Rumiko Takahashi Anthology, also known as Rumic Theater, is a 5-volume collection of short stories written and illustrated by famed manga-ka Rumiko Takahashi.
The manga has been published periodically by Rumiko Takahashi since 1987. New stories are published annually in Shogakukan's Big Comic Original. The majority of chapters/episodes are domestic stories, each with a unique twist. An English language edition of the first volume was released by Viz Media in 1996, under the title Rumic Theater, Vol. 1.notes about U.S. release history
A 13-episode anime adaptation was aired from July 5, 2003 to September 27, 2003 and was licensed by Geneon.
Rumiko Takahashi Anthology provides examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Pops from "The Merchant of Romance" has to be constantly dragged out of bars to even show up on a job.
- Amicable Exes: Yukari is divorced, but she still gets along quite well with her ex-husband Keiichi even if they're not overly friendly. She mentions that they separated for practical reasons, so neither has any resentment towards the other. In fact, Keiichi expresses concern over her business, and Yukari quite welcomes the idea of getting back together with him.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Gorgeous the dog has a pair drawn on. It's permanent marker so they never wash off.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The mother-in-law from "Hidden in the Pottery". She effectively ruins poor Ruruko's life just because she wanted her son all to herself.
- Collector of the Strange: Hirooka's boss collects strange trinkets and statues from all over the world, which his wife sees as trash.
- Chubby Chaser: Hazama's wife eats a lot and has a round figure. He proudly shows her picture to his neighbors and colleagues, and doesn't seem to understand their less than flattering remarks about her appearance.
- Crippling Overspecialization: In "As Long as you are Here," Domoto's no-nonsense attitude made him a good executive, being quick to make hard decisions and telling people what's on his mind, but tending to customers on the bakery makes them scared of him, and risks making the bakery lose business.
- Driven to Suicide: Hazuki from "Aberrant Family F" is worried her parents plan to commit family suicide after her father loses their money. Turns out she was right, but not because of their debt. Rather because the father believed he was dying and couldn't bear to leave his family alone. They all survive and it turns out he wasn't dying after all.
- Delusions of Beauty: Risa Hoshino from "One Hundred Years of Love" is a shriveled up, 92-year-old woman who lives in regret for rejecting a fellow patient's love confession and driving him to suicide. Whenever she tells this story to the others, the young Risa is drawn as a stereotypical Stock Shoujo Heroine with sparkly eyes and delicate appearance, while her lost love is a handsome young man. Later, the patient she rejected (who didn't actually die, but simply lost his footing by the cliff and broke his leg), retold the story in a much less dramatic—and probably more accurate—manner. In his recollection, Risa is shown to have a stockier figure and plainer face, while he himself was rather dorky-looking boy, with Nerd Glasses and shorn hair (the handsome man that Risa imagined him as was actually the guy she rejected him for).
- Domestic Abuse: Shimoda from "Happiness List" is a drunk who beats his wife. Not that Mrs. Shimoda isn't capable of assaulting her husband in retaliation, though.
- Easy Amnesia: Mr. Furuda gets beaned on the head and wakes up with a memory that only stretches to when he was thirteen.
- Evil Is Petty: Ruruko's mother-in-law not only abused her and spread all sorts of terrible rumors about her to the neighbors, when Ruruko, in tears, called her out on it, her mother in law then proceeded to pull a Wounded Gazelle Gambit and made everyone think Ruruko was abusing her. What's worse, it worked.
- Face Doodling: In "The Director's Dog", Kogure's son scribbled eyebrows on his expensive dog's face using permanent marker, kickstarting the plot.
- Gonk: The Baby-Ghostnote from "Extra-Large Size Happiness". He barely looks human.
- Good All Along: The Baby Ghost. The wife believed that it was trying to sabotage her attempts to move her family out of their apartment and after they missed their appointment, they discover that a landslide happened in the neighborhood with the house they wanted to buy.It turns out, the baby ghost was trying to protect them.
- Lethal Chef: Shinichi Hara from "Positive Cooking" tries to cook his own meal while his wife is busy pursuing her own cooking ambition, and his first attempt results in an oyster and beansprout ramen that tastes as terrible as it looks. He gets hospitalized with food poisoning shortly afterwards, and it is implied that his own food caused this illness.
- Love Martyr: Poor, poor Ruruko. She had to put up with an abusive mother-in-law who hated her, belittled her and spread slanderous rumors about her to the neighbors, all because she didn't want to share her son with her. The only solace in her life was the love of her husband, only for him to die with his mother in a car accident and even worst, his final word was "Mother". Even after all of that and her still dealing with the effects of the rumors, she still loves her late husband and misses him. You just can't help but want to hug the poor girl.
