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My Love Affair with the Hamster



This past week, I saw the most "interesting" anime. It's called Oruchuban Ebichu, or Ebichu Minds the House. The title character is the most adorable little hamster you've ever seen. She even talks like a squeaky little kid, peppering her speech with the oh-so-sweet "chu" every few words. And yet, this anime has an under-18 warning, and most of it is Ebichu's fault.

Ebichu is the houskeeping pet of "Office Lady" (OL), a 25 year old single woman. She fears becoming an old maid, since she is already almost "too old" to get married. Her boyfriend, who is not so affectionately called Kaishonachi (useless) by Ebichu, is a cheating, lying, lazy bum who OL just can't seem to get rid of or rope into marriage. Ebichu gets into trouble by alternately trying to help OL's sex life and by revealing bits about her owner's private life to anyone who will listen.

At first, Ebichu looked like a cute, adorable show... for the first 60 seconds. In the very first scene, Ebichu is reading a rather explicit romance novel to OL and Kaishonachi as they get intimate in bed. Apparently, her help isn't appreciated, as Ebichu is smashed into a bloody pulp against the wall. This violent hamster-smashing is reapeated about every 2 minutes in each 10 minute episode. And when I say "smash", that's exactly what I mean. Apparently, there's a lot of blood inside a hamster, and GAINAX made sure every drop of it squirted out as Ebichu is punished.

Before you start feeling bad for poor Ebichu, let me say that she asks for the beatings. Ebichu knows just how to say the wrong thing to OL. When OL is upset about living next door to a very active newlywed couple, Ebichu says every insensitive thing she can think of. This cute little hamster also has an obsession about telling prank callers about her master's green "u-in u-in" (so called for the sound this toy makes), and about OL's range of underwear.

This show is wonderful, despite (or maybe because of) its lack of excellent animation. The voice acting is superb... and a little disturbing. Ecchi little Ebichu is voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi, better known to Sailor Moon fans as Usagi. OL is Michie Tomizawa, who also plays Sailor Mars. And it's noticable. The second Ebichu spoke, I knew it was Usagi's voice. And then Sailor Mars started yelling at her! (If you've seen any subbed Escaflowne, Kaishonachi is played by Van Fanel's voice actor, Tomozaku Seki)

My favorite part of this anime is Ebichu's "superhero" persona, Ebichuman. As told to us in hysterical Engrish in a voice over, Ebichu turns into this superhero in order to help people with a certain personal problem... through haiku. Just the way Ebichu spells out her name by bending her body into the letters is enough to start you laughing.

It doesn't end there. Ebichu has a fondness for shouting the word "manko" which refers to part of the female anatomy. She also has a human admirer, Maa-kun, who is very disturbing in his "love" for Ebichu.

Sadly, I don't think this show will ever be licensed for release in North America. It's simply too dirty and the episodes are only 10 minutes apiece. However, if you are over 18, you casn download fan-subs over at animesuki.com. That is, of course, unless violence towards hamsters and crudely-animated ecchi-ness is not your thing--try Dragon Half instead then!