A 16-episode anime that ran during the TV show Wonderful. Around 3-4 minutes each, and full of non sequitur and occasionally gastric humor. 10 year old catgirl DiGi Charat (Dejiko (no relation)) from the planet of the same name (she's a princess, mind), 5 year old catgirl Petit Charat (Puchiko), and 8 year old, floating, upside-down blob with arms Gema arrive via spaceship in Akihabara, where Dejiko plans to become a pop idol and actress. Once they realized they couldn't live in the spaceship (no good place to hide it), they work at Gamers, a trading card and video game shop frequented by finger-people (their faces were on what would be the fingernail) and occasional human-shaped customers.

There's not much plot to the show - Dejiko fights with her rival in idolatry (and co-worker) Rabi~en~Rose (Usada Hikaru - her nickname is the Japanese spelling of "la vie en rose"), loses and finds her tail, has a fanclub of two otaku types she calls "bukimi" (Takeshi and Yoshimi are their names, and the kanji of their names together can be read as "bukimi," which means spooky), shoots beams from her eyes, has an imposter that steals food and farts, insults and laughs at most everything, and other equally random events. The three main characters also have their own dialects - Dejiko adds a "nyo" (meow) at the end of every sentence, Puchiko adds a "nyu," and Gema adds "gema-gema" (usually in place of words like "desu" or it's counterparts "desu wa," "de gozaru," "da," etc). It's considered fairly offensive, rewriting the language to suit their styles.

The show isn't drawn in typical anime style outside of the main characters. It looks (and flows) more like Radiohead's Paranoid Android video than traditional anime, which only adds to the strangeness. One of the recurring characters, an odd teddy bear in a flying box, reminds me of Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, only after getting beat up. The animation was done by Studio Madhouse (also did Trigun and Card Captor Sakura) and this seems to be a strange direction for them.

DiGi Charat was originally created by then-doujinshi artist and OL Koge Donbo and commisioned by Broccoli as a set of trading cards to be given out at their Gamers chain of trading card/game/anime/character goods shops, then Dejiko and crew became the mascots for their main branch, Gamers Akihabara. Dejiko was soon featured in a Gamers TV commercial in animated form, singing her "Welcome to my House" song. From there, it became popular enough to get it's own show. Once the show ended, the characters became pop idols of sorts, releasing their own CDs, which was kicked off with the CD release of the anime's opening song "Only One, No. 1" (by Okui Masami), and later performing live concerts. Broccoli also has several "Kobeya" CD-ROMs (email clients not unlike Sony's wonderful/despicable PostPet software).

The whole DiGi Charat concept is little more than amazing marketing. The characters are endearing and cute, but are a very small part of the whole. DiGi is everywhere in the anime industry right now - selling goods at Comiket, holding autograph sessions at Tokyo Game Show (the seiyuu, at least), popping up in the Aquarian Age trading card game (and at several sanctioned competitions), garage kits, posters, shitajiki, software, cameos in other shows, commercials, concerts, drama CDs, tons of fan art, fan zines, fan websites, doujinshi, window stickers, pencil cases, cell phone covers and straps, cosplay outfits, lifesize cutouts, action figures, paper dolls, UFO catcher dolls, ceramic dolls, on vending machines and billboards, and so on. There are even DiGi Charat bandages and "DiGi Charat Candy 2000." And of course the limited edition "Di Gi Charat Brandy" and "Di Gi Charat Mineral Water," both referenced in the anime and later made real. The characters are slowly becoming the mascots of the whole industry, ready to take Hoshino Ruri's place as the visual definition of "now anime." She's even gaining a foothold in the US anime industry, since Broccoli partnered with the LA-based Omochabox.com, who dubbed the "Welcome to my House" song to English and has been airing local TV spots for their new Broccolified name, AnimeGamers.com.

Most of the marketing popularity of this is because of Broccoli - they decided that, since most people already associate Dejiko and friends with Gamers Akiba, it wouldn't hurt to let other companies and fans use the imagery to promote themselves as well. They've made it relatively easy and cheap to use the DiGi copyright on most anything, and they encourage fans to keep making garage kits and fanzines and most anything that's not too adult.

