Ever since middle school, I have found myself absolutely mesmerized by Japanese pop culture. From anime to manga, from music to food, and so on, I have immersed myself in a culture that is much different from the Western one I grew up with. Call me what you want, but this is has become who I am and I’m sticking to it. With that being said, I also enjoy much of the kawaii culture that has resonated out of Japan. From lolita dresses with strawberry and cake prints, to Hello Kitty and Rilakkuma, a rather large part of my life revolves around everything cute, frilly and absolutely adorable. Which is why I was so happy to have stumbled upon my new favorite anime, Himouto! Umaru-chan, a show that takes kawaii to a whole new level.
By Taylor Boswell
Written by Sankaku Head, Himouto! Umaru-chan first came onto the scene as a manga in 2013, published by the magazine Weekly Young Jump. Later on, an anime television adaptation was picked up by Doga Kobo, a Japanese animation studio formed by Toei Animation. It began airing on July 9, 2015. North American and European audiences can view this wonderful anime in all its glory on Crunchyroll.com. (With a premium account you can watch the latest episode each Wednesday, but if you are poor like me and don’t have a premium account then you have to wait a week to get up to date. *Cries*)
Umaru-chan follows the everyday life of Umaru Doma, the most popular, beautiful and smart girl in school. Everyday, people stare in amazement at just how perfect she is in everything that she does-schoolwork, sports and physical appearance. This is really all just a facade, however, for her true self comes out when she is away from the public eye and in her own element. The moment she steps through the door of the apartment she shares with her brother, Taihei Doma, she transforms into a chibi version of herself that lazes around, plays video games and eats junk food like there is no tomorrow (okay, I’ll admit that I partially only watch this because this basically describes my life after I get off from work and school). With a fuzzy animal hoodie, chubby chibi face and pink cheeks that can make anyone melt (kawaii overload), Umaru uses her alter ego, that she sometimes calls Komaru, to get what she wants out of her brother and make friends at her school.
Along with being out of this world kawaii, this anime is highly comedic, and makes even the most anti-kawaii person chuckle and smile. It’s not an anime that you watch for plot or deeper meaning whatsoever, it’s the anime you watch at the end of a long day or week to lift your spirits and put yourself in a better mood. So, grab yourself a soda, some potato chips and chocolate covered bamboo shoots (some of Umaru’s favorite things) and settle down for a comedic ride that is sure to leave you feeling extra kawaii.