in her own animated series. Further characters gradually appeared in Gema Gema, and were later included in each of the anime series.
As 2008 is the 10th anniversary of the series Di Gi Charat, Broccoli Inc. decided to recast actress of main characters of series Di Gi Charat. New actress of Dejiko, Puchiko, and Usada are Satomi Akesaka, Nao Sakamoto, and Rieka Yazawa respectively.
The Di Gi Charat anime premiered on the Tokyo Broadcasting System on November 29, 1999. Set in a Gamers store in Akihabara, the original series was sixteen episodes long, with each episode running for three minutes. Light-hearted and relatively cheaply animated, the series follows the story of Di Gi Charat (Dejiko), her new sidekick Petit Charat (Puchiko) and Gema, who arrive in Akihabara, Tokyo. Dejiko dreams of becoming an idol, only to realise that they have no money and nowhere to stay. The manager of a Gamers store takes pity on them, and the series follows their exploits as they work in the shop. The series introduces Dejiko's rival, Rabi-en-Rose, and minor characters Abarenbou, Takeshi, Yoshimi, Takurou and Takurou. All other citizens of Akihabara, including the manager, are drawn as anthropomorphic thumbs, the reason being that Akihabara is one of the largest shopping areas of Earth for video games, among other things, and thumbs are most commonly used by people to press buttons while playing video games. The creative team was given free rein over the content of Di Gi Charat, and it is outrageous at times. The anime is directed by Hiroaki Sakurai, animated by Madhouse and produced by BROCCOLI.
Despite the series' low budget and its status as an advertisement for a games store, sequels for Di Gi Charat, several feature-length Di Gi Charat special episodes and OVAs, followed. Each special was around twenty minutes long. The specials introduce the Black Gema Gema Gang (Black Gema Gema Dan) and Dejiko's rival, Pyocola Analogue III (Piyoko).
- Summer Special
- The Di Gi Charat Summer Special was a four episode series that aired over two days, August 22, 2000 to August 23, 2000. This was the first series that Piyoko appeared in and the plot involves her attempting to hold Dejiko hostage for ransom.
- Christmas Special
- The Christmas Special aired in December 2000 and featured Piyoko again attempting to capture Dejiko by inviting all the characters on a cruise.
- Ohanami Special
- The Ohamami Special consisted of four independent episodes with no continuation that aired in Spring 2001 in Japan.
- Natsuyasumi Special
- The Di Gi Charat Natsuyasumi Special was another four episode series set in America that aired almost a year after the original series from August 2, 2001 to August 3, 2002. The young American otaku, Rodoyan, is introduced in this series.
Di Gi Charat - A Trip to the Planet (デ・ジ・キャラット 星の旅 Di Gi Charat Hoshi no Tabi?) is a movie that premiered in December 2001 in Japan. The twenty minute animation follows the adventures of Dejiko, Piyoko and Gema as they use the spaceship seen in the first episode to travel back to Dejiko's home planet, Planet Di Gi Charat. It was licensed by Synch-Point and announced at Anime Boston 2003 along with Leave it to Piyoko.
Synch-Point planned to include a 13 minute bonus episode called "Kuchi kara Bazooka" ("Rocket From the Mouth Special" or "Upchuck Bazooka") that was also included in the Japanese release. However, no release date has been announced.
Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat
A prequel to the original story, Panyo Panyo (ぱにょぱにょ デ・ジ・キャラット) aired from January 5, 2002 until September 29, 2002. The characters are drawn to look much younger. Princess Dejiko and Puchiko wish to escape castle life to help people of Planet Di Gi Charat achieve happiness. Pyocola Analogue III and hologram Deji Devil try to stop her. In this series Dejiko, Puchiko and Gema meet friends Meek and Rinna.
Panyo Panyo was arranged into five minute mini episodes in order to make it feel like classic four panel manga. Panyo Panyo did not have the wide open endings which the original series had.
