Kamichu! is a unique anime series that is not only an entrancing fantasy, but also conveys many aspects of Japanese culture and Shinto folklore. Shinto is a collection of Japanese folklore and legends that is expressed in the country today through memorials, festivals, and monuments. The plot of the show revolves around a middle-school girl named Yurie who discovers that she is a kami. In Shinto folklore, the term refers to a spirit or natural force, and is sometimes translated as “god” or “deity”meaning something similar to the gods of Greek and Roman mythology.Obviously, Yurie’s newfound power only adds confusion to an already difficult time in any young person’s life. Even before her transformation, Yurie has had a crush on Kenji Nomiya, president (and only member) of his school’s calligraphy club. She also has her best friend, Mitsue Shijo (who is occasionally possessed by a musically-inspired local kami), and shrine attendants Matsuri and Miko Saegusa.Kamichu! is the joint creation of Tomonori Ochiai, Koji Masunari, and Hideyuki Kurata, who work together under the pen-name Besame Mucho. Kurata is also notable for writing other anime and manga that has found its way to America, including the shows Excel Saga, R.O.D.: Read or Die, and Gun X Sword. While the Kamichu! manga is not currently available in America, you can get the entire anime series in the Kamichu! Complete Box Set, featuring all 16 episodes in both Japanese and English. Well-known voice actors like Carrie Savage, Johnny Yong Bosch, and Stephanie Sheh contribute to the English dubbing.The setting of the anime is historically accurate, taking place between 1983 and 1984 and showcasing many temples and landmarks in the historic city of Onomichi, located in Japan’s Hiroshima Prefecutre along the Inland Sea. This accuracy makes the series a great introduction to Japanese culture for those interested in learning more. The anime series is also suitable for all ages, and is free of overt adult content like sex and violence. Instead, it’s a family-friendly magical experience that does what the best anime manage to do: transport viewers to a new world without ever leaving the house.