Kamichu!: Divine is our Youthful Innocence
July 19, 2010
One could easily be misled to expect the next Spirited Away after wildly ghibli-esque opening episode of Kamichu!. Yet it becomes progressively more apparent that beneath this superfluous veil of shinto-inspired fantasy setting, Kamichu! is essentially a slice of life at heart. It’s a sentimental trip back to our youthful years, watching Yurie and her friends being clumsy, struggling with silly issues, and having fun in this nostalgic high school setting. Although I didn’t think the series was as amazing as many would claim, I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who can appreciate gentle softness of slice-of-life genre.
What I found particularly interesting however, was its seamless blending of shinto-inspired fantasy setting into the show’s slice-of-life aspects. Also intriguing it is that the true significance of fantasy elements present in Kamichu! didn’t hit me until I saw last few episodes, which are almost devoid of supernatural shenanigans.
Take an episode focusing on Matsuri for example. However absurd it was to expect anyone to celebrate Christmas at her shrine, she still promoted with everything she has…and people did come! Miracle was the only word to describe it. And how about Yurie actually becoming school president after Mitsue delivered that heartfelt nomination speech? Or how the new classmates opened themselves to Yurie after she courageously opened herself to them?
These precious moments of our youth are like little miracles of life and we don’t need to be kami or have Yurie sneeze kamichu! to magically solve our problems. While painting our nostalgic period of childhood in imaginative strokes, with that same brush Kamichu! shows us that miracles are everywhere around us waiting to happen, and the divine power to realise that can be found in our youthful innocence. Beliefs so pure and strong, unfiltered by pessimism we develop as adults struggling to survive in society, can be the kami that opens our eyes to all the wondrous and miraculous possibilities of life.