Kamichu! (かみちゅ!?) is a Japanese anime television series, strongly influenced by the Shinto religion, that follows the adventures of teenage goddess Yurie Hitotsubashi and her friends. The title is short for Kamisama de Chūgakusei (かみさまでちゅうがくせい?, lit. "A Deity As a Middle-School Student"). The series was created by Besame Mucho (ベサメムーチョ Besamemūcho?), which is the joint pen name of Tomonori Ochiai, Koji Masunari, and Hideyuki Kurata. It was broadcast by the anime television network Animax on its respective networks worldwide, including Japan, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, where it received its first English-language broadcast.
On July 3, 2008, Geneon Entertainment and Funimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America. While Geneon Entertainment will still retain the license, Funimation Entertainment will assume exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of select titles. Kamichu! was one of several titles involved in the deal.
Yurie is a petite, shy, and otherwise ordinary middle-school girl who suddenly discovers that, overnight, she has become a kami (神?), a god in the Shinto sense. She has no idea what kind of god she is or what her powers are. Her friends give her the nickname Kamichu, a portmanteau of kami (god) and chūgakusei (middle school student). In her journey she meets many gods and learns the ways of the gods in order to become a great god herself. During the course of the series, Yurie grows more in being a better god, but she also grows as a person.
Kamichu! is set in the city of Onomichi in Hiroshima prefecture, on the shores of Japan's Inland Sea. Many of the temples and landmarks shown in the anime are real places in and around the city, faithfully depicted. It is set in the Spring of 1983 to Spring of 1984.
- Yurie Hitotsubashi (一橋 ゆりえ Hitotsubashi Yurie?)
- Voiced by: MAKO (Japanese), Megan Harvey (English)
- Yurie is the protagonist of the series. In the first episode, she tells her best friend Mitsue that overnight she has become a goddess; this is never further explained. She is remarkably naive and simple-minded but always has the best intentions. She has had a crush on Kenji Ninomiya for a long time, and gets very nervous and red-faced around him. Whenever she performs magic, her hair grows very long and she often falls asleep afterwards, due to the effort involved.
- Matsuri Saegusa (三枝 祀 Saegusa Matsuri?)
- Voiced by: Rika Morinaga (Japanese), Stephanie Sheh (English)
- Matsuri is the person in charge of the Raifuku Shrine in Onomichi. She runs the shrine with her sister, Miko, and is always thinking of schemes to earn money for or bring more visitors to the shrine- usually by exploiting Yurie. Unlike Miko, she cannot see spirits without the charms that Yurie usually writes (though it is stated in the manga by Miko that she too could once see spirits). Her name means "worship".
- Mitsue Shijo (四条 光恵 Shijō Mitsue?)
- Voiced by: Kaori Mine (Japanese), Erika Weinstein (English)
- Mitsue is Yurie's best friend. She's very down-to-earth, and serves as the "straight man" for her friends, but wishes that her life were more exciting. Yurie often goes to her for advice and although her advice is simple, and usually is just common sense, she is always right. She is usually possessed by Yashima when he needs to communicate with people or when he wants to play the guitar.
- Miko Saegusa (三枝 みこ Saegusa Miko?)
- Voiced by: Ai Nonaka (Japanese), Rachel Hirschfeld (English)
- Miko is Matsuri's shy younger sister. She does the cooking in the house, and is very polite and respectful to everyone. She helps out in the shrine and has the ability to see spirits. She has a crush on Yashima. Her name, Miko, is also the term for a Shinto shrine attendant.
- Kenji Ninomiya (二宮 健児 Ninomiya Kenji?)
- Voiced by: Issei Miyazaki (Japanese), Johnny Yong Bosch (English)
- Kenji is the president and only member of his school's calligraphy club. He is quite aloof and a bit slow on the uptake. He loves his brushes, and he often does calligraphy for the Raifuku shrine. He only does calligraphy when he is 'inspired', yet it takes him a while to realize that most of his sources of inspiration revolve around Yurie.
