OP Sequence

OP: 「私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い!」 (No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!) by (Konomi Suzuki and Kiba of Akiba)

「モテないし、ちょっとイメチェンするわ」 (Motenaishi, Chotto Imechen suru wa)
“Since I’m Not Popular, I’ll Change My Image a Bit”

That definitely goes down as an experience…

I had some idea of what to expect from Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!, both by reputation and from having read bits and pieces of the manga (which is always displayed prominently in seemingly every bookstore manga section in Japan). But still, those don’t really prepare you for the experience of seeing it play out on screen. I’d still consider myself a new viewer in the sense that my reactions can’t be taken as indicative of what loyal manga readers think of the job Oonuma Shin did with their beloved series.

This is a strange sort of comedy to say the least. In fact (though perhaps this is not so unusual for comedies) it may very well be the saddest anime I’ve seen this year. There are obvious comedic elements to Watamote, starting with the often hilarious sight gags and the fact that it may be one of the least politically correct shows you’ll see. But the overriding gut-level reaction from me is that this is more tragic than most tragedies, because hidden underneath the absurdity is a scenario that’s eerily and uncannily close to a very sad reality for many adolescents. Even the aforementioned sight gags are at the expense of the main character, and usually highlight a moment of extreme discomfort for her (which is almost every moment, truth be told).

Watamote is very much the world as seen through the eyes of Kuroki Tomoko (Izumi Kitta). It’s a scary, claustrophobic place, in which most of the people have no faces (they’re just not important enough to Tomoko for her to notice). Tomoko is, simply put, one of the biggest losers you’ll ever see. She not only has no friends, but hasn’t had a conversation with anyone in her high school for three months. She’s addicted to otome games and because of her dexterity with virtual bishounen had convenced herself that high school would be her great blossoming, building on the six glorious times a boy spoke to her in middle school. She has to blackmail her little brother Tomoki (Nakamura Yuuichi) by threatening suicide in order to force him to converse with her for practice. In short – Tomoko may not be a hikikomori, but she may as well be for all her lack of social interaction.

Make no mistake, there are laughs here. When Tomoko experimentally tweaks her look to impress her brother, or disguises herself in a "WcDonald’s" bathroom to avoid being recognized (and pitied) by classmates, or throws up after looking at herself in a mirror for too long I laughed – the visuals are very funny. But this all hits uncomfortably close to reality. Tomoko isn’t a hikikomori, and she’s not being bullied. And what she wants is very reasonable and normal – to have friends, and to be looked at by guys, and to go out on a date, and to be cute. But her life is a complete disaster, a kind of self-contained and self-perpetuating hell – and it’s almost worse because for the most part, her classmates (and brother and teachers) aren’t overtly mean to her. They just ignore her, and she shrinks further and further inside her own neurotic and delusional shell.

I don’t know too many details about mangaka Tanigawa Nico, but I’m guessing she (I’m not even 100% sure she’s a woman) knows something about depression. I grew up with a family member who suffered from it, and the moment when Tomoko threatened to commit suicide if Tomoki didn’t converse with her for an hour a day was one of many jokes that didn’t feel like a joke, because it’s a very unpleasant and real part of living with a depressed person. Tomoki seems like a nice enough kid, guilty of nothing more than being "normal" – and popular – and it sucks for him to be caught up in his sister’s darkness when he’s clearly unequipped to deal with it. The episode is full of those sorts of authentically uncomfortable moments – sometimes I didn’t laugh, and sometimes I laughed and felt bad for laughing. There’s something in the experience of seeing Tomoko as an animated, speaking girl that makes the experience altogether more painful than the manga.

That all leads back to the question of whether Watamote works as an anime. Oonuma Shin is a bit of a hyperactive director, to the point where I often find myself annoyed (as I do sometimes with his mentor Shinbou) and the premiere here is full of his usual visual gimmickry, but because the show is effectively shot from Tomoko’s perspective it works better here than it might (so far anyway). The OP and ED (sung by Kitta) are great – visually clever and lyrically on-point. There was grumbling from some manga fans about Kitta-san’s casting but I think she’s excellent, especially in the quiet moments where Tomoko struggles to eke out a word to her teacher or a fast food cashier. Watamote is clever, dark, emotionally penetrating and often very funny – but it’s too early for me to say whether I’ll actually enjoy it. This is a dark ride, and in a sense I think it would be easier to tag along if this were played straight, rather than for laughs. But then, I’m not absolutely confident yet just how the series wants to be taken – and that’s one of many reasons I’m intensely curious to see where it goes from here.


