Archive for May, 2010

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The Most Beautiful Animaton in the World

May 21, 2010

Kamichu! Review

 

 

It’s a sad thing when series that are so good just get lost in so much garbage that gets released in the American anime market. Here we have a show with so little flaws, with its only flaw is of no fault of its own: it’s not an anime for everybody. It’s a short, slice-of-life, light romance anime that is just as beautiful to look at as it is to listen to.

Based on the opening paragraph you would assume this is a show along the same veins as Golgo 13 or someother bizarre, male power fantasy show that you would see in this blog. That isn’t the case today though. An anime like Kamichu comes along ever so rarely where it blends the common traits of a moe show and slice-of-life and blends them perfectly together as I’ve never seen it before. The show’s premise is as generic as one would assume a show about a girl who wakes up and realizes she’s become a god. She gets all the perks of being a god, like seeing other ghosts and gods and being able to grant wishes. However, this show isn’t about a girl trying to hide her identity, as a matter of fact the whole world knows she’s a god. The best part is everyone is nonchalant about her new powers. Although people try to get her to grant wishes for her, no one sees her as a creep with supernatural powers like most anime shows do.

            There are several episodes of Kamichu where the main protagonist, Yurie simply hangs out with her friends and tries to get the attention of a boy she likes named Kenji. I think it’s simply amazing how the subtle touch of a god being able to grant wishes isn’t able to grant her own of trying to get the boy to like her. Although Kamichu does not have a linear plot, it has a subtle layer of romance and certain tone to the entire series. There is one episode that completely comes out of nowhere that just disturbs the feeling of the entire show. Episode four (“Earth’s Crisis”) deals with the Prime Minister of Japan hiring Yurie to communicate with an alien from outer space. There are several scenes of people in this episode just being completely despicable and trying to get innocent Yurie involved in this severe torture of a harmless alien trying to get back home, just so that the Prime Minister would have value to the President of the United States. After this episode, the rarities return once more in episode eight (Wild Times), but they don’t ruin the feeling the show had until that point.

            When it comes to characters and character development, this show just shines. Yurie is a simple minded girl who still has that air of an innocent child about her. She has little to no moral flaws, but I believe that to be her one flaw. She’s too perfect. I believe that in a world full of panty shots and maids, it’s actually quite nice to have a character that goes back to the days of slow moving anime like To Heart. Yurie’s love interest, Kenji is your typical oblivious love interest, much like Karasuma from School Rumble. He’s quite an interesting character in the form that he’s just a quiet painter who is not bothered by big things like his club only having one member. The other cast of characters just make the show much more loveable. The Yurie entourage is content and always cheering their friend on when she’s getting down. It’s just a heartwarming series that perfectly balances out all of the Golgo 13’s in my life.

One of the main reasons I picked up this show was because of the rumored “amazing animation and artwork”. It’s quite possible one of the best animated TV series of the decade. I’ve heard people call it “Studio Ghibli makes a moe show” and that’s just about right. Throughout the entire production, there are very few scenes where the quality drops, but the animation remains consistent. The backgrounds make it appear as if everything is moving at one time, and the world is constantly moving, not just with what’s going on screen. As far as artwork goes, the character designs are extremely cute. The music for this series is just beautiful. There slow moving classical music just adds a sense of relaxation to the series that was just meant to relax you and take you to a simpler time when eating an ice cream was a past time. I’m a proud owner of the OST and with 22 songs from the series to listen to, I’m never bored. The dub to Kamichu! is amazing as well. It’s one of those instances where the squeakyish little girl voice doesn’t sound fake. The Japanese track is good as well, it just so happens that if there is a good dub and a good Japanese track, I tend to go for the English dub.

Overall, this series is beautiful. It is a must see show, and it’s only real flaw is that it’s not for everybody. If you’re the type of person that didn’t enjoy shows like Aria, this show probably wouldn’t be for you. Regardless on your stance on moe (and believe me, this show is moe), this is just a must see. Despite all of the action, you will have the same effect of guns being shot during love confessions that you saw coming a mile away. Even the rewatchability factor in this series is high. It’s tender, relaxing shows like this that make anime what it is as a medium. We could all yell we watch anime because it’s mature storytelling until you’re blue in the face, but we all see that you’re talking about shows like Naruto or Bleach. It’s shows like this that take a certain type of sophistication and maturity to enjoy.

Just watch the opening and tell me it doesn’t make you wanna watch it: