Himouto! Umaru-chan is an anime and manga series about a brother and his adorable little sister who lives with him. They share a one-room apartment in Japan and he takes care of her while she goes to high school. Umaru the sister is the vision of a perfect high school girl with amazing grades, looks, and personality.Taihei is the older brother and a businessman who works hard to pay for his little sister’s expenses. This story follows some of their daily challenges of living together as siblings in the city.
This premise actually works pretty great, when Umaru is out of the house. Umaru you see is a hardcore closet otaku that’s favorite activities involve drinking cola and playing video games all day. This, of course, frustrates Taihei to no end, since his sweet little sister becomes the laziest human he knows within seconds of being indoors. The routine between the two goes something along the lines of Umaru coming home and complaining at her brother for snack runs. Then playing video games late into the night and sleeping all day on her days off.
Luckily for Taihei he can stop Umaru’s behavior simply by having guests over. Thanks to Umaru’s outward appearance at school no one has a clue that she acts the way she does or has any love for otaku culture. Because of this Taihei loves having Ebina, Umaru’s best friend, over who just happens to be in love with Taihei and lives downstairs from them in an apartment. This causes several situations where both have to scramble to hide Umaru’s secret passions when she pops up out of nowhere.
In the show Umaru has two different visual appearances to represent which mode she’s in. Her proper self is represented as a pretty high school girl who is drawn as a normal anime character. Her Otaku side is a chibi version of her character that is always wearing plain clothes, shorts, and a hamster blanket. This is used several times in the anime during surprise visits to confuse characters even leading one to believe chibi Umaru is the younger sister of herself. This is where Kirie comes in as a friend to both versions of Umaru and her brother.
Kirie is a shy girl who doesn’t know how to talk to people in Umaru’s class. One day she ends up going to Umaru’s house to return a lost student ID to her and there she walks in on Umaru chibi. This causes a chain reaction of Kirie becoming an apprentice to the “younger sister” and hanging out with her often indulging in her Otaku habits. After this Umaru meets Sylphyn at a game competition where she faces her in the final round. Sylphyn is also in Umarus class and aims to be the best at literally anything she comes across. Thanks to this Umaru starts befriending her through her gaming persona and her in school persona.
Taihei has his own group of friends at work that he hangs out with from time to time. His best friend is Takeshi who is the older brother to Kirie, although tRakeshu never learns of Kirie’s friendship with Umaru or Taihei. Takeshi is laid back and usually tries to get Taihei to be a more laid back person while he’s around. He often likes to accuse Taihei of having a hot girlfriend thanks to the fact he has seen both Umarus, but is only familiar with the otaku version.
The series spends its time developing the relationships between all the characters. A main focus is on Umaru’s outlandish demands and secret otaku life at first, but quickly turns into her learning to be herself and creating lasting friendships with the other girls. Umaru falls heavily into the comedy category and is mostly slice-of-life with an otaku twist when its not making a joke. The series is a completely enjoyable watch or read with the anime only being 13 episodes long.
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