- Yashima-sama (八島様 Yashima-sama?)
- Voiced by: Kousuke Okano (Japanese), Yuri Lowenthal (English)
- Yashima is the local god of the Raifuku shrine. He wishes to be a rock star, resulting in him often possessing Mitsue in order to rock out (who is totally against this). He is also often seen with an Akita Inu that talks. He seems to be close friends with Miko Saegusa, but it is implied that he is more interested in Matsuri.
- Shoukichi Hitotsubashi (一橋 章吉 Hitotsubashi Shoukichi?)
- Voiced by: Makoto Tsumura (Japanese), J.D. Stone (English)
- Shoukichi is Yurie's younger brother, who like Miko attends the same school as his older sister, one grade below. Often he acts more mature than his sister, and he often teases her, but he does love her. He has a crush on Miko, and acts differently and blushes whenever he's around her.
- Bin-chan (貧乏神(貧ちゃん) Binbou-gami?)
- A poverty god Yurie takes in after he saves Tama's life. He shares Tama's body.
- Tama (一橋 タマ Hitotsubashi Tama?)
- Voiced by: Chiwa Saito (Japanese), Carrie Savage (English)
- Yurie's pet cat. After she began to share her body with Bin-chan, she exhibits a number of human traits which make Shoukichi suspicious.
- Ino, Shika, Chou
- Ino Voiced by: Sam Riegel
- Shika Voiced by: Liam O'Brien
- Chou Voiced by: Hunter MacKenzie Austin
- The three tiny spirits that the God Association sends as Yurie's assistants. Their names are puns, as they were given by Yurie for unrelated reasons but correspond to the animals that they resemble. Chou is a butterfly, Ino is a boar and Shika is a deer. "Ino-Shika-Chou" is a winning hand in Hanafuda.
Reception and awards
There are sixteen episodes in the anime series. Twelve episodes were broadcasted on TV Asahi in 720p, omitting episodes 8, 11, 13, and 16. The DVD release included all sixteen episodes. The opening theme was "Fair Weather Followed by Fair Weather" (晴れのちハレ! Hare Nochi Hare!?) performed by Maho Tomita, and the closing theme was "Ice Candy" (アイスキャンディー Aisu Kyandī?) performed by MAKO.
The titles of several episodes are from Japanese pop songs from the 1980s and 1990s.
|#||Title||Original air date|
|01|| The Spite of Youth|
"Seishun no Ijiwaru" (青春のいじわる)
|When Yurie announces during lunch that last night she became a god, Matsuri, as the daughter of a Shinto priest, tries to help her figure out what kind of god she is. During their efforts, Yurie accidentally creates a typhoon, which she has to dispel to save Kenji.|
|02|| Please God|
"Kami-sama Onegai" (神様お願い)
|Matsuri decides her family's shrine will host a festival in honor of Yurie, but discovers Yashima, the god of the shrine, has gone missing. Yurie travels to the land of the gods to convince him to return.|
|03|| I Didn't Mean it|
"Sonna Tsumori ja Nakatta no ni" (そんなつもりじゃなかったのに)
|The god of poverty arrives in town, sending the local economy into a depression; and Yurie's pet cat, Tama, goes missing. These two events may have something in common.|
|04|| Earth's Crisis|
"Chikyū no Kiki" (地球の危機)
|The God Association sends Yurie three assistants to help her deal with petitions. As her first task, the Prime Minister summons Yurie to help communicate with a Martian.|
|05|| I Don't Like Being Alone|
"Hitori Bocchi wa Kirai" (ひとりぼっちは嫌い)