Leave it to Piyoko
Leave it to Piyoko! (ぴよこにおまかせぴょ! Piyoko Ni Omakase-Pyo!?) is an eight episode OVA that was released in 2003. The OVA is the only show in the series where Dejiko is not the main character. Instead it focuses on Piyoko, Rik, Ky, Coo, and the rest of the Black Gema Gema Gang as they leave Planet Analogue and make their way to Earth to kidnap Dejiko.
At Anime Boston 2003, Synch-Point announced they have acquired North American distribution rights to Leave it to Piyoko. It was released on two DVDs on November 15, 2005 and March 7, 2006. Miyuki Sawashiro, the voice actor of Puchiko, also dubbed Puchiko in English for the first six episodes. It marked the first time a Japanese voice actor repeated their role in English for an English anime dub. (Ikue Ōtani has been reprising her Pikachu role in the English dub of Pokémon since 1997, although many people don't count this because the recording from the Japanese is simple reused in English.)
Di Gi Charat Nyo!
An alternate story to the original series, Nyo! (デ・ジ・キャラットにょ) aired from April 6, 2003 until March 28, 2004. There were two stories for each of the fifty-two twenty minute episodes.
Di Gi Charat - Winter Garden
Winter Garden is a two part slice-of-life drama spinoff series. Dejiko is around 20 years old and Puchiko is now around 15. The characters are ordinary human beings and no longer wear their signature outfits with the cat ears and tails, have "eye-beams" or add "nyo"/"nyu" to the end of their sentences. They have a new and more mature look, and different personalities. This was also the last animated project to feature the original voices of the characters.
A promotional video premiered at Anime Expo 2006 during the Di Gi Charat panel sponsored by TBS, PONYCANYON and Broccoli. The series first aired on TBS on December 23, 2006 and December 24, 2006 and later on BS-i.
Unlike the usual Di Gi Charat anime, it is a romance. The story starts on Christmas with Dejiko working at a cake shop. She meets a young man named Senba Takuro while going home on Christmas night. Dejiko accidentally drops her cake but Takuro exchanges his for hers, and love starts after several unplanned meetings with each other.
Relation of each series
|Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat||TV||Prequel||48 x 5 mins||2002|
|Di Gi Charat||TV||Original||16 x 3 mins||1999|
|Di Gi Charat Nyo||TV||Alternate||52 x 20 mins||2004|
|Summer/Xmas||TV||Sidestory||8 x 20 mins||2000|
|Ohanami||TV||Sidestory||4 x 20 mins||2001|
|Gekijouban Di Gi Charat||Movie||Sidestory||20 mins||2001|
|Leave it to Piyoko||OVA||Sidestory||8 x 20 mins||2003|
|Winter Garden||TV||Alternate||2 x 20 mins||2006|
A Di Gi Charat manga began at around the same time as the anime.
Broccoli Books in the US is currently publishing the Di Gi Charat Theater series, which contain a number of Di Gi Charat manga by Koge Donbo and several dōjin artists. The comic strip Gema Gema, which still runs in From Gamers, is republished in these volumes. Broccoli Books have stated that all the manga will be translated and released.
Current Di Gi Charat Manga released in North America:
- Di Gi Charat Theater - Dejiko's Summer Vacation
- Di Gi Charat Theater - Piyoko is Number One!
- Di Gi Charat Theater - Dejiko's Adventure
- Di Gi Charat Theater - Leave it to Piyoko
- Di Gi Charat Anthology v. 1 - 4
- Di Gi Charat series - Di Gi Charat Champion Cup.
Comic Di Gi, a bimonthly magazine that is issued by Broccoli, included a Di Gi Charat comic called GemaGema Theater by Koge-Donbo.
Most of the characters of Di Gi Charat originally debuted in the yonkoma Gema Gema, and later appeared in the anime series. Across all of the Di Gi Charat series, each catgirl ends their sentence with a cat sounding suffix, such as Dejiko's Nyo. The four DVDs of the series Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat are named after each of the four catgirl's onomatopoeia. Piyoko talks in a similar manner.
