Review: Himouto! Umaru-chan


Himouto! Umaru-chan anime visual

Title (English): Himouto! Umaru-chan

Title (Japanese): 干物妹!うまるちゃん

Animation Studio: Doga Kobo

Genres: Comedy, School, Slice of life

Episodes: 12

When I heard about Himouto! Umaru-chan, I was immediately reminded of Oreimo, minus the incest. A younger sister otaku living with her responsible older brother. Now, I loved Oreimo up until that awful ending so I was looking forward to seeing some more otaku antics.

Story and Characters:

The story of Himouto! Umaru-chan, follows Umaru Doma: an absolutely perfect girl. Her grades are top of the school, she’s very pretty, and she’s as gentle as a falling leaf. However, that’s just her public image. When she gets home and she dons her now trademark hamster suit, she transforms into a messy, bossy, and bratty otaku who orders her brother around like he’s her servant. This is probably the first thing I need to mention right off the bat. You either love Umaru or despise her with a passion. Give it a couple of episodes to see whether or not you like her, as that will most likely determine how much you like this anime. I’m personally a fan of Umaru, even though I can easily understand why people would hate her. I just find her more endearing than Kirino from Oreimo. It might help that Himouto! Umaru-chan is more comedy than anything.

Himouto Umaru-chan Video Game Reference

With that aside, we’re treated to is an anime that’s probably not much different than our daily lives as otaku. Spending our time reading manga, watching anime, and playing video games is just part of what we do. Umaru always tries to maximize her experiences when she does anything, and ensures everything is perfect. Whether it’s explaining how to maximize video game playing time by playing in the bathtub, showing us what junk food combinations work best with each other, and of course, what to do when you have all of this free time.

However, I feel like the supporting cast of Himouto! Umaru-chan is almost worth watching the anime just on their own. Umaru has three primary friends, all of whom she interacts with differently. At school she acts normal around the three of them. However, outside of school is different. Around her friend Ebina, she beahves more or less the same way she does at school. Around her friend Sylphynford, she is UMR, an arcade pro. Around her friend Kirie, she is Komaru, Umaru’s “little sister”. Umaru literally transforms while at home, so she’s actually smaller which fools Kirie into thinking Umaru has a little sister. Her interactions with these three really help make the anime, as it’s far better than the parts where it’s just her and her brother. She has her reasons for acting different around them while she is alone with them outside of school.

Himouto Umaru-chan Komaru and Kirie Hanging Out
Any old-school gamers here who understand this reference?

This anime has a great supporting cast, but the main protagonist is hit or miss for some people. I would suggest watching it if you don’t mind Umaru’s antics.

Visuals and Animation:

Doga Kobo is quickly becoming known for their cute art style, having done Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Plastic Memories, and the Yuruyuri series. Himouto! Umaru-chan is no different, employing the same general art style as Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. Everything is bright, and full of colour. The animation is par for the course for a slice of life anime.

Sound and Music:

First, let’s tackle the opening song. Not only is this song catchy, it should be considered the anthem for all otaku everywhere. “かくしん的☆めたまるふぉ~ぜっ!” (Kakushinteki*Metamorphosis!), the name of the song, is sung by the voice actress of Umaru (Aimi Tanaka). In this song, Umaru pretty much sings out how her life works, and I’m sure if you’re big on games and anime like her, you can probably relate to it. The ending is significantly less crazy, as Umaru and her friends sing the ending song, “ひだまりデイズ” (Hidamari Days) under the name of 妹S (SisterS). It has a very calming tone to it as a contrast to the very hyper opening song.  Other than that, the background music is fairly normal.

Himouto! Umaru-chan features a lot of rookie voice actors, particularly Umaru and her friends. They did bring in a couple of more famous voice actors like Tetsuya Kakihara and Ami Koshimizu, but they voice in minor roles. Aimi Tanaka already has to show off what she has when she voices both regular Umaru and “at home” Umaru. Brand-new voice actress, Yurina Furukawa, shows off her skills with Sylphinford Tachibana as an energetic and quirky character, “desu wa!”

Desu wa!
Desu wa!

Final Verdict:

Himouto! Umaru-chan is a fun watch, especially if you’re a gamer, as the anime makes all sorts of gaming references from Monster Hunter to Street Fighter IV. If you’re not a gamer, you may miss a lot of references and might just enjoy it as a regular slice of life. It’s a decent anime all around, as long as you don’t mind Umaru. If you can’t stand her, then it might be best if you stay away. I would still argue the supporting cast of characters helps offset Umaru quite a bit, since it leads to some refreshing humour as Umaru’s behavoiur changes depending on who she’s hanging out with. Sit back and enjoy Umaru’s antics, and game on!

+ Gaming references

+ Great supporting cast

+ Good humour

+/- Umaru can potentially make or break this anime

– If you don’t know much about games, you may miss some of the humour

Did you enjoy this anime if you watched it? Are you pro-Umaru, or con-Umaru? Let’s see what the tally is in the comments!

Himouto Umaru-chan Taihei and Umaru