Ebichu Minds the House
Ebichu is a talking hamster who is fond of cheese, and she tries her best to be housekeeper for her owner, who is a single 25-year-old office lady who desperately wants to get married. Unfortunately, her boyfriend is a useless layabout (his name in the show is Kaishounachi, quite literally, "useless") who's not very good at anything, especially where it counts. The rest of this show simply can't be described on a family-oriented website. From the director and studio that's responsible for Neon Genesis Evangelion - Anno Hideaki and Gainax.
Well, I wondered what Anno Hideaki did after leaving His and Her Circumstances.
Ebichu is a stellar example of the phrase, "Know what you're getting into first before buying." Christi got a tape with this show in it for her birthday from her sister, and thought, oh, what a cute hamster on the cover! Like Hamtaro, right? Unfortunately, we didn't find out what this show actually was about until after we'd already seen it. You see, Ebichu is based on a popular comedy manga by Itou Risa that's aimed at women, but is not exactly family fare. When they took the story to various animation studios to test the waters, so to speak, only one studio had the guts (or other bodily parts, I guess) to do it. Gainax. Naturally.
No other studio would bother to animate a show with such "inflammatory content". (Gainax's own words.) Every scene has Ebichu accidentally (or intentionally!) interfering with sex toys, or misplacing frilly underwear, or ruining contraceptives, or basically being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The sex in this series is akin to a Showtime serial, right there onscreen, and not glorified in the least. But it's not a hentai - because it's animated so simply, you'd think it would belong on the shelf next to Chibi Maruko-chan and Goldfish Warning. Not to mention that the sex scenes aren't exactly placed on the cover, and you could see how Christi's sister would, err, mistake this for something harmless.
Well, Ebichu ain't Pikachu, that's for sure.
Then again, Natalie was also responsible for showing us What's Michael. Ulterior motives, anyone?
(Christi: *screaming in holy terror* "I'M NOT LOOKING!!! AAAAAAH! I'M NOT LOOKING!")
The truly frightening thing about this show is that they got the top of the line seiyuu to do it! Ebichu is played by none other than Mitsuishi Kotono (Tsukino Usagi, Sailor Moon, Katsuragi Misato, Evangelion), the Owner is Tomizawa Michie (Hino Rei, Sailor Moon, Linna Yamazaki, Bubblegum Crisis), and Kaishounachi is Seki Tomokazu (Suzuhara Touji, Evangelion, Van Fanel, Escaflowne). Listening to these voice actors do something as outright shock-value shack-nasty as Ebichu -really- gets me wondering about the state of the animation in Japan. Frankly, I would have laughed my butt off if I didn't find it so offensive.
Sometimes, even educated anime fans can make honest mistakes when dealing with anime they are unfamiliar with. That's why I wrote this review - because you, the reader, deserve to know what lies behind the face of a seemingly harmless, cute-looking anime. And partly as a exercise in catharsis.
If you read Raph's review on Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, he compared that series to a "solitary hamster in heat". Here, folks, is that very hamster, leaving slime trails on your screen. If you really are into this kind of stuff, please don't let me know about it, because frankly, that (and what's animated on this series, for that matter) is none of my business.
As our roommate says, "I guess the people in Japan have more spare time than we gave them credit for." And I'll leave it at that.
Now I'll have to get Christi, as she is still twitching and curled into a protective ball.
Anno Hideaki must be totally out of his gourd.
If you're in the right state of mind for this stuff, I'd imagine it would rate higher, but, frankly, I don't even believe I lasted through a whole tape of this! Fortunately (I guess) it's broken up by the fact that it is in an anthology with two harmless series, but this title only illustrates just how different the Japanese and North Americans are with the limits of acceptability in an animated show. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: ADULTS ONLY! And dirty-minded ones, at that. Anyone (especially a Westerner) who is in the least bit squeamish won't last five minutes watching this. As Studio Gainax itself warns, "Viewers are sure to be shocked by the gap between the cuteness of Ebichu and the naughtiness of the program's content." Damn straight!
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, raw Japanese
Review Status: Partial (8/24)
Ebichu Minds the House © 1999 Gainax / Group TAC
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