Oct 18, 2016
ZachM (All reviews)
I, like many other people, had never heard of this anime for the longest time. An obscure Gainax comedy show about a talking hamster? Never would've found that one. That was until a friend of mine showed me the famous scene from the show on YouTube, simply titled "Manko" . I don't know about you, but that was enough to sell me on adding it to the PTW. About a year and a half later, and I finally sat down and gave it a watch. And I'll tell you right now, it's a shame I hadn't found this sooner, because it is one of the funniest comedy anime I've ever seen.

Of course what caught my eye was the off the wall vulgarity in a show that appears to be a cute little slice of life about an adventurous housekeeping hamster. Consisting of an assortment of sexual comedy and somewhat violent slapstick humor. This show pushed the boundaries big time. The simplistic art style was probably the only reason I can gather as to why they were even allowed to show this on television. There's both explicit sexual scenes, as well as Ebichu getting absolutely decimated in the most comical way (if that makes any sense) by her OL Master or the "Useless Bum". It also shows the highly dysfunctional relationship of Ebichu's Master and her "Useless Bum" of a boyfriend. Portraying an incredibly real looking relationship that is so against the norms of most anime.

And through all that, this show remains impeccably charming, and adorable most of the time. Throwing adult themes into something that for all intents and purposes looks like a children's show, you can't find this stuff anywhere else.

The housekeeping hamster in question, Ebichu, is voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi, famous from her days as Misato Katsuragi from Evangelion. The story of how this show came to be was an interesting one too. Mitsuishi would read the Ebichu manga in between recording lines for NGE. She would often burst out laughing and that caused people to go up to her and ask what she's reading. After some time, they at Gainax, including Hideaki Anno (what?), decided they wanted to animate it, and thus made Mituishi the titular character of Ebichu. I just found it very interesting, both that the studio sees a manga and goes "what the heck let's give it a shot", and that Mitsuishi eventually got the chance to provide a voice for the character she'd grown to love. And what a voice it was. Never was there a break in character, Ebichu has an unmistakable voice and speech pattern that I can't compare to anything else I've ever heard before. Mitsuishi did an unbelievable job portraying her.

This show is a gem. However, it is a relic from the year 1999 that almost nobody ever talks about. And that's incredibly sad. I'm not someone who particularly loves straight up comedy anime, but this show hooked me from the start. It was a riot. It stayed true to itself the whole way through, and brought new things to the table that I'd never seen in comedy anime before. You won't find many shows where a character fantasizes about having an intimate relationship with a hamster. It's truly something unique for both its time and now and is something most everyone should at the very least check out. If you haven't seen it, I recommend doing so immediately by any means possible, and then feel sorry that you hadn't watched it sooner.