The Two Faced High School Sweetheart, Himouto Umaru-Chan

Himouto Umaru Chan

Himouto Umaru-Chan is an anime series based on the manga written by Sankaku Head which ran from March 2013 to November 2017 for a total of 12 volumes. The anime series follows the main character Doma Umaru and her outward and inward personas as she navigates school, family, and friends. 

At School she is a beautiful, graceful student at the top of her class; however, in the privacy of her home, she is a lazy slob clad in an orange hamster hoodie playing video games, watching anime, and pestering her older brother, Taihei.

She acts with no regard with a lot of entitlement; however, she does regret her actions, but the lessons usually never stick with her. Her antics and the trouble she causes can be a tantalizing enjoyment and drama. 

The idea of hiding parts of herself at home and keeping up appearances at school is something many people are able to empathize with. Her best friends are Ebina Nana and Motoba Kirie, and Tachibana Sylphynford is her sworn rival. It is a cute, silly, and light-hearted show, but there is also something more being said with the duality of the feminine energy in social circumstances. 

Ebina is a countryside girl and she finds difficulty to cover up her rural dialect as to not seem different, Kirie is shy but comes across as scary, but really has a gentle nature and soft spot for children. Sylphynford is very competitive but yearns for her older brother to see her as refined. 

Additionally, Taihei’s supervisor and high school friend behave very strictly and according to the rules at work despite being romantically drawn to him. On the flip side, all the male characters act the same throughout the show regardless of time, place, or location. 

These dualities in personality set up an interesting look at the ways in which females morph and acclimate to their environments, much like a chameleon. 

Perhaps conscious, perhaps unconscious, it can be a testament to gendered conditioning of stereotypical notions that females should accommodate and take the shape of not only what a man wants but succumb to whatever notions of behavior they readily receive from society. 

Himouto Umaru Chan Characters

The Characters of the Himouto Umaru-Chan Anime Series

Nana Ebina is a close friend of Umaru and has cherry brown hair and is quite shy with not much confidence; however, she exudes a refreshing optimism throughout the show. She is from the Akita prefecture, which is in the northeast region of Japan and known for agriculture. She speaks standard Japanese and wears trendy clothing so she doesn’t appear to be a girl from the countryside. 

Motoba Kirie is a classmate and friend of Umaru. She is known for having a rather menacing and intense aura that leaves many frightened and uneasy to the point of avoiding her, which is why she doesn’t have many friends. 

Taihei Doma is Umaru’s older brother. He is a hard-working worker individual who loves to cook, but in a bit of a pushover with Umaru and other characters. 

Although his sister orders him around and he is partly viewed as a doormat just cooking and cleaning and taking care of her, he has deep care towards her and genuinely worries about her ability to grow and become an independent person. Even though he is gullible and sensitive, he is oblivious to the love interest of both Kanau and Ebina. 

Kanau Kongo is the female boss of Taihei and has known him since they were in high school. She maintains a very strict and professional demeanor when working despite her romantic feelings for Taihei, but sometimes expresses her feelings with mild flirtation towards him. 

Sylphynford Tachibana is the self-proclaimed rival of Umaru and comes from a very wealthy family. She is extremely confident and competitive and is always seeking attention or exaggerated entrances. 

She has an eccentric habit of throwing rose petals while spinning in the hallways mostly to impress others. Despite her inflated sense of self, she is very kind and well mannered. 

The show depicts the dynamic of growing up for teenage girls in a light-hearted and enjoyable way. Although there are nuanced ways in which the characters act separately and together, the unified layout of high school socializing and more introspective aspects is great. 

It provides a fun portrait of what it means to be a teenager and come into your own. It’s an overall very cute and silly show about the tribulations and joys of navigating adolescence. Join Umaru as she shows us the unbreakable bonds of family and friendship 

Show’s Overall Feel and Success

Himouto Umaru-Chan is intrinsically dynamic and of course, pays a certain homage to the brother/sister dynamic; however, there is a lot more embedded in this comedy than this setup though. The basic elements of humor are well articulated such as timing and irony with a natural flow between plot and characters. 

The story’s vignettes, which are brief to gaga to simple tales to cute minimal slice of life segments create a nice balance and structure to the entire show. Although some of the character art can seem simplistic, it actually accentuates the characters’ expressions very well. 

In particular, Umaru and the show manage to produce some winning laughable materials from Taihei. The show has a nice theme song and animation that are lovely to a cheery J-Pop tune with fun light-hearted animation that kind of shows Umaru at a perhaps more mature state. 

In the show, Umaru has girlfriends, who Taihei has to pin his hopes of her straightening out on, but the first one is pathetic to a fault but in a cute way that makes us somehow like her more and her name is Nana Ebina. 

She moves into an apartment near both Taihei and Umaru and she ends up walking to school often with her and they become good friends. At times she is withdrawn and self-conscious sometimes because of her regional dialect from Akita. 

She begins having a crush on Taihei because of his kindness but she has a hard time articulating and just starts anxiously shaking around him. 

Taihei and Umaru’s relationship is much like an over-indulgent parent and a spoiled child. They are about ten years apart and it definitely shows. Umaru wholeheartedly owns the fact that she is a pain in the ass and she excuses that she can’t help it. 

She’s not a normal tsundere in typical fashion and really doesn’t actually pummel Taihei. However, her notorious tantrums occur very often in order to get her way, even in public if she is away from her classmates. 

Although there isn’t a strong set narrative, each episode can stand on its own and is watchable. The visuals are also nothing noteworthy or fancy and are no match for more graphically detailed anime. However, it shines in different elements such as a fun soundtrack with an overall enjoyable and humorous experience. 

The show as a whole is at times a hard show to really get into initially because of the lack of depth, but each episode presented new elements and interest. The characters grow on you and become more relatable and the humor gets to be so outlandish and slapstick that it is utterly delightful. Overall very funny and enjoyable show with not much as far as narrative depth, but still a show that can offer a great deal to an avid anime fan. 

Sankaku Head / Shueisha, "UMARU-CHAN" Project
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