First blood of anime series this summer of 2013 for me is Watashi ga Motenai no wa dō Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! otherwise translating to No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! or just WataMote. Simply put, it’s about Tomoko Kuroki, a shut-in girl dreaming of 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 as she enters high school. In fact, it’s the opposite- she becomes an unsociable loner ignored by everyone.
Liking this anime wasn’t very hard for me- I just love how the show strays from the usual setting where the characters meet by fate or destiny through unrealistic cliche scenarios and live happily ever after, and would have a more believable story by having the main character constantly get bashed and stepped upon via simple slice of life 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 puts us in the shoes of Tomoko, and would show us that we can get through our social inhibitions no matter how awkward and embarrassing things can get. Because things will only be like that if we let it.
Seriousness aside, this show really is funny because of how awkward and embarrassing things can get for her, ironically. Tomoko can very well be the definition of otaku and hikikomori itself.
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. Of course she denies she’s listed as one of the unpopular ones as defined in the site, although deep inside she knows it to be oh so true.
She’s even desperate enough to consider casual talk with her classmates as ‘being approached by guys.”
Well, she’s about to start high school the next day and nothing beats that when one wants to start all over again 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 definition 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 concoction of reality defying the physics 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 sympathize. 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.
Anyway, WataMote is still on it’s second episode this week so better watch it while it’s hot!