ED Sequence

ED: 「どう考えても私は悪くない」 (No Matter How I Look At It, It’s Not My Fault) by (Izumi Kitta)



  1. Kinda feeling related, my highschool life was similar, though not on same level. Spending lunch breaks in library because there was nobody to talk to. Inviting half class on birthday and nobody came. Now it is a slightly better picture, I have a few friends and some sort of semblance of social life, but still long ways off from having a girlfriend, for example.

    1. You spent lunch breaks because there was no one to talk to? or because, let’s say, you favored reading over talking to people? I think the answer is the later, so it’s better than it sounds.

      Maybe you have different tastes than most of the others in your community, which is normal. Hence less topics you have to share. During high school I was one of the most social among any peers. Social enough to believing that I was achieving nothing other than talking.

      From univ years I started focusing on reading profession-related topics, hence had less common things to talk about with people. I didn’t speak for too long that I developed a scare when talking to others. Now have to sell stuff, un-interest in people haven’t changed, but now I have to fake it and carry the talk.

      Point is these are all different ways of living, none is better, none is worse. More importantly, never victimize yourself or make yourself vulnerable, like inviting people who couldn’t care less about you, and maybe in reality you couldn’t care less about them.

      As for girlfriends, you will ultimately have one who shares you interest. If your interests are not that common in your community, it will take a bit longer since purely statistically the chance to find one will be lower for the lack of common ground with most people.

      1. True enough, came close to scoring otaku girlfriend already but she moved out of the country – we still keep in touch via internet
        I think it is important to stay yourself while seeking friends, without descending into “mimetism” of popular people, but some measure of conformity to your friends is needed too. A question of balance, definitely. On one extreme was Iori from Kokoro connect, conforming to the extent of forgetting her own identity, on another is Hachiman from Oregairu.
        We all tend to find our own comfort spot somewhere in between, but it may take time – and it’s exact location might vary with the person involved.

    2. I think many of us here have experienced similarly miserable highschool years. An adopted child of visible minority in a relatively conservative and slightly xenophobic area, I dealt with exclusion from the start. Feeding an introverted personality made worse by the harsh and cruel segregation and exclusion in the social cliques of highschool.

      I think- for many of us- that’s a major player of what led us to discover anime/manga in the first place.

      1. I dealt with a lot of the same things as Tomoko did as well, though not to the same level. I had social problems and ended up with a rather negative personality for a period of time. Now things are better. Though I’ve got to say, I consider myself a republican, and we’re not the horrible sorts of people that we are made out to be.

    3. Feels like im looking at a mirror of my old self. Except she’s a girl and i had at least 1 or 2 friends back then. Im still sort of that way but don’t really care to much now. I’ve just learned to love where im at instead of acting like im somebody else that makes me uncomfortable.

    4. Had a similar life myself as well.. or in fact u could say that i m still living in one similar to what being shown here… 🙁

      here are the similarities between me and Tomoko… 🙁
      1- No friends till highschool/college… I finally made one at university level, thank god… 🙂
      2- Scared of talking to people specially outside the family…
      3- Scared of being seen by classmates alone…
      4- At times Wanting to kill myself…
      5- Spending loads of time MMOs or RPGs and on social networking sites…
      6- Heartbeat goes insane whenever there are girls nearby…
      7- Yup, guess it right Still no girlfriend… ^^

      From our eyes world seems like such a cruel place to live in… 🙁

    5. There is the reason why I don’t particularly like reading this series.

      Being alone during lunch or classmates coming to your party isn’t really your fault. Perhaps you don’t really know them but I’m sure it’s not because they hate you. And I think you don’t resent them for it.

      But here it is. All the bad stuff that happens to Tomoko is pretty much 100% her own fault. She is an impulsive liar and looks down on everyone. In the words of GLaDOS “Well done, here are the test results. You are a horrible person. That’s what it says: a horrible person. We weren’t even testing for that.” In fact the last straw for me in the manga was that one chapter when

      Show Spoiler ▼

      I can related completely with Tomoki about how much frustration he must have felt because I did my very very best to avoid that. Luckily I didn’t have a for a sister.

      She deserves pretty much everything coming towards her.

      1. My main point which I forgot to point out is that it’s not funny, that sort of comedy. Sure the expressions and stuff are funny but once it gets to its base, its core, its not funny and shouldn’t be used as source material for a comedy.

        Just my opinion.

  2. Probably the biggest surprise this season. For a comedy it played up the neurotically element uncomfortably high – but I appreciated the refreshingly scathing deliver (much like Sukitte did -except that was a straight up drama). I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

    The closest “comedy” this reminds me of is NHK ni Yokoso.

