Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!,
No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular!,
It’s Not My Fault That I’m Not Popular!,
Written By Nico Tanigawa
Directed By Shin Onuma
Producer Silver Link
Original Run July 8, 2013 – September 24, 2013 (12 episodes finished)
Genre Comedy, School, Shounen, Slice of Life
Fifteen year old Tomoko Kuroki has 50+ years of dating experience in the Otome Game World with 100 boys. Wishing that it would be the same in high school, she sadly realizes that she is a socially awkward individual who yearns to fit in.
Perhaps it is the society’s fault that Tomoko Kuroki turned into a “misfit”. She clearly blames reality for how she was turned into a loner, simply because she cannot relate to any of her classmates (and tends to bash on what they are into) and highly expects that life in reality is the same as in the game she plays. Yet, she fails to realize that she is just having a hard time to communicate and relate to people. Watamote is centered on an alienated individual who struggles to fit in and has done a great job in highlighting these struggles in the detailed, well-described scenes where Tomoko attempts to be as popular, to have as many friends and to date as many boys, all of which she ends failing at.
The depressing and tragic atmosphere makes the anime fulfill its purpose. Its main purpose is to make Tomoko worth-sympathizing, as well as to create a typical loner story line where other socially awkward introverts can relate to burdens she has faced (my 15 year old self can totally relate to Tomoko’s life story, being as socially awkward as her back then). Self-alienation, isolation, strong desire and struggle to fit in are Watamote’s crucial themes. Teenage burdens – including family problems and strong desire for popularity and having many friends – are as emphasized like in other school anime.
Not forgetting to mention that Watamote is unpredictable. It is often predicted that Tomoko would end up being popular as she has always wanted (and ends up regretting it later on), yet it turns out that she has given up realizing she is not fit enough for the category. The soundtracks and the artwork, however, are indifferent. Both opening and ending themes may be catchy, yet are trying hard to fit the anime’s central theme (and do not entirely succeed).
Despite its areas of success lies the areas of improvement. One of these weaknesses includes its dragging scenes. There are instances when the audience feels like he or she is only wasting his or her time to watch one episode, and he or she would rather do something else than keeping up with Watamote. Another weakness lies in the stereotyping, wherein Tomoko is revealed to be an anime/manga otaku and a hardcore gamer. This heavily implies that lovers of anime, manga and video games tend to be loners with poor social life, or that loners tend to be anime, manga and video game lovers. It would be best if the main character has a more developed profile other than a mere isolated gamer and otaku (e.g. can be a character who has a sad past, doesn’t get along with his or her family, been left by his or her best friend for other friends and is now struggling to become popular believing that he or she can find himself or herself there). Likewise, it would be best if the scenes are done in a more worth-tuning way.
The anime is as far as impressive. It has well outlined the futility of being popular with heaps of friends, as shown how Tomoko ended up surrendering due to such sudden realization. Meanwhile, it has clearly achieved its purpose into making the audience sympathize with Tomoko and relate to her. The plot well describes the sad life of the loner as it intends to, although it can be more developed with less stereotypes and more thrilling scenes.
Overall Rating 3.75/5 stars (7.5/10)