Before I actually go into what this show is, I feel like I need to explain the name. There has been a pretty distinct trend in anime and japanese light novels as of late where naming your anime title or light novel has become a game of ” How much of the basic plot can you vaguely summarize in a weird sentence?” Basically, I’m talking about the breakout hits from the last few years such as “Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai” and “Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteru“. It’s because of this weird new trend that some production companies have gone so far as to devise little abbreviated names for their series. Ones that are short and easy to remember. Watamote is such a title since it’s full official name is “Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!” which translates to “No Matter How I Look at It, It’s Your Fault I’m Not Popular!“
Analysis: Ever since Otaku no Video, it seems like the slightly romanticized interpretation of the anime otaku has been growing in popularity to the point that we have entire anime series devoted to that subset of the Japanese population like Genshiken, Comic Party and, Doujin Work. However, lately it has become popular to peel away some of the rose-colored gild these shows place on anime otaku, hell, Kengo Hanazawa has made a decent career from it. Watamote is one of these shows.
When I wrote my review of Flowers of Evil, I talked about how the main protagonist thought himself to be a demigod among ants in terms of intelligence because he read french literature from the 18th century but, in reality, that attitude was just a facade to hide his insecurities and the fact that he had all the personality of blank wall. Watamote is a similar tale of a young otaku girl who deludes herself into believing, as the title suggests, that it is not her fault that she isn’t more popular. These delusions of hers lead to hilarious results. seeing as Watamote is a show about an anime otaku, it is awash in anime references from Fate/Zero, Kuroko no Basket, and Death Note to name a few. I was actually pleasantly surprised when I watched an episode and was confronted with a reference that I could not place. I assumed it was from a Makoto Shinkai film and called it a day.
I have to applaud Watamote for accomplishing something that few comedy anime series can do; be consistently funny and charming without getting dull. All of the jokes and hilarious situations succeed at hitting home and leave you wondering “What will Tomoko get herself into next?”If I had one major issue with the show it would have to be its soundtrack. Most of the background music for this show is this clumsy, oafish sounding horn that sounds like it should be the soundtrack for the life of a morbidly obese man.
Verdict: musical choices aside, Watamote is a solid little comedy that is fresh enough to grab my attention. I plan to follow this weekly.