Known as Uramichi Oniisan (or big brother Uramichi), former gymnast Uramichi Omota is a co-host on the popular children’s TV program Together with Maman. Alongside his co-workers, Uramichi plays an energetic host that sings, dances, and does arts and crafts to entertain the kids dialling in to watch the show. Although being cheerful is part of the job description, Uramichi and his colleagues are still adults working to earn their pay checks, and sometimes their tired and jaded perspectives can’t help but rise to the surface during a shoot. At times like this, the kids on set get the privilege of some frank advice about the hardships of being an adult – whether they like it or not!
If you’re looking for a show where people working in children’s TV programming have emotional breakdowns on set and lament about the woes of adulthood to comedic effect, then Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan is the perfect anime for you. The series follows the cast of Together with Maman, a popular show for young children comprising Uramichi who leads the exercise segments, singers Utano and Iketeru, and Tobikichi and Mitsuo who play the role of the rabbit (Usao) and bear (Kumao) mascots respectively.
Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan is made up of comedic vignettes where the cast share their struggles with marriage, rent, growing older, and are sometimes a little too honest with the kids on set about the struggles of adulthood and comprising one’s own dreams to survive the daily grind. This all takes place amidst the cast being forced to participate in increasingly outlandish premises for segments such as shooting summer themed music videos in the dead of winter and singing classic songs like “Arm Through the Neck Hole” and “The Free Sample Tasted So Good, So Why Was It Just Normal When I Got It Home?”.
The outlandish segments and the pressures faced by the cast of Together with Maman makes Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan feel like a surreal parody of children’s programming and the experiences of those in the entertainment industry. This surrealness leads to plenty of laugh out loud moments throughout the series, which is helped along by the English localisation of the series and the English voice actors who do a good job of getting the jokes to land through some clever recontextualization and giving the lines a “meme-like” quality through their overly dramatic or cheery deliveries. The English dub also inserts pieces of Japanese language into the dialogue (e.g. “it’s all daijoubu!” and “I hope you’re feeling genki today!”) and uses portmanteaus like ohayo gozai-morning (combining ohayo gozaimasu and good morning), which added to the overall odd but extremely entertaining vibes of the show.
Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan doesn’t overdo its concept either – while the series spends a lot of time with Uramichi telling kids how life is tough while mugging at the camera with an exhausted expression, it also spends a lot of time focusing on co-worker dynamics. Hosts try not to break into hysterics while on set when they see each other in ridiculous costumes or bait each other with funny profanities, the cast commiserates with each other as they go along with the director’s whims during a freezing winter shoot, and Uramichi senses a kindred spirit in the scary guy who works in merchandising. It’s a hilarious and honestly extremely caring depiction of a group of co-workers doing their best while working in an environment that emphasises the dichotomy between a carefree childhood and an adulthood ladened with responsibility.
Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan is a series with a simple but effective premise that is packed with comedy and introspection about the nature of being an adult. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a laugh – both the loud cackling kind in response to a well set-up joke and the nervous kind given in response to someone saying something a little too real.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.
©GAKU KUZE,ICHIJINSHA/“URAMICHI ONIISAN” Production Committee. Licensed by Funimation Global Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.