Di Gi Charat "Dejiko"
- Dejiko is the main character of the story. She is also known as Chocola but despite this alternate name implying she likes chocolate, she prefers broccoli. Dejiko has a Type A personality and can be aggressive at times.
- Dejiko dresses up as a catgirl and is the princess of Planet Di Gi Charat. She is ten years old when she comes to Earth with hopes of becoming an idol singer. She has green eyes and green hair and her maid-like uniform consists of a white and navy blue dress with big cat bells tied to her hair with navy blue ribbons. On the very top of her head are her cat ears, which are white with pink inside and have a set of large, non-functional yellow cat eyes. She always wears white gloves and boots (with the exception of her sleeping outfit) and she has a white tail.
- She has the ability to use her eye-beam weapon called the Me kara Biimu. She ends each sentence with nyo.
Petit Charat "Puchiko"
- Voiced by: Miyuki Sawashiro (1999–2008; Japanese and English in Leave it to Piyoko episode 1-6), Nao Sakamoto (2008-), Mia Bradly (English)
- At the beginning of the story it is explained that Puchiko, also known as Capuccino, is Dejiko's five year old sidekick and is a catgirl. Her relationship to Dejiko is not explained in the original series, but Gema states that she is a princess in the Di Gi Charat Movie and it is seen that she lives with Dejiko in the castle in Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat. According to Di Gi Charat Complete 2002, Dejiko saved her by pulling her out of a hole, and so Puchiko followed Dejiko to thank her. Although in Winter Garden, it said that Puchiko is Dejiko's sister and share the same parents.
- Puchiko is quiet and has a Type B personality. She has the ability to use an eye-beam similar to Dejiko's but is often too docile to conjure the aggression required to perform such a feat. This has caused many things to come out of her eyes, including sludge, when she attempts to use it.
- Puchiko has brown hair and dark brown eyes. She wears a schoolgirl-type uniform plus cat bells in her hair, though they are much smaller than Dejiko's. She wears orange boots, cat ears and tail. She ends each sentence with nyu.
Hikaru Usada "Rabi~en~Rose"
- Rabi~en~Rose is revealed to the viewer to be Dejiko's rival. Her name was decided following a request for reader submissions, and may be a play on a number of things. "Rabi~en~Rose" may be a play on the common French saying "La Vie en Rose" which means "life in rose-pink". The Japanese expression "spend a life in rose-pink" means to spend a life without any worries. "Rabi" which resembles the English word "rabbit" replaced "La vie" to form a pun to mean "Rabbit in life without worries", which suggests her personality. Her real name is Hikaru Usada, which she hates being called. The name resembles Hikaru Utada (best known in the West for her theme songs for the Kingdom Hearts series) but that was officially commented as a mere coincidence since the story and names were decided before Hikaru Utada's debut in Japan. Her "Usada" surname also is a pun, as the "Usa" part is a shortening of the word "usagi", which means "rabbit" in Japanese.
- In the original anime, she is seen as a normal girl who uses dice to transform into her bunnygirl outfit: a pink, white and red dress with large white rabbit ears and a large round cotton tail. Her parents left her to live on her own in an attempt to help her become an idol. Rabi~en~Rose does not end her sentences with a rabbit sound (typically pyo in anime) and is the only character with kemonomimi animal traits other than Rik. Ky, and Coo in the Di Gi Charat franchise not to do so.
- Voiced by: Yoshiko Kamei (Japanese), Jennifer Sekiguchi (English)
- Gema is explained to be the guardian of Dejiko and Puchiko. Essentially he is a floating yellow balloon that is always upside-down with very small eyes and mouth. Creator Koge Donbo once joked that Gema was the best character because anyone can draw him. He ends his sentences with gema. He can shoot darts out of bamboo sticks; but they have little effect on anyone.
