「モテないし、昔の友達に会う」 (Motenai shi, Mukashi no Tomodachi ni Au)
“Since I’m Not Popular, I’ll See My Old Friend”

Whatever else I may ultimately decide I feel about it, watching Watamote is undeniably a powerful experience.

If it were strictly a question of how good the first two episodes of the series were, the decision about whether to blog Watamote would be easy. They were really wonderful – very well-written and beautifully performed (I’m nuts for Kitta Izumi’s work when she portrays Tomoko’s stammering, desperate attempts to get a sentence out), with some of the more restrained work we’ve seen from Oonuma Shin in a while. But the truth is this series has been a very hard call for me, because it cuts just a little too close to the bone.

I’ve thought a lot about this series since watching the premiere last week, which was one of the strangest experiences I’ve had with any anime. Here’s the thing with Watamote, as I see it… This is really two different series, depending on the audience. Everyone is going to get that this is a dark, dark comedy – they’re going to feel the awkwardness and the conflicted emotions when wanting to laugh at what happens to Tomoko. But there’s a second track playing here – Watamote is actually written in code.

What do I mean by that? It has nothing to do with how smart you are, or how much anime you’ve watched – it’s just a question of whether you’ve had someone in your life (or you yourself) suffer from clinical depression and/or a social anxiety disorder. I now know that mangaka "Nico Tanigawa" is actually a female artist and male writer – and I can say, with certainty, that writer has dealt with the above and knows exactly what he’s doing in writing this series. It’s full of coded messages to those of us who likewise grew up with this in our families – things Tomoko says, how she acts. If you don’t recognize the signs – and if you’ve never had someone close to you with a serious depression/anxiety disorder there’s no reason you should – Tomoko’s life comes off as painful but "anime funny". She can be seen as an amusing loser, or a "hikikomori" (though she isn’t) and laughed at – compassionately, no doubt, but laughed at just the same. But some of us can’t see her that way.

The final tipoff for me – and the most painful moment in two episodes – was when Tomoko threatened to kill herself unless her brother Tomoki "practiced" conversing with her for an hour per day. Here’s the thing about people like Tomoko – they make victims out of people that love them, and it’s not their fault. They can’t help it, but it puts family members and close friends in a terrible position – ignore their suffering and live with the guilt, or be drawn into the pain themselves. Someone like Tomoki – a kid, and seemingly a nice one at that – simply has no clue how to deal with Tomoko, or how she makes him feel. He just wants to be "normal", but for her, that’s the cruelest thing he can do. Of Tomoko’s Father we’ve seen nothing, and with her Mom we’ve seen no evidence that she has any idea to what extent her daughter is socially dysfunctional and suffering for it – denial being a very common recourse for parents in these situations. Teenagers are so fucked up generally that it’s easy to convince yourself that if yours is like Tomoko, she’s "just going through a phase" or some such reassuring lie.

So, given all that, to say my feelings about Watamote are complicated is an understatement. I suspect the mangaka writes this series as a kind of therapy (maybe he’s Tomoki, who knows) and that might just be the best way to look at it as a viewer. Once again this week, I laughed and laughed often and hard despite all the above qualifiers – because Watamote can be damn funny. I laughed when Tomoko got off on listening to her "Yandere Boys Verbal Abuse" CD, and talked about how most of the current anime schedule was "shows for moe pigs". I definitely laughed when she supplied her own soundtrack to the conversation between the baseball team manager and one of the players – "How about I show you my special balls?" And I certainly laughed at the notion of Sugita Tomokazu showing up as Hatsushiba, the heavyset member of the manga research club who spends time with Tomoko after school making up an assignment for art class.

This episode was certainly more upbeat than the first, enough to almost make you think the show was going for uplifting and hopeful. Mostly that came through the introduction of Naruse Yuu (Hanazawa Kana), Tomoko’s nerdy friend from middle school. In the first place it was nice to hear that Tomoko had a friend in middle school, and her call set Tomoko off on a weeklong quest to have a fulfilling high school life to talk about. This involves "sleeping with a boy during the day" (on different beds in the nurse’s office), getting her portrait drawn by Hatsushiba and other such fantastical notions – and culminates with the planned meeting at "StarTully’s Coffee". This brings a rude surprise for Tomoko, as Yuu has ditched her glasses for contacts, grown a few cup sizes and generally turned into a "normal" – and not just a normal, but a hot babe at that. But the uplifting part comes with the realization that Yuu still likes anime and games and misses talking with Tomoko, and seems just as lonely in her high school life as Tomoko does. There’s even a promise to meet up again, and a confession from Tomoko that it’s all been an act – her high school life is miserable too, and all they can both do is "Ganbare!" together.

But this is Watamote, and life for people like Tomoko is rarely that neat and tidy. Hatsushiba drew her because she’s easy to draw and he uses her as a stock background character in his manga (fortunately she doesn’t know this yet). And Yuu called her because she had a fight with her boyfriend and felt bad about it. This is a knife blow to Tomoko because Yuu’s betrayal is the worst kind – she’s left Tomoko behind and joined the functional world. For Tomoko this is the agony of her situation – she can watch those around her do things she can’t do herself, not because they’re impossible but because they’re impossible for her. This is part of the coded message from the mangaka – Tomoko’s wounds are almost entirely self-inflicted, yet she’s helpless to stop inflicting them. It’s rare for anyone to be mean to her, and she’s not bullied – but because she’s built a wall around herself, most people simply ignore her altogether (which her family cannot do). She stays hunkered down in her foxhole and lobs missiles of derision at the rest of the world, mocking them for their conformism and idiocy, and secretly wishing she could have a taste of what their lives are like.

