Another show with a monstrapatious title, this is “Watashi ga Motenai no wa dō Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!”, also known as “WataMote” and for those of you not fluent in Japanese, we’ll call it “No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!”
It revolves around Tomoko Kuroki, as she is going to be a first-year in high school. Having conquered dating Sims games, she believes, to the very fiber of her being, that she will be fiercely popular. She painfully discovers this is far from the truth as she winds up being an unsociable loner and is forced to take a long hard look at herself for the first time in years.
I had a very difficult time with this show, as I was never really certain if it was a comedy (as she makes all these horrible mistakes and missteps in trying to break out of the jail she has put herself in) or a tragedy (as we kind of see a slide into insanity, as she is unable to cope or understand what is going wrong with her life). All of her attempts meet with failure and there is honestly no one she can turn to for guidance, help, a shoulder to cry on, or perhaps something from the local WacDonald’s to nosh upon.
She has permanent bags under her eyes, as she gets far too little sleep, because she is busy, busy, busy with her internet activities or computer games or whatever runs her life to understand what is going wrong with her. To make matters worse, she asks an elementary school friend, Yū Naruse, over, and learns that the ugly caterpillar who was her friend has transformed into a sparkling butterfly. In redoubling her efforts to be something, she merely deepens the hole. Her brother, Tomoki, is a year younger, but offers no help or guidance at all. Similar to his sister, he, at least, has athletics as an outlet and is a popular soccer player, but is constantly irritated by his sister’s intrusions into his life.
I just did not know to laugh or cry. You feel for Tomoko and her desire to be at least a tad more popular, but she is never picked for the team, eats lunch alone and belongs to no clubs. And even when someone does reach out (Megumi Imae, student council president), she just does not know how to react and so is lost.
This reminds me of a joke, which explains the show perfectly:
A man was sitting on his front porch when it started to rain. The rain came down harder and harder and the man realized that it was a flood. So the flood waters were rising and when the water started to spill over the porch, a man in a rowboat comes by.
And the man in the rowboat says, “Need any help?” But the man said, “Nope, the Lord’ll take care of me!”
A few hours later, the man was standing on a chair on his front porch and another rowboat comes by. And the man yells, “Need any help?” But the man smiles and says, “Nope, the Lord’ll take care of me!”
A few hours later, the waters continue to rise. The man is now on his roof and a helicopter comes by. The pilot yells, “Need any help?!” But the man just says, “Nope! The Lord’ll take care of me!”
A few hours later, the flood gets to be too much for the man and he drowns. When he enters Heaven, he asks the Lord, “Lord, why didn’t you take care of me?”
The Lord says, “I sent you two rowboats and a helicopter!”
She is expecting a specific epiphany and she misses all kinds of opportunities, as it wasn’t what she wants or was expecting. This show is a caliber of companion piece to “The World God Only Knows”, but at least Keima Katsuragi had an idea as to what to do, even though he detested it. Tomoko seems to have learned nothing from all those games she played and there is a genuine concern that she will not learn anything from all of this.
I couldn’t bring myself to laugh and I wouldn’t allow myself to cry. I leave it to you to decide what genre this show is. In any case, it does deserve your attention.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Good, despite self-imposed limitations)
Plot 6 (Rather simplistic)
Pacing 8 (Solid pacing)
Effectiveness 8 (Wonderful cause-and-non effect)
Conclusion 7 (It ends, but it could go on)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would “Okamisan”)
Overall 8 (But is it a ‘dramedy”?)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. It’s you guys’ fault!