"Your own dream is more important than Y2K!"
-Masami Okui, 1999
Bad news via my dudes at welcome datacomp: the formerly renowned otaku goods empire Broccoli is ceasing retail operations. Broccoli ran the Gamers chain of stores, which as you may (or may not) recall were "staffed" by Koge-Donbo's lovable mascot character Digi Charat. As Gamers is no more, it is as though Dejiko has retired, nyo. Though this tragedy is completely fictional, it is still kind of sad to me because the first Digi Charat TV series was great.
I don't really know much about the rest of it-- I put down Panyo Panyo Digi Charat during the first episode and just kind of sat there boggled in front of my TV through the bizarrely low-key ten-years-later romance Winter Garden-- but that first series was gold. Digi Charat is a space alien who crash-lands in Akihabara and goes to work for Gamers to keep a roof over her head. The three-minute episodes-- the entire TV series is an hour long, total-- feature the lowest-budget animation possible (taking super deformity to an extreme), rapid-fire comedy and total nonsense plots, foreshadowing what Madhouse would eventually do when they were given the Galaxy Angel character designs and told "eh, do whatever"
Like GA, the sugary-sweet appearance of the show is cut generously with a dry and quietly cynical comic perspective. Dejiko's a violent buffoon, her rival's a wannabe-idol snob, and little Puchiko is the sensible one and the only person in the room who's able to state the obvious. There are a few other one-note characters, who seem to have been included just so that there can be a straight man to bounce off of. The show feels like it's being made up as it goes along, and it's all the better for that. If there was one line of dialogue that could sum up the mood of Digi Charat, it's "Please don't worry about where or how much Gema urinated."
Unfortunately, it is not easy to legally obtain Digi Charat anymore. Broccoli's US division is long gone, and the DVD is out of print, fetching over $60 online (that's a buck a minute!). Of course, if you dig around, it's pretty easy to find for download and Youtube.
In any case, watch that damn TV show and pour one out for Dejiko's retail gig today. It's tough getting decent work these days, I hear.