|Yurie catches a cold and stays at home for a few days, but her friends don't come to visit. Feeling lonely, she uses her powers to depart from her body as a spirit and visit them instead.|
|06|| A Small Decision|
"Chiisa na Kesshin" (小さな決心)
|Kiyomi, a freshman, comes to Yurie seeking love advice - but the object of her crush is Kenji. Trying earnestly to help her rival nonetheless, Yurie joins Kenji's calligraphy club with her.|
|07|| Lovers of the Sun|
"Taiyō no Koibito-tachi" (太陽の恋人たち)
|On their summer vacation, Yurie and her friends go to a quiet part of the seashore and explore an abandoned beach house. The gods living there want to know what's become of the people who once enjoyed themselves there, and Yurie fulfills their wish.|
|08|| Wild Times|
"Yasei Jidai" (野生時代)
|Strange packs of cats have been roaming the town recently, and Tama is among them. Yurie follows her and turns into a cat to meet the charismatic feline Tyler Meowden, who wants to revolt against humans. She and Tama fight to stop him.|
|09|| Crossing the River of Time|
"Toki no Kawa o Koete" (時の河を越えて)
|Yurie and her friends meet an old man named Gen who was once a crewman of the battleship Yamato. Shortly afterwards, she receives a message from the sunken battleship, which wants to visit its home port again.|
|10|| I Choose You|
"Kimi ni Kettei" (君に決定)
|As another of her business ploys, Matsuri convinces Yurie to run for student council president, but they encounter unexpectedly fervent opposition.|
|11|| Love is Missing|
"Koi wa Yukue Fumei" (恋は行方不明)
|Miko and Shoukichi run away to a nearby town together for mysterious reasons. Yurie and her friends spend the day trying to find them.|
|12|| Mysterious Adventure|
"Fushigi na Bōken" (ふしぎなぼうけん)
|For the month of Kannazuki, Yurie attends the "God Convention" in Izumo. While there, she temporarily transfers to a local middle school where everyone treats her with utmost respect.|
|13|| We Do As We Like|
"Yaritai Hōdai" (やりたい放題)
|Matsuri, as the daughter of the shrine, becomes offended by the foreign holiday of Christmas and stages "Yurie-chan Thanksgiving Day" in order to combat it.|
|14|| Dream Colored Message|
"Yume Iro no Messēji" (夢色のメッセージ)
|During her winter break from school, Yurie spends an entire day under the kotatsu. She receives several New Years cards, including one from Kenji.|
|15|| A Small Step|
"Chiisa na Ippo de" (小さな一歩で)
|When Yurie resolves to give Kenji chocolate for Valentine's Day and confess her love, the entire school and everyone in town pitches in to help her. After a brief awkward conversation upon the school's roof, the two are lifted into the sky upon a large piece of paper (upon which, Kenji had written the kanji character for 'love'). As they soar above the town, Kenji tells Yurie that he loves her, because she is strange. The character on the flying paper turns into the kanji for 'strange'.|
|16|| Look, Don't You Think Spring Has Come?|
"Hora ne, Haru ga Kita" (ほらね、春が来た)
|Yurie and Mitsue help Matsuri and Miko clean the shrine storage rooms. As she spends the night there, Yurie tells her friends that Kenji is her boyfriend.|
Three Kamichu! CDs were released:
There are fourteen episodes plus one short episode in the manga series. Four long episodes consist of two parts (02+03, 04+05, 09+10, 12+13).
