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The franchise began with Dejiko being an Advertising Mascot for the "Gamers" store chain. The character proved popular, and the company decided to capitalize on her popularity by giving her a Backstory and an actual personality.
In a huge subversion, however, Dejiko's personality turned out to be the complete opposite of the cutesy-innocent moe girl she appears to be. She does her best to appear sweet, but when provoked (and it doesn't take much) she can be vain, petty, argumentative, selfish, and downright violent. She often takes out her frustrations by physically abusing her guardian, a floating sphere named Gema-Gema, or firing eyebeams at those who annoy her. She does have a good heart deep down, though, and the show's borderline-surreal sense of humor plays her anti-social tendencies for laughs ,so somehow Dejiko manages to be endearing despite it all.
The main characters, common to almost all the incarnations of the franchise, are:
- Dejiko, aka Di Gi Charat, aka Chocola: The titular protagonist, princess of planet Di Gi Charat and aspiring idol. However, she is less than princess-like. Can shoot Eye Beams. She will use them any time, on any being who annoys her. She has a Verbal Tic and ends everything she says with "-nyo".
- Puchiko, aka Petit Charat, aka Capucchino: Supposed Sidekick of Dejiko and inhabitant of her planet. Her Eye Beams ability is weaker than Dejiko's, but she compensates with extra cuteness and a sharp tongue. Often Hypercompetent Sidekick to Dejiko. Another Verbal Tic here; she ends her sentences with "-nyu". She is a subversion of the quiet and shy moe girl, in that she is so quiet that she is often completely withdrawn from everything around her, and when she does speak, she tends to be quite rude.
- Gema: A big floating yellow ball with a simple, tiny, upside-down face. Long-suffering Non-Human Sidekick and failed mentor, usually the victim of Dejiko's eye beam. Ends all its sentences with "-gema".
- "Rabi~en~Rose": Real name, Hikaru Usada. Sometimes The Rival to Dejiko, sometimes a Worthy Opponent. A young human teenager, also an aspiring idol, with a bunny-like cosplay and a sob-story backstory that changes depending on the franchise's incarnation. One of the few characters who doesn't have a Verbal Tic. She is a parody of the typical "rival" character in anime, in that she's more sympathetic than Dejiko and often shows superior skill, yet she still loses most of the time because she's not the main character.
The universe of Di Gi Charat has been presented in the following incarnations:
- The original TV series, which was basically a Gag Series and star vehicle, mind blowing on its own merit. It featured Dejiko as a penniless retail worker at a Gamers store, where all manner of ridiculous things occur.
- The seasonal Specials and The Movie, that presented the real enemy of Dejiko (Piyoko) and expanded the universe.
- Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat, that was basically a Prequel set at least 2 years before the first series. Mostly ditched the subversive Otaku humor for cutesiness.
- Di Gi Charat Nyo!, which just retold the first season without the commercial references, added the information given in Panyo Panyo..., and expanded the history of secondary characters further.
- The Di Gi Charat - Winter Garden OVAs, which are Spinoffs in an alternate future and continuity, with the characters being ten years older and living a typical romance scenario.
- Leave it to Piyoko an OVA series which was released on Nico Nico Douga with Piyoko as the protagonist and Digiko as The Rival.
- There is also a Dating Sim-like game, which, while totally devoid of adult content, is creepy for its premise, since Dejiko is just really underage.
There are also many volumes of manga. Some of them are collections of the original "Gamers Magazine" 4-panel strips, some are anthologies of short stories by various artists and writers, and some are longer adventures.
- Alternate Continuity: in Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat and Di Gi Charat Nyo
- Animal Motifs
- Bellisario's Maxim: Invoked in the original series. In one episode, Gema falls into the river and becomes huge. He later goes to the bathroom and comes back normal-sized. Rabi~en~rose pops up and tells us not to think about where or how much.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows
- Bishounen: Ky, Rik and Murataku
- Blondes Are Evil: Piyoko
- Butt Monkey: Gema
- Catgirl: Dejiko, Puchiko, Rinna, and Mee-K
- Continuity Reboot
- Eye Beams: Dejiko has `em. Puchiko does too, but not as good.
- Faceless Masses
- Gag Series
- Girlish Pigtails: Rabi~En~Rose
- Hair Colors
- Heavy Voice: In the seventh episode, Gema falls in the river and drinks a lot of water, making him grow huge and giving him a deep voice.
- Hospital Hottie: Piyoko's henchmen, Rik, Coo, and Ky who all work as doctors.
- Idol Singer: Dejiko and Rabi~En~Rose want to be one.
- Image Song (Lots and lots of them. This series is the poster child for this trope.)
- Jumped the Shark (Later episodes use both refuges more often than early ones to convey humor.)
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Except for Panyo Panyo, which was licensed and dubbed by ADV Films, finding the original series, or any other on DVD is nigh impossible.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo (and worked in both ways)
- Magic Misfire: Puchiko's attempts to use her Eye Beams power cause her eyes to emit strange slime creatures that crawl away.
- Megane: Ky and Rik
- Moral Event Horizon (If it were possible in such a completely zany series. In the Christmas episode, Dejiko makes an explosive cake for Rabi~en~Rose, initially seeming as a prank on her rival. She later reveals she made it with the intent to kill Rabi~en~Rose (Her exact words were "Eliminate"), and only felt bad about it because Rabi~en~Rose accepted it gratefully. The bomb later doesn't kill anyone, but wipes out the Gamers shop. It's played for laughs, but can be pretty disturbing.)
- No Export for You: Volumes 2 and 3 of the Dejiko's Adventure manga as well as volume 2 of the Leave it to Piyoko manga were announced in 2005...and then Broccoli USA closed in 2008, leaving the series unfinished in the US.
- Occidental Otaku (Rodoyan, a Wholesome Crossdresser who claims to be Dejiko's biggest fan)
- Otaku (Several, including Bukimi, and Rodoyan, the Japanese perception of an American anime otaku noted above.)
- Parental Abandonment: In the first series, Rabi's parents leave her for America, so she can have a "difficult, penniless childhood until you [Rabi] make your debut as a great idol." They also give her a pair of dice which she'll need to help her become an idol. How exactly, is anybody's guess.
- Poke the Poodle:
- Waiting till the dinner is served and leaving without eating it: such is the way of evil, pyo.
- Punny Name
- Little Miss Snarker: Puchiko
- Short Anime Movie: The movie is 20 minutes long.
- Shout-Out: Both of Hikaru's names. "Rabi~en~Rose" is an obvious send-up of L'Arc~en~Ciel, and Hikaru Usada is a reference to Hikaru Utada.
- Or Rabi~en~Rose could be a reference to the song La Vie En Rose.
- Take That: a Summer Special OVA had an extended take that at American Otaku.
- Tastes Like Diabetes: Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat
- Terrible Trio (The Black Gema Gang)
- Theme Naming (Almost all the inhabitants of the planet Di Gi Charat)
- Those Two Guys
- Tsundere (Dejiko, to an extent)
- Unusual Ears
- Verbal Tic: "Nyo", "Nyu", "Pyo", "Gema", "Geba", "Myu", "Mya", and "Devi".
- X Meets Y: Lucky Star meets KaBlam!!
- Yaoi Fangirl: In the original series, Dejiko contemplates writing the two Takurou into a Doujinshi.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Dejiko has green hair, Usada has pink hair, Ky has dark blue hair, Akari has purple hair, Rinna has sky blue hair, and Mee K has reddish pink hair.