Black Gema-Gema Gang
Piyoko (full name Pyocola Analogue III)
- Piyoko is eight years old. She is the Princess of planet Analogue and leader of the Black Gema Gema Gang. Her parents left her in Rik, Ky, and Coo's care until she is thirteen because they are embarrassed to show their faces when their attempt to take over planet Di Gi Charat failed. She had to flee to earth because she blew up a city and couldn't pay for repairs. Piyoko's dresses similar to that of a nurse's uniform, but in black and white colors like a panda. She ends her sentences with "pyo" (although certain manga publications depict this as a squeak). She has an attack similar to Dejiko's Laser Eye Beam called Upchuck Bazooka (Kuchikara Bazooka in Japanese) which is a beam that comes from her mouth, but whenever she attempts to attack Dejiko with it, she more often than not gets attacked herself. Piyoko makes a brief cameo in Episode 2 of Cromartie High School as a teenage version of herself.
- Rik Heisenberg
- Rik is 26 years old (28 in the English dub of Leave It To Piyoko) and the General of the Black Gema Gema Gang. He plays the role of the veterinarian of the doctor trio. He takes pride in his profession and loves animals. As a result, Rik has many animals around him. The animals include Bun Bun and Amaenbou. As the gang considers themselves a "family", Rik considers himself as the "Daddy".
- Ky Schweitzer
- Ky is seventeen years old and the Lieutenant General of the Black Gema Gema Gang. He is a dentist and always worries after Piyoko. Ky makes sure that Piyoko practices proper dental hygiene. As the gang considers themselves a "family", Ky considers himself as the "Mommy", even though he is a male. He seems embarrassed by the title.
- Coo Erhard
- Coo is thirteen and the Major of the Black Gema Gema Gang. He is the physician of the group. He is Piyoko's childhood friend and is closest to her. Sometimes if food flies through the air he will jump up and catch it in his mouth in a dog-like manner. As the gang considers themselves a "family", Coo is considered the "brother". However, Piyoko thinks she is older than him, although she is only 8 while he is 13. He treasures a stuffed panda that Piyoko gave to him.
- Nazo Gema
- Gema's counterpart in the Black Gema Gema Gang. Like Gema, it is round and floats in the air, but instead of being yellow, it is black. It also has large spooky eyes and red lips. It ends its sentences with "Geba".
- Takeshi - Voiced by: Ryo Naito (Japanese), T. Axelrod (English)
- Yoshimi - Voiced by: Morihisa Mori (Japanese), Liam O'Brien (English)
- The two self-styled "fans of Dejiko". Takeshi is fatter, Yoshimi is taller, and both wear glasses. In the original series, Dejiko interprets Takeshi's name as "bu" and Yoshimi's name as "kimi". Thus, for the remainder of the series, she refers to the pair collectively as Bukimi (meaning 'weird'/'unpleasant smell').
- Takurou Minagawa (Minataku for short) - Voiced by: Omi Minami (Japanese), Midge Mayes (English)
- A boy who comes into the store to buy trading cards and falls in love with Rabi-en-Rose. Enjoys melonpan. Not related to Kimura, though they share the same family name.
- Takurou Kimura (Murataku for short) - Voiced by: Ryotaro Okiayu (Japanese), Ethan Murray (English)
- A rich and long-haired man infatuated with Puchiko's cuteness. Not related to Minagawa.
- Abarenbou - A rowdy creature seemingly made of water. His appearances in the series are always incredibly random and crazy.
- Rodoyan (Rod Young)- An excitable American fan of Di Gi Charat.
- Mishter Manager - Voiced by: Kazuya Ichijo (Japanese), Sam Regal (English)
- A thoughtful finger-person who runs Gamers and sends Dejiko on errands.
- Hokke Mirin - A cat who is Puchiko's sidekick. It can walk sideways and has five kittens; Sa, Shi, Su, Se, and So.
