How Uramichi-Oniisan’s Anime Original Content Elevates the Series

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Uramichi-Oniisan Episode 5, “Once This Concert Is Over…” now streaming on Funimation.

Anime original content has long been a tricky thing for studios to handle. Filler episodes can often feel inconsequential and there is a high likelihood of characters acting, well, out of character. But the rare instances where original content not only supplements the source material but actually elevates it shows true care from a studio, and are deserving of recognition and praise. This is very much the case with Episode 5 of Uramichi-Oniisan.

The last five minutes of Uramichi-Oniisan Episode 5 is an anime original sequence that goes out of its way to make the best use of its short runtime. It builds characters, conveys an important message, and features an entirely original song. It’s already a fun music video on its own, but within the context of the narrative, it adds more richness to the already-relatable Uramichi.

Most of Episode 5 is about the children’s show hosting an annual concert for the kids. It's basically a musical version of the show, with Uramichi and the mascots acting as background performers while Iketeru and Utano sing. It's an exhausting event for all involved, so the director (who admits he didn't even watch the concert) treats everyone to an izakaya for an afterparty. Only Iketeru thinks to ask about Uramichi’s whereabouts, and Kumaya responds that he’s already gone home.

On his way home, Uramichi sees a tiny crab on the road, picks it up, and puts it back into the river. This is where the main song of the sequence starts. It's in Uramichi’s perspective, but in a much more tender tone than his regular voice, so it could be another children’s song. It talks about Uramichi finding a small crab by the river then putting it back, but its true theme is about paying attention to the little things in life.

The sequence intercuts between Uramichi with the crab and his colleagues eating them at the izakaya, implying Uramichi's actions are ultimately meaningless because the crab will be eaten sooner or later. This is the kind of irony and nihilism that's become a signature of Uramichi-Oniisan.

While he eats, Iketeru wonders where the restaurant gets the tiny crabs, and Kumaya says they're all over the nearby river -- where Uramichi finds his little crab. Iketeru feels sorry for the creatures, yet fervently devours them soon after. This short scene adds some depth to Iketeru and Kumaya’s respective personalities. Iketeru is naïve or even childlike, genuinely feeling bad about the crabs, yet he somehow doesn’t make the connection between his appetite and his emotions. On the other hand, Kumaya is incredibly perceptive -- as noted in Episode 1, he notices things most people wouldn’t, but doesn’t really care to act at all.

Uramichi is different from both of them because he cares much more, which is partly why he’s often depressed. He sings about putting the crab back into the river because he doesn’t want it to get trampled, but the crab nicks his finger while he picks it up. He then laments doing kind deeds and often getting bad results from them. Though he doesn’t hold a grudge against this unreasonable society -- not because he loves it, but because he doesn’t have the energy.

This is such a sad outlook on life, but it’s a perfect summary of Uramichi’s character. He believes no kind deed goes unpunished, a reflection of his pessimism. Yet that doesn’t stop him from being kind because deep down, he cares about all the little things he encounters in life. Perhaps he sees a bit of himself in all the things most people ignore. As the song's lyrics note, he’s curious about the mushrooms growing under the beautiful row of cherry blossom trees because he feels his life is like them -- mundane but resilient.

Uramichi-Oniisan Episode 5 ends with Uramichi looking at his wounded finger and smiling, comforted by the fact that something as tiny as the crab can still leave a mark -- something he may be able to do as well with all his good deeds.

The editing of this sequence demonstrates the production team's great attention to detail: as a lonely Uramichi walks home in a dark alley, his colleagues enjoy their drinks in a brightly lit izakaya, yet they remain linked by a tiny crab. The lyrics cleverly connect the two scenarios, emphasizing the hypocrisy and irony behind everyone's actions. It's the kind of sharp social commentary Uramichi normally says out loud, but perhaps it cuts even deeper when it is shown rather than told.

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