WataMote, also know by the full title No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! Is a twelve anime comedy series with a simplistic premise and decent laughs.
The main plot of the anime is about Tomoko Kuroki, a high-school student that has dreams of becoming popular. However, Tomoko has an introverted personality, terrible social anxiety and a very neurotic nature. Despite her problems being played for comedy, the series makes it clear that she suffers from more than just shyness. Several times she convinces herself that people are talking about her and can hardly gather the courage to order food at a restaurant.
Most episodes all follow a simple premise. Tomoko gets a crazy idea to become popular, uses that idea only for it to backfire and comes up with another idea in the next episode. One memorable episode is when Tomoko combines several different examples of fashion only to look less appealing than before with her version of the social media trend known as the duck face.
Due to the episodic nature the end result of each comedic premise is easy to predict. A few times the series drops a few subtle hints at the development of Tomoko not being as alone as she thinks. But these are hints are few and far between. However, the comedy works from WataMote showing a pseudo self-awareness making several affection parodies of various anime including “Death Note”, “Another”, “K-On”. Anime tropes are also mentioned like when Tomoko becomes excited when she is placed near a window like most anime protagonists are.
Despite the fact that Tomoko’s issues are played for laughs the audience is easily shaped to feel related to her. We all feel uncomfortable, aloof and socially awkward at times. Just like Tomoko we all remember moments where we tried social fads or wore different clothes that in hindsight made us look silly. So we feel invested in Tomoko’s goal to transition from awkward teenager to adult like we did. Tomoko serves as an absurdest example of how social anxiety, neurotic behavior, and shyness distort our reality and make things more difficult for ourselves. The first season was enjoyable, light entertainment and I hope for the development of Tomoko as the series continues.