- May–December Romance: Subverted. Whenever the middle-aged (male) protagonist falls in love with a much younger girl and considers leaving his unhappy marriage to pursue a relationship with her, she would almost invariably end up being Happily Married with (or is at least seriously dating) someone else closer to her age.
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Risa Hoshino in "One Hundred Years of Love" is a 90 year-old woman who is about the size of a doll. Flashbacks show that she is normal-sized in her youth, though.
- Mistaken for Cheating: While several stories dabbles with the possibility of adultery, none of them ended happening.
- In "Teen Papa", Furuda's wife and son finds a picture of him with a high school girl, whom they assume is someone he paid to date. In actuality, he just asked her to help operate the photo booth when getting home drunk and they talked quite a bit afterwards, but he fell off the bridge as he was leaving her, causing his memory loss.
- Many people assume that Hazama from "Trouble With The Neighbors" is having an affair with Mrs. Ukita, or—even if they haven't—would eventually would go that route. The fact that their respective spouses aren't good-looking by normal standards clearly exacerbate the suspicion.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Zigzagged depending on the story. It's usually averted unless the relationship between the in-laws is the main focus of the story, but some does play it straight.
- The Tonegawas are probably the worst example of the trope. The younger Mrs. Tonegawa (Ruruko) clearly wasn't aggrieved by her mother-in-law's death and is rumoured to have abused the older woman. It's actually the other way round. The elder Mrs. Tonegawa emotionally abused her daughter-in-law by spreading nasty rumours about her and pulling a Wounded Gazelle Gambit when Ruruko tries to call her out on it.
- "Scene of the Crime" has a variation in which the wife gets along just fine with her mother-in-law, but couldn't stand her sister-in-law. The former readily gives the reins of the household to the wife, and never complains about the house rule she sets. The latter, on the other hand, complains whenever things are different from what she's used to from her mother.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: In "As Long as You are Here," a young man goes into the bakery and orders some pastries, and Atchara, the Thai exchange student working there, tends to him. When he doesn't like what he's served, he complains and asks for his money back, Atchara tries to reason with him in broken Japanese, which makes the customer angry and not only does he want his money back, but also demands the manager fire her for being an ignorant foreigner who doesn't speak the language. Domoto, the unemployed executive who was amazed at her work ethic, isn't impressed by the customer's attitude and asks him to leave, when the customer refuses to go until he gets what he wants Domoto decides he's done trying to reason with him, and power bombs him and kicks him out the bakery for being a racist douche-bag.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The mother-in-law in "Extra-Later Size Happiness" turns out to be one, despite initially coming off as stern and exasperated by her daughter-in-law's strange behavior (which was due to a large baby ghost that only she could see at the time) and threatening to not invest in a house they want to buy. However, after overhearing her daughter-in-law breaking down in tears to her husband over the entire thing, she shows concern for her well-being and reconciles with her.
- Significant Name Overlap:
- Downplayed in "Daytime Daytrip", where the protagonist decide to attend a high school reunion arranged by his old crush, Shima Seiko, to escape his Awful Wedded Life. When he arrives, his classmates mention how much Shima is looking forward to see him, especially after her divorce, which brings his hopes up. However, the Shima in question turns out to be an ugly, overweight woman named "Takai Shimako" and not the Shima he's looking for. He does eventually get to meet his crush (who is still as pretty as he remembers her to be), but she's currently Happily Married with four children.
- In "Positive Cooking", the protagonist, Shinichi Hara, gets himself hospitalized due to food poisoning. Later, when his wife and father come to visit him, they are informed by a nurse that he had passed away. But this was a mistake, and the one who died is another patient with the exact same name. However, the shock of her "husband"'s death seems to bring the Mrs. Hara back to her senses, and she quits her cooking school and return to being a housewife.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Sits quite firmly on the idealistic side. Although a lot of the stories deal with adult issues like unhappy marriages, problematic children, difficult in-laws, and the like, all of them end on a positive note. Even the Shimodas, who is initially shown to have an abusive relationship, ends with the couple realising that Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other.
- The Unsmile: Mr. Domoto's "smile" is enough to scare away customers!
- Unfinished Business: Mrs. Todokoro's is that she wanted to give her husband his anniversary present.
- White-Collar Crime: Domoto becomes unemployed when several other executives were caught doing illegal business dealings, and the company was shut down. Domoto himself was investigated, but was cleared of any wrong doing when there was no evidence that he partook in any criminal schemes.
- You No Take Candle: The Thai part time worker in "As Long As You Are Here". She gets better towards the end of the episode when she's had time to learn more Japanese.