Well, got a new review out within two weeks, guess I might be on the right track, except for how I watched half of this before Attack On Titan, and diving into my next review may take a while. Either way, I’ve been following the WataMote manga, so it’s not too much of a stretch to see why I’m sitting here today reviewing the anime adaptation. Which happens to have one of the oddest sounding subtitles. “It’s you guys’” is a phrase that I’d associate with y’all, as being something that is acceptable, but should not be used very often. Oh, but I’m rambling, on with the short review!
Watamote: It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular Review
Studio: Silver Link
Length: 12 episodes
Availability: Subtitled on CrunchyRoll
WataMote is the story of Tomoko Kuroki. A bit of a social outcast- sorry, a total social outcast beginning her first year of high school with delusions of grandeur presented by how orestine and exceptional those three sacred years are viewed in Japan. But seeing as how she made about zero contact with any of her peers, and the few friends she made in middle school have differing paths, all that is left in flux is how she reacts to this situation. Not well is the best I could muster while sounding positive, as excellent effort cannot really apply to Kuroki.
It is easy to assume that she eventually does rise up the social ladder, and perhaps learning to live as a social animal, but that is not the case. Kuroki is a spineless, rude, arrogant, and really rather dim girl who doesn’t get enough sleep, take care of herself physically, or do much aside from lounging around. Which as a lifestyle would be plausible if you are able to recognize the problems and defend your choice, but Kuroki wants to be popular, the girl who is friends with everyone. She wants to basically be a heroine like in her Japanese animes.
An underlying message that the girl never seems to realize. Probably due to how she is too busy being afraid to say the simple phrase, “goodbye” while hoping that annoying people next to her are murdered. Yet, there is something about this character that resonates with me, and apparently plenty of alcoves of the internet, and I’d say it is the idea of her being relatable to a certain sort, but never nearly as bad as them. Appearing as a sort of bad ending from a certain point in one’s life that could’ve resulted in being the 21st century version of Holden Caulfield.
All of which sounds like a keen premise for a dark drama that ends with next to nothing being accomplished and possibly a suicide, but WataMote takes the more comedic route. Though the tone is still set somewhere between grey and pitch black, as it is mostly Kuroki going through the world and flailing through the life she assembled for herself. Resulting in a less than satisfied person, and me wishing there was a way to communicate with a character and tell her that she should not talk about an imaginary boyfriend you bang daily just so your cousin would think you’re cool.
All of which seems to be a very large amount of context before getting to the big question of whether or not the show is worthwhile from a narrative perspective, and I would say so. The show does keep up a series of scenarios that do border on being mean spirited, which is the line that I place on something being entertaining and just, well, mean. With Kuroki being something of a moral-less coward who would not so much fall to hell or rise to heavy as much as she would wallow about in Purgatory than anything else. To the point where her rank of being around the four billionth best person sounds about right, as she follows the same sympathy evoked by a pathetic villain who just got punched in the face really hard.
But that was already in place through the couple dozen chapters that follow the same basic storylines, how does it weigh as an adaptation? I’d say that it fares pretty darn well, with lots of little things to make WataMote: It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular pop a bit more than one would expect from a show about a social failure. Polygons of different shades to style light sources, faceless background character to emphasize Kuroki’s lack of care towards most people. Along with the occasional instance where she either breaks down into an abstract portrait or just quivers up, her shaky animations in particular making her seem all the more awkward. With the voice actress being notable, something of a rarity for me when reviewing subtitled anime, by accurately encapsulating her character’s unconfident and not traditionally appealing voice.
Which is the bulk of what I have to say about WataMote. As the majority of the show is ultimately Kuroki trying and failing in her attempt to become popular, despite how she never asks her self the ever critical question of why. It is very much a depressing tale when looking at it in the grand scope of things, painting a dark picture of someone who would likely become a Hikikomori or at the very least a NEET. But instead it chooses to be a not by any means upbeat, but entertaining tale of a person trying to improve themselves and failing. When writing it out it sounds awful, but I’d be damned if it wasn’t enjoyable to watch.
An impressive product, but won’t always astound due to a fair number of flaws that are difficult to ignore. Still worth your cash and a few hours of your time.