Himouto! Umaru-chan is a twelve-episode comedy anime series, adapted from the manga written by Sankaku Head. The studio that produced the anime was Doga Kobo, and the director was Masahiko Ohta.
The protagonist of Himouto! Umaru-chan is the eponymous Umaru Doma. She is a high school girl who has been blessed with beauty, brains and talent. However, this is just a front she puts on when she is at school.
Umaru lives with her older brother, and she isn’t above throwing a tantrum to get her own way. She spends most of her time at home playing video games, watching anime or browsing the internet. When she’s engaged in her lazy lifestyle, Umaru takes on a super-deformed appearance and wears her hamster hoodie.
The change from “perfect school girl” Umaru to “hamster” Umaru is something that only Taihei knows of – the other characters have no clue about the two sides of Umaru’s personality.
As far as other characters go, Umaru’s older brother Taihei Doma certainly has a lot to put up with. He is a salaryman, and he also has to care for Umaru. Umaru tends to get her own way, though often Taihei will resist for as long as possible.
There are three other important characters – Umaru’s friends. They are Nana Ebina, Sylphynford Tachibana and Kirie Motoba. All three attend the same school as Umaru, and are in her class.
Nana is a shy girl, who will occasionally slip back into her native Akita dialect when she’s flustered. She tries not to stand out, but being buxom makes that difficult for her. Since Taihei was the first person to look her in the eyes, Nana is somewhat fond of him.
Sylphynford is extremely competitive, and always challenging Umaru as she considers her a rival in both academics and sports.
Kirie seems to be an intimidating girl at first, but it turns out she is just shy. She gradually opens up to Umaru throughout the series, though she seems to get on with Umaru’s “little sister”, Komaru. In reality, Komaru is just Umaru in her hamster form. Kirie has a thing for Umaru, which leads others to interpret her constant staring as something menacing.
There are a few other characters as well, such as Taihei’s colleagues: Bomber, Kirie’s older brother, and Alex Tachibana, older brother of Sylphynford.
Being a comedy, there’s a lot humour to be found here. A lot of it stems from the different sides of Umaru, although a fair chunk of it is based on anime and video games. Those who are fairly new to anime and/or video games may have several references go over their heads. Still, there’s a lot there that doesn’t rely on having any knowledge of Japanese pop culture, so it’s not like this series will lose those who aren’t very familiar with it.
However, humour based on pop culture is something that will age – for now though, Himouto! Umaru-chan is definitely worth a watch, particularly for those who keep up with anime and video games.
Not all the humour is based on pop culture, though. Taihei’s constant struggle to deal with Umaru’s laziness leads to some funny situations, as well as Umaru’s transformation from perfect school girl to bone-idle otaku.
Those who are more familiar with anime and video games will definitely get more out of this than those who aren’t, but either way Himouto! Umaru-chan is definitely worth a watch.