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Himouto! Umaru-chan R – Evolution of an Orange Hamster Thingy


~UMARUUUN~ pyon


Himouto! Umaru-Chan is one of those series that you either love or hate. To be quite honest, most of my real life otaku friends absolutely loathe this orange piece of trash. To them, the anime gods unfairly blessed this cancerous organism in every way imaginable, and her extraordinary talents are something they view as entirely undeserved. However, as someone who has a little sister, I can’t help but find myself adoring this half-chibi, half-hamster creature. Her antics are absolutely entertaining to me, and on a regular basis, I’m left in helpless fits of laughter. As I’ve slowly turned into boring adult, these shows capable of eliciting such a reaction are becoming harder to come by. And that is why Umaru S2 was my ultimate guilty pleasure for Fall 2017. It might not possess the depth of quality per se, but if you gave it a chance past the first season, you might be surprised to find the second season having more substance than you could possibly expect.
 

Zaiden’s Imouto


Admittedly, my personal experience might weigh into this, as follows. While my sibling relationship is quite different from Taihei and Umaru, many parallels exist.

To explain, my younger sister is quite a genius. As the glorious Nipponjins would say, ‘Kono tensai typu!’. Not the level that would earn her a spot on MENSA, but definitely enough to constitute the top 0.01% within the English education system. In order to give some perspective, she’s been predicted the highest grades possible in the revamped GCSE system, for all of her subjects. As such, she always brings home the highest grades, when all I see is a lazy slob who enjoys watching anime and playing games. Me? I’m nothing like Taihei, save for some similarities in appearance. In fact, I’d even say that I’m a lot more like the two other brothers who featured:

Bomba – an excitable dude who frequently checks up on Kirie, to her perpetual dismay.

Alex – a hardcore Otaku, who greatly inspires Sylphin’s current lifestyle.

Anyway, a series like Himouto! Umaru is something I’ve actually been wanting for a long time – a lighthearted anime earnestly exploring the bond between siblings, without any of that incestuous spiel. Sometimes, I’m amazed that brocon imoutos seem to have caught on like wildfire within the industry. Though I confess, that kind of degeneracy is not entirely devoid of charm.
 

General Thoughts


My initial expectations for Umaru’s second season were informed by the manga. So I knew we had something more than just your regular gags week in and week out, with character progression chartered on the table. Suffice to say, I’m really satisfied with how it came out!

In addition to pulling off the same antics as before, Umaru begins to show a greater self-awareness for her own shortcomings, namely selfishness. Though she never manages to fully fix her himouto habits, she certainly softens up and shows some occasional consideration towards Taihei. Deep at heart, we know that she really loves her older brother, and understands her dependence on him. But the bulk of her growth comes from interactions with her friends, the bonus being that each and every one of them receive character development in their own right.

Ebina is my favourite character in this entire show. Sweet, gentle and kind to a fault, she starkly contrasts Umaru’s bratty attitude. She gets anxious really easily, and although the hurdle has yet to be overcome, she manages to confront a lot of her fears in S2. Despite constantly overheating from embarrassment, she’s currently working up some courage for confessing to Taihei, and I wish her all the best of luck! Plus, it was really nice of her to knit a hamster cap for Umaru, since it signified a lovely friendship between the two. Unlike Kanau, she’s already won many cookie points as a potential sister-in-law.

Sylphin is such an energetic personality (desu wa!), who walked a lonely path for many years, after her older brother moved away from home. However, her encounter with UMR changes everything. Without quite knowing that Umaru and UMR are one and the same, she is slowly transformed for the better, while remaining just as wonderfully weird and crazy. From swearing to do better in the next exam, to sincerely congratulating Umaru from the bottom of her heart, there’s no doubt that she’s made a lot of progress in nurturing a healthier rivalry. Oh, and making some real friends too!

Kirie has social anxiety and becomes the greatest example through which I can demonstrate why Umaru is such a fantastic friend. The Tanukichi shows a natural propensity for cheering up Kirie, reassuring her friend’s self-worth throughout the series, and encouraging her to chase dreams of becoming an author for children’s books. ‘Master and the Mysterious Fish‘ looks like such a cute book, and if it were to ever become a real thing, I would definitely read it to my future children!
 

Final Impressions


Christmas came twice, quite literally, and I was rather confused by there being two separate Christmas episodes. But sometimes, you gotta stop asking questions and simply enjoy what you get. To sum it up, every character grew leaps and bounds, and successfully played off each other’s improvements. The result was a tight-knit group of friends, who have come a long way since the first season, without losing what made them so fun. While we never got closure on some plotlines (e.g. Ebina’s search for her older brother) or an outright solid conclusion, I was mostly pleased with how the story went. In fact, it leaves room for another season to be adapted! If Dogakobo release another yuri show or two, like they tend to do, they will surely acquire enough income to fund yet another season for our beloved Himouto.

 

December 27, 2017 at 2:53 pm
21 comments »
  • December 27, 2017 at 3:27 pmLyfe

    The relationship between Kirie & Takeshi in the first season was funny to me, he was a bit of an idiot but he was a nice guy. That and her reaction when she discovers that Umarus brother Taihei is friends with Takeshi. It’s such a small world at times.

