Shows marked as slice of life usually tend to build up their charm slowly. A combinaton of good music, nice mood and beatiful animation gradually captivate the viewer and make him attached to the series. But there are also titles like Kamichu. They hit you with brilliant scene at the very beginning, and at that moment you realize - this anime is gonna be great. After seeing shy, middle-school girl, casually confessing she became a god I couldn't help but smile. And from that point on, the show only got better.
Yurie Hitotsubashi suddenly became a goddess. You know - almighty powers, worshippers, prayers - usual stuff. The only problem with that picture is that she is still a middle-school student. She doesn't have the courage to confess her love, so how is she suppose to help people in need? Not to mention, that managing both school duties and deity work isn't so easy as it seems. But since her power can even create a typhoon at will, Yurie have to learn how to become a better god. Watching her deal with martians, cat kingdom and her own romance is very amusing.
This show takes adorable to a new, different level. Combination of main character sweet personality, indifference of her best friend and greed of her self-proclaimed manager is already sweet enough. But what rises the amount of sugar even higher is the reaction of the world. The level of acceptance to the fact, that human just turned into a god, is abnormal. No one is freaked about it, no one wants to do some weird research... Even the worshipping is very gentle. People gather when there is some sort of special event organised, but apart from that everyone is living their normal lives. That mix of admirable effort of the young deity, and total acceptance of the society creates pleasant, heartwarming mood. This anime is trying to illustrate, that world is essentially a good place and living in it is an enjoyable thing.
But if you think the greatness of Kamichu ends here, you are terribly wrong. There is a third factor, that makes this production so adorable. It's the way, that mystical realm is portrayed. Everything is based on Shinto beliefs, that every item in nature have it's own god. In world of Kamichu small deities of trash run around the city. There is god of soda bottles and god of boats. At the bottom of the sea ghost of the battleship teaches his kouhai, ghost of fishing boat, all sorts of things about their existence. Divine beings have their own organisations, and conventions at which they learn how to do their job, and get stamps for events they attend. Basicly the whole universe of this anime is filled with different kind of amusing beings, that have their own definition of normal lives. Seeing their struggles, moments of joy and casual actions, enriches the experience of watching this cute show.
Animation - 8.5/10
Kamichu is one of the very few animes with animation both beatiful and annoying at the same time. When I look at the way thay make characters blush, I can't help but think it's too simplistic. They should do it better, instead of just adding two red circles on the cheeks. Even though this flaw isn't major it spoils a bit of fun. On the other hand the animation of the mouth is simply superb. I can't get enough of the adorable faces Yurie makes when she is embarassed or pouting.
The character designs are simple yet appealing. However the large part of the show flavour is thanks to various models of different deities, spread out through out the show. They are not only cute, but also fitting the image of the gods of modern products. They roam around beatiful landscapes of Onomichi, a skillfull transition of real world scenery into the anime. All of it is topped with nice CG, that in no way disturbs the gentle image of the world.
Sound - 8/10
Seyius (as usual) did a proper job, but greatest asset of this anime is gentle and sweet soundtrack. Listening to relaxing combination of flutes, piano and guitar is bringing the images of countryside during summer. Melancholic tracks adds violins to the previous list of instruments. That brings a flavour of a quiet moments, where time slowly passes by. There also some cute "suspense" tracks and even a music piece that sounds like something right out from the 80s.
I am not too fond of opening and ending, but I can appreciate how well the OP fit the theme. Hare Nochi Hare! sung by Maho Tomita is combinig the calm, countryside sounds with pop song. It manages to start each episode with "ah, youth" kind of feeling. Ice candy by Mako Sakurai feels out of place. It's just your typical j-pop song, done with usual childish female voice.
Characters - 7/10
There isn't really much to talk about characters. The large cast and short length of anime makes any deep expressions impossible. Each of them can be described by one or two features that stand out the most (Yurie - clumsy and naive, Matsuri - scheming, etc. ). Apart from that attribute they act just like any normal human (or god) would do. Also most of the main roles can be easily called "moe". This show, even though it's slice of life, isn't character driven. The main focus of this production are adorable situations, and amusing world setting.
Overall - 8.9/10
If Prozac was never invented, they would be selling Kamichu in pharmacies by now. This is one of those pure stories, that bring out smile on your face and make your day better. It's neither deep nor dramatic - it's simply cute. Unless you have some issues with watching heartwarming shows, you should defienietly give this anime a chance. Highly reccommended.
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