Oruchuban Ebichu (or Ebichu Minds the House (おるちゅばんエビちゅ?) is an anime produced by Gainax, but animated by Group TAC. It is based on the manga by Risa Ito that was published by Futabasha Publishers. It first aired as six eight-minute episodes in 1999 as one third of the show Modern Love's Silliness.
Ebichu is very adult in nature, and its explicit violence, innuendo, and sex scenes could only be shown on DirecTV Japan. The uncut version of the series is only found on DVD. The show is done in a simplistic art style, and its sexual content is played for laughs rather than for fanservice.
Most episodes follow Ebichu, a talking hamster devoted to her oft-indifferent owner, who is only identified as OL ("Office Lady"), a single 28-year-old (this is her age in the original manga series while she is 25-year-old in the anime series) who doles out cynical commentary and the occasional beating on the rodent. Ebichu tends to take this in stride with endless praise and compliments. Such abuse is usually caused by Ebichu's almost disturbing lack of tact or propriety, which often embarrasses her master in front of other people.
Ebichu often attempts to correct OL's bad decisions, such as her berating of OL's obnoxious and untrustworthy boyfriend Ebichu nicknamed Kaishounachi (worthless man).
Ebichu is sometimes joked by fans to be the complete polar opposite of Hamtaro, a popular children's anime featuring a hamster in more wholesome adventures.
The origin of the anime came about during voice recording sessions for Neon Genesis Evangelion. Kotono Mitsuishi, the seiyū for the character of Misato Katsuragi would read the Ebichu manga in between takes and laugh at the humor. She would show others what she was reading and eventually it was decided that the series was worth animating. As a result, Kotono was selected to voice the title character of housekeeping hamster Ebichu. Also, in Neon Genesis Evangelion, the character Misato drinks cans of Ebisu-brand beer. In one episode, though, the beer cans are labeled "Ebichu Ichiban" across the top with a small picture of a hamster with one white ear and one brown ear (as Ebichu), although the colorations are the wrong way around. (The brown ear is on the left on the beer, but Ebichu's brown ear is on the right.)
- Gainax's Ebichu website in Japanese
- Gainax's Ebichu website in English (via archive.org, original removed)
- Futabasha's Ebichu website in Japanese