Title: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!
Genre: Dark Comedy
Summary: Kuroki Tomoko is a super popular, high school girl who has had 50 years of dating experience and 100 boys… in the Otome game world. In the real world, she is a 15-year-old shut in who has all of the qualities of a “mojo” (a gloomy or unpopular woman). However, when school isn’t going as she expected, and she isn’t as popular as she had thought she was, she takes a look at herself in the mirror for the first time in a few years, and has some shocking revelations…
Review: Watamote (as all the cool kids are calling it) was one of those anime that had me laughing hysterically right from the get-go. I thought that Tomoko’s character fit perfectly in the world of an awkward high schooler just trying to make it through her high school career. Though I don’t consider myself in the same shoes as her, I would say that there were parts of me that could relate. I didn’t have a problem speaking out loud or participating in trivial conversations with my classmates, but I didn’t exactly stand out. Probably the only people in my class that knew I existed were the ones who sat directly next to me. Tomoko takes things to the next level and even finds it difficult to say goodbye to her teachers.
The thing that really makes a dark comedy is to know that it is indeed meant to be funny. Many people find something to be sad or depressing because the show doesn’t portray well enough that it’s all for laughs. The art work for an anime can play a large role in helping the audience determine whether they should be laughing or crying. Watamote plays with cool colors and shading to bring out the perfect blend for dark comedy. The dark rings around Tomoko’s eyes matched with her not-quite-open eyes shows that she wasn’t the best looking girl, but she also wasn’t completely hideous. This gave the viewer the sense that every scenario she put herself in was all in her head. In fact the entire anime should be thought of as Tomoko’s imagination. The lack of facial expressions (or faces altogether) made a bold statement. We everyone as Tomoko does, all faceless drones living out their cliché lives. Alongside visually dynamic backgrounds and hilarious freeze screens, Watamote did a spectacular job to emphasize its genre. The anime wasn’t meant to be a message about bullying or isolation, it was meant to make you smile.
That’s something that people should take note of when picking this anime up. You’re not meant to just feel sorry for Tomoko, but rather laugh at the crazy things she comes up with. While some of the things portrayed in this anime can hit a little close to home, remember that it’s to make you laugh. It takes a skilled writer, and possibly depressed writer, to bring out the comedic aspects of someone who was feeling closed off from the rest of the world, disconnected from the people around her because she thought everyone was out to get her. While watching Watamote you’ll notice that every bad things that happens to her really wasn’t that bad; they were simply blown out of proportion because Tomoko wanted them to be. It’s something that I feel a lot of people suffer from when they don’t really fit into the norm. This brings me to the next part of the anime that I really enjoyed, the realism of characters. You followed around Tomoko and watched her pull off some crazy stunts like trying to look beautiful with duck face, glasses, ruffled hair, and hiked up skirts because she wanted everyone to think she’s just like them, or to not think she was some freak. However, the characters in the anime act as most people would, indifferent or with common courtesy. Unlike a lot of anime where the main character isn’t “Mr. or Mrs. Popular” there weren’t any actual bullies or people out to get Tomoko. If anything she could be considered the bully because of how she looked down on everyone around her in a fit of jealous rage. The kids in her class didn’t interact with her much, but that wasn’t because they disliked her, they just didn’t know her. It made it all the easier to laugh at what she was going through because the audience knows that nothing really dramatic or devastating was happening. The best way I could’ve described it was, “It’s like looking into a mirror.” Everyone has those moments they wish they could forget, whether it be falling in front of the whole class or being caught in an embarrassing situation from your parents. It’s times like those where you have to look back and laugh at all the silly things you’ve done.
I wanted to take a step back from the comedy and story and talk about the soundtrack for Watamote. If any of you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I was a big fan of the opening, and probably consider it my favorite opening of Summer 2013. The hard rock, powerful vocals, heavy drums, and awesome visuals made it top class. The full version by Suzuki Konomin and Kiba of Akiba is a must listen. I love the mix of screamo and singing. The ending was also hilariously good with very fitting lyrics by Izumi Kitta. She was a great voice actress for Tomoko and did a wonderful job with the ED. The guest appearance by Hatsune Miku in episode six was a greeted with a open arms as well.
Final statements: It’s one of those anime that some people will find hilarious and others will just cringe at. If you don’t’ enjoy watching awkward moments and terribly uncomfortable situations you probably wont like this one. For me I thoroughly enjoyed it and consider it a preferred watch. I’d really like to see a second season, but for now I think the anime has done itself justice and gave me a few good laughs.