Konata, your challenger has come.

‘No matter how you look at it, it’s all you guys’ fault that I’m not popular!’ A stupid title like that might set off the Dumb Light Novel alarm bells, but this is based on a manga starring Tomoko the otaku, and possibly the least popular girl in her class. This comes as somewhat of a shock to her because she honestly believed that when she started high school she would be able to change herself enough to become popular. But she’s too dark, too gloomy, and her social skills are almost non-existant. Her efforts to become popular only play out in scenarios in her mind.
She even enlists her also-gloomy brother to help her out (since he’s more popular than she is),  although he’s quite reluctant to as this sister of his has an aura of pure negativity about her at almost all times.


I’d been interested in this manga for a while, although never actually got the chance to read it, so at this point I can’t really compare the two. Anyway, Watamote is…awkward. I think ‘awkward’ is the perfect word for it. It’s about an incredibly awkward person with an awkward personality, with humour that is occasionally funny but often so negative that it’s…awkward. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that, well, this is basically an anime about me in highschool. The thing is, I’m most certainly not the only person who’s said that, because to me Tomoko seems like some kind of personification of a huge percentage of tumblr. Which, of course, makes her plight and social issues highly relatable, but at the same time…it’s awkward. It’s like looking into an ugly mirror and forcing yourself to laugh at how stupid you look. There are times when I’m honestly not sure if I’m supposed to be pitying Tomoko or just laughing at her. And to be brutally honest, I’m really not sure if I want to watch an anime about me in highschool.
However, it does work. If black humour is your thing, Watamote does it very well. A lot of the scenes are very funny (I couldn’t help but crack up over Tomoko playing what was certainly Duel Love or some parody thereof, an actual game that actually exists). It’s hard to really call Tomoko likeable, but she’s a well-crafted character. (On that note, I find it very interesting that this series manages to have an otaku girl in a leading role that it goes out of its way to present as unlikeable, because that almost never happens. Even when the otaku protagonist is male they try to keep him likeable.) She’s actually so unlikeable that she’s likeable, if that makes any sense. Her likeability is entirely based on how unlikeable she is. Basically, she’s the type of person you would never want to listen to online, toxic muttering and all, and I even found myself sympathizing with her brother for having to put up with her as she threatened to kill herself if he didn’t help her, but she is exaggerated to the extent that I like her.
So, yeah. This show is a mixed bag for me. It’s awkward as hell, but there’s something captivating about it all the same.  I should probably read the manga some time.


Out of 5,