Full Series Review: WataMote

Introduction

In many animes, a young person's entry into high school is a magical time (often, literally magical) where a teen finds their first love, forges friendships that last, and discovers his or her true passions, identity, talents, and values.

And, then there is this show.

Watamote is a bit more realistic, a depiction of the beginning of high school for a hopelessly awkward misfit girl. With no boyfriend, Tomoko Kuroki spends a little too much time playing romance video games aimed at titillating a female audience. Her interludes with friends and attempts to make more in the real world often backfire horribly. She tries to make herself attractive and just comes off as creepy and weird.

Plot Summary

WataMote is best described as a slice-of-life comedy/situation comedy. However, a lot of it seemed more genuine and realistic than many other specimens in that genre, which tend to idealize things just a bit.

Instead of showing the viewer a romantic, idealistic picture of high school life for girls, like in K-On for example, WataMote is more like Daria, in that it's the struggle of a real-feeling misfit girl to find her place in a society in which she feels out of place.

But, while Daria's tone is best described as cynical and sarcastic, WataMote is more hyper and energetic. Tomoko tries really hard, unlike Daria, who doesn't try at all. But in both cases, the girls find that they never truly blossom into cheerleader types, but the show is about them learning to accept that they won't and that that's ok. There's more than one way to be a girl.

Review

WataMote was a success for me, and will probably be a hit primarily with other anime fans, who will be able to relate to not only the socially awkward and introverted nature of the protagonist, but also "get" the numerous anime references thrown in there.

It's basically an affectionate parody of anime fans themselves, but its done in a way that seems much more sympathetic to geeks than other shows lampooning their lifestyle, like Big Bang Theory.

In the end, it's not that Tomoko has to change herself, but that she has to find out what she can do while still being herself, instead of trying to fit into a "popular bubbly girl" mold that just isn't her. So I really like this show, because it's about loving oneself, even when life sometimes makes you hate yourself or wish you could become someone else.

So, for the beleaguered nerd who's tired of feeling like a failure at life because the world does not understand them, check out WataMote. But prepare to cringe a bit at some of the antics of the protagonist.

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