Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omarea ga Warui!, or Watamote for short, or No Matter How I Look At It, It’s Your Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! is a nice little slice of life comedy that follows the main character Tomoko Kuroki on her journey to become popular in high school. The show is 1 season with 12 episodes. I will say that this anime will either be an anime that you can relate to wholeheartedly or will be one of the most awkward anime viewing experiences of your life; like watching High School DxD with your parents awkward. If you can get past the awkwardness of it the show can actually be downright hilarious. The show really likes to parody other anime either by recreating scenes from them like the famous Ghost in the Shell scene with Makoto on top of the building with the sniper rifle or just flat out changing the name like when Tomoko referred to her gym class life as “Kuroki’s Basketball” which is a clear parody of Kuroko’s Basketball. I found the parody’s funny but what I found the most hilarious were the “talks” that Tomoko had with her little brother Tomoki (I know creative parents right?) in order to practice her conversation skills which usually ended with Tomoki telling his sister to get the hell out of his room. On a more serious note the show itself tried to portray a serious topic through a comedic lens and that topic is social anxiety. At first sight it is very easy to see that Tomoko suffers from this. Granted this is because she usually stays in her room all night playing dating simulators or watching anime but what the show is trying to show is that this is happening to the youth of Japan. The turning point, at least for me, in the show is when Tomoko starts hanging out with her friend from middle school who moved and finds out how much she has changed. Her friend has turned into a typical high school girly girl, which Tomoko would just call a slut, and what’s even more is that she has a boyfriend. This news really shakes Tomoko and the whole rest of the series she is trying to be like her friend Yuu. There are a couple times throughout the series where Tomoko is so close to finally making a friend but then does something to try and impress them and it ends up scaring them off. At the end of the series Tomoko finally realizes that it doesn’t matter what other people think of her and that she is just going to be herself and hopefully that will help her with her shyness. The story is a great one about finding yourself and just trying to be you but does so through comedy.
As I said earlier the main character is Tomoko Kuroki. She has just started high school and she is determined to break out of her shell. Tomoko’s days usually consist of getting up, going to school, coming home, playing dating simulators, watching anime, going to sleep. She is very socially awkward and has a hard time talking to anyone who isn’t her family members or her friend Yuu. In her head Tomoko sees herself as an anime protagonist (if you don’t catch that irony then you shouldn’t watch the show) and tries to come up with different character types for herself but in the end they just separate herself even more from her peers. In order to practice with conversations she makes her brother talk to her unwillingly. She will sit in his room and talk for hours about things that he really could care less about but surprisingly he listens for awhile before telling her to get the hell out of his room. Tomoko will often make anime parody references in her head and seemingly enjoys this. Tomoko is also very strongly hinted to be bisexual because of the advances she makes at her friend Yuu but this could also just be because Yuu is the only person outside of her family that Tomoko feels comfortable around. I really enjoyed the characters in Watamote and the interactions between them especially between Tomoko and her brother Tomoki. Along the way there were times where I really felt bad for Tomoko. There are a few scenes throughout the show where Tomoko finally just breaks down and cries because she is afraid that she’ll never fit in or have any friends. I really found myself kind of sympathizing with her and that is where I think the show is at it’s best because it is very rare for a comedy to make you laugh and feel like crying all within the same episode. This is just an example of how well the characters are designed for Watamote and they are absolutely perfect for the type of show that Watamote is. The character layout is simple and straight forward and doesn’t confuse the viewer which keeps you focused on the funny parts.
Ok let me just take a second to fan girl over the soundtrack to Watamote for a second because it was freaking amazing!! As you can probably tell by my post a few days ago I really loved the opening to the show. It is not what you would expect for a show like this and I think that’s why it fit so well; it wasn’t the expected. You have a comedy show with a kick ass heavy metal rock song as an opening. The male and female vocals in the song blended so well together and what made it really cool was during the opening animation when Tomoko would mouth the words to some of the lyrics so it was like she was saying them. I can’t say with full certainty but I’m 99% sure that the song was written specifically for the show which is really cool. Not only does the song have the show name in the lyrics but the entire song is basically how Tomoko feels and the animation that goes with the song emphasizes this. The main ending track was pretty decent as well but what I thought was interesting is sometimes they would change up the ending. I know my favorite variant ending was after the fireworks episode. The song is called Summer Festival and is sung by the vocaloid Miku Hatsune. Again another kick ass track that you wouldn’t expect from this show. If you haven’t heard that song you need to go listen to it; I’ve also been thinking about maybe posting it sometime this week as well. Overall the soundtrack to Watamote went above and beyond my expectations and it is one of my all time favorite soundtracks.
Visually Watamote was very well done and attention to detail was very apparent. The character costumes and details on them including subtle changes in lighting and complexion were superbly done. The color choices really reflected the mood in each scene. Also I liked how Tomoko changed colors based on how she was feeling. This was a nice touch that I felt added to the show in a subtle way but in a way that without it would’ve made the show lose some of it’s charm. That was actually the theme, I feel, to the visuals of the show; all the small things will add up to a great thing.
For Watamote I watched the show itself in the English dub and the OVA in the Japanese version. I was surprised at the voice cast for the show. By that I mean how little “well known” voice actors there were in the show. I’ll be honest I only recognized one and that was Tomoko’s. I remember when this show first came out and it was very popular so I surprised when Monica Rial was the only person I recognized. I bet you guys are probably starting to think that I only watch shows with Monica in them but assure you these last few animes have all been chosen by chance. Either way I feel like Monica Rial was the perfect voice for Tomoko because she already has that kind of younger sounding voice and she really shined during the scenes when Tomoko would have an anxiety attack. I thought the voice actor for Tomoko’s brother Tomoki was also very good. He had the perfect voice for that brother that just wants to be left alone but his sister always seems to bug him. The Japanese cast was decent for the most part however, I felt that Tomoko’s voice was too deep for her character in Japanese but other than that I thought it was perfect.
Overall Watamote was very funny. There were times that I wanted to skip ahead just because it would get weird and downright uncomfortable to watch at times but I’m glad that I stuck with it. This show will make you laugh and feel sad sometimes all in the same episode. The show really relies on it’s viewers to have some decent anime knowledge in order to get the several jokes and references that are in the show. The version I watched would usually give the viewers a note to what the references were in case they didn’t get them. I highly recommend Watamote to anyone who is a fan of anime. You will love it and you’ll laugh harder than you probably should but that is the fun of Watamote. If anything at least you’ll have a kick ass soundtrack to listen to while you watch the show. I’m giving Watamote an 8/10!