When I go to Japan, I usually buy a few random manga volumes. I'll also have series that I buy from start to finish, but this is different. It's sampling. I'll just buy a few Volume Ones that catch my eye, sometimes because I liked the anime and sometimes for no reason at all. What I'm reviewing here was this year's best buy. Next year, I might buy the whole series. It has twelve volumes, plus a two-volume spin-off (Akita Imokko! Ebina-chan) and a one-off sequel volume (Himouto! Umaru-chan G). Anyway, I enjoyed this and I'm keen to keep reading about its characters.
This manga got two anime seasons and I've already reviewed them both. To recap, though, Umaru-chan when she goes outside is Little Miss Perfect. She's modest, graceful and always top in her class. She's good at sports. She's sexy, in a demure good-girl way. At home, though, she's Disgraceful Lazy Blob Umaru. She's a tiny, ranting, tantrum-throwing gremlin in a hamster hoodie, without even the same face, size or proportions as her outdoor form. She's like a badly behaved pet. The manga doesn't quite give her a transformation sequence, but it's certainly running with the joke of an actual physical change.
That's the manga's main joke, basically. It's in the title. Himouto is a made-up word combining "imouto" (little sister) and one or more of a couple of options, neither of them flattering. Umaru is a monster of selfishness who leeches off her long-suffering big brother, Taihei. She's completely unashamed about the two-faced deceptions that maintain her public identity, incidentally. She's a junk food gourmet. She's an endless source of brattish comedy. She's great. (She also has two pet hamsters that at one point she claims to be able to talk to, but you've never seen such lazily drawn animals. They're blobs with heads. It's not even as if a hamster is that difficult.)
I like Umaru and Taihei. They're funny. However I wouldn't read fifteen volumes of just Umaru being terrible. What makes me want to buy the full series is the supporting cast. Taihei has his work colleagues, while later chapters also introduce Sylphynford Tachibana (madly competitive) and Kirie Motoba (intimidating semi-stalker girl). The main supporting character in this volume, though, is Nana Ebina. She's always timid, usually flustered and regularly overwhelmed to the point where steam rises from her head. She's got an inferiority complex and she's pretty hopeless in almost all circumstances, but she's also the only person who's thought to look for a human side in Kirie and will even speak up to defend her.
So far, it's not about plot. It's a comedy manga with mostly 8-10 page chapters, but it's also fun. It made me want to read more. (It also has a flashback sequence from Taihei's days in high school, which incidentally throws a new light on his relationship with the then-tiny Umaru. I enjoyed that too.)