Newman’s Nook: The Face We Show the World

I’m watching two new shows this season. My first impressions can be reviewed here (Himouto! Umaru-chan R) and here (Love is Like a Cocktail). They are two different series with very different characters, but they do have a common thread. Let’s discuss a little further.

Himouto! Umaru-chan R is a series about a young girl named Umaru who presents herself to the world as this perfect, straight-A student who does well at all that she does. Other students see her as beautiful, smart, and incredibly popular. Yet when she gets home? She throws aside the facade and the real her comes forward. She changes so much that the entire animation style of her changes into a new version. She’s sloppy and obsessed with herself, focusing solely on things like video games/anime/junk food. The two different versions of herself are rarely married in the series and she often is focusing on one or the other.

In Love is Like a Cocktail (Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte kara), our main character (Chisato) is a wildly respected businesswoman. She is viewed with the utmost respect in the office and always appears to be prim and proper. When she’s home? A relaxed version of herself comes forward and starts drinking with her husband. She is relaxed and allows herself to be silly. The straight-laced businesswoman is no more and instead we see this lovable goofball who is super affectionate to her husband. She vocally comments about the fact that she does not want to have drinks with coworkers because she is afraid of this version of herself coming forward.

Umaru, similarly, tries hard to hide this version of herself from others. She wears a mask in public when she’s at arcades calling herself U.M.R. Her closest friends do not even truly know her secret side.

In each case, there is a public version of the character and a private version. There is a version of their personality only reserved for those who they know the best, but hide it from the rest of the world. Many of us do this. We present a version of ourselves we want the world to see. We hide our insecurities. We publicly ignore the things we enjoy. We hide our personal problems. Nowhere is that more prevalent than on social media.

Social media has become the perfect place for people who want to present a “perfect” version of themselves. There are no problems, only the carefully curated version of themselves is presented. The blemishes are hidden. Pictures are taken from perfect angles. Issues with their families are kept away from view. Personal failings are ignored. Whether we realize it or not – we do carefully curate what we show the world. The problem is, nothing can be concealed forever. In the Gospel of Luke 12:2-3, Jesus says exactly this! Anything you try to hide will one day be revealed. The lies you are telling will eventually be exposed. Nothing done in secret will remain secret forever.

Umaru almost caught in her chibi/home form

So far, our two leads have been able to mostly conceal their “secret selves.” However, this will not last forever. Eventually, someone will discover the messy, otaku nature of Umaru’s home self. Either her friends or enemies will discover this truth! Eventually Chisato will have a drink in front of her coworkers and her silly self will be revealed. The facade will fall aside. The question then becomes – was it worth hiding yourself from the world for so long?

In the case of Umaru, her home self is a total mess. While there are elements of it which are fine (who cares what media she enjoys), but she’s a slob, she’s obsessive, and she can be super rude. She may not want the world knowing about her secret self, but there are ways of fixing that – such as not being so sloppy and not being so rude! Chisato’s home self isn’t so much a mess, just constantly blushing, silly, and very affectionate toward her husband. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, per say, but she feels vulnerable then and doesn’t like the world seeing her vulnerable. Honestly, we all don’t like that vulnerability.

Feeling exposed can be tough. Letting yourself go and relax can be hard in front of people you do not know. Does that mean we need to do it in front of everyone? Not necessarily. Does it mean, though, that we need to present a false version of ourselves in the world instead? Of course not. Being yourself in front of people does not mean you need to present everything about yourself at all times. There are personal aspects of each of us we wish to only keep in front of our closest friends or family. However, pretending to be something else, presenting a false facade – that is unnecessary. Be comfortable, but also remember to be you.

Himouto! Umaru-chan R is streaming on Amazon’s Anime Strike.

Love is Like a Cocktail can be streamed legally on Crunchyroll


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