No Matter How I Look at It It’s YOUR Fault You’re Not Popular (Watamote Anime Review)

WARNING SPOILERS!

Genre: Slice of Life, Black Comedy, Cringe Comedy 

Rating: PG 13

Studio: Silver Link

Episodes: 12

Original run: 9th July – 24th September 2013

Available on: Crunchyroll, DVD Release

Languages Available: Japanese, English

Subtitles Available: English

Manga Available? Yes

Overview:

Tomoko Kuroki is fresh into high school and thinks she can become popular right away because she is skilled in playing otome games. Instead she finds herself to be an unsociable loner and has to reevaluate her situation.

Review:

If you ever want to know what second hand embarrassment truly feels like then this is the anime for you. After hearing a lot of people say this series is painful to watch I always avoided Watamote but after the lovely Irina reviewed it, it made me excited and want to go and give it a shot.

Watamote gave me some very mixed feelings and emotions. First of all many of the feelings that Tomoko carries are relatable. She is painfully awkward in social situations. She can’t order a coffee without completely making a mess out of it and that’s relatable making Tomoko someone who is easy to sympathise with as many people experience similar feelings in social situations. I know I certainly do. Her inability to make friends is upsetting because as a viewer you know and understand her and want her to do well because she is trying. It’s that predicament of “if only you just got to know her” but her lack of social skills gets in the way of that. This side of her was so easy to connect with and I found many of her traits within myself making the relatable factor hit a little closer to home than I would have liked.

Watamote Anime Review

She is once you get passed the layers of awkwardness

However, at the same time Tomoko seems to be her own worst enemy. The attitude she has is all over the place. She wants friends and even fantasies about it but then calls everyone around her and acts superior in her inner dialogue even calling her one and only friend the B word just because she is doing well and looks cute. She doesn’t seem to get along with her family either as her mother is always questioning her (questionable) actions and she isn’t the best big sister in the world as she constantly invades her brother Tomoki’s space and ruins his things. Her perverted side didn’t hold my sympathy either. That side of her left a bad taste in my mouth making me wonder if I wanted route for her. Perverted characters aren’t a rarity in anime but something about her perverted side was uncomfortable. Her awkward, perverted or unsociable traits seemed amplified to make the scenarios much worse than they may be in real life and making me often want to grab a pillow and bury my head in embarrassment.

Watamote Anime Series Review

Not the best conversation starter

The development of the show was the disappointing factor. The opening song, which was incredible by the way, depicts Tomoko wrapped in chains before breaking out of them towards the end. This signified the idea that Tomoko would break out of all the things holding her back and she would grow as a character. Instead, each episode held a painfully embarrassing encounter where she would often drop herself in it and would have to worm her way out. Instead they could have chosen to build from each encounter instead of just hopping from one painful moment to the next and she would have gained something from it each time. The ending was undesirable as Tomoko basically accepts that this is it and she will always be an “unpopular girl”. Moral of the story is accept your fate even if it sucks I guess?

I have seen comments and theories both in the comments on Crunchyroll and around the internet suggesting Tomoko may be suffering from social anxiety or something like Aspergers. I did do a bit of research on both of these ideas and some parts of her personality do seem to match up. I don’t want to claim she has anything because i’m certainly not an expert and have no right to label her as anything. That might not even be what the original creator was going for. She may just be a socially awkward loner who struggles with making friends.

Disclaimer: I don’t want people to get the wrong idea that if she does have something that I’m making fun of it. I’m in no way doing that because of my criticisms of the series. It’s just a theory that I wanted to point out. 

Whilst many of the awkward situations were amusing and the anime references were spot on I just feel disappointed with Watamote. I would have preferred if it had developed in a more positive light instead of Tomoko being left ultimately in the exact situation she began in. A fun but ultimately unsatisfactory series that left me both laughing and cringing.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!

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15 comments

  • I really love this show, as you said the main character is pretty awkward but we like her for it. For me I never got this show being cringy, I just found it funny. It’s a bit weird but I cannot cringe at the show since I just laugh at it. The only time I did cringe was when she was calling to a boy in a classroom saying she was singe, expecting him to ask her out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah she is great and it’s awesome to see a main character like her in anime! Each person sees it differently and I understand because a lot of it was funny to me too and I think my biggest cringe was when she tricks her cousin into thinking that guy she met in the rain was her boyfriend and her cousin tackled the poor guy about it! I laughed and cringed a lot at that 😅😂

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’m sorry you had such a mixed experience. I guess when you’re a huge dork that’s used to making a fool of themselves these moments aren’t so much cringe as comforting. It’s nice to know I’m not the only looser in the world, you know.
    And I liked Tomoko’s sex positive attitude but that’s a matter of tastes and possibly age.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t be sorry! I’m glad I watched it honestly and your review is what made me watch it! I see what you mean and I’m the opposite 😂 I’m very quiet and shy in real life and don’t like to do anything that will make me feel embarrassed but I see how that it could be a comfort for some. Depends on the personality that you have. And shush you you’re not a loser! Yeah I think that area depends on age and taste for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  • lol, as someone that deals with aspergers on a daily basis, I can tell you she doesn’t have it. She’s just socially awkward, and she did get a new friend, I believe, in the manga.
    and I really love her She is relatable, but also flawed, and I also love how she makes us question if we should root for her. It’s pretty brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that’s good to know! I only wrote that because I saw someone in the comments mention it who said they had it too and it got me thinking! Hope I didn’t offend you with that suggestion as that wasn’t my intention! Yeah at the end of the day I think she is just socially awkward and that’s really cool to know! Good to know she actually gets a new friend eventually!
      Yeah I think that’s the perfect way to put it! I found myself questioning why I was rooting for her so many times but at the end of the day I just wanted her to succeed so badly!

      Liked by 1 person

  • If you are looking for growth, I recommend the manga. Tomoko ends up gaining her own harem of friends and her growth, along with those around her, is nice to watch. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that recommendation! I hope to check out the manga at some point soon! It makes me very happy to hear that she manages to grow and gather friends in the manga! Don’t be sorry, in the end I’m glad I gave it a go! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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