    I thought the second season was more of the same, but in a good way. It never tries to be anything more than it presents itself as. There’s no depth, but there’s a lot to love and some genuinely funny moments to be had watching.

    If this is it for the series, I’ll miss it. I’ll be holding out hope for a third season until the end.

    • December 28, 2017 at 10:00 amZaiden

      I do protest. There is depth, where familial relations and friendships are concerned!

      Umaru’s world is a closely constructed one, where everyone just happens to know each other. It’s a part of the fun, even if it can be beyond belief at times.

  • December 27, 2017 at 3:59 pmNaweGR

    Third season of “this” is unlikely with the manga series having finished. However there is supposed to be a follow-on series Himouto! Umaru-chan G that may produce enough (and may get marketing dollars enough) to at least give us some OVAs.

    • December 27, 2017 at 6:32 pmqwert

      The manga may have finished but I think they’ve only adapted about 60% of it. It was somehow popular enough to get a second season so who knows if they’ll make enough this time around to decide and finish the whole thing off with one more.

      • December 28, 2017 at 10:00 pmDavemustain

        The problem is that most adaptations are used to promote the original source material and since the original manga has finished, an adaptation of the remaining 40% is highly unlikely unless the DVDs/BDs sell very well. I believe the series only got a second season because of the sales of merchandising goods.

        An OVA is also unlikely because the previous ones where Tankobon bundles and the last volume has already been published. Still, there is some chance with the sequel series but it will probably take a while to cover enough material for a new season.

    • December 28, 2017 at 10:02 amZaiden

      qwert is correct. I’ve been reading the manga, and there’s a lot of stuff that can still be adapted. With roughly 60% being covered, there is definitely room to squeeze the remaining 40% into another cour.

      There’s also the sequel, and I’d love to see the Ebina spin-off getting an adaptation of its own in the near future.

  • December 27, 2017 at 5:19 pmChoya

    I really enjoyed how this season did more to develop the cast and would highly anticipate a 3rd season or OVA. Sylphinford is one of the few characters to make me smile every time she came on-screen. Her eager cheeriness and “desu wa” never failed to cheer me up.

    • December 28, 2017 at 10:14 amZaiden

      I can totally see myself being the Sylphinford of my friends, so I really like her a lot. But it really bugged me that she seemed rathe insensitive to Kirie’s needs, because I might be unconsciously doing the same thing as well. A really minor thing, but it played uncomfortably at the back of my mind whenever she interacted with Kirie, and sort of hit home.

  • December 28, 2017 at 3:42 amHamster

    S1 of Umaru was probably my favorite comedy anime of that year, totally loved it. S2 was also very enjoyable, but for some reason it felt a bit lacking to me compared to S1. It’s hard to put my finger on what exactly caused this feeling, but I think in S1 they managed to have a more continuous narrative at least within the scope of a single ep, whereas S2 had more of a mishmash or short clips. So while most of the individual clips were great, the season on the whole didn’t fit together quite as well, even though there was definitely some nice character development going on. In any case, definitely count me in for S3 if they ever make it.

    • December 28, 2017 at 10:20 amZaiden

      Though the narrative flow was not quite as cohesive, what the series achieved through having separate narratives, was to equally progress the development for each female character. There was no particular imbalance, where one of Umaru’s friends unfairly hogged the spotlight. For those reasons, I actually preferred the changes, and reckoned there wouldn’t exactly be a better way of going about it, short of having 3-4 episode character arcs.

  • December 28, 2017 at 2:01 pmAoihoshikage

    Himouto was definitely a guilty pleasure series for me as well especially since that’s sort of the theme of the series: indulging in the things you enjoy doing. I was pleasantly surprised by some character progression on Umaru’s part though it didn’t quite come to fruition by the end of the season.

    I personally wasn’t aware people loathed Umaru’s character. Despite the character flaws depicted (i.e. total spoiled, slob at home), I found the friendship and family theme throughout this season rather heartwarming. Given the 4-koma style of the source manga, I could understand the disjointed story telling. My complaints are the same as yours Zaiden: the lack of closure (Ebina’s brother and a bit more definitive relationship closures).

    Of course, I was also furiously jumping between the Taihei x Ebina and Taihei x Kanau ships throughout the season. Yeah, I know the Taihei x Ebina ship isn’t currently legal, but give it a few years. As for the Taihei x Kanau ship, unrequited love from high school that comes with an extra kawaii imouto, that’s a ship I would definitely get on.

    Anyway, here’s to hoping for a final third season or time to read the source material, which I heard finished this year.

    • December 29, 2017 at 6:20 amZaiden

      I was pleasantly surprised by some character progression on Umaru’s part though it didn’t quite come to fruition by the end of the season

      While Umaru herself wasn’t the recipient of fully completed character progression, I can appreciate that she catalysed such a process for the rest of her friends. In that respect, despite all of her flaws, she is central to everyone else’s improvement.