The anime was continued with the "DiGi Charat Summer Special 2000," a TV special of 4 half-hour episodes which introduced a couple new characters, including Dejiko's arch-nemesis Piyocola Analogue III (AKA Piyoko). Then a Christmas special, then a Spring special, and a theatrical movie in 2002 called "Digi Charat: Hoshi no Tabi" (Trip to the Planet), with still more to come. Dejiko & crew have also branched out into the video game market with "Di Gi Charat Fantasy," an "alternate world" exploring Koge Donbo's original concepts, and the recursive marketing genius of "Deji-Communication," a simulation for the GBA where the player gets to manage Gamers, stocking and selling loads of Di Gi merchandise (Di Gi pens, Di Gi t-shirts, Party Night CDs, and other real Di Gi merchanise).

Charat is pronounced "carrot" or "kyarat," as in "Pia Carrot." And the name comes from "digi chara," or digital character. Also, the names "DiGi Charat" and "Di Gi Charat" are interchangable by Broccoli's standards (they've used both at different times, though seem to be settling on "Di Gi Charat" of late).

Sources:

  • Hitoshi Doi's huge anime info site (www.tcp.com/doi)
  • Broccoli home page (www.broccoli.co.jp)
  • TBS home page (www.tbs.co.jp)

Episode guide. WARNING: Contains spoilers-nyo!

Also note I'm basing all quotes, and storyline, and everything on the sub, since my Japanese is about as good as my Klingon. Umm.. Qapla'!!

Episode 01 - Dejiko Arrives-nyo!

Di Gi Charat (Dejiko-nyo), Petit Charat (Puchiko-nyu) and Gema-gema arrive at earth. They land in Akihabara. Dejiko wants to become a greatMura actress, but soon finds she cannot afford accommodation. As if by magic, a shopkeeper appears. He offers them a room above his store (Gamers) if they'll work for him. At the end, they are taunted by a laughing ghost. TO BE CONTINUED...

Quotes

  • Rabi~en~Rose: Whaaat? And it's just getting interesting! Boo!


Episode 02 - Please call me Rabi~en~Rose!

The laughing ghost vanishes. On an errand for the manager, they encounter the ghost again, who turns out to be Rabi~en~Rose. Rabi~en~Rose turns out to be called Usada. Usada turns out to be working at the same store as Dejiko. Fun. This episode also introduces the Fans of Dejiko.

Quotes

  • Rabi~en~Rose: It's me! I'm the great rival who will blow Dejiko away!
  • Dejiko: I was hit by a car, fell into the river, and almost got eaten by a big fish-nyo!
  • Manager: I was worried that Dejiko-chan would get hit by a car, fall into the river, and almost get eaten by a big fish.
  • Chubby Fan: It's ok. I wash my hair every day.


Episode 03 - A Scary Store?

Minagawa Takurou is introduced. He's scared of the store in general and Dejiko's eye-beam in particular. Reassured by Rabi~en~Rose, he buys some Tetsu-Ashi Johnny trading cards. Umm, that's about it. Sometimes it's really difficult to write these guides.

Quotes

  • Random mooks: That was great window shopping! Plenty of window shopping.. window shopping is great! (all burnt by eye beam)
  • Minagawa: She's a shopkeeper too? Then for a normal person like me it might be too much to enter this scary store?!
  • Dejiko: There's some kind of curse on it-nyo.
    Rabi~en~Rose: Hopefully you won't have any misfortune.
    Puchiko: Come again.


Episode 04 - What the Hell is That?

Dejiko, Puchiko and Gema go on a picnic. Although Dejiko wants to climb a big pointy mountain, Puchiko is too tired and Gema convinces her not to. While they are eating, Rabi~en~Rose flies by with helicopter ears and blows dust on their picnic. Shortly after a mysterious teddy-bear-esque thing appears. This episode contains, in my opinion, one of the best scenes ever - Dejiko turns to escape the teddy, and faces another one. There is silence for a few seconds, then Dejiko turns back and says in a small, puppydog voice 'What the hell is it?'.
...
Just watch it, yeah? Anyway, they get back to Gamers, and the teddy's there. Seems to be some sort of advertising prop. Oh well!

Quotes

  • Gema: For some reason, I want to eat meat-gema. Muscle, muscle.
  • Rabi~en~Rose: Might as well eat the onigiri covered with dust. There might also be animal crap mixed in, you know.
  • Dejiko: It has salt in it, so it'll be sterilised. It's okay-nyo.
  • Dejiko: AAAH! EYE BEAM! EYE BEAM! EYE BEAM! EYE BEAM! EYE BEAM!


Episode 05 - Mr Long-Hair

The episode opens on a stranger with long hair talking about words. It cuts to a scene in the store, then Mr Long-Hair (Kimura Takurou - Murataku) comes in and talks about words some more, making high-larious puns in Japanese based on -nyo, -nyu and -gema. And that's about it. This is a good show. No, really.