      1. my older sister seems eerily similar to her, I honestly felt the author had looked at my sister’s lifestyle and made an anime where the anime girl version is in a state where she is 10 times more miserable than her.

        IF Tomoko had actually lived in real life, her level of being miserable would jump a good 50 times.

  3. I haven’t read a chapter of the manga yet, but now after seeing the anime I feel that our heroine is going to reach a record of being the most miserable main character in the history of the anime world, making little progress whatsoever.

    Imagine, a anime you watch out of pity, the power of anime.

  4. I pretty much agree with this… visual wtf’s, some laughs, feel bad about laughing or just all around uncomfortable. I wouldn’t know where they will take this show, gonna be interesting to see for sure. Oh well, atleast I liked the OP and ED with no uncomfortable feels what so ever 😀

  5. Did the virtual bishounen really…From a backrub…What? The level of discomfort just went in every direction from beginning to end with this episode but I can’t say for a second that I didn’t enjoy it and am looking forward to more.

    1. That part was actually pretty hilarious to me, that didn’t make me feel uncomfortable at all, the rest of the show however…ehhh.
      I couldn’t really get the feel of the show, like was that there for me to laugh or not? The parts I did laugh at, I immediately felt guilty for laughing after really reflecting on the situation. But when she ran into her brother and his friends my eyes instantly started to water, that was just extremely sad and depressing.

  6. Maybe not the best but clearly the most controversal anime of the season.
    Reactions to this seem to range from “Anime of the Century” to “Worst anime ever” with everything in between.

  7. I know what I was getting into seeing as this has some reputation for it before the anime but watching it really is a different experience. There’s a mix of pity and hilarity in seeing Tomoko’s situation. There are some parts that are funny and there are some where you just feel sorry for her. I dunno if this is intentional or not but it’s working somewhat.
    Animation wise, it seems like Silver Link isn’t skimping much on it just because they’re also doing Illya this season. The OP and ED are pretty good and there are the quirks that Oonuma is quite known for which are done well. Voice acting is also done well for Kitta Izumi. You can’t go wrong too with Nakamura Yuuichi as the brother.
    I’ll be sticking to this one as it interests me a lot.

    Also, go to bed Enzo. It’s already late at night there.

  8. Which is worse? To be bullied and become withdrawn or to not have your existence acknowledged and become like Tomoko? I’ve never been bullied but have been made to feel like I didn’t exist.

    There will be times that you can’t help but laugh at Tomoko’s actions as she is her own worst enemy. There will be times where you can’t help but cry and want to hug the poor girl when she goes outside her comfort zone to make friend only to fail.

    Like with the manga, I will keep watching because it pulls you in.

    1. Well Ive always been “normal” – not bullied nor ignored;) But Ive been a “bystander” of bullying (yes one of those ass*** that dont do anything). But its been almost 10 years now, so Im sure Id react differently now.
      Anyways what I can say is those who were ignored in my schooltime mostly became normal later on, those who were bullied were damaged psychically. So Im completely sure that bullying is far worse!!!

    2. How about a nasty combination of both? Which what I went through back in middle and high school. My bullies seemed to acknowledge my existence and gave me hell, while the “nice” kids walked pass like I was a ghost. And I would actually try to interact with them, but nothing’s worse than getting the cold shoulder from virtually everyone. So yeah, from those experiences I had stunted social growth and if any of you know, when you get into the adult world where you forced to be social, it can be VERY STRESSFUL. Individuals that are less qualified to handle tasks rising through the ranks just because you cant make small talk with the boss and co-workers. Lacking presence can be really detrimental.

  9. Wow, it’s been a while since I saw a proper metal song for an OP in anime, I’m pleasantly surprised! It’s also very fitting thematically, what with Tomokos usual delusions and quirkiness.

    I’ve known the manga for a while now, so this was one of my anticipated shows this season. Imho, the transition to animation was made well and even though I saw most of the jokes coming (those I remembered at least),they were still funny. The little unusual art/styling worked well for me as well.

    I doubt it should be called best of the season but it should be pretty good 🙂

    1. The world will not change, but you can change yourself. So how do u change ? You become the god of a new world – Hikigaya Hachiman .
      Tomoki should do what Hachiman says . Then again I think she’s extremely conscious of society , unlike Dark Knight Hachiman . Hope she’ll change as the show progresses!

