WataMote Review

Studio: Silver Link
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Comedy, School, Shounen, Slice of Life
Release: S1 (2013)

First blood of anime series this summer of 2013 for me was Watashi ga Motenai no wa dō Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! or No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! in English. It also goes by the nickname WataMote. Simply put, it’s about Tomoko Kuroki, a shut-in girl dreaming of her teenage life to be like her otome games: being popular and abundant in romance and friendship. But this doesn’t seem to be the case when she enters high school. In fact, it’s the opposite: she turns out to be an unsociable loner ignored by everyone.

Warming up to this anime wasn’t very hard for me. I just love how the show strays from the usual setting where the characters are engaged in positive cliche scenarios and then live happily ever after, as WataMote has a more believable story by having the main character constantly get bashed and stepped upon in the simplest instances. And no, I’m not being sadistic about it. I mean, we’ve all had this experience Tomoko is going through at some point: wanting to communicate with people but we can’t get across our feelings because of fear or shyness, and we can’t do anything about it. But we still try, until time and time again, we overcome it.

Watching this anime puts us in the shoes of Tomoko, and would show us that we can get through our social inhibitions even if put in the most extreme situations. Because things are only as they are because we let them. Despite the serious undertone, WataMote is explicated in a light and comical way due to how awkward and embarrassing things can get for Tomoko.

Story: Being engrossed in games and the internet all her life, Tomoko Googles for the definition of unpopular girls out of curiosity: ‘those lacking social experience with males, those who have never been confessed to, and those who have never had sex.’ She denies being one although deep inside she knows it to be oh so true.

She’s even desperate enough to consider casual talk with her classmates as already ‘being approached by guys.”

Luckily, she’s about to start high school the next day and nothing beats that when one wants to start with a clean slate. Bye-bye bad memories from middle school. And from all the otome games she’s played- fifty high school years worth, she’s really looking forward to being the popular girl she’s destined to be.

I guess playing all those games has taken a toll on her view of reality a bit.

Two months into high school and she isn’t able to make any contact with anyone in her class.

Baffled by this weird outcome of reality defying the expectations of the games she’s accustomed to, her defense mechanism kicks in and begins to despise anyone and everyone, trying to convince herself that interacting with such people isn’t worth it, and that she chooses to be alone and is better off that way.

Upon getting home, Tomoko analyzes the situation and concludes that maybe it’s her appearance that needs tweaking. If she’s not ugly, guys should be all over her, but they’re not. Maybe it’s because of her height and flat chest? Then lolicons would be all over her, but they aren’t. This phenomenon puzzles her to no end.

She then sets out for online help sites like how Light Yagami would write names on his Death Note lol.

Following every tip she finds on the internet, she turns out to be uglier than ever, as her little brother describes it.

Going back to the basics, she decided she should regain her conversational skills she lost along the way after middle school. She turns to her little brother who’s got the same eyebags as her, Tomoki, for counseling.

Little brother shows some love by wanting to punch her in the face, and decides to talk to her an hour a day.

It ain’t always bad for Tomoko, as there are times she’s able to have a normal conversation with her teacher.

In episode two, an old friend from middle school suddenly calls her up out of the blue saying she wants to meet with her. They set plans, and Tomoko uses more than half the episode to try to improve herself so she can have something interesting to show to Yuu Naruse when they meet.

They did meet, but to Tomoko’s surprise, her old friend ain’t the glasses-wearing geek she used to be, but already debuted as a fully-blossomed high school girl. Much to her insecurity, she found refuge in the fact that even if her friend changed from the outside, she’s still the same on the inside.

After a long day of catching up in the cafe, arcade and park, Tomoko realizes that even though she looks great, Yuu is having problems of her own, and that encouraged her to confess that hers ain’t going well either. She tells Yuu she should try her best because she is doing her best as well.

Then the misunderstanding reveals itself…

Yuu is actually having guy problems, much to Tomoko’s disappointment.

At this point, I felt both an urge to laugh and cry for Tomoko. It is a very funny scene, after all, yet you’ll want to pity Tomoko for believing she’s not the only one struggling with extreme socializing problems, and that it turns out that she is. She puts on her Beats by Dr. Dre-ish earphones and plays her favorite Yandere Boys to escape it all.

RATING: 7.3/10

Story
Visuals
Audio

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