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Mitsue, Miko, Yurie & Matsuri

a.k.a. Kamichu!, Teenage Goddess, Kami-chu! ~Kamisama de Chugakusei


 "Last night, I became a god."


With the above quote, practically the first line said in the series, fourteen year old Yurie Hitotsubashi leads the viewer into one of the quirkier but fun anime series of recent years. That it was said at school, over lunch to her friend, in the same tone as if one were to relate watching a new show, perfectly sets the tone for the series, while giving the viewer no real footing to believe they know what's coming.

Set in a faithfully reproduced version of Onomichi in the 1980s, the show has sometimes been called "My Neighbor Totoro the TV", for its lush, Ghibli Hills layout and casual insertion of a spirit world idling away between the cracks of the "real world". And yet, so long as one can get past the blasé acceptance of a middle school girl just suddenly becoming a kami-sama, it becomes surprisingly easy to enjoy the gentle, buoyant comedy where deification is less an earth-shattering shift of views and more of an after-school job - and far less stressful than being an insecure, easily flustered young lady whose biggest problem is still getting a certain boy to remember her name.

Tropes used in Kamichu! include:
  • Animal Theme Naming - The three spirits sent to be Yurie's assistants (Ino, Shika, and Chou) have names meaning boar, deer and butterfly, respectively.
  • Asleep for Days - Yurie regularly falls asleep for days after overusing her powers.
  • Astronomic Zoom - Happens right after Yurie's first spell.
  • Beach Episode - Notably, the girls are shown to have a bit of puppy fat!
  • Be Careful What You Wish For - On one occasion Yurie has a huge pile of papers with wishes written on them in front of her, and she fulfills all them in one big shot. Every. Single. One.
  • Bishonen - Yashima-sama fits the mold of a bishonen boy... er, god.
  • Blush Sticker - Everyone at some point. Yurie sports a near-perpetual set.
  • Butt Monkey - Shika the deer assistant gets whacked around a lot by his teammates.
  • Catch Phrase - "Nothing interesting ever happens to me", as uttered by Mitsue between being possessed by (another) god.
    • And of course, "Kamichu" for Yurie.
  • Call to Agriculture - Saegusa Kouun, the chief priest, prefers farming.
  • Christmas Episode - Which Matsuri uses to put up another Yurie based scheme.
  • Cloudcuckoolander - Kenji. Dear god, Kenji.
  • Club President - Kenji Ninomiya, since he's the only member of the school's calligraphy club.
  • Crack! Oh, My Back! - Matsuri's dad is laid low when he plays with his old hula hoop.
  • Cool Old Guy - an interesting version of this trope pops up as played by the Yamato. As in, WWII-era Japanese battleship Yamato.
  • Excited Show Title
  • Eyes Always Shut - Matsuri's dad.
    • An interesting variation pops up during negotiations with the neighborhood association, when the head negotiator's eyes suddenly stop being open and switch to this. Negotiations for Matsuri's shrine holiday suddenly complete successfully and wisely.
  • Fan Service - Almost non-existent in the anime, but the manga often has the girls in various states of undress--especially Matsuri (who also received an "upgrade" of two cup sizes).
    • With the exception of the Beach Episode, in which Mitsue and Matsuri seem to have WAY too much boobage for girls still in middle school. Padded bathing suits?
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Apart from Shintô deities and magic, the world also has Martians, as well as apparently other natural sentient species living on Earth. While they are seen as newsworthy and interesting, no-one's mind is exactly blown by having the UN communicate with extraterrestials and mole-people.
  • Festival Episode - Many in her honor, being a god and all.
  • Fever Dream Episode
  • Forgot I Couldn't Swim - Tama.
  • Genki Girl - Matsuri.
  • A God Am I - Averted wonderfully; Yurie is completely unassuming and seems vaguely uncomfortable about the obligations of her new divine status. Rather than pontificate about her newfound power, she almost freezes up when asked to speak at her first festival.
  • Have You Seen My God? - The basic plot for episode two of the anime.
  • Human Alien - Well, okay, she doesn't look human, but the Martian acts and talks just like a human middle-schooler.
  • Iyashikei
  • Jerkass - Matsuri. In almost any other series, her use of Yurie to help the shrine wouldn't be anything special, but considering the tone of Kamichu, Matsuri is being quite exploitative.
  • Little Miss Almighty
  • King of All Cosmos - Among other things, the Seven Lucky Gods as a Jpop band, including Benten as a Catgirl vocalist and Bishamon with a cool guitar.
  • Kotatsu - Yurie literally spends all of episode 14 under one.
  • Lost in Translation - Several puns, including the double meaning of Yurie's three divine assistants.
    • And the banner at the God's Convention, which translates as Welcome to Kami-Con.
