"Nyo nyo. No-one can stop Dejiko-nyo!"

Dejiko, Princess of Charat-planet
(Not to be confused with the noder of the same name.)

So you'd think she's do something other than visit Akihabara, Japan and start working as a mundane store clerk. (Hey, it worked in Megatokyo.)

Dejiko is the star of hit anime series, Di Gi Charat, and mascot of Gamers, a game and anime shop in Tokyo's Akihabara. A cute, cheeky green-haired girl who dresses in cat paws and ears and ends every sentence in a cute "nyo" - whether her ears and bells are actually part of her or merely an outfit is an often discussed topic. Along with what one would assume to be her little sister, Puchiko, the series of Di Gi Charat sees her trying her best to make it big as a pop idol.

Dejiko is also alternatively spelt Digiko or Digico in some fansubs. Her name, according to the first episode of the series, is short for DiGi Charat (Puchiko is an abbreviation of Petit Charat), with "-ko" a somewhat common suffix to Japanese girl's names. This might be roughly translated as "digital girl", itself an abbreviation of "digital character". Update: According to the Di Gi Charat Movie, her real name is Chocolla, but she changed this upon arriving on Earth.

It's no coincidence that an anime about a cute girl working in a video game, trading card game and anime shop should become popular in our little IRC channel, where eighteen-year-old guys spend their day talking about cute girls and watching anime, and the latest fad is a video game of a trading card game. Di Gi Charat's episode length of only three minutes made it possible for even my measly dialup connection to download the antics of Dejiko and co . Few of us can't recite entire sections of DiGi Charat dialogue like Monty Python sketches.

I wasn't a huge fan of Dejiko - at first. She seemed stuck up, selfish, lazy - a spoiled and naive brat, used to getting her own way and firing off eye lasers at anything that got in her way. In one episode she kicks Gema-kun into the sea for finding out about her plan to release hentai doujinshi of two customers. When three customers walk out of the shop without buying anything, she shoots them with her eye beam. In the final episode, she even tries to kill her rival, Rabi en Rose, with an exploding cake. She was selfish and manipulative, and I found it hard to think of her as someone who would make a good role model. That was about a year ago.

A few months back I watched the spinoff series, Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat - the first episode of this is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. Princess Dejiko, younger and more innocent, leaves the castle without a moment's planning, giving up her stuffy high-life to go out into the world and make everyone happy - finding an ambition to become an actress along the way. Dejiko is full only of ideals - she doesn't stop to worry about details, or how she's realistically going to make everyone happy at once, or whether everyone will like her or not. She just does, gets an idea into her head and sets about fulfilling it. There is wisdom in the simplicity of children.

I started looking at Dejiko in a totally different way. She's not Chaotic Neutral - she's Chaotic Good. No longer did I see a spoiled, manipulative brat who always had to have her way. Instead, Dejiko is kind, and caring. She's no Jesus - she's only human (I think), after all, and like all of us who want to do the right thing it's a balance between ourselves and others. (In the D&D alignments system, if that's easier to understand, it's a battle between good and neutrality.) In order for a person to feel free enough to put the needs of others before themselves, they have to feel safe in their own needs first. Dejiko, a happy and energetic princess, has never gone wanting for anything, and seems to feel safe and secure wherever she goes. Perhaps for this reason it's easier for her to adapt to a life of making people happy - the kind of confidence that comes from not getting worried about what other people think of oneself tends only to come easily to come to children, hippies and Jesus.

My view of this cute mascot character was forever changed. As the episodes of Panyo Panyo went by, she gave her time to others without a moment's thought. Dejiko and her friends spend a day teaching a girl to ride a bike, without asking for anything in return. She does what she likes, and what she likes doing is making people happy. I began to draw analogies to my own life, too - stuck in the stuffy position of living comfortably on a student loan yet stuck on a Software Engineering course I really don't want to study; much rather be out working freelance as a web designer or Dungeons and Dragons content author, or maybe working to make the world a better place. I guess that's a little like how Dejiko feels, too.

I watched the original DiGi Charat again with a new outlook on Dejiko. She wasn't stuck-up, just full of simple optimism and dedicated to following her dream. She didn't hate Rabi en Rose, but like all of us, it's easy to lose perspective of the right thing to do when a situation suddenly demands that you look out for yourself - even the best of us. Despite being only a fictional character, Dejiko is a reminder that it's not wrong to want to do what you love when it's something that makes other people happy, and that sometimes a person just needs to leave all the crud behind and follow their heart.

my hero is a girl

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