|#||Title||Related Anime episodes|
"Seishun no Ijiwaru" (青春のいじわる)
|Similar story to Anime's. In the first scene, Kenji draws a mustache on Yurie's face in her dream because she is a god.|
"Kami-sama Onegai ~ first part" (神様お願い〜前編)
|Similar story to Anime's. Miko is introduced and they hold a ceremony in this episode.|
"Kami-sama Onegai ~ sequel" (神様お願い〜後編)
|Similar story to Anime's.|
"Sonna Tsumori ja Nakatta no ni ~ first part" (そんなつもりじゃなかったのに〜前編)
|Similar story to Anime's.|
"Sonna Tsumori ja Nakatta no ni ~ sequel" (そんなつもりじゃなかったのに〜後編)
|Similar story to Anime's.|
"Koi no Kakuritsu 51%" (恋の確率51%)
|Yurie and Kenji takes a makeup exam after the final exam. Kenji tells Yurie that he would like to see the long haired girl he saw in the typoon.|
"Hoshi no Hana-taba" (星の花束)
|"Team ShiYAwase" is sent from the God Association. They try to make a wish of a lady they met at Yashima Shrine come true.|
"Hitori ja Irare nai" (ひとりじゃいられない)
|Yurie, Mitsue and Matsuri enjoy shopping. Yurie loses her way and meets a god of old fashioned toy who is almost forgotten by people. Yurie plays with the toy, and the god arises in people's mind for a while. That reminds Yurie herself the appreciation for her own friends.|
"Zen-ryaku, Michi no Ue yori" (前略、道の上より)
|A short side story. Daily life of the people from Oshou's perspective.|
"Kami-sama Help! ~ first part" (神様ヘルプ!〜前編)
|Yurie is appointed as Mayor for a Day. When she is complimented by Mayor, she is carried away and tries to make everyone's demands come true.|
"Kami-sama Help! ~ sequel" (神様ヘルプ!〜後編)
|When she wakes up after a long sleep, Yurie finds she made troubles all over the town. But people already know they are the one who should make the town better by themselves.|
"Ie-nai Hito-koto" (言えないひとこと)
|When Miko breaks the bow she obtained from her dead mother, she can't tell anyone. Shokichi notices her trouble and tries to help her out.|
"Tomodachi no Kankei ~ first part" (トモダチの関係〜前編)
|Similar story to Anime's. Mitsue complains about Matsuri's disregard of Yurie's burden. Their friendship gets worse while Yurie is absent.|
"Tomodachi no Kankei ~ sequel" (トモダチの関係〜後編)
|Similar story to Anime's. Yurie's classmates offer to give their stitchworks to Yurie at her last class in her temporal school. Finally Yurie gets to be friends with everyone in her class.|
"Gakuen Tengoku" (学園天国)
|Yurie's class holds a haunted house at the school festival. When Yurie gets a long hair wig to play a ghost, she tries to figure out why Kenji wished to see the long haired girl.|
"Jun-ai Countdown" (純愛カウントダウン)
|On New Year's Eve, Yurie helps the Yashima Shrine. Kenji gives a practice of a big-scaled calligraphy to Yurie. Yurie is worried about that she can't confess her love to Kenji. At the moment the god Benzaiten drops into to see Yurie and encourages her.|
"Kami-sama no Timing" (神様のタイミング)
|When Kiyomi wants to give a chocolate to Kenji for Valentine's Day, Yurie helps her. Kiyomi notices that Kenji is in love with Yurie unconsciously. So she decides to back away from Kenji and gives him her chocolate just as an appreciation. But Yurie misunderstands the situation because she sees Kenji receives it so readily.|
"Kumori, Nochi Hare" (曇り、のち晴れ)
|While Yurie is stuck in her room, the town economy gets down again. Yurie tries to bounce herself back and figure out the reason. She happened to know Kiyomi's feelings on her way and finds out the reason of the bad economy, too. But she is still nervous to confess her love to Kenji. At the moment, lots of incidents related to proverbs happen in the whole town.|
"Hora ne, Haru ga Kita" (ほらね、春が来た)
|Troubles are made by Kenji's calligraphies and a spiritual paper weight he happened to pick up. They tear all the calligraphy but the last one "snowy season" (冬将軍) is blown away. So Kenji and Yurie writes big "first spring storm" (春一番) on the snow in union. When Yurie shouts "Kamichu", spring suddenly comes and Kenji sees the long haired girl standing beside him holding their hands.|
- Arahitogami: More information on human being as a God(dess) in Shinto religion.
- Official Kamichu! website by Sony Music (Japanese)
- Official Kamichu! website
- Interview with Hideyuki Kurata and Koji Masunari (Japanese) - about the anime Kamichu!
- Kamichu! (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopediahu:Kamichuru:Kamichu!