[REVIEW] Himouto! Umaru Chan GENERAL SERIES REVIEW (干物妹!うまるちゃん)

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Sunday, 18 October 2015

BLOG KEEPING!!!  

Hi Everyone!

When I first started this blog I wanted to do weekly reviews, however, I started to struggle and then in the end I decided to stop doing weekly reviews since I was watching two or three episodes of one series... and then having to rewatch just to make a blog post! 

I tend to marathon shows, so doing a general review is more suited and I'll be able to post one big post and hopefully stick to my word this time!! ^-^


Himouto! Umaru Chan 

(干物妹!うまるちゃん)


The series is a slice of life about a girl with double life - an otaku life



 


PLOT

Anybody who is familiar with Watamote will understand the pretense right? 
An anime about a girl who likes otaku culture which draws in the attention of female fans across the world. 
After all this is a series about a girl enjoying her youth with many popular culture references littered throughout the episode. 
Very relatable and very easy to keep up.



However, Himouto! Umaru Chan is slightly different to Watamote as this time our girl has the best of both worlds.
 Top of the class, Umaru Doma is  a mysterious beauty, envied by both guys and girls who causes no drama or harm. 
Her everyday character comes across as perfect - but her secret life shows the opposite.

Umaru Doma (土間 埋) V/A Aimi Tanaka
Once she gets home, Umaru throws off her uniform to don some baggy lounge wear, an orange hood, and becomes "Chibi Umaru" - a female otaku.
 Her brother has to look after his little sister and with buying food and working long hours it’s understandable that he wants his sister to grow up and become more responsible. Umaru effortlessly gets top marks in class and has no social problems glorifying the slackster lifestyle to it's viewers and besides her manipulative personality there is not much to pick fault with.



This anime wouldn’t be appealing if it wasn’t exaggerated. 
 Chibi Umaru’s personality can come across as spoiled and bratty but with a brother who is a push over, she’s hardly going to change her ways. 
As the series develops, we get to see a Umaru's gaming lifestyle in detail through her UMR alias - A pro and expert gamer who even the arcade staff are aware of, so much that they try countless attempts to stop UMR from winning arcade game prizes.
Also we see Umaru  pretend to be her younger, non existent sister, Komaru in an attempt to hide her identity.


The NEET lifestyle of Umaru is fun to watch, however, 20 minutes of watching just Umaru squabble over not getting the latest release of “Jump Piece” could get boring quickly. This makes the execution of her carefully devised plan to keep up her perfect maiden image bring an interesting stance to the genre. 
The finale had the same premise as any other episode, I was expecting a big reveal but nothing really happened - maybe this means a second series is in order?!? The multitude of Umaru merchandise being released could be a sign in our favour.
Speaking of merchandise... 

COSPA are releasing their own set, and while you can buy an unoffical hamster cloak on ebay, the quality is questionable.
 I've been debating whether to buy one, so let me know what you think about the hamster cloaks!

ART

 

The art style often swaps between a more realistic perspective and the Chibi version of Umaru. This is done pretty well and in terms of animation, there are no complaints so far! The different styles of art used within the opening to create various parodies did amaze me.

Main Characters

Taihei Doma (土間 大平) V/A - Kenji Nojima

 Taihei is Umaru's older brother who owns the apartment and works in an office. Taihei is the object of affection to many, something he is unaware since his interests are mainly towards Umaru's happiness and wellbeing, scolding her when necessary. His work life and  interactions between his colleagues, becomes more important further on into the series. Bomber and Alex (as seen in Episode 4), question Taihei on his cooking and ask about his personal life, thinking that he has a girlfriend. Actually, he's just a guy who enjoys cooking - and the only girl waiting for him at home is simply his spoiled manipulative sister.

Nana Ebina (海老名 菜々)V/A - Akari Kageyama




We met Ebina-chan in the first episode and appears to be a shy young girl with lacking confidence and a not so lacking chest. Also Ebina-Chan throughout the series she is trying to contain her school girl crush on Taihei. Her chest size gets mentioned often but Taihei (Umaru's Brother that is) still treats her the same as any other girl which is what brings him into Ebina-chan's heart.  Her past story is given to us and we learn that Ebina-chan has traveled all the way from Akita, studying standard Japanese to live in Tokyo by herself. Often her country bumpkin with her dialect slips out and for some reason Sylphynford just can't manage to get her name right! 

Sylphynford Tachibana (橘・シルフィンフォード) V/A - Yurina Furukawa 


Sylphynford "Sylphine" Tachibana is our blue haired girl with one heck of a competitive spirit! She's featured a bit less as she wants to be Umaru's friend, but only gets to converse with UMR. Hopefully a second series could give us more development between these two!  We learn in the third episode that Sylphine just wants recognition from her brother Alex (Taihei's work friend)

Kirie Motoba (本場 切絵) V/A -  Haruka Shiraishi


Umaru’s relations with another classmate is explored, Kirie Motoba.
Kirie is known as a scary girl with a dark Aura. She tries to find Umaru and gets greeted by Chibi Umaru who saves her slackster identity by pretending to be Umaru's younger sister.... Komaru..
Kirie enjoys spending time with “Komaru” as she feels more confident along younger people, and becomes anxious around people around her own age something which Taihei and his friend Bomber (Kirie's brother) notice.
All in all, Kirie is a misunderstood character. She’s not as scary as people think, and has cute traits such as her cooking skills.

  

MUSIC


The music does also compliment the double lifestyle genre.

The Opening song is "Kakushin-teki Metamarufōze!" by Aimi Tanaka, the Voice Actor for Umaru. The song swaps between a fast pace; symbolizing the carefree and spoiled mindset of Chibi Umaru and then a slower pace which highlights how School Girl Umaru is also a refined young maiden in the eyes of society.

The ending however focuses only on School Girl Umaru to gives spotlight to the "School Life" genre. Titled "Hidamari Days" and performed by the female characters it reminds viewers, that while Chibi Umaru is manipulative and bratty, deep down her character does have redeeming qualities - her love for others.
  

This is what sets this series apart from Watamote.
 At least I had some feelings of sympathy for Tomoko, Umaru however is spoiled, lazy and manipulative. If the roles were reversed and Umaru was a guy I think people would be less interested in this series, and this aspect has been noted by a number of those within the anime community. Umaru's personality hardly improves whilst she loves her brother she always ends up getting her own way... probably due to the lack of financial issues within the series easily sorted by dropping a line about rich parents. 


 

はい、おしまいっ!

Thank you for reading!

 


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