OP: 「Kakushinteki☆Metamaruphose!」 (かくしん的☆めたまるふぉ～ぜっ！) by Doma Umaru (Tanaka Aimi)
“Umaru and Onii-chan”
If you liked what Dogakobo did with Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun or Love Lab, then Himouto! Umaru-chan will be right up your alley. Dogakobo really do know what they’re doing when it comes to comedies, adapting just the right material that fit their trademark style – both in how funny the gags are and how fluid and squishy the animation can be. The more they release anime of this sort, the more it cements the brand of their studio. Of course, not all their series fit into the anime comedy category, but they’ve done it enough time that I’m starting to recognise a Dogakobo anime before I even know it’s by them. I’d consider that a sign that the studio is heading in the right direction.
Umaru – The Beautiful, Intelligent, Perfect Highschooler:
As you would have guessed by the name, the series revolves around Domo Umaru (Tanaka Aimi), a girl of two identities. This fifteen year old highschooler has the looks of a celebrity, glittering wherever she goes, having everyone turn to admire her prettiness. She’s smart as well, getting perfect scores in all her subjects with ease. And she’s popular to boot – the boys idolise her, and the girls are smitten with her.
Her best friend, Ebina Nana (Kageyama Akari) seems criminally ordinary in comparison, but they do appear to have a very genuine friendship – it must be painful though, to always be compared to your gorgeous, generous, kind best friend. I feel for the poor, plain Ebina and her terrible test results! Someone give her a hug. Heck, even Umaru’s self-proclaimed rival, Tachibana Sylphynford (Furukawa Yurina) basks in how impressive she is. I suspect even they will become more friendly down the line. How could she not? After all, Umaru is perfect in every way. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with her…?
Umaru – The Slob, Gamer, Eater of Junk Food:
Except none of them know her other side – her true self. As soon as she gets home, the bishoujo-ness is swapped for chibi-ness, her prim school clothes are thrown in a pile, and she spends her time reading manga, playing video games, eating junk food, and annoying her big brother. Doma Taihei (Nojima Kenji) is a good Straight Man, constantly reacting to Umaru’s ridiculous antics with deadpan or irritated expressions that never failed to make me smile.
It’s nice to actually a brother-sister relationship in anime that isn’t sexualised and borderline incestual. Here, Umaru and Taihei bounce of one another in a series of hilarious gags, and even if that’s all the anime amounts to, I doubt I’d get bored of that. I’ve heard Himouto! Umaru-chan be described as a “sibling gag comedy”, and from this episode, I think that just about sums it up. But what matters most with a comedy is whether it makes you laugh, and I certainly laughed at all the points I should have. Whether it Umaru hiding her obsessive love for One Piece; her drama over not having the latest issue of Weekly Shonen Jump; Umaru and Taihei playing zombie shooters; or Umaru pouting throughout their grocery shopping. Everything that was supposed to be funny was funny, and that’s all that matter in the end.
Overview – What’s Next?:
I got plenty of laughs from this one, as I anticipated. Umaru’s two sides are amusing, but her chibi form is super cute, and her many reaction faces were practically begging to be screencapped. Dogakobo have given us another well-animated gag anime to sit back and laugh at over the summer season. Last year it was Nozaki-kun, this year, Umaru-chan. If the series continues with gags like we saw in this first episode, I won’t have any complaints, but I expect Umaru’s hidden side may be revealed to her friends in due course. If that happens, I’m sure there’ll be lots to laugh about over the next few months.
Note: There are currently no plans to blog Himouto! Umaru-chan on a weekly basis.