  • Luminescent Blush - Yurie often sports two bright pink cheeks at the merest provocation, but her whole face turns pink when she's really embarrassed.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Miko and Matsuri's names can be interpreted as "shrine maiden" and "festival," respectively.
    • Yurie's assistants (Ino, Shika, and Chou) all have names synonymous with the kanji representing the animals they resemble (the boar, deer, and butterfly respectively), despite Yurie using a completely different rationale for naming them. (E.g., "chou" means "clever" or "butterfly" depending on the kanji used to write it.)
  • Miko - Matsuri and her appropriately named sister Miko at their father's failing shrine -- thus their interest in Yurie
  • Older Than They Look - Yurie may count as a minor example. She is notably shorter and more round-faced than the rest of her classmates and her generally childish demeanor makes her seem even younger. It should be noted that they're in middle school and not high school like other slice of life shows, so her classmates may be Younger Than They Look instead.
  • 108 - The number of Yurie's fortune in the last episode.
    • Also, her rank (dead last) on the midterm exam at her transfer school in episode 12.
  • Patriotic Fervor - Matsuri FREAKING LOVES Japan almost as much as she FREAKING LOVES its indigenous religion, Shinto (or at least, the series' interpretation of Shinto).
    • Her patriotism seems to be mostly deployed as an excuse to set up a (well-remunerated) shrine holiday to compete with Christmas, though.
  • Pillar of Light - Yurie pulls one of these when she teleports. And promptly takes a nap.
  • Portmanteau Series Nickname - The full name is Kami-chu! ~Kamisama de Chugakusei~, i.e. "The Goddess, A Middle-School Girl"
  • Power Incontinence - The Poverty God.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow - When Yurie exercises her divine powers, she gets extreme Rapunzel Hair.
  • Puni Plush
  • Real Place Background - The show makes great use of Onomichi's rather typical locales, including the ferries that Yurie and Mitsue use to get to school.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship - Curiously, Yurie has a lot more chemistry with Matsuri than with her love interest Kenji, which is even more pronounced in the manga.
    • In the manga, Matsuri and Yurie even get into what could only be construed as a lover's quarrel.
  • Scenery Porn - Every episode is rife with long, lingering shots of Onomichi and its surroundings.
  • Selective Obliviousness - Kenji Ninomiya, in regards to Yurie's status, name, or even existence at one point, despite her saving his life in the first episode.
  • Shallow Love Interest - Admittedly, Kenji is at times somewhat interesting, but the viewer never really gets to know him.
  • Shout-Out - The episode with the cats has "Tyler Nyaden", who starts a violently anarchistic club. This same episode also features Yurie's cat Tama executing a very popular antiair punch
  • Shrines and Temples - Much of the show takes place at the Raifuku shrine that Matsuri and Miko run.
  • Sitting on the Roof - Kenji Ninomiya spends most of his time on the school roof (since the calligraphy club doesn't have a room of its own), and Yurie and her friends are there often too.
  • Something Completely Different - Episode four moves into Science Fiction.
  • Spirit Advisor - Yashima
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo - Matsuri
  • Theme Naming:
    • The names of all the major characters incorporate kanji normally used to write numbers: Yurie Hitotsubashi includes the kanji for "1," Kenji Ninomiya includes "2," the Saegusa family's name includes "3," and Mitsue Shijou includes "4." Yashima's name includes the kanji for lucky number "8."
    • Each episode shares its title with the name of a J-pop song from the '80s or early '90s.
  • The Cameo - Episode 11, when Miko and Shou run away from the fast-food restaurant on their magical running away from home adventure, you can see Yomiko Readman in the background as they run. This is because Koji Masunari (the director for Read or Die) co-wrote and directed Kamichu with Tomonori Ochiai and Hideyuki Kurata.
  • The Ditz - Kenji again.
  • The Runaway - Episode 11. Miko, with Shou following. Much Ship Teasing ensues
  • Twelve-Episode Anime - Plus four for the DVD.'
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife - While Yurie's mother is perhaps just generically good-looking, her father is noticeably overweight and has no neck. Nice guy, though.
  • Weirdness Censor - The spirit world is just there, to Yurie, certain sensitives, users of her omamori, and the viewer of course. For the most part the villagers are oblivious to the activity of the little gods and spirits around them, though they are generally aware and accepting that such things exist.
    • Yurie's godhood is pretty much acknowledged from the moment her face appeared in the eye of the typhoon she inadvertently created.