Himouto! Umaru-chan Review (Anime)on July 16, 2017 by Mitch Jay
Himouto! Umaru-chan left me seething. The first episode signaled all I needed to know from the series and its formula fails to change throughout its twelve episodes. Poor brother Taihei for having to put up with one of the most selfish, spoiled characters I’ve had the displeasure to meet.
Okay, I get it. I know some fans of the show will be reading this and thinking, “wow, your taste is awful though?” and regardless of my taste, Umaru-chan is an insufferable little brat. If you found enjoyment in this anime though then that’s rad – don’t let me stop you from enjoying it. I’m not sure when being so utterly ungrateful became a likeable trait for some but I’m still not a fan of unappreciative people who exist simply to be negative, and this is Umaru in a nutshell.
If the end goal is to create someone so annoying then well done author Sankaku Head because you might be a master with pen and paper, but that doesn’t make the titular character anything other than a detestable, loathable sloth. I get the strange feeling I’m supposed to like Umaru though, or find her endearing or cute in some form. Sadly, I do not and sadly, she is not.
Umaru-chan is an insufferable little brat.
Thanks to the supporting cast for also seemingly being quite tired of her antics though, and I found myself liking most of them — it’s a shame that they’re not the focus. Taihei and Nana in particular are likeable characters, and if it wasn’t for them then I don’t know if I could’ve pushed myself to continue on with Umaru-chan. It has its moments but overall Umaru herself was too much to put up with, and the other aspects of the show aren’t strong enough to justify watching it with Umaru as the lead — the Nana spin-off manga must be leagues better.
When I watch anime, I’m usually not looking to be irritated but Umaru as a character is insanely abhorrent. An absolute abomination of a personality who can go straight in the bin. With no payoff, it’s simply not worth it — everyone seems to get some level of development bar her, and her toxicity is enough to drag the show through the mud in its ceaseless attempts to be funny.
In what may be its saving grace, studio Doga Kobo have proven themselves in the past, having Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun and New Game! under their belt, and they don’t let themselves down here – Umaru-chan looks quite nice. There are loads of references to games and anime to spot, and much of the fun of Umaru-chan is in identifying these — they’re rather obvious and, if anything, she has a pretty good taste in games.
It’s colourful and attempts to use visual humour more so than anything else, but it failed to land many hits with me as it expected me to laugh at the misfortune of others — there’s no clever or witty humour to be found here, it just wants you to find Umaru cute enough so that her being an awful person is funny. She struggled to get laughs out of me and whilst I understand that this is a popular show that some fans hold dear to them, I couldn’t get past Umaru as a character. Her lack of growth, and her general attitude are so incredibly insufferable.
Credit where credit’s due as Umaru-chan has a solid dub. Other than the fact that both the words “imouto” and “little sister” are used interchangeably — this goes against the purpose of an English dub a little bit, though. Fortunately it doesn’t happen too often, but the small handful of times it does happen stand out as jarring.
Emily Neves is a fantastic voice-actress who captures the incessant whining tones of Umaru, and it’s a bit of a shock when you hear her talk normally as she has such a genuinely lovely voice — Emily as Umaru is about as irritating as roadworks going on in the early hours of the morning, and this is one of the biggest compliments I can give her as she’s portrayed Umaru so perfectly. I never want to hear the opening again, thank you very much.
I’d like to know if the author himself finds Umaru-chan to be adorable or not because if he’s written her to be nothing but an absolute pain in the ass, then he’s a genius — but I’m inclined to believe that I’m supposed to actually like the frustrating sibling regardless of how she’s written. I don’t think I’d like her if she were to be my sibling, especially as she knows the strain which she puts on Taihei and, when she has a moment of realisation that she’s being a poor sibling, she just throws that potential progress at the window and carries on leeching off of him.
This review might have come across as a total assassination of her character but as she’s the primary focus of the show, it can’t help but fall flat — she is the show, after all. If Umaru-chan gets a second season when Nozaki-kun doesn’t then that’s enough reason to weep for the anime industry. I’ve not felt so dissatisfied in an anime since No Game, No Life, but Umaru-chan? More like Nomaru-chan! Haaaa.