  10. One of the most anticipated adaptations of the past year, simply because of how shocking and gut-punching the manga is! The anime so far has a more “grunge”, macabre feel than I was expecting, and I literally had no idea how this would work in a 22-minute long one-cour! But I am also interested to see how well this does.

  11. I might just be weird but i actually found this first episode to be more sad than funny. I actually teared up a bit. That was something i definitely wasn’t expecting…

  12. I haven’t watched the episode yet and I honestly don’t know if I will, because the manga didn’t resonate with me and “uncomfortable” humor isn’t my thing. That said, just wanted to say that it sounds like Enzo captured the essence of this show superbly. You rock, Enzocchi! ^^

  13. Just felt overly bad for Tomoko. I just didn’t laugh as much as I thought I would. Then again, I’m not sure I should have. The series is meant as a (edging on dark-er)comedy but most of the time I’ve felt the need to either hug or help the poor girl. At the moment, I think this is the surprise of this anime season. I’m following this hoping Tomoko will get a bit of sunshine in her life by the end of the season.

  14. This is all so strange. I’m an introvert so being ignored and invisible is quite ideal for me and I never understand why so many people seem to require company.

  15. Man…. watching this show hurts so much. Pretty much reminds me of how I was during my highschool days, but atleast mine was a bit bearable. The main difference between me and her is that i was ignored out of fear than anything else(I gave a well known bully a shattered nose amongst many other injuries).

  16. The humor comes from how no one could be as twisted as her. But sadly, a lot of her thoughts and behaviors stem from real life. In high school (and sometimes, even now), I also thought others students who went out with their friends every week were idiots never to keep studying, when little did i know that they did that to grow their healthy lifestyle after graduating.

  17. Why do I get the feeling there’s gonna be some similarity, or at least references, between this and “Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Come Wa Machigatteiru”?

    Sailor Enlil
  18. This show is pretty on point with a lot of stuff. I’ve certainly been there (not this bad of course), so I definitely feel for her. It’s still funny though. Maybe if you’ve been emotionally scarred by social awkwardness, this show might rub you the wrong way. But if you’ve moved on and accepted that aspect of your life, I think this show is quite enjoyable.

  19. tomoko is female who ready for high school give having lots experience due to playing lots high school dating game but reality kick in nobody notice her in any way.

    cause she see those high school students are just blah to her so after go look in the mirror in her style she puke due looking like the Walking Dead so after i-net search for ways to be cute.

    tomoko tried show her “cute” side to her brother but it was a brain bleach right now & then go ask her brother for advice & ideas so she get notice in school.

    so next day she slowly talk to other peoples yet seem working well even trying to normal high school doing til arrive at wcdonald til still high school students go do makeover look got bit mention.

    til her brother appear go like seriously that look cause her brother’s classmate called her stink cue crash & burn til brother arrive there always next time.

  20. If we accept the classical schools of drama, there is in comedy, tragedy and in tragedy, comedy. Thus the symbolism of the masks. Sometimes life is so dark that you have to shoot straight for absurdity. And you must laugh, or be crushed.

    While a lot of comedies are just gag, even they sometimes reveal sides of humanity that we just aren’t very comfortable with confronting. If we stare too hard at the joke perhaps we’ll realise that we are horrible for laughing. There is a tentative line between being funny because its true and being funny only because it can’t.

      1. Your apostrophe error is unforgivable! Turn in your Otaku badge and your internet posting license. To gain these back you must go 10 years without posting on the WOW forums about how great Chuck Norris is in ALL CAPS.

        Hopefully you don’t do that anyway. 🙂

        I liked the episode, and your comment about the dichotomy of tragedy/comedy is perfect. I, like most of us, feel a sense connection to her and maybe some squeamishness at things that hit a little to close to home.

        I do not remember who, but someone stated that the idea that ‘most’ people are normal and only a few, a minority, are weird, strange, abnormal, is actually a fallacy. Most people have problems, idiosyncrasies and neuroses up the wazoo, we just adjust, conceal and attempt to dance like we are not a lame ant.

      2. Thank you! Liked the comment? Buy the book! And the DVD! Watch the play by plays, with special behind-the-scenes commentary from our production staff! Check our website!

        …In all seriousness (but do check out the site): ‘normal’ is just society’s acceptable average. At some point we all, as a people, decided on what should be the ‘reasonable person’, even though probably not a single one of us is. It’s an interesting part of our group mentality, to ascribe qualities to the group incompatible with the individuals. And that’s perhaps why we all have a bit of a rebellious phase within us all.