- Majin Gappa - A small green creature likened to a kappa, is Rabi-en-Rose's sidekick.
- Henna Ikimono (変な生き物 lit. "Strange Creature") - A mysterious, tiny, yellow bear. Its face always appears to be angry, crying, depressed and laughing all at the same time. It always remains in its box and is always seen as being completely still. On one side of the box, 'Take whatever you want' is written in Japanese.
A great number of Di Gi Charat albums have been released, including soundtracks to the anime as well as collections of original songs sung by the main characters. These albums include drama CDs which expand the Di Gi Charat story.
Di Gi Charat Fantasy
A game titled Di Gi Charat Fantasy was released for the Dreamcast. It's a visual novel style game, in which the player takes on the role of a boy with a crush on Dejiko who, along with Dejiko, Puchiko, and Rabi-en-Rose, gets sucked through a dimensional vortex into a fantasy world. The player finds himself alone with Dejiko in a forest, and she's lost her memory. In this game, players are given a very different view of Dejiko, as the amnesia makes her innocent and shy.
Di Gi Charat: Dejiko-mmunication I & II
Dejiko-mmunication (でじこミュニケーション Dejikomyunikēshon?) (is a game series for the Game Boy Advance. On October 25, 2002 the first game was released by Broccoli, the sequel a year later. The games are based on money management. Choosing one of the three main characters of the anime, the player takes the role as the manager of the store with the objective of running the store on the little money available. The game takes aspects of the anime into its gameplay including character art and an instrumental music score of popular songs from the anime composed by Manabu Namiki for the games. The two games were released only in Japan, and, as of yet, have not received English translations. Although the games are very short and simple, as you play through multiple times with different lead characters and different ending scores you can continue to unlock more and more songs and artwork.
Glove on Fight
Dejiko appeared as a selectable character in the 2D fighting game Glove on Fight for the PC. The game contains several popular mascot chacters such as Ecoco and characters from well known visual novels and anime such as To Heart and Shingetsutan Tsukihime. This was a fanmade (or doujinshi) game by the circle French-Bread.
Di Gi Charat: Love Love party
Party have love music from DDR of candy,only for PlayStation 2, with 78 characters to play party games. The games are based on money management. Choosing one of the three main characters of the anime, the player takes the role as the manager of the store with the objective of running the store on the little money available. The game takes aspects of the anime into its gameplay including character art and an instrumental music score of popular songs from the anime composed by Manabu Namiki .
Other anime series have been known to reference Di Gi Charat and the characters make appearances in:
- Broccoli-created anime Galaxy Angel and Aquarian Age
- Pita-Ten like Di Gi Charat, a Koge Donbo creation.
- Cromartie High School - Piyoko and Dejiko can be seen.
- Kamichama Karin - Just a small reference, but Kazune wears a Dejiko mask for one of the episodes and in Kamichama Karin chu Karin and Kazune dress in Di gi Charat type costumes while visiting Micchi.
- (Japanese) Broccoli's webpage on "Di Gi Charat- Winter Garden" (Provides screen caps)
- (Japanese) Information on Winter Garden
- ↑ "Di Gi Charat Information". DMD Sales. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
- ↑ "Di Gi Charat Summary". Broccoli. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
- ↑ "Di Gi Charat". TCP. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Anime Boston Acquisition Announcements". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
- ↑ "It’s Raining Di Gi Charat Scripts". Synch-Point. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- ↑ "First Japanese VA on an English Dub". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
- ↑ "New Digi Charat Series". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
- ↑ "Broccoli Books Blog". Broccoli Books. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
- ↑ Koge Donbo and others: Di Gi Charat Theatre - Dejiko's Summer Vacation, pages 122, 126, 156. Broccoli International USA, Inc., 2003.
- (Japanese) Di Gi Charat Official website
- (Japanese) Winter Garden's TBS website
- Di Gi Charat (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia