Anime Spotlight: Himouto: Umaru-Chan!

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I’ve introduced my girlfriend to a ton of different anime. Some have been hit or miss. Anime I love like FLCL has greatly weirded her out, some like Demon King Daimao and fucking Monster Musume however she loved. But no anime I’ve shown her has captured her attention and actually have her constantly complaining that a second season hasn’t been announced, than the recent Himouto: Umaru-Chan!

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It’s not the wackiest most insane anime out there, but Himouto: Umaru-Chan certainly succeeds at becoming an entertaining show that anyone can enjoy, while others stay within a certain demographic. This show is without a doubt for everyone, it’s obviously silly enough for kids, but there’s a lot of things that teens and adults can find in the show that certainly allows them to be just as entertained, if not more.

The basic premise of the anime is the focus on siblings Taihei and of course his sister Umaru. At first when Umaru moves in to live with Taihei, it starts off relatively normal, she exhibits your average loving sister at first. But as time goes by, she slowly descends into an Otaku gamer madness, devolving into the hamster cloak wearing, Cola drinking evil girl she is in the show.

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(left to right) Otaku Umaru, Taihei, “Perfect” Umaru

And that’s the best part of the entire series, the multiple personalities Umaru has depending on where she is. Essentially, when she’s outside of her home, she is the ‘so perfect it hurts’ girl. She’s extremely intelligent, graceful, polite, athletic and adored by everyone wherever she goes. At home, she is none of those things at all. She transforms from full-size, to the tiny chibi version we see off her in that hamster cloak and becomes the complete opposite. She comes off dumb and useless, lazy and rude. How she’s as athletic as she is and as smart as she is when the rest of her days are spent lazing around reading manga, playing video games and eating/drinking as much junk as her body will allow her is beyond me.

Because of her Otaku form, it causes nothing but trouble and frustration for Taihei, who is clearly designed as the “I love my sister no matter what.” trope of siblings, but often gets pushed to the limit over and over when Umaru is at her worst. She throws temper tantrums when he refuses to buy her things, turns the house into a gigantic mess and makes him do everything for her altogether. We see that there are even times where she’ll use her perfect form in public to get her way as well, turning people against him when the beautiful perfect Umaru looks like she’s in tears because he won’t buy her a hamster because “she longs for her brother to return and gets lonely when he’s not there!” or some other bullshit reason like that she’ll use to her advantage.

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And it comes off super weird when you think about how you should really feel about Umaru altogether. After the first episode I was honestly like “Holy shit, what a bitch this girl is.”. By the end of the season, like everyone else, we fell in love with her, no matter how many times she comes off as the worst person we’ve ever seen in a non-violent anime series. She truly is the absolute worst, one of the most selfish characters you’ll ever see in an anime. Yet you can’t not love the girl!

What probably helps in that regard is the animation style. No matter how annoying Umaru gets, the animation turns the tables by making it look as silly and adorable as they possibly can, reversing a lot of the potential character damage Umaru does to herself constantly. It’s a show where few facial expressions aren’t well done, the random nature of the show doesn’t hinder the animation, it can keep up with whatever the situation throws at it and still looks really well drawn.

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(left to right) Kirie, Ebina, Otaku Umaru, Perfect Umaru, Sylphinford

To add onto the show, the friends Umaru has by the end of the series just add more interesting and funny personalities to the already over-the-top nature of the show that Umaru alone commands. Kirie is extremely shy and anti-social to the point she looks like she might snap and kill someone at any moment, yet when around Otaku Umaru it’s like she’s a completely different person, super nice and admiring. Ebina is the closest to normal you’ll get, she’s a well-mannered adorable Osaka girl (which of course sometimes includes the famous accent) who has a bit of admiration towards Taihei. Sylphinford on the other hand is the girl who keeps up with Umaru’s level of antics and breaks the fourth wall constantly, for example after an emotional tennis speech it’s revealed she has a backdrop behind her and a fan nearby to blow her hair and clothes about to make her look cooler. In the end too, she crashes through that backdrop, so it all comes full circle.

To finish off, the story itself isn’t anything spectacular, it’s more a series of events every episode, there’s no real story that branches out the entire series. It’s more like “Here’s the crazy thing Umaru’s doing today, let’s see what happens next!”. Some are hit and miss, but most of the episodes are fantastic with maybe one or two that are just good at best.

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Himouto: Umaru-Chan is an anime I’d suggest to anyone looking for a comedy to watch. There’s a ton of random humour, the animation style only adds to it and Umaru is just one of the most purely funny characters I’ve ever watched in anime, whether intentional or not. It’s a show that you really can’t miss and since it’s only a 12-episode series and there’s no real plot you have to pay attention to, you’ve got no reasons to not check out at least an episode or two.

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