Quotes

  • Chubby Fan: I'm a little chubby.. do you like chubby guys?
  • Murataku: Words are beautiful. Words are the means by which people tell history to their descendants. Therefore, words have to be beautiful. However.. what is 'nyo'?
  • Murataku: Such a cute child.. This child brings me happiness.
  • Murataku: Do I? Do I have to tell such a cute child to fix a strange speaking habit?
  • Dejiko: Puchiko is not for sale-nyo!


Episode 06 - Eerie Boo!

Dejiko and Rabi~en~Rose have a mop-fight. LAter, the manager sends Dejiko to the Something Store to buy "something". As she goes there, her tail falls off, and is found by the Fans of Dejiko, who fight over it and fall into a hole, to the Hell Store. The Devil offers them anything for Dejiko's tail, but they bring it back to her. They finally get named - the short chubby one is Takeshi, and the tall, greasy-haired one is Yoshimi. Together, they are.. bukimi.

Quotes

  • Dejiko: You'll get scolded by the manager for breaking the mop-nyo! Better start crying-nyo!
  • Dejiko: Let's buy "something" from that "Something-store"-nyo!
  • Fans of Dejiko: Ueee! We fell into the hole!
  • Puchiko: You don't have a tail-nyu.
    Dejiko: Aah! Really? What shall I do?
    Puchiko: Puchiko still has a tail-nyu.


Episode 07 - Gema-Gema Psshhuu

Dejiko-chan wants to draw a naughty doujinshi. Gema tells her off and so she kicks him into the river. She is scolded by Minagawa and Murataku. Suddenly, an inflated Gema rises from the water and chases Dejiko through the streets. Just as he is about to exact revenge, he goes to take a piss and shrinks to normal size. Dejiko shoots him with her eye-beam. Told you this show was zany.

Quotes

  • Gema: RubRub. I might develop static electricity-gema!
  • Dejiko: No, no! This lukewarm yellow thing is pressing against me!
  • Rabi-en-Rose: Let's not worry about where and how much Gema pissed, ok? ^^


Episode 08 - My Beam Won't Come Out-nyu.

Puchiko is trying to shoot her eye beam, but it doesn't seem to be working. Murataku comes along and tells her it won't work until she is angry, and the situation is right. Puchiko watches Dejiko and Gema arguing, and marvels at Dejiko's anger. That night, she promises to practice getting angry, but Dejiko and Gema's nocturnal shiftings speed the process somewhat, and she blasts Gema. Hooray!

Quotes

  • Gema: You shot me with your eye-beam last night, didn't you-gema!
    Dejiko: Gema, you crushed me with the TV-nyo! And I was eating watake in the flowerbed!


Episode 09 - It Became Romantic

Minagawa has a stomach ache, brought about by eating bad food. He is helped by a mystery girl who gives him medicine. They talk for a while, then mystery girl runs off. Minagawa finds a dice bracelet belonging to her, and mystery girl is revealed to be none other than Rabi~en~Rose. The plot thickens. Rabi~en~Rose reveals a sordid tale of her past and her parents constructive abandonment.

Quotes

  • Minagawa: I really shouldn't just pick up food off the ground and eat it.
  • Mystery Girl: You shouldn't just pick up food off the ground and eat it.
    Minagawa: I know, but the bota-mochi looked so good..
  • Minagawa: She saved me from diarrhoea and I didn't even say thanks.
  • Rabi~en~Rose's parents: Daddy and Mummy will go to America, and Hikaru, you'll be left in Japan. And you'll enjoy a great poverty-stricken life, then debut as an idol!


Episode 10 - Fake Dejiko Appears! So catch it in a fucking Pokéball already.

Dejiko is accused of doing all manner of very bad things, such as stealing Minagawa's melon bread and farting in Murataku's face. Since she has no alibi, this is apparently enough for everyone to denounce her as the villain. She attempts to convince them all by giving them candy, but then.. the FAKE DEJIKO APPEARS and steals the candy. The moral of the story? "The real Dejiko is me-nyo!"

Quotes

  • Dejiko: No-nyo! No-nyo! Dejiko doesn't do such bad things-nyo!
  • Murataku: Wh-what's happening? I am suddenly thinking of something nasty.
  • Murataku: That's what happened, Puchiko-chan.
    Puchiko: You soiled your pants-nyu.


Episode 11 - Steamy, Hot Rice!

