Tomokazu SekiMitsuo IwataMichie TomizawaKae Araki
Ebichu the Housekeeping Hamster
Medium: TV, series
Also known as: Oruchuban Ebichu
Year: 1999
Director: Makoto Moriwaki
Original creator: Risa Itou, Shinichi Hanada, Takeshi Misokami
Actor: Kotono Mitsuishi, Michie Tomizawa, Tomokazu Seki, Mitsuo Iwata, Andy Holyfield, Kae Araki
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 24 nine-minute episodes
Website category: Anime 1990s
Review date: 9 January 2018
It's the Gainax sex comedy about a woman and her hamster (Ebichu), with art that looks as if it was drawn by a six-year-old. That's how they managed to get away with explicit on-screen sex on television. If it looks like a scribbled cartoon, it's not sexy and no one cares. Don't worry, though, the hamster doesn't do it with anyone. Anyway, the show's absolute filth and quite amusing.
It's based on a manga by a female creator, which makes a difference to the jokes. Personally I found it more interesting than your average sex comedy written by and for men. Ebichu's mistress is a 25-year-old office worker with a cheating, lying, no-good boyfriend called "Useless Bum". (Presumably he must have a real name, but we're seeing the world through Ebichu's eyes. "Useless Bum" he is.) Ebichu worships her mistress and does everything possible to help her, which is both lovable and terrifying since Ebichu has a three-gram brain, very little idea of appropriateness and an encyclopediac knowledge of Mistress's bedroom habits. Ebichu can also hold a conversation with anyone (including heavy breathers on the telephone), go shopping, beat humans at mahjong, read Japanese to some extent (diaries she can handle, medical textbooks trickier), open the front door for the postman and sign for recorded deliveries.
I don't think she ever gets her head around anal sex, though. She also can't stop saying and doing things that will make Mistress and/or Useless Bum reduce her to a bloody pulverised stain on the wallpaper. (Ebichu should be dead. However she never lets that slow her down for more than a couple of seconds, after which she's always immediately back to her usual happily offensive self.)
The question of course is "is it worth watching?" Just having sexual content isn't any guarantee of anything. It could have been dull and juvenile. In fact, though, the show does actually manage to be funny and occasionally scary. Ebichu can nuke your brain. It's not the kind of thing you'd want to marathon, but that's partly because its content is explosive enough that your brain would probably need downtime to recover. The most appalling thing in the show, though, is Maa-kun, who's sexually attracted to Ebichu. He's human. She's a hamster. Yes, this does mean a realistically hamster-sized hamster. Maa-kun's funny, but also increasingly disturbing, partly because the nearest real-life counterpart to his perversion would probably be a paedophile. (Ebichu talks childishly, like an English-speaker saying "I weally like bunny wabbits", and is a small person-like being who observes and talks about adult things without fully understanding them.) Maa-kun never becomes a threat to anyone, but he still gave me the screaming heeby-jeebies.
For what it's worth, Gainax made this show because Kotono Mitsuishi was reading the manga during the recording of Neon Genesis Evangelion and showing particularly funny bits to her co-stars. Gainax ended up adapting it and offering her the title role.
The unusual format, incidentally, is because it was part of an anthology series called Ai no Awa Awa Hour. It thus has opening credits, but no closing credits. Ai no Awa Awa Hour had a single set of umbrella closing credits instead. Both that opening and that closing have nifty theme songs, by the way.
It's often amusing. It's the poster child of "not for everyone". (If you dislike vulgarity... hang on, why are you still reading this review?) It's hard to say which is the less family-friendly of this and Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. It's a must-watch if you want to learn rude words in Japanese. It was an experience and I'm glad I've finally seen this show at last, but I can't really see myself wanting to watch it again. Plot? No. Story? No. Gleeful filth? You bet your arse.