- Titles: Uramichi Oniisan
- Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
- Episodes: 13
- Studio: Studio Blanc
Growing up can be tough. You go from a wide-eyed kid full of dreams with your entire future ahead of you, to a tired adult breaking your back in a dead-end job just to make ends meet. Dreams slowly turn into nightmares and stress headaches. Everything you thought was so magical is just smoke and dirty mirrors. The world is harsh and cold. And worst of all, it’s full of annoying people. If only there was a way to stay a kid forever. Like for example, hosting a children’s educational TV show. Maybe that’s the way to keep the depressing realities at bay. It didn’t quite work for Uramichi Oota though. The once-promising young gymnast is now the handsome star of Together with Maman and he’s going to teach us all the truth about life and growing up.
A little while ago I watched Gakuen Babysitters and I really liked it. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. It was an explosion of sweetness that made my days just a little more comfortable. And to my surprise, I thought the kids were really adorable! Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan had been on my to-watch list for a little bit and I figured the two shows might be similar. It looked like both of them featured a ton of little kids. I was ready for some more next-level cuteness. I should read synopses.
Before writing this very post, I had never heard of Studio Blanc. Turns out that they haven’t made that many shows and I had never seen anything from the studio. I have heard of their previous work though: My Girlfriend is Shobitch. I only know it by title so I have no idea of the production values.
So Uramichi Oniisan was a bit of a mystery for me going in. And it turned out to be decent. I liked the character designs well enough. Not that they were out of the ordinary. I guess the way noses are drawn is a bit unusual but that’s about it. Oh, and for a comedy slice of life, they sure made the guys muscly. Like there’s a lot of attention to how every little muscle is drawn. That was a bit of a surprise. Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard production.
Not that it’s a bad thing. It looked fine and I never thought a scene was off. Midway through we get introduced to the character of Kikaku who sports an impressive amount of piercings. I thought the detail on those was rather well done.
Story & Characters
Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan is essentially a 4 koma so it’s difficult to discuss the story as such. Uramichi himself is a deeply disillusioned, pessimistic and potentially depressed guy who works alongside a bunch of eccentric characters as the host of a children’s educational show. The only thing he seems to enjoy is exercising which is why he’s still in exceptional shape. Otherwise, he tends to dislike everything and everyone.
His co-hosts are Iketeru Daga, a very handsome and talented singer. He’s good at everything but is also something of an idiot with an obsession for penis jokes. The other co-host is Utano Tadano also a singer who failed as an idol and is now obsessed with getting her deadbeat boyfriend to propose to her even though she doesn’t like him that much. She’s both resentful of her role in society and compelled to adhere to tradition.
As you can imagine, when you throw them in with a group of occasionally depressingly wise kids, hijinks ensue.
Having what is superficially considered a wholesome setting, like a children’s educational show, as the backdrop for a dark comedy is nothing new. Of, in case I didn’t make it clear, Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan is in fact a black comedy. It plays with depressing or unpleasant facts to twist them into humour. And like I said, as a premise, it’s not exactly new.
But I do think it’s unusual in anime. This extremely cynical brand of comedy is a little less prevalent in Japanese media so there is some novelty on that front. I should also say that it didn’t matter to me that it’s been done before. I like comedy and Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan made me laugh. That is all I need.
Because of the structure, there isn’t any singular plot to go into. Surprisingly though, I would say there’s a fair amount of character development. Not as much as you would expect from a more traditional three-act story but more than I have seen in some shows that should have developed their characters. All the main cast members have a chance at visible growth. I would say that Utano and Uramichi are the ones that have the most visible arcs but I think that everyone is given at least an episode to learn and change.
And there are a few, very few, earnest moments of joy and optimism. Because the rest of the show is so sarcastic and cynical, these really shine through and end up leaving you with an unexpectedly feel-good experience despite how pessimistic the humour is in the series.
You might like this anime if:
You’re looking for an anime comedy with a bit more bite. You want a show you can just watch an episode once in a while when you’re in the mood. You think depressed pretty boys are funny!
My favourite character:
This is sort of tough. I think it might be Kumatani. In these types of stories, where everyone is a bit crazy, the straight man is really essential. It’s a thankless job and Kumatani does it well.
- Every time Uramichi goes dark – laugh
- Every time anyone has an evil smile – worry
- Every time Uramichi is using that hand exercise thing.. you know this thing:
- – take a sip
- Every time Usahara is badmouthing Uramichi – take a sip
- Every time Iketeru cracks up – laugh with him
- Every time Uramishi has a smoke – take a deep breath
- Every time the mascpts are terrified – take a sip
- Every time anyone goes into Uramichi’s dressing room without knocking – take a sip
- Every time there’s a musical number – clap
- Every time Uramichi has a nightmare – take a sip
- Every time Iketeru is talented – be amazed
- Every time Utano hates her boyfriend – take a sip
- Every time Kikaku starts screaming over the phone – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.