This episode is more or less Dejiko's dream sequence. It consists of random images with Dejiko's commentary, interspersed with steamy, hot rice. Looks delicious. At the end, Dejiko gets up to clean the store all on her own, allowing Puchiko to sleep on. Such are the tales that made society great.

Quotes

  • Dejiko: Steamy, hot rice-nyo..
  • Dejiko: A strange bug is crying-nyo..
  • Dejiko: Steamy, hot rice-nyo..
  • Dejiko: The cats seem to be fighting-nyo.. the guy next door is farting-nyo..
  • Dejiko: Steamy, hot rice-nyo..
  • Dejiko: Steamy, hot rice-nyo..


Episode 12 - Monster! Another Appears!

As the title may imply, a monster shows up and ravages Akihabara. Rabi~en~Rose tries to defeat it but is defeated herself, so Dejiko and Puchiko throw rubbish at the beastie. An alien shows up, but Dejiko doesn't have time for it. The monster staggers under the trash assault, but Dejiko's eye-beam just bounces off it. Then the teddy thing from Episode 4 flies in and eats the monster. Then the alien buys a Dejiko doll. Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

Quotes

  • Dejiko: I wonder if a monster will show up-nyo?
  • Rabi~en~Rose: I, Rabi~en~Rose, just found out that it was stupid to ask you for help!
  • Scene changes:
          Part 1: Monster Attack!
          Part 2: Alien Invasion Too!
          Part 3: The Great Battle!
          Part 4: Alien Visit to the Store!


Episode 13 - Possessed By a Spirit-nyo!

Puchiko won't get out of her futon. The reason for this is not because she's tired or lazy, but because she's been possessed by a clam spirit. Minagawa is called to perform an exorcism on Dejiko. It works, and the spirit is exorcised. However, Puchiko is then possessed by a snail spirit, and Minagawa cannot exorcise her since he can only do clams. Stay in school, kids.

Quotes

  • Dejiko-clam: I am a clam. I like clean water. If it's miced a little with sea water, I am very happy. I am a clam. I am also in miso soup-mi.
  • Gema: She's possessed by a clam spirit-gema. It's definitely because yesterday she just ate the broth of clam miso soup and threw the rest away. It's the curse of a spirit for being wasteful-gema.
  • Rabi~en~Rose: Rabi~en~Dominica Kick!!
    Puchiko: Special move in Virtua Fighter-nyu.


Episode 14 - The Hooligan Stopped Coming

A hooligan comes to Gamers. He causes some trouble, but not much (see Quotes below). He asks for rice, which Gamers doesn't stock, obviously. The Fans of Dejiko give him an onigiri and a beef sausage. He goes on a light after meal rampage and fuck it, nothing of any importance really happens. Yeah.

Quotes:

  • Hooligan: Today I feel like going on a rampage. Don't worry, it's okay, it's okay. Even if I go on a rampage, I won't destroy things or anything like that. If I do such a thing, it'll be troublesome, and I'll probably get punished.
  • Dejiko: I didn't know-nyo.. when the rampage began and ended..
  • Rabi~en~Rose: He went back.
    Gema: He showed us so many things-gema.
    Puchiko: He didn't do anything-nyu.
    ALL: She's right!


Episode 15 - SPECIAL EDITION! - "Party Night"

This is a karaoke episode. The cast dance along to a song and the words go up on screen. Lots of fun is to be had singing along. The lyrics can easily be found by searching for 'Party Night' on animelyrics.com, or the anime lyric search engine of your choice.

Quotes:


Episode 16 - Usada's Big Explosion

The last episode, set at Christmas. Dejiko makes a cake for Rabi~en~Rose - a cake of DOOM! Ahem. Well, a cake that's set to explode. She gives it to Rabi~en~Rose, but feels guilty. When Rabi~en~Rose returns to the shop, still bearing the cake, she tries to tell her, but at that point Puchiko's eye-beam comes out. And ignites the cake.

moob

Quotes

  • Mooks: CAKE! CAKE!
  • Dejiko: Leyt's make-nyo! Let's make-nyo! Christmas-nyo! Cover it with cream-nyo!
  • Dejiko: Is this what they call 'pangs of conscience'-nyo?
  • Rabi~en~Rose: (singing) Jinglebells.. Jinglebells.. Jinglebells.. Jinglebells.. Jinglebells..
  • Puchiko: It came out-nyu.


Sources:
  Summaries are my own work.   Quotes from DiGi Charat fansub, Digi Anime
  'DiGi Charat' and all related characters are copyright Broccoli. I own precisely 0% of them.


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