Himouto! Umaru-chan Season 1 – Anime Review
Synopsis: In public, Umaru is the perfect vision of a beautiful and smart high school girl. At home, she morphs into the ultimate slob with the ability to game all night and binge on junk food and cola. Can her big brother, Taihei, change her? (Official HIDIVE Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Umaru-chan delivers a wonderfully calm, amusing, slow-paced slice of life. The show moves at a purposefully slow crawl, taking its time with each story. Because of this slow build the humor, while entertaining, often doesn’t produce an out loud chuckle, but more of a bemused smile. Much of that stems from Umaru-chan, who is easily one of the greater “hot mess” characters to spring from Anime in recent years. Indeed anime fandom has taken a huge shine to her thanks to her adorable, trashy, self-serving personality, her methodical cunning, and her bizarre manner of dress.
Linny: Umaru is definitely a must watch for those who enjoy the “himouto” aka younger sister themed comedies in particular, the chaste kind that avoid hinting at something more than just sibling affection. Another audience group that Umaru would appeal to is gaming and anime/manga fans as the show is filled with references galore thanks to its titular character, Umaru being a rampant fan of those things. And going back to the the younger sister theme, not only do we have Umaru herself but we also get a bevy of other similar aged characters with various personalities, from the bossy to the adoring type through her friends. Thus ensuring that almost every viewer will find a character to root for and fawn over.
Tom: The character I personally Identify the most with is Umaru’s older brother, Taihei, who continually suffers and pushes back against Umaru’s unending antics. He isn’t obsessed with his sister in a creepy way, and instead generally cares for her well-being, seeking to see her abandon her troublesome traits in favor of growing up. It’s a great dynamic. The rest of the cast is enjoyable, from Umaru’s voluptuous best friend, Ebina, to her timid companion, Kirie, and her rival at school, Sylphynford. There’s even a host of characters from her brother’s work who pop up from time to time. Most everyone falls into a archetype, and while that is disappointing, they all manage to come together and provide a satisfying half hour slice of life.
Linny: Umaru never really rises beyond a light, fluffy comedy with its jokes of the tried and tested kind, rather than brilliant or innovative. The gags aren’t completely worn out and will most assuredly produce a chuckle or too but they lack impact. Umaru herself is the selling point of the show and all effort seems to have been put into making her adorable and cute. So, while every care has been taken to make Umaru a likely fan favourite, the show perhaps banks too heavily on that, and thus, tends to lag in other criteria, keeping its humour a little too predictable to blow anyone away unless they’re enamored with Umaru or other characters themselves.
Tom: The humor is quite predictable, the audience knows exactly where the show will be going far before it gets there. Nearly every joke, every punch line is expected, and rarely ever deviates. It’s well-executed enough, with all the archetypal characters balancing each other out for a full experience, and certainly stands atop other shows that bank heavily on classic/predictable material yet lack the cast’s innate chemistry. There’s also charm that allows the series to gradually worm its way into your heart, but even so those aspects don’t always hide the generic writing that plagues Umaru-chan from beginning to end. That said, charm accounts for a lot and between now and when the series aired I’ve grown more fond of it, so much so that when the 2nd season aired I found myself in active anticipation and thus, for a series that’s so capable of worming its way into your heart, I can’t help but find myself recommending it.
Linny: Like Tom has enumerated, the show is definitely monotonous and predictable. But an equally potential red flag for people considering picking this up is Umaru herself. Umaru is unashamedly selfish and lazy for much of the show. Though her kinder side does surface every now and then, those wanting a more sympathetic lead might find her behaviour in the earlier episodes off-putting. Fortunately, the show delivers enough comedy to keep most happy as attested by a vocal fan base and while Umaru’s negative persona may not necessarily appeal to all, it also gets better and mellows as the show progresses. Umaru-chan isn’t perfect, and it’s probably not going to be the best comedy anime you’ve ever watched, but it has enough going for it to be worth it if you’re in the market for a laid back comedy.