Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

WataMote ~ No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! (Watashi ga Motenai no wa dō Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!)

Anime titles are getting longer and longer these days. There's I Couldn't Become a Hero So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job, The Devil is a Part-Timer!, Wannabe the Strongest Fighter in the World, Oreimo (not even going to bother retyping that one) and of course WataMote (yeah, you see the full title above). Undoubtedly, there are others, too. Those are just the ones that come to mind. 

I suppose there is some sort of attraction to long titles these days. Well, hey, I could care less what an anime is called as long as it is good. And WataMote is indeed a good, no, a great anime. Especially if you are or were among the unsociable or unpopular outcasts of society. I myself have never been popular and I generally keep to myself. Not because I prefer things that way, but that is just the way I am. I have a good personality and am naturally witty and have dashing good looks (well, okay, maybe I am laying it on a bit thick here), but I am also a little skewed, too. I didn't actively seek out to become unusual or bizarre; things just kind of happened that way. And that's cool. I'm cool with how I am for the most part. 

Kuroki Tomoko is the main protagonist of the series and she has a goal to become popular in high school. Unfortunately, Tomoko is so awkward around others that she can't even go into a WcDonald's (yeah, you read that right) without breaking into a nervous stutter and fidget while ordering her food. Sad to say, I can totally understand that. When the cashier asks her to repeat what she wanted to have to drink because she mumbled too softly, Tomoko becomes embarrassed and says she didn't want anything to drink. God, I have been there. Trust me, nothing is as embarrassing when you ask a quiet and shy type to speak louder. It ain't gonna work. 

I mean, this show is so filled with embarrassing and shamefully humorous moments that I didn't think I could make it through. You can't just tell someone to be less awkward or be more sociable because it isn't like that at all. It's something that either will happen over time with growth and age and attempts at interaction or not at all. But never mind being "normal and sociable." Being popular? Well, that's a whole nother kettle of fish, folks. And that is what Tomoko (rather delusionally, I must say) wants to be. She wants to be one of the "popular bitches." 

Each one of these twelve episodes of this delightful series shows Tomoko trying her hardest (relatively speaking) to win her fellow students over to where they treat her with respect and awe. Of course, nothing really works out for the best for her. If anything, the worst happens to her on a consistent basis. And that is what is so damn funny. As well as sad. 

My funny bone rarely gets tickled in such a way that I legitimately fall on the floor and laugh my butt off for a good ten minutes, but I will admit that WataMote had me laughing so hard that my tummy began to hurt. I had to pause and squint to watch some of the scenes. Oh, things were just too unbearable at times. Like bad diarrhea. 

Again, I am speaking as someone who has been on the outside of most social circles. Yeah, I was the guy who spent his summer reading books and watching TV, being jealous of all the cool kids who went to the beach with their buddies. Not that I personally knew any. I'd have thirty minute debates with myself over whether or not I should call some friends up to hang out and then I would talk myself out of it because the sheer thought of me calling somebody... Well, it could very well have been interpreted as a sign of the coming apocalypse. And I wouldn't want that. Yeah, I was that guy.

Trust me, I don't ever want to be a teenager ever again. Nowadays I just don't call people because I hate phones and gadgets with those small-ass buttons. I'm okay with this irrational hatred. 

This short series practically guarantees a case of secondhand embarrassment so strong that you'll find yourself cringing and laughing at the same time. Especially if you've been there. If you haven't then you get a nice (if slightly exaggerated) viewpoint of the socially awkward type going through daily life. 

This anime is also a nice stylistic change in terms of animation. It's so unusual to see characters with actual purple bags under their eyes! We also get anime references galore! I spotted multiple The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya references, an Attack on Titan reference, an Another reference, as well as a few others I can't think of at the moment. One thing I love is when a show admits that other anime actually exists. Since the main character is actually a fan of the genre it also helps us anime fans develop a certain kinship with her. One no one else in the show seems to share. 

The ending song is actually sung by the voice actress of Tomoko (Kitta Izumi) and it is absolutely adorable when combined with the animation of the ending credits. Oddly one of my favorite parts of the show. 

So where would I rank this show on the year? Hmmm... I've seen a lot of good anime this year. I'd need to go back and look at the list, but I think top five would be a good spot for now. I wish the finale could have brought a bit more closure, but that's just the ways things are sometimes. It may not have been the most emotionally satisfying ending, but it was a true one. 

No comments:

Post a Comment