This little slice of life anime seems chock full of comedy and humor, but does it have what it takes to actually be worth while? Take a look at this review for Watashi ga Motenai no wa dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! (Watamote)!
[ What is Watashi ga Motenai no wa dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!? ]
The name of this anime “Watashi ga Motenai no wa dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!” stands for “No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!“. Judging from the name you would figure that the main character is going to be mad at someone, or even a group of people for spoiling their chances at popularity; this is not the case…entirely.
This anime focuses on her attempts at gaining popularity and breaking her hermit-like nature during her first year as an high school student, along with the melancholy, troubles, and predicaments that it brings her.
[ Story Review and Impressions ]
The story line that is presented here is rather simple in itself: An unpopular high school girl realizes how delusional she was about her social skills and realizes she must do something about it or be doomed to a life of mediocrity. The story line covers her quest to become someone who is fawned over by boys and adored by girls so that she may enjoy her current life to its fullest. Despite the premise seeming like a regular slice-of-life high school comedy, it comes off very close to heart by presenting multiple scenarios that someone like myself (Who happens to relate very close to the main character) can identify with and thus become intrigued by, allow me to elaborate further.
Whether it be that the main character is attempting to change herself for the sole purpose of becoming exactly what she believes the opposite sex would want, or even by trying to emulate her popular best friend’s “transformation” into something greater, you cannot help rooting for her every step of the way.
I admit, the plot in itself is nearly non-existent because there is no clear goal to reach except the state of being “popular”, which is completely different for every single person. Therefore, we cannot tell whether or not she is making any progress towards her personal resolutions and there is no driving force to wonder what that destination truly is. However, for a series such as this where the character takes center spotlight, I feel nothing more than the idea of what she is trying to accomplish is sufficient enough to warrant no true depth or plot. However, I do feel that this series’ end is inconclusive on whether or not this 13 episode season will be the end of this anime or if we will see a second season.
[ Character Development and Impressions ]
WataMote does an EXCELLENT job with the main character, Kuroki Tomoko. I believe the main focus of the series is just how she reacts to things rather than being popular, this is could be proven by how she thinks and acts. I for one, find it extremely lovable and relatable. In fact, I will say that she happens to be so relatable and down-to-earth as a character that she reminds me of the female version of myself, or that if I happened to be be a woman I would be exactly as she is. She is a loner, extremely shy, highly perverse, and has a pretty morbid sense of the world despite her longing to blend well with everyone else (Which may actually be the cause of her being so pessimistic to begin with).
She tends to go through phases to try and figure out HOW to be popular. She tries at some point to be the quiet girl, eating very quickly because she thinks others will find it cute, and even attempts to emulate her best friend (Even tries to work at a similar type of place in hopes to gain some of the “Moe” aspect which her friend seems to have), all to no avail. Ultimately she believes she is not good enough and this causes her to be anything but her natural self because she feels she is not good enough (This can be perceived from how she tends to analyze herself, stating only really the bad aspects of her personality and not thinking she is adorable exactly how she is). More proof of this happens when Kuroki is visited by someone who idolizes her, a relative who calls her “Nee-san” or “Big sister”. She ends up lying about many things, having a boyfriend, being popular, even to the point of cheating in card game full of little kids in order to try and impress her. She values herself a loser and this is the core behind the problems she faces.
Beyond this she is also pretty jealous and can also appear to be quite shallow. The reason why I say she is pretty jealous is that her best friend in middle school was in the same boat she was in, however she cleaned her act up and is now very attractive and popular from her perspective; even to the point she wants to become more like her and she feels uneasy at first around her because she feels like they are no longer losers together. I say she is pretty shallow because she has a tendency to fawn over and welcome the attention of any guy she comes across, except the one time she had to be around someone who was fat. During an episode she was paired up in art class with an obese guy to draw portraits of each other, she day dreamed if they were to hang out and IMMEDIATELY renounced the thought on nothing more than him being overweight, even when she saw his drawing and was so impressed she wanted her art teacher to copy it (Despite her thinking he just drew something down and did not really pay attention to it initially), she still did not make any remarks that he may have been someone she would want to date despite his weight.