  21. It is interesting this anime is making me remember my miserable years in elementary school and early years in high school I’m not sure if this was intended. I read the manga and honestly this should never have been advertised as a “comedy” per say because so far even in the first episode I’m left with feelings of sadness and remembering my own childhood……

  22. Those guys at the end were bastards! Kuroki, I think you’re beautiful!With that out of the way, this episode was good, but very uncomfortable to watch at points and reminded me of my own high school experience (being to shy to talk, having a more popular sibling, and wondering why I didn’t have many friends). Some of the comedy worked, but to me it worked better showing the harsh reality of what probably many people’s high school experience is like. In a ways this is like an animated version of Dollhouse by Todd Solondz…

  23. Tomoko, duck face is bad. Real bad. Ponytail with glasses is cute but no, where the f**k you read that duck face is cute???

    Ehem… Anyway, this is really dark. While I arguably didn’t have any social problem in JHS or HS, university life is pretty difficult for me (well at least I still have plenty of good buddies). I even relate to some of Tomoko’s situations albeit in a much lesser extent… So, well, I think I’ll continue to watch this.

    I just hope that the ending would be pretty positive and she could made some progress somewhat. Again, she + ponytail + glasses is pretty cute <3

  24. Omg this was kind of difficult to watch for me =_= I actually broke into a sweat. I was in the exact same situation as her from middle school to high school and I can say it was the worst time I ever had in my life.

  25. Sadly I didn’t like the first episode as much as I would’ve had. It was really painful to watch and the “funny” scenes made me uncomfortable. To me, it felt like the author just wanted Tomoko to suffer and suffer. There’s no shed of light for her at all, unlike similar shows Kimi ni Todoke or Oregairu, which I really liked.

    I would’ve wanted to drop this now but I’ll probably give it the 3-episode test and see if I’ll see some shed of hope for Tomoko.

  26. Man, watching watamote makes me feel more awkward than watching dxd.

    Anyway why isn’t anyone commenting on the “mike howling” and “speaker sounds”? Too awkward or something?

  27. I found the back-touching game pretty disturbing -_-‘ the limits people would take create weird games -.-‘

    I don’t know if I like the show, I can’t relate to her at all. I saw peopel put her and Hachiman in one scale, but Hachiman is different, he actually did ‘choose’ his lifestyle, of course after pretty much rejection by society, but he wasn’t some disgustingly freakish person. He was cool, composed and above all, very self-aware. This girl lives on her own fantasies. Another comparison made to Sawako, but even Sawako is very different, Sawako was just misunderstood, but she was pure and gentle, and a very well-brought-up child, I see no relation, besides the isolation part.

    Besides that, I don’t know if I really like this anime – yet. I think for me, the episode mostly started when she was at McDonald’s, that was very funny, and very sad the next moment. Only the ending of the episode pulled me to watching the next episode. Maybe because I can’t relate to her, or maybe because my highschool life was effortless and I lacked the common popularity contest the girls had, I was more self-absorbed into my own realm of video games, final fantasy, book reading, animes, drawing etc. I just chose to live a certain way, and really disliked the girls that tried to be popular.

    Thanks for your review, M.

  28. The problem with Tomoko is she brings a lot of this on herself. There’s being awkward, and then there’s being down right antisocial, having an incredibly inflated ego, and looking down on everyone else.

    She has issues, and while it’s both cute and sad at the start of the manga, as it drags on it becomes unreadable/unwatchable because of what a bitch she is. I have no pity for her.

    1. The “having an incredibly inflated ego, and looking down on everyone else” is only superficially true. Basically she is just sugar-coating her own miserable situation to avoid getting more depressed. You can often see that she does not has an inflated ego, more contrary, she actually has a low opinion of herself and often sinks in self-deriding and self-loathing remarks/thoughts.

  29. I’m not sure if it’s because I myself deal with depression or that I’ve had experience dealing with a suicidal family member but the scene where she threatened suicide as blackmail pissed me off. I do not think it was ok for them to just put that in the anime and if it was in the source material, I question the mangaka’s intention. I’m guessing this series is supposed to be a dark comedy but it almost looks like the two parts are working against one another rather than balancing out. I’ll continue to watch episode 2 to see where it goes but if it still continues like this, I’ll just drop it.

  30. I just watched episode 2 and I have to say that someone must regularly blog this. It is shaping up to be an amazing series in my opinion, with a very interesting MC and all the social situations lots of us might be able to relate with. Silver Link seems to be doing a great effort both from an adaption point as well as a standalone anime itself.
    I understand writers’s schedule might be full already; it’s a shame that this was not picked however…


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