Sorry if that comes off as heavy – but I think this is a pretty heavy comedy, even for those viewers not personally connected to the darkest part of the story. And ultimately I think it would be a shame not to blog it when it’s so much more powerful and emotionally accurate than most series, and very possibly the funniest show of the season in spite of all the scar tissue. Tomoko is a mess but she’s also a revelation in anime terms – I love her brutal dismissiveness of the world around her. I love how she’s a teenaged girl who has a very active fantasy life in erotic terms – she’s as horny as any boy – and the twisted worldview which turns Frappuccino into "Fellapuccino". If a show can make me laugh this much and then utterly break my heart at the notion of Tomoko taking such comfort in Hatsushiba’s drawing, only because she doesn’t know the truth of it, it’s clearly something special. I don’t think blogging Watamote is ever going to be easy, but I certainly expect it to be memorable.


ED2 Sequence

ED2: 「夢想恋歌」 (Dream Love Song) by (Velvet.kodhy)


  1. I can’t watch this because it is a truth that is too hard to bear. Without hope for something positive, it’s just wallowing in misery, or worse, experiencing joy at the pain of others. If she learns nothing and gains nothing, why bother?

    1. Her actually not learning anything, gaining anything or just doing it very slowly is a highlight of this whole show, for this is just like it happens to be in real life. We cheer for our close ones to get better, to deal with their anxieties and problems so they could be cheerful once again, but they do not grow out of it that easily. That’s why we often get frustrated with them and that’s also why false expectations are so dangerous to relationships with such people, as in the end they are often crushed by the fear, wishful thinking and feelings of guilt of making others disappointed in them and scaring them away.

      The important lesson here is that we must accept that the disorder or psychopathology might not go away that easily or fast or not even go away at all. If we want to be somehow close to the person hit with such problem, we must accept once and for all that the healing process goes on their terms and rhythm, not ours. Otherwise it will be harmful for both parties.

      Kinza Datteri
    2. It’s Not My Fault That My Big Sister Can’t Be This Popular

      I really want to give Tomoko a hug so bad. Also, I am glad to see her (only) friend, Yuu. She is cute.

      1. To be honest, after watching the first two episodes, who wouldn’t want to give this girl a nice long hug.

        To be frank, this feels like a show you would keep watching mainly out of pity, the power of anime.

      1. I see what you mean. A cynical person would speculate that this is the result of a “Burn!” scenario. Japanese anime fans are put off by this show because it so aptly illustrates their own behavior and because there is such overwhelming negative stigma attached to it in Japan compared to the West where we have a better general understanding of behavioral disorders and therefore generally more compassion for those who suffer from it. That is the stereotype after all- but stereotypes are stereotypes after all and very frequently false, products of skewed, biased data.

        As (perversely) emotionally enticing as it may be to believe that this show is selling poorly due to Japanese anime fans living in denial, the truth often tends to be far more mundane. Lex parsimoniae. A more simplistic reason as to why this show is selling poorly in Japan would probably be simply because lots of people are put off by dark humor- most people watch anime to have fun/relax after all, not to induce depression. And perhaps because the number of people who are actually capable of personally identifying with the scenario portrayed here is actually rather small- people with agoraphobia (And by extension close family members of such people) aren’t exactly commonplace after all…

      2. A couple thoughts on this. First, it’s too early to say what’s going to happen with BD/DVD sales – even as inaccurate as presale numbers can be they haven’t had enough time to really establish a trendline. And second, while it may be true that otaku (who remain the big BD buying demographic) won’t especially like seeing Tomoko portrayed, looking at her as some sort of otaku/otome icon is completely missing the point. She’s sick, and she needs help – she’s not just a geek. She has a real problem.

        None of that means sales are likely to be good, and I do fully expect this show to do pretty poorly because Tomoko’s assessment of what sells is pretty much on the money. But the manga, at least, is quite successful. And it may be that the Production Committee is more concerned about manga sales getting a boost than BD sales.

      3. And it may be that the Production Committee is more concerned about manga sales getting a boost than BD sales.

        Hmm, I never knew that it was a thing to produce an anime solely for the purpose of boosting manga sales. Seems like a rather expensive way to do so- I’m not so sure that moderate a boost in manga sales due to the greater exposure that a running TV anime gives a series would be enough to cover the costs of animation. But I’m gonna trust your wisdom on this one Enzo since by virtue of living in Japan you probably know better…

      4. Oh, it’s a huge part of the equation. For anything shoujo/josei related, for example, manga sales are the main reason an anime is produced. And for series like Hunter x Hunter and Uchuu Kyoudai, manga sales and TV ratings (and extending the reach of the brand) are critical.

        The fact is, BD/DVD sales are the easiest way to make fast money and the easiest to measure, so they get the most discussion. For late-night anime TV ratings are effectively meaningless – they’re effectively infomercials for the discs and the source material. I’m sure the production committee would love to see Watamote do well on BD, but I think they realize their core audience – while a late-night crowd – isn’t necessarily the demographic that buys Blu-rays. The success of the manga is the main reason this series was produced.

      5. Zen,

        Anime these days aren’t done solely to boost BD/DVD sales. These days, its also about tie ups, collaborations, and even boosting local tourism. Anime is more like a medium, a pathway to cross-industry relationships to overall boost royalty revenues.

        Look at Girls und Panzer. No one knew about that anime and no one expected it to be big. BD/DVD preorders were low in the beginning. But what did it end up to be? Because of this anime, it boosted Tamiya tank plastic model kit sales, renewed interest in tanks and SDF, it helped boost Ooarai’s local tourism industry big time (yes, Ooarai is a real city in Japan), and you have foods and goods in Garupan packaging, tie ups with Sankus convenience stores, etc. etc.

        