Despite how bad she wants to be popular, it appears that Tomoko is also equally as afraid of it; this problem in itself spurts out in various personality traits. This shows throughout the series by making her deathly be afraid to be seen by classmates, impossibly nervous when talking to boys (Even the teacher as she is leaving the school), and even to the voice actor whom she asks to record things for. Also, Tomoko seems to be highly sexual and also angry, this is shown by how often she wishes people would die, talk about people under her breath, reference sexual material, and also how badly she craves guys (Such as when she was talking about the “deflowering” scene, where she imagined her “first time” being taken by a group of men). A good example of her doing both is when she was talking about one of the female managers for the guys baseball team where she was making fun of the girl saying, “As a manager, it’s my job to to take care of your bats down there too!”, obviously being mean and making a sexual innuendo simultaneously.
Tomoko continuous throughout the entire series trying to come up with schemes, lies, ploys, and various shenanigans in order try and achieve her desired social status. She does not really mature nor develop further from this mentality, nor does she find a certain way she can act that benefits what she wants to be. However, she seems to have accepted the way that she is by the end of the series and seems to want to move forward as she is; realizing that the way she acts can only be categorized as “unpopular”, but does not seem to mind.
[ Other Mentions ]
There are a few things that I want to mention that does not fit into any of the categories presented above, but are pretty cool otherwise and it would be a shame to pass them up.
|Tomoko Yagami? Why not!|
The first one happens to be the reason I posted her holding the card above, it is “Crypt Ghast” from Magic the Gathering. I noticed when Tomoko went to the card game tournament it looked strangely familiar, come to find out it was exactly what I expected (Me and my friends play Magic, so that was very cool). I even noticed that when she is looking up how to be popular on her computer late at night, she begins to move the mouse rapidly around, just like Yagami Light does when he is writing names in the death note during Death Note (Not the gif to the left of this paragraph). Even on facebook just the other day my friend Mionca commented that she had found a reference to Hayao Miyazai’s “Whisper of the Heart” (Funny enough, it is actually the day dream of her and the obese guy in art class I was talking about earlier). I am quite sure there are many others once you begin to analyze things and pay close attention to the details, but even just these three alone are sufficient for a whole new level of awesome.
Another thing I would like to point out is the opening for WataMote. The song, which goes by the same title “Watashi ga Motenai no wa dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!” is quite refreshing in that not many anime openings feature rock music (The most noticeable ones off the top of my head is “What’s Up People?” by Maximum the Hormone, which plays during the second season opening of Death Note and “Respect for the Dead Man” by Pay Money for my Pain, which is the opening song for the first season of Nobunagun). Also, I love how insane Tomoko looks, which backs up the argument again by how angry and mean she can sometimes be; more than likely we are just seeing manifestation of her hatred cause by the frustrations of not being the person she wants to be, being doomed to a life of unpopularity and a unfulfilled existence.
[ The Verdict ]
|Erm….You okay Tomoko? @_@|
STRENGTHS – Tomoko is absolutely adorable and very relatable, Outrageous scenarios that turns simple things into complex situations (In a good way), unpredictability and random occurrences/reactions keeps you anticipating what will happen next.
WEAKNESSES – No major story or plot lines, despite her wanting a boyfriend there is no main male characters besides her younger brother (Tomoki), no definitive outcome (No idea if this concludes this anime or if a second season will be made).
Without a doubt this is one of my absolutely FAVORITE anime ever, and one of my top picks for 2013. I recommend that everyone who has ever been a shut-in, introvert, unpopular, or just a loner in general watch this epic take of Kuroki Tomoko’s life. I really felt like they did a good job in showing the struggles of someone who is unpopular and how desperate and outrageous things can be for them inside of their own head and the strife it can cause for them in their everyday lives.
The plot is nearly non-existent as this anime is nothing more than a bunch of random events throughout the course of Tomoko’s first year in high school, however it does well to demonstrate who Tomoko is and the hilarity that ensues is both pleasing and addictive. Just watching her reminds me so much of myself I could not help but to empathize with her, and because of her emotions and multi-tiered personality, I could not help but to find her so damn lovable. Amazing anime through and through and I SINCERELY hope that we see a second season. I even liked it so much my good friend Bianca has pre-ordered me her nendoroid figure from Crunchyroll, imagine that.