Hello and welcome back to Otaku Thursday! Now that’s it’s September summer is officially over right? RIGHT? Okay, well, maybe not quite in terms of anime seasons. So since we’ve still got a few weeks before summer anime stops airing and fall begins, I’m coming at you with yet another first impressions from this season. And this one? Well, this one is going to be following the trend of looking at some of the ‘lighter’ anime. So today I’m going to be talking about Life Lessons with Uramichi-Oniisan!
Alright. So let’s start with the basics: what is Uramichi-Oniisan about? Well, it’s about a former gymnast who is working on the set of a kids show where he interacts daily with audiences of children. It’s all smiles, singing, dancing, costuming–and hating almost every moment of his life. Even when he’s smiling visibly on screen, Uramichi often tells children the harsh (and often depressing) realities of being an adult. And while that’s a terrifying prospect to see him onscreen in the show, it’s worse when he leaves the set and goes backstage or home where we can see him (and his coworkers) really feel the weight their lives have on them. And to be honest? It’s disturbing how relatable it is. Like, really disturbing how relatable it is. Star and I both agree. But at the same time, as disturbingly relatable it is, it’s also HELLA fun to watch. Let’s break down a little more of why.
So, let’s start off with characters. Our main character Uramichi is a happy and bright onscreen, but offscreen he’s a rather apathetic and melancholic character. He’s generally worn out with life, often going home to drink while watching tv programs and eating pre-made meals. He values his vacation time (which clearly he doesn’t get enough of), goes out to drink with some of his friends, seems to enjoy working out, and has mildly violent streaks whenever he gets annoyed by his coworkers (okay, one coworker who was his junior in college). The other main cast members consist of Iketeru–a former musical actor who is kinda ditzy and loves dirty jokes; Utano–a singer (former idol and even enka singer) who has terribly luck with jobs and has a lame comedian boyfriend; Usahara–who seems fine at first but is really kinda annoying and is often the butt of jokes (as well as the victim of Uramichi–generally his fault); and finally Kumatani who honestly seems the most reasonable until we begin wondering why he constantly protects or hovers over Iketeru (perhaps a fan of his musical theatre days?). The cast are all strange…and yet at the same time I can 100% see people I know in these characters. Disturbing? A little. Entertaining? Very. I also love the dynamic they have as a cast–there’s something glorious about how they all know when Uramichi is going through it, and he seems to like to oh so gently torment them in different ways. Plus, it’s kinda clear that they all seem to feel the same way about their jobs as he does. So…comradery over suffering I guess? Okay, but in all fairness, it’s not all suffering. There certainly seems to be some kind of enjoyment for the cast. Even Uramichi, realizes his suffering is worth it when he sees the impact he makes on kids. He sometimes cries from being touched by something they say, realizes that the thing that recharges him is seeing them smile and thank him–he sometimes even has some really useful and non-negative things to say. It’s just that– a majority of the time everything sucks and he feels like he’s stuck in a never-ending vortex where he can’t improve and his jobs sucks and he gets no breaks and–okay maybe we’re just venting here now.
Aside from the characters, the overall premise, and the extreme relatability of it all, Uramichi really has nothing standout to offer us in the music or animation department. It looks pretty standard–no unique art style, no beautiful or gorgeous landscapes and sceneries. The direction of it is comical but also fairly clean cut–there’s no cinematic magic happening anywhere. The opening and ending, while both really catchy–also don’t really stand out too much compared to other openings and endings. And the music in the shows isn’t even really noticeable. Like obviously there are backtracks and performance songs from their tv show, but again–nothing that stands out. So really, it’s a pretty generic show on technicalities. But the slice-of-life aspects being so on the nose are what really makes it resonate with, I would think, a lot of adults. Is it also popular with teens? I wonder if it’d have the same effect or if it’d just seem like a funny sad adult.
So to sum up…there’s not a lot I can say about Uramichi Oniisan except that if you are an adult–or even a teen with a job, you should watch it. Like honestly. It’s so good and it’s honestly one of the best things Star and I are watching right now. And we say that totally unironically. I think just because it’s nice to see that the hardships of life are depicted in a real way–also Star works with kids so she probably REALLY empathizes with it. Anyway, long story short: watch it. I don’t think you’ll regret it.