Manga

A review on the Manga series ‘WataMote’

Watamote: No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!

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Plot: “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…”

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No matter how I look at it, It’s you guys fault I’m not popular– is a comedy aimed straight at dysfunctional geeks, or former dysfunctional geeks, who can laugh at their own faults and take them with a grain of salt. It revolves around a socially inept mess of a protagonist who goes through life repeating the cycle of self-embarrassment and loneliness while learning nothing from it, and garnished with anime and pop culture references and parodies. It’s a show that hits painfully close to home for anyone who has social anxieties, yet playful enough that it remains morbidly funny rather than becoming straight-up depressing, most of the time at least. It’s also pretty blunt about who’s really at fault for all the main character’s problems.

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Our social misfit of a protagonist is Tomoko, an unkempt antisocial teenager entering her first year of high school. Despite having difficulty with talking to the opposite sex and having hardly any friends in middle school, Tomoko convinces herself that she will become instantly popular after her high school debut. It goes without saying that this isn’t the case. Instead, she ends up brooding, having odd fantasies, and lamenting the fact she isn’t popular. She spends her days fading into the scenery and going unnoticed by her fellow students, except for her occasional bouts of awkwardness; her days off school are usually spent cooped up in her room. Still, she’s determined to gain popularity among her peers, even if she has absolutely no clue how to go about accomplishing that goal. Cringe inducing awkwardness and hilarity ensue.

Just a little video to give you a feel for what the anime is like:

Director Shin Oonuma has a very busy visual style, constantly throwing colourful and weird imagery into scenes; a habit that has been unnecessary in some of his previous works. This fits Watamote like a glove, however.

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Tomoko has a much skewed outlook on life and an equally as overactive imagination; Oonuma’s manic direction does wonders to illustrate this. Sometimes this comes in little touches like many of the characters having minimal detail in their designs, or Tomoko slowly becoming transparent and fading into the background. Other times it takes form in delirious spectacles, such as any of Tomoko’s ludicrous fantasies. Also adding the unhinged visual design is the oddly angled lighting and colour schemes and visual windows into Tomoko’s thoughts. Tomoko’s character design itself is cute in a dirty abandoned puppy kind of way; giving her some major icon power. You get the feeling that she would look pretty good if she actually took care of herself.

As someone who is only halfway through breaking out of her social anxiety shell, I very much enjoyed the show and there were way too many, “I can relate to that!” or “That is so true!” moments. I’m sure you will love it if you give it a shot. I watched all the episodes on cruncyroll, nice quality and loads well!

By Natasha

Categories: Manga, Reviews

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