      My complaints are the same as yours Zaiden: the lack of closure

      Having said that in my post, closure wasn’t really an issue for me, since I read the manga long before the anime began airing. But I can definitely see how it could be an issue for people who only watch the anime.

      I was also furiously jumping between the Taihei x Ebina and Taihei x Kanau ships throughout the season

      Such heresy. I’m 100% on the Taihei x Ebina ship! No contest.

  • December 28, 2017 at 4:39 pmrenasayers

    Zaiden, I don’t understand, your Otaku friends loath a possible depiction of a Geek? Someone who excels at academics but enjoy…the finer things in life?

    I’m sure your friends are also outstanding citizens, but it’s good to have a role model in Anime like Umaru. Well at least that’s what I think.

    Again no disrespect to your friends, little over 10 years ago I gave up school & my job so I can live in World of WarCraft everday little sleep, no shower, little food. If I can do what Umaru does I will be set.

    • December 29, 2017 at 6:16 amZaiden

      Hey renasayers!

      I didn’t quite understand how people loathed Umaru’s character, because she’s clearly meant to be a fun caricature. But I quickly came to accept that she shared a similar level of controversy with Marmite, at least within the anime community.

      If I had to guess, it’s got nothing to do with enjoying finer things in life. While she might excel at academics, she doesn’t put in any hard work to warrant such success. That could potentially peeve a lot of hard workers, who feel like they worked their socks off to get where they are. She’s quite bratty, and doesn’t treat Taihei as well as she could – despite the fact he literally does everything for her. Quite a few people don’t have patience for her antics. But I do believe that people should scrutinise Taihei, because he effectively enables a lot of her behaviour – though he is also a young man who singlehandedly does everything to sustain their household.

      tl;dr – she did nothing to earn her Himouto life, and can hardly be considered a ‘role model’, when it largely comes at Taihei’s expense.

  • December 28, 2017 at 7:05 pmKarry

    I could not finish the first season. It was just so unbelievably bland…so when people call it a comedy i just…give them a long…long look.

    • December 29, 2017 at 6:22 amZaiden

      Sorry to hear, Karry. Probably not your thing. I did say that Umaru is not for everyone, but as an older brother myself, there was a lot of comedic value I could really appreciate coming from the series.

    • December 29, 2017 at 8:39 pmDavemustain

      Umaru is probably more of a slice of life light-hearted series rather than a full laugh-out-loud comedy. Given the implied background of the siblings in the manga, I think this is more like “Usagi Drop light” but with more realistic child behaviour (selfish and highly dependant). Yeah, I know that she is actually a teenager, but again the manga hints she is just making up for her strict and lonely childhood.

  • December 29, 2017 at 5:42 pmNitro

    I think the problem with this anime, or rather with otakus’ treatment of it, is that people for some reason equate “good female character” to “good waifu material”, which is ridiculous. Every time I see the subject of Umaru’s character come up it’s always mentioned that she is a trash waifu, as if that’s the only measure of a female character’s worth? Sure I think she’s a spoilt brat but that doesn’t make her any less of a enjoyable character for a great comedy.

    • December 29, 2017 at 10:26 pmZaiden

      I don’t think my friends disliking Umaru has much to do with the waifu value. For the most part, her characterisation spits on their belief in hard work. At both secondary school and university, most of my peers are people who worked really hard to get where they currently are, so I can totally see where they’re coming from. Plus most of them don’t have a younger sister, so fail to appreciate that good humour like this that can exist between siblings.

      • December 31, 2017 at 1:11 amHamster

        Sounds like maybe you should tell those friends of yours to lighten up a bit if they feel the need to stringently apply real-life criteria to a comedy caricature who spends most of her time in chibi form to emphasize that her antics should not be taken seriously. Her not working hard and still succeeding marvelously is simply a fantastical plot premise, so what they’re doing is akin to complaining about Superman having superpowers.

  • January 1, 2018 at 2:18 amMormegil

    As far as I’m concerned, I honestly wouldn’t even call this season a guilty pleasure. The first one – definitely. However, there was some decent character development this time around, to the point that Umaru felt like a well-rounded character, and not the little spoiled and selfish gremlin that we’ve always known her as. Sure, she was still a little selfish and spoiled(especially in the final episode), but the self-awareness, as you said, ended up changing things in a surprisingly big way. She became more appreciative of her brother and her friends, which was great to see. Sylphin and Kirie became well-rounded characters of their own this season, as well. Sylphin just…sort of existed in the 1st season. Didn’t care for her either way back then.

    I, too, have a soft spot for this little series because of the sibling relationship. Umaru is totally dependent on Taihei, for sure, and Taihei definitely enables her from time to time. But there sure are some endearing moments between the two. Taihei’s just a good dude in general. When he bought the game to play with Umaru, it was not only a smart thing to do to curb her from playing it non-stop, but he also got quality time to hang out with her by sharing in her hobby. It was a healthy and nice thing to do, and it’s no wonder why she loves him so much.

    Here’s hoping for another season in the future.