Original Run: January 10, 2020 - March 20, 2020
Number of Episodes: 11
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Uchi Tama?! Have you seen my Tama?. Reader discretion is advised.***
Third Street is a quiet, peaceful suburb. The residents are close, the atmosphere is warm, and from time to time, you can see a poster asking if you have seen a small cat with a kinked tail. This is the home of the lovable Tama (voiced by Souma Saitou) and his many adorable animal friends.
Every day, Tama and his gang explore the neighborhood and are usually quick to get into some kind of mischief. However, it is hard to stay mad at this group of lovable goofballs.
No matter the season, you are sure to find Tama wandering the alleyways, lanes, and parks of Third Street.
It is best to realize that Uchi Tama?! Have you seen my Tama? (Uchi Tama) is the latest entry in a franchise that has been going since 1983. The Tama and Friends line has spanned multiple mediums, including anime series, movies, and video games. Additionally, if you spend enough time in Japan, the Tama and Friends characters will eventually pop up.
Having said that, and despite living in Japan, I know very little about this franchise. So, to me, Uchi Tama was like any other new anime, just with a hint of subtle familiarity. Therefore, I can’t say with certainty that this series can be enjoyable for fans of Tama and Friends. Based on what I saw, though, I am going to go ahead and guess that the answer is: Probably not.
Uchi Tama was fantastically uninteresting. The unfortunate thing was, it didn’t need to be. After all, this series did know how to be cute.
Now, had this show gone all-in with its adorableness, would that have made it better to sit through? Perhaps not. However, because of this show, I am interested in looking into older entries from the Tama and Friends franchise. I doubt I will become a fan, but I can understand why someone would like these characters.
And just so we are clear: I am ONLY referring to the animal forms of these characters.
What makes Uchi Tama unique in the Tama and Friend series is that it is a re-imagining of the main cast as humans. The animals had their classic appearances whenever they interacted with their owners. But when it was just them, they became cat/dog-people, complete with ears and tails. To spoil what I am going to talk about in the next section, this was what ruined this show.
Still, I can’t say it was all bad.
There was one segment that did get a reaction out of me. Granted, I’m not sure if I responded to this part because the series managed to execute a well-told, emotional story or because I, being a person who has two cats, am easily susceptible to seeing a sad kitty. Regardless of what happened, holy hell Uchi Tama, I was not expecting this level of darkness out of you. I can’t pretend this show wasn’t willing to stray from the light and fluffy.
As it is, though, minus a single exception, Uchi Tama was quite mundane. If this were just a slice-of-life anime with actual human characters, then nothing happened. This series relied on its characters being tiny cats and dogs for it to have any charm. But then, for reasons, that was taken away.
Again, these characters were portrayed as humans. This, and this alone, caused this show, which could have been simple yet charming, to be utterly dull.
I want to reiterate: I was not familiar with the Tama and Friends franchise before watching this series. Nevertheless, the human versions of these characters were barebone at best. When they were in there animal forms, this cast was distinct and unique; their varied personalities came out much more clearly. When they looked like people, which was the majority of the time, they lost every ounce of adorableness.
From the same 2020 winter season as Uchi Tama came Nekopara. Don’t assume I am about to say Nekopara was the better show, because that is debatable. However, both anime had the same problem; they were bland. Nevertheless, Nekopara chose to play into the fanservice side of having humans with animal features. Doing that didn’t add much value, but at least there was a goal.
What was Uchi Tama’s goal?
Well, as I see it, Uchi Tama wanted to be cute. That’s fine, and shows that want to do that can work. But the thing is, and I could be wrong, wasn’t Tama and Friends always cute? Wasn’t that the entire point of these characters?
Uchi Tama didn’t enhance its franchise. If anything, it took a crucial aspect away. Having a small kitten or tiny puppy explore the everyday world and trying to make sense of the things humans do is fun. It’s not at all deep or complicated, but it can be enjoyable. So then why the hell would I want to watch a bunch of run-of-the-mill people, with visually uninteresting character designs, act like cats? Why not just give us the cats?
That is the problem I had with this show. Someone, please tell me why Uchi Tama was a good idea?
When it is all said and done, this show did succeed in getting me interested in the rest of the Tama and Friends franchise. After all, that was the only part of this series that was worth a damn.
I am not inherently against re-imaginings. When they are done right, they can add a fresh new spin on something familiar. However, they can also fall flat on their face when misguided.
If you are a fan of Tama and his animal friends, please tell me what you think of this show in the comments below.
As for me, I cannot recommend Uchi Tama?! Have you seen my Tama?.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Uchi Tama?! Have you seen my Tama?? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.