Review of Kamichu (2005)

Moving picture, 7 hours

Onomichi, a small port city in western Japan—cf. Tokyo Story (1953)—some time in the 1980s. A childish middle-school student (chuugakusei) understands that she has just become a Shintō god (kami).

Human gods are uncommon, and can be useful in a variety of functions: Boosting business at a local shrine whose patron god would rather be a rock star, helping the government deal with a Martian visitor, or resurrecting the World War II imperialist battleship Yamato from its watery grave to restore it to its birthplace. However, the new god really prefers to sleep late, spend time with her friends and hit on the aloof president and sole member of the calligraphy club, who convenes on the roof of the school.

A god of poverty possesses our heroine’s cat, and she learns more about godhood at the annual conference, from which she takes home a rookie of the year award. Being a god isn’t necessarily a career, and certainly not cause for more than local celebrity. The mall is just a little upset when she agrees to support a festive Shintō event in competition with Christmas. Perhaps the most telling indicator of people’s attitudes is that the ferry company the heroine uses every day takes a long time to put up a sign reading “Purveyor to god”; when they do, nobody cares.

Somewhat sexualized yurui comedy. Appropriate to Murakami Takashi’s contemporary theories. Surprisingly uncute however, as the character designs are sometimes deformed to the point of caricature, and quite ugly in the case of many gods.

References here: Strawberry Marshmallow (2005).

moving picture animation Japanese production fiction series