What’s the show? How Clumsy You Are, Miss Ueno.
And what’s it about? It’s a short form (12 minutes per episode) anime about a middle-school genius inventor named Ueno whose inventions all center around her desire to get closer to her crush Tanaka. Her inventions invariably go awry and lead to all sorts of shenanigans–usually involving Ueno getting flustered or ending up in compromising situations with the ever-clueless Tanaka.
And I take it you enjoyed it. Certainly, it was one of my Top 5 shows of the Winter 2019 anime season! It was entertaining, inventive, charming and at times laugh-out-loud hilarious. What I didn’t enjoy was this weird backlash against the show, which while small was still vocal enough to irk me.
Oh boy, are we getting a rant already? Yes. Deal with it.
Fine, so what did (some) people have issues with about this show? Criticisms ranged from the show being too “immature”, “crass” and “unrealistic”. Firstly, “immature”? Yes that’s the point, it’s about a girl who is a genius when it comes to science but can’t confess her feelings, because she doesn’t understand them. She’s in middle school–give her a break! Secondly, “crass” yeah, middle-schoolers tend to be. And “unrealistic”?–It’s a comedy series, realism shouldn’t be the thing you’re focusing on. But there’s one thing that annoyed me even more than those complaints and that was the show is “perverted”.
If I recall, in your first episode review you said Ueno tries to get Tanaka to drink her filtered pee? I think that qualifies as “perverse”. As a character, Ueno doesn’t understand how to get closer to her crush, as such she uses seemingly ludicrous scenarios in an attempt to make this happen. Having Ueno trying to get Tanaka to drink her filtered piss or spanking her or sitting on his face aren’t the actions of a horny girl, they’re the actions of someone who doesn’t know how to get their crush to notice them as an object of desire or affection. Like many things in anime–especially comedy–things are exaggerated to make a point and of course just to be funny.
Uh-huh… are you sure you’re not just making excuses for this type of content? I don’t have to make excuses for anything. Yes this show has a wide fetishistic streak with the nature of its content and humour that’s designed to appeal to a very specific kind of otaku but it’s also endearingly wholesome and cute too. A show isn’t just ~one~ thing, it’d be reductive to minimise the overwhelming positive qualities and just judge it on its perceived “negative” ones. You don’t watch ‘Titanic’ and go, “oh yeah, the movie with the boat that sinks”.
Right, fair enough, you’ve made your point. Maybe we should get onto a different subject. Who was your favourite character? Ueno, obviously. But so many of the one-off side characters had their own appealing characteristics like Nishihara who ended up as an honourable mention in my Winter 2019 Best Waifu’s Post. I found the art style of the characters (specifically the girls, obviously) to be extremely appealing throughout this show and it was always a pleasure to meet a new girl each week.
And what be something you didn’t like about the show? If i’m nitpicking it’s that I think a show like this has the character potential to be comparable to the likes of ‘Teasing Master Takagi-san’ in terms of scope and growth, but this series felt complacent in just being a gag comedy with a heart of gold–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing–just that I think it’s self imposed restrictions limited it from being something more substantial overall.
Final recommendation and review for ‘How Clumsy You Are, Miss Ueno’? If you can put aside preconceptions and surface level judgments and look into the heart of a series you can find a lot to appreciate. This series isn’t a romantic masterpiece nor is it a comedic tour-de-force, but it is strikingly endearing and at times painfully honest–especially with Ueno’s frustration in her inability to connect with her crush in any meaningful way. Honestly, I thought this series was fantastic and its music and visuals contributed to my overall enjoyment of the series too. A successful experiment: 88 out of 100.
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