Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Anime Review : Himouto! Umaru-chan

Himouto! Umaru-chan

 “A refreshing, if not disappointing, comedy series that everyone likes”

What is Himouto! Umaru-chan?

Himouto Umaru-chan follows the story of Umaru as she lifes her live as a Himouto, or a lazy sister. Despite her being a perfect girl on the outside, if she goes back to her home, she reverts to her Himouto status!

Being a full-blown comedy slice of life anime, Himouto Umaru-chan does it job wonders, or so many people would have say. Adapted from the manga series made by Sankaku head and the studio that helmed the production is Dogakobo, known also for their Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun and Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, both a comedy anime. Everyone's expectation, including mine, is very high upon the announcement of the production of the anime.

Himouto! Umaru-chan, when they performed their comedy, almost many of them are a hit than a miss. Everytime i tune in an episode, there’s most certainly a guarantee that i will laugh, and that is what a comedy anime should always do, make the viewer laugh, and Himouto did just that.

Comedic timing is always perfect and well-timed that you won’t even believe it. The interaction that Umaru did everytime she becomes her Himouto style is so cute and sometimes, so funny that you want to laugh your heart out.

You decide whether this is funny or cute. I’d say it’s both.

Though the comedy always plays out perfectly, sometimes you can see the punchline of a said comedy too easy, as the story follows the pattern of Umaru being lazy. Sometimes, when her brother, Taihei, a corporate drone, ordered her to do something, she would lazily do the thing he ordered. At first, it looks funny, but later in the series, you’ll see that they did this frequently, though not most of the time.

As i mentioned character earlier, in Umaru and Taihei, i feel like i need to talk about the character too.
Characterization are great, if not, only one character feels bland to me, which is Sylphinford, which is a shame, since in the manga, i thought she was the best to be interacted with Umaru. Sylphinford, in the anime, is a typical school rival to Umaru and constantly competes with her, in the form of exam score or swimming contest, and she always loses, following the trope of a rival. As the series progresses, her character becomes interesting when she interacts with U.M.R [Umaru’s alter ego] as she shows her actual personality, a child-like person who wanted to befriend Umaru. Since this is only shown when she’s interacting with U.M.R., her actual interaction with Umaru and friends are always limited. A shame though, such a great character is held back by the animation studio itself, i’ll explain later. 

Sylphinford’s character actually suffers from either writing or directorial tone. Don’t know which.

Aside from Sylphinford, the other character... Oh, i forgot about Umaru. Umaru is the ace protagonist, who seems to be able to do everything effortlessly, be it exam scores or gaming. Of course, her laziness and love for cola is her comical flaw, while her actual problem is the fact that her character is never got focused properly in the anime, she’s always shown as a perfect girl, but is there a backstory to why she becomes so lazy? None.

Ebina is your typical busty girl with the tendency of blushing every few minutes or so. She’s always shown embarassed, especially when she’s around Taihei, because of her love for the guy.

That what makes Ebina so endearing though, everytime she flusters or does things not right [Such as putting noodles in the small cup, which is actually for putting empty shells] is always funny and leaves you wanting more of her. Since she sometimes slips out to her actual dialect and is always flustered when that happens, we can take that characters coming not from Tokyo but from another prefecture is a hillbily to Japan. She is basically the star of the show, though, judging by the fact that people seemed to love her more and well, there’s many focus to her backstory in the anime than to Umaru’s.

Like them or not, Kirie and Ebina stole the show from Umaru, figuratively speaking
Kirie, on the other hand, is a shy girl who lets out a scary glare whenever people talks to her. This is a common characteristic, but her voice and her facial expression that she makes whenever this happens works like a wonder. I’ll be honest, i see a lot of girl who is shy and misunderstood in other anime like her, but no one pulled it off better than Kirie. In my opinion, despite Umaru being marketed as the anime’s mascot and protagonist, Kirie and Ebina stole the show from her due to their apparent cuteness and funny behavior, as well as the focus to their backstory.

There’s also Bomber, Kirie’s brother who constantly get beaten up by her. Alex, Sylphinford’s brother who loves anime. And Taihei, Umaru’s brother who is a typical loving big-brother. Out from the three, Bomber is the funniest and most fresh out of them, especially when he’s interacting with Umaru for the first time, he looks just like Kirie.

Alex is, by far, the least used character in the anime. He appears only several times and there’s one scene when he stops Sylphinford that bothered me. I think there should be more explanation to that but the show just moves on, don’t know why.

And now, let’s get to the real thing that really, really held back the show.

The show suffers from a lot of adapting out trope, where there are a lot of things that were not adapted from the original work to this work. Usually, adapting out some material that deemed unworthy to be added to the work is an okay move. But, when you adapt out something far more important, it becomes a problem, a big problem.

Dogakobo is playing safe with Umaru’s adaptation. I read the original manga AFTER i watched the anime series and though, god there’s so many things adapted out, many of it were important to the actual progression of the story. Several to the things i mentioned above, the Sylphinford siblings.
Since the anime series stops at the beach event, let’s not take the manga reference further from that, but...

While Sylphinford shouldn’t have been in the Umaru’s gang by episode 12, she shouldn’t have been in the sea with them, and that is trying desperately to salvage what is left of Sylphinford by trying to make her Umaru’s friend by the end of the episode, while they can instead to adapt why Sylphinford and Umaru becomes friend in the first place, with her actually interacting with Kirie and Ebina.
Since Alex is not focused in the anime, there’s no need to make a reference on him from the manga. He actually befriends Umaru later in the story, but that happens after the beach event, which, if we take it to the anime, it would mean i take the reference a bit further.

Other than them, it’s worth mentioning Ebina a little bit here. Despite Ebina’s apparent romantic feelings for Taihei, it is not clearly shown in the anime. Heck, the only way she’s done this is on episode when she’s reminiscing on Taihei and her first meeting, as well as her apparent blushing whenever he’s around. In truth, however, there’s several scene that hinted her feelings toward Taihei [Example is during the segment when Kirie is visiting Taihei with Umaru not around to hand Taihei a proper cookies. Ebina actually makes a brief but important appearance in that segment].
Amongst them, is another plethora of adapted out material that is important.

Such as Taihei’s expression after he was licked by a cat and immediately remembers his mother in the episode 7. His expression is a bit more shocked than that, it apparently tries to tell us that his mother has long since passed away or something like that, but let’s just say ‘whatever’

You can read the full article about this here. In this post, i discussed several hidden themes that are placed within the manga. 


The series also suffers from a lack of episode count. Should the episode number is as high as 20, or even just 16, this show would have flourished even more, but because of the current trend of having just 12 anime episode that has been plaguing the animation industry, we were given only 12 episode with an extra OVA and a number of short anime to keep us company.

If Himouto has at least 16 or 20 episode count, this anime should be better. It could adress Sylphinford sibling’s problem [Their lack of screen time and their interaction with umaru], as well as some episodes with focus on Umaru’s backstory. I’d say that hurts the most here. But, let’s not blame Dogakobo, since they’re following the trend.

Maybe it’s because the fact that comedy slice of life anime can’t go more than 12 episodes? Then what’s Lucky Star? K-ON! Second season? 

Also, this is a better opportunity to also state this fact. When i said earlier that the anime is playing safe, it’s because Umaru is actually a story-driven comedy slice of life, which has an actual story progressing them. The timeline also flies fast, as the manga hits two new year fairly quick. So, when i say this is playing safe and has a low episode count, it is.

Low episode count hits the series hard

Though let’s not take that for granted. Himouto is actually excelling in their comedy, though because the story-driven is dropped, Himouto is just another comedy anime with no story whatsoever. That is the problem of this genre. Comedy anime seems like it just does things for fun and laughs only. Himouto’s manga, on the other hand, tries to be different and wants an actual story to go for them. I’ve read a lot of comedy manga and watched a lot of comedy anime, and frankly Himouto manga is one of the few comedy manga that has a story going for them.

Perhaps it fears the fact that when it goes story deep, it’ll go full drama? Remember Gakuen Alice and Mahou Sensei Negima, whose story was so deep that the genre shifts? Gakuen Alice from comedy to  tragic drama, and Mahou Sensei Negima from comedy to full-blown action. Those aspects must have been the deciding factor of why Himouto is abandoning it’s story in the anime version. Though it’s safe to say the manga is still a comedy.

Though let’s not take away Himouto’s effort on comedy. It’s performance in comedy and  telling of slice of life, as well as it’s fresh setting [Actual laziness] overshadows all of those flaws i mentioned above. When you think of a good comedy, you don’t want to think about the story, they say, and i’d say it’s true in this case.

The opening and ending song fits the theme, while the BGM hits homerun. Everytime Umaru’s doing something, or a particular character is doing something, there’s also a fitting BGM that follows them, making what they’re doing looks and sounds good.

And let’s not forget about the animation and art. The character model looks alive and animated beautifully. You might think that only Umaru is the best, but it’s not the case. All the characters get the same treatment. They have a good animation and their facial expressions is really great, especially Kirie and Ebina. Though, when Umaru reverts to her Himouto form, her animation begs a question there. It looks decent, but it’s not as good as her normal form, and is far more inferior than Kirie’s or Ebina’s.

Though the animation is well-made, i think the animation on Umaru’s himouto form feels weaker than the rest.

All in all, Himouto! Umaru-chan is a good, or more like excellent anime series that focuses on comedy and slice of life. It has so many good point that it practically shadows any flaws it might had. It is slightly different from it’s source material, but for a greater good. In abandoning any story material the series might had, the series focuses simply on comedy and slice of life, focusing on telling the story of a girl so lazy she reverts to a chibi form on her home.

Any slice of live lovers should love this show, while those who loves action should be okay with this show acting as a breather, and those who heard that this anime is good would be pleased.

The good : Offers a plethora of refreshing comedy everytime you tune in, beautifully animated, the characters looks very alive, good characters [save for one].

The bad : Jokes can get either boring, dragged, or easily readable at times. Some source material being adapted out. Sylphinford is badly characterized in the anime. Lack of focus on giving several backstory, especially Umaru.

Highlight moment : Too many to mention, every episode is as good for me!

FINAL SCORE : 3.5, though it could easily be 4, or even 4.5 had it been adapted better.


  1. 3.5 from 5 stars/3.5 from 10 stars?

    How similiar is this show to Gabriel Dropout?

    1. Hi
      It's 3.5 from 5. Star system usually follows the strict 5-star rule. Good point though, i will bring that up for my future reviews. Thank you!

      As for your second question, it is similiar in terms on how it is done. It is basically a cute-girls-doing-cute-things genre as a first. The characters are pretty colorful and well-animated, as well as having a nice personality for the second question. And lastly, it is adapted by the same studio that adapted Gabriel Dropout, DogaKobo, and they have knack for adapting this kind of anime.