Mandarake Merch Madness: Part 2 – Untold Questions

An Untold Questions blog about Mandarake Merch Madness Part Two.

And now we continue the merch post with figurines, yeah? Indeed, if you’re reading this and you haven’t read Part 1, you really probably should. Unless you don’t want to! That’s fine too. But yes, this second part of my Mandarake Merch Madness will be focusing on figurines that I got with my most recent order.

Right, let’s see ’em then! Well first, there’s a couple of things kinda figurine adjacent, well one’s an acrylic stand which is not a figurine but the second are Banpresto chibi-style figurines. The reason the pictures look different to the others is because the irl waifu took these to work to sit on her desk before I could take photos!

Sleepy Umaru acrylic stand from Himouto! Umaru-Chan.
Kageyama and Hinata Banpresto mini figurines.

Hey look! Things that aren’t cute girls! What a pleasant change of pace for this merch post! If you’re trying to make me feel bad for my cute girl obsession, it won’t work. And while on the subject of Banpresto mini figurines, we also have the four main girls from Yuru Yuri. Still in their boxes as I haven’t decided where to put them.

I swear it was just a coincidence that Akari’s face got obscured! Even real life is trying to make her disappear!

And now the main event as it were? The figurines? Well, let’s get one thing out of the way first, these aren’t the expensive bishoujo figurines that you see going for prices upwards of 10,000 yen. These are what are called ‘prize figurines’ called that because they’re usually used as prizes in UFO/crane games in arcades around Japan. It’s always funny because on the boxes they say ‘for use as prize in Japan only, not to be resold’, and yet there’s dozens of stores in Akihabara that sell them with impunity. Because they are prize figurines their prices are lower, but of course so is the level of detail. While I would love to be able buy proper expensive bishoujo figures, I personally can’t justify the price. I’d rather have 5 or 10 prize figures then 1 bishoujo figure, besides they’re all bishoujo’s to me 😉

…and what does bishoujo mean? Argh! don’t you ever listen! It means ‘beautiful girl’.

Right, okay, I get it now. So um pictures please?! Oh right! I won’t put much commentary between these pictures (just captions), as there weren’t any “surprises” like there was with some of the other merch from the previous post, these all came as expected and I’m happy with them all!

Rize from Is The Order A Rabbit?
Not sure on her name but she’s from the Monogatari series, which is a personal favourite, haven’t seen the season she is in yet but the price was exceptionally low on this one and I couldn’t pass it up.
Sengoku Nadeko from Nisemonogatari (Monogatari series).
Best girl Hitagi Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari (Monogatari series)
Mayoi Hatchukuji from Bakemonogatari (Monogatari series)
And last but certainly not least, a very familiar face, Kuroneko from OreImo.

Well that wasn’t nearly as troublesome as I thought it might be, I have expected some lewd figurines in their. Oh my no… the Yayoi Barnard Lutwidge figure I want is far too expensive for my budget.

*google Yayoi Barnard Lutwidge* Oh… oh my god what is she doing to that carrot! Why do you do this to me?! I didn’t make you Google it.

Tsk. Anyway that was the merch post, how do we want to go about wrapping these things up? I hope you enjoyed reading about all this lovely merch I got from Mandarake. If you have any questions or comments feel free to ask me, I’d love to hear what you think! Thanks for reading!

Himouto! Umaru-Chan – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for Himouto! Umaru-Chan.

What’s the show? Himouto! Umaru-Chan (2015).

And umm… what does all of that mean? Buckle up! You’re in for a Google search response! So first of all ‘Himouto’ is a pun of sorts, it’s a blending of the words ‘imouto’ which means ‘little sister’ and ‘himono’ which is ‘dried fish’. The himono part only makes sense if you’re familiar with Japanese slang, because ‘himono-onna’ is a term used to describe girls who are proper when out in the world but slobs when they’re at home.

To be fair I eat chips like that too.

I’m almost sorry I asked. It makes sense in context of the show but it’s a very specific reference I’m kind of surprised that some dumb Western producer didn’t try and make a bad translation title of it for the release over her.

Let’s not go down the ‘translated title’ wormhole again, yeah? Fine.

So what’s the show about? Well Umaru is the perfect high school girl, she’s smart, she’s popular, she’s sporty and she’s beautiful. Except that’s her outside persona, because as soon as she gets home she transforms into her real self, a selfish, slovenly otaku who loves video games, junk food, cola and anime more than anything else in the world.


‘Secret Otaku! Umaru-Chan’. What are you doing?

Oh just coming up with Western titles for the anime. Please don’t, you won’t like me when I’m rant-y.

Nobody like you when you’re rant-y. Also thank god this is a written format, I can’t imagine how many misunderstanding would come from saying ‘rant-y’ out loud. Let’s move on, shall we?

Indeed. So who are the other characters on the show? Well immediately there’s her long-suffering brother Taihei, he’s a 20-something salaryman who works hard, cooks all the meals and does all the chores around their apartment. He’s basically the opposite of Umaru in every way but he still loves his little sister very much.

She’s pure evil…

Uh oh. No! Not like that, there’s no sister complex going on here… well not yet, here’s hoping that never eventuates because he can do so much better.

*incoming best girl alarm sounds* Ebina! Oh my sweet waifu, it’s not because you’ve got a massive rack that I love you so, it’s because you’re shy and sweet and honest and kind and also have a massive rack.


‘A Challenger Approaches!’ Oh but then there’s Kirie! Delicate, nervous, prone to bouts of rage. Oh, don’t make me choose!


And there’s another one? Right… *flicks through imaginary papers* Sylphynford? Sounds more like a sexually transmitted disease. All right, fess up, who let this one-dimensional character into the best girl contest?

Savage. Listen, without getting in to too much spoiler territory, I do like her character in Season 2 a lot more than in the first season, but basically she’s Umaru’s rival and she’s loud and obnoxious and one-note. Hmm, kind of like Umaru herself come to think of it.

*crickets chirping*

What? You don’t like the protagonist? That seems like an awfully big obstacle. Indeed it is, and I suppose initially it comes down to how much you can identify with such a lazy, self-centred character and that will determine your mileage with this kind of show. But, even though I was cold towards her in the first half dozen episodes, she does have moments of redemption that grow in size and significance the further you go along. Just don’t go in expecting likability from the outset.

Fair enough. Anything else I should know? This show is really good at expanding its world, gradually but necessarily. Just when you think a set routine of characters is starting to grow repetitive they’ll introduce new characters like new friends for Umaru or co-workers of Taihei, all of which add complexity to the otherwise fairly simple slice of life format.

She always gets what she wants in the end.

And? And it’s just funny, sure a lot of the comedy comes from obvious places but even in her ‘Himouto’ form, Umaru is an entertaining creature to witness even if more often than not it comes at the expense of her poor brother. Though it certainly helps if you’re an otaku too, because there are a lot of references to the culture that go by unexplained for the uninitiated.

So not a show for a filthy ‘normie’ like me then? Probably not!

Censorship references.

But for the rest of your readers? Even if you find yourself initially turned off my Umaru’s overall attitude, give it a half dozen episodes and see if you don’t warm up to the show. Because while at the end of the day it is a show about Umaru, the characters that surround her all have such worth and are interesting and fun in their own right. It’s a rich tapestry that I’d gladly hang on my wall, even with all the creases. 86 out of 100.

“Tapestry”? What are you talking about? It’s an anime thing, don’t worry yourself about it.