Tag Archives: Otaku

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.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Fantasizing

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Yesterday, I posted my first Top 10 on the blog page and it was quite the extreme and up-front topic. The topic: the Top 10 video game girls I’d sleep with (as seen here). Now I know almost no one is reading this page as of right now, but I imagine if I were to ever start attracting attention, that Top 10 (amongst others in the future) will probably have me criticized for being many things: a pervert, creepy, sexist, blah blah blah, you know the usual names thrown around.

So I think it’s time I cover my own ass before that ever starts happening.

I can remember for the longest time my folks being extremely weirded out by how into video games and anime I was. The look on my father’s face alone when my girlfriend for Christmas got me what would be my first figurine, a wonderful Yuffie Kisaragi from Final Fantasy VII. Needless to say, he was a bit miffed as to why I’d be happy to have a small statue of a fictional character on my display, especially it being a girl in short shorts. I was fighting that fight all the way until I moved out, I had to be aware of what I was watching when my folks were around, I kept my desktop wallpaper very clean, things like that. Now I’m happily sporting a current Hatsune Miku wallpaper and I’m in the double digits with figurines (not even counting the tiny ones). Hell, my current mouse pad features the girl who was in the #1 spot on the Top 10 that made me write this article, Yuna from Final Fantasy X-2.

Generally speaking, my friends think this stuff is cool, hilarious, hell I’ve even turned a few people onto those mouse pads. Believe me, they’re actually super comfortable! If there’s anyone I know who’s been in my house and thinks the stuff I own is disturbing and/or disgusting, they certainly don’t voice that, which is the right thing to do. It’s not their house and it’s not their money that got spent on these things, so quite frankly it’s none of their business.

But yet there are people out there who take just a peek at this stuff and immediately throw every insult and argument in the book at it and shame those who take part in it. So it’s time to dismantle a few of the more common things that are spoken on this subject.

“That culture is all for creepy single men who live in their parents’ basement!” – Well this is an easy one to dismantle. It wasn’t until I moved out that I started owning any of this material. I’ve been in an extremely happy relationship for over 8 years now with my lovely girlfriend, I can count on one hand how many serious arguments we’ve ever had. And most of all, I’d like to think I’m not that creepy. I don’t recall myself ever having excess “waifu” talks, I don’t have any shrines to certain girls and in real life, I certainly don’t go around doing the cliché things creepy guys do, like scooting close to young girls, stalking people, etc.

“Material like this is immoral!” – Is it really? Because if that’s the case, then there’s a lot of pictures out there, whether business or personal that fall into the same perceptions. Take the cover photo of this article, the 3 Street Fighter girls at the beach, for example. If stuff like this is immoral, shouldn’t pictures in real life that are similar be the same? I just typed in “3 girls on the beach” into Google Images and this was one of the first to come up. It’s pretty much the same thing, 3 girls enjoying themselves on the beach. There just happens to be one difference and that leads me to the next point.

“It’s worse because compared to real-life, women are even more over-sexualized!” – In a way, I can see their point. They’re not wrong in that there’s more sexualized artwork of a video game character compared to a real person. But there are a ton of reasons behind that. For one, the majority of this artwork is not even created by the property owners, so much of it is fan art. Minus the odd weird picture that gets drawn of say for example, Emma Watson as Hermoine (rule 34 is weird, man), the odds of sexy fan art being of a fictional character is just exponentially higher. Secondly and this is the most important one, it’s so much easier to have highly-sexual material of fictional characters than real people. I don’t think there are a lot of women out there willing to poses in hundreds if not thousands of pictures in scantily clad clothing for the price of pencils and paint. Juri from Street Fighter on the other hand isn’t real! She’s not going to complain about being in a skimpy bikini and presenting her perfectly drawn ass (because another thing about video game characters, they can be made to look perfect) to the viewers.

“Material like this de-values women!” – Artwork like the cover photo doesn’t de-value women, but writing and a failure to give her a proper character does. Even the most innocent, shy, perfect Christian girl has a swimsuit and the odds of it being a bikini are getting higher each year as you see less and less girls (even kids!) wearing one-piece swimwear. The same goes for underwear, don’t tell me that every girl in the real world doesn’t own at least one pair of relatively skimpy underwear. As most of all, do you also think the average girl when she gets out of the shower or is changing doesn’t pose in front of the mirror naked? The only difference once again, is that fictional characters don’t say no to posing in artwork, because they’re not real! When it comes to de-valuing women in video games, the body and attire does not define her, it’s how she acts. I will absolutely agree that a lot of developers and writers have done some piss-poor jobs writing good female characters. Too many of them are literal objects for the male leads to try and get into her pants. That absolutely does need to stop, or at the very least slow the fuck down.

Going back to the over-sexualisation topic as well, is it really fair to bash the girls with good characters solely because they’re drawn unrealistically? Big breasts, perfect ass, perfect body all around. Absolutely not! Let’s just focus on breasts right now. A lot of female characters get propped up for having oversized breasts with crazy jiggle physics (*cough cough* DOA…), but it’s unfair to slut shame them just because of their breast size. After all, there are many women in the real world who naturally have large breasts as well and they too often get slut shamed as well, solely because of that, not because of their personality, but just because they have big tits. And this is pretty much a female-only problem, you don’t hear guys gets shamed cause they have ripped abs or a big dick (granted, that’s because they aren’t as obvious). If a woman wants her body to look like that, that’s her prerogative, who are we to judge that? The same goes for video game characters, why should we judge her by her appearance? If she isn’t a total whore and pointless character, there’s no reason to get up in arms about her.

“It’s…it’s just weird how guys and girls fantasize about fictional characters!” – And this is where people are reaching. Is it really weird to fantasize about people who aren’t real? I personally believe it’s weirder to be in a conversation where a guy talks about the things he’d do to a person I know in real life, rather than a fictional character. Let’s turn this up all the way. If you had a sister (of age, let’s be real here) and your buddy talked about how much he’d want to bang her, would that not creep you out/piss you off? The same goes for a friend of yours, a co-worker, a classmate, wherever your line ends. Would it bother you just as much if that same guy talked about wanting to bang Lara Croft? I doubt it. The same goes for celebrities, you hear groups of guys all the time talking about wanting to bang Scarlett Johannson, Megan Fox, Sofia Vergara, etc. But that’s not weird because it’s unrealistic, those guys are never gonna even touch those women, let alone do ’em. So why’s it any different if it’s Sonya Blade or Tifa Lockhart? It’s 200% unrealistic because they don’t exist!

And that’s the important thing to remember in all of this, folks:

THEY’RE NOT REAL!!!

I see nothing wrong at all with the idea of fantasizing about fictional characters. So when I decided to make a top 10 about the video game girls I’d love to have in my bed, I had no problems writing it out and posting it. Because it doesn’t matter, they’re not real. It’s not like I gave a list of 10 girls on my Facebook friends list, all 10 girls were purely fictional. I also didn’t spend length talking about the things I’d do to them, I spend each paragraph on them talking about the things I liked about them and the reasons why they made the list. Nothing more.

You can’t stalk video game characters. Even if they’d say no, fanfiction can always change that.

In real life however, that’s a crime. And the average video game/anime enthusiast knows that difference.