Kamicchu! is an adorable and relaxing anime about a girl, with the help of her friends, trying to learn what kind of goddess she is.
What would happen if a middle school girl suddenly received gifts from a god? That’s what 2005 Kamicchu! sought to explore, although it took a more relaxed approach to the concept than other series might have had. Falling into the iyashikei anime genre, it’s a slice-of-life series about a girl who tries to figure out what kind of goddess she is after gaining powers literally overnight – and how the people around her try. to help him use these abilities to help the local shrine.
During their lunch break, Yurie Hitotsubashi announces to her friend that she is now a kami, a Shinto deity. She doesn’t know what kind of kami she is, so Matsuri, whose family owns the local shrine, tries to help her understand her powers.
As they explore the possibilities, Yurie accidentally creates a typhoon, putting her crush on Kenji in danger. So she has to find a way to dissipate it. As the group tries to discern what kind of kami Yurie is, their series of misadventures includes discovering the missing god of the Matsuri family shrine, an economic depression caused by a visiting money god, and even talking to a Martian on behalf of the Japanese Prime Minister.
Yurie’s friends give him the nickname Kamichu, which is formed from the words “kami” and “chugakusei” (schoolboy). How she obtained her powers is never fully explained or developed. Instead, the story focuses on how she learns to use them and how the town adjusts to having a young goddess among them. Matsuri tries several schemes to get people to come to their shrine and spend money, usually involving Yurie as she is a living deity.
The whole story of Kamicchu! takes place over a year-long period, beginning in the spring of 1983 and ending in 1984. Its setting includes several real-life locations across Onomichi, Hiroshima, as far as Relaxed camp would do a few years later. The anime ran for 16 episodes, after which it received a manga adaptation. It was directed by Koji Masunari (Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic) while the manga only spanned two volumes.
The idea of a human becoming a god is a Shinto concept known as arahitogami. This is different from a akistumigami, who is more an embodiment of a god than a human god. The best-known example of this concept is the Japanese royal family, considered an extension of the goddess Amaterasu. In Shintoism, it is possible for people who have performed great deeds or demonstrated superior abilities to be worshiped as gods after death. An example of this practice would be Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was one of the three lords to unify Japan and was the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Despite its release nearly two decades ago, Kamicchu! is a cute and easy-going anime that can still be enjoyed today. It offers insight into traditional Shinto beliefs and life in 1980s Japan, but with a little more magic. It doesn’t dwell on the huge, catastrophic issues that would come with a teenage deity or world-saving events, instead keeping its feet on the ground and acting more like a coming-of-age story.
While Yurie tries to figure out what kind of kami she is, it acts as a metaphor for growing up and deciding what kind of person she wants to be as an adult. Even though she has more responsibilities than the average college girl, she is still a young girl going through the same growing pains that all girls eventually experience.
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