Original Run: July 6, 2021 - September 28 Number of Episodes: 13 Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Based on the Series Created By: Gaku Kuze
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Life Lessons with Uramichi-Oniisan. Reader discretion is advised.***
The popular morning show “Together with Maman” tries to teach young children important lessons about positivity, caring, and having fun. The program’s star, Uramichi “Uramichi-oniisan” Omota (voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya), is a beloved adult figure for the kids and always brings a contagious energy. The last time that energy was positive, though, no one remembers.
Uramichi-oniisan is quite miserable and possesses an unapologetic doom-and-gloom attitude towards life and adult responsibilities. Often, with a forced smile and defeated stare, he can’t stop himself from sharing the brutal truth of the real world with his young audience.
And his co-stars aren’t much better.
Behind the glamor of their production’s peppy nature, the cast of “Together with Maman” is always one slight inconvenience away from a total breakdown. Still, for better or worse, the show must go on.
I am a firm believer in the existence of multiple layers of excellence. One can recognize a product’s inherent qualities and fully acknowledge said product as something worth commending. Alternatively, there can be another product that, while still excellent, is unquestionably inferior to something else.
From 2021 (as of December 2021), there have been some truly outstanding series currently vying for top spots during the 4th Annual Anime Hajime Highlight (coming February 2022). I am not saying Life Lessons with Uramichi-Oniisan (Uramichi-Oniisan) has no chance of appearing on this site’s Best Anime of 2021 list. Still, it is up against some utterly spectacular competitors.
That said, on a personal, I-am-an-anime-fan-first-critic-second level, Uramichi-Oniisan was amazingly fun. This show had me in freaking tears at certain points; it was so funny.
Now, on its own, this series most likely would have been a riot; the dialogue, situations, and slapstick were all hilarious. However, one element to Uramichi-Oniisan turned it into an absolute powerhouse – the voice cast. There is a huge difference between a show with outstanding actors and actresses and one that has employed nothing but gold. This series was the latter; look at who was in this show:
- Ms. Nana Mizuki (Utano “Utano-oneesan” Tadano) – a.k.a., Hinata Hyuuga from Naruto and Touma Minami from Minami-ke
- Mr. Mamoru Miyano (Iketeru “Iketeru-oniisan” Daga) – a.k.a., Tamaki Suou from Ouran High School Host Club and Light Yagami from Death Note
- Mr. Yuuichi Nakamura (Mitsuo “Kumao” Kumatani) – a.k.a., Yuuichi Jin from World Trigger and Gray Fullbuster from Fairy Tail
Additionally, two names made got me super excited to watch this show:
- Mr. Tomokazu Sugita (Tobikichi “Usao” Usahara) – a.k.a., Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Gintoki Sakata from Gintama
- Mr. Hiroshi Kamiya (Uramichi-oniisan) – a.k.a. (big inhale) Koyomi Araragi from the Monogatari series, Izaya Orihara from Durarara, Yato from Noragami, and Levi Ackerman from Attack on Titan. (Incidentally, Mr. Kamiya is also my favorite Japanese voice actor).
THE POINT IS, Uramichi-Oniisan had talent, and it showed.
Deliveries were on point, jokes landed with power, and everything was as solid as can be. I am having trouble thinking of another show that got me to laugh as hard and consistently as this one did.
More than anything, though, this series wasn’t just about who happened to be starring in it. Uramichi-Oniisan had a great premise and knew how to evacuate it. Imagine all the kids’ shows you’ve seen in your life. How often have you thought, “Are the adults having fun, or are they powering through it all?”
Heck, you don’t even need to do that. Recall every time you were in school and on the schedule was a random movie day. I wonder, was a film part of the original plan, or was the teacher nursing a hangover?
To all you youngins out there, I’ll let you in on a secret. There will never come a day when everything clicks. Most “stable” lives result from a jerry-rigged barrier against daily stress, anxiety, and BS that sometimes holds up.
Uramichi-Oniisan tapped into that.
And while this type of humor might sound bleak (because it is), it was effective. Its relatability was, in an odd way, satisfying. Then again, that might have been the case thanks to something else, something far more impressive.
Although the characters in this series could be jerks, many things went wrong; although many knee-jerk reactions were violent, nothing about Uramichi-Oniisan was mean-spirited.
For example, the titular Uramichi-oniisan did not like the environment he worked in. The higher-ups were unreasonable, coworkers could be annoying, and things tended to go from bad to worse. Nevertheless, Uramichi-oniisan did not hate the core of his job – the kids.
On more than one occasion, Uramichi-oniisan mentioned how the only joy he could muster came from seeing the innocent smiles of the children on the program. Likewise, he never once blamed the kids for the state of his life, and there were many times when their kind words and actions moved Uramichi-oniisan to tears.
This series’s humor could get rather dark, but it knew where it could pull its jokes from.
Duh…I find myself in a bit of a pickle. I’m not sure what to write here.
Superficially, yeah, not everything this show pulled got me to laugh. Like any comedy, some routines were funnier than others. But these instances were the rare exception, not the rule.
At the same time, Uramichi-oniisan wasn’t the most visually memorable series. Character designs were average, this show wasn’t exactly a marvel of animation, and the style wasn’t anything unique. So if you are someone who is hypercritical over this aspect: 1) maybe lighten up a bit and 2) well, there you go, the artwork wasn’t this show’s strongest attribute.
But if you are more like me, who doesn’t rest a series’s entire worth on whether it was pretty looking, then you’ll see how much Uramichi-Oniisan has to offer. While I might not go so far as to say this show was in the top ten anime of 2021, it sure as hell was one of, if not THE funniest anime of the year.
This show was great. It was just so damn funny.
When going into this series, there were things I was looking forward to seeing. At the very least, I had a feeling I would enjoy it. But to the extent I ended up doing so, that was an immense, and very welcomed, surprise.
Boasting one of the most impressive cast lists I have seen in a good long while, this show’s impressive talent pool took an already fun idea and turned it into something truly special.
Without a shred of doubt in my mind, Life Lessons with Uramichi-Oniisan has earned itself a colossal recommendation.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Life Lessons with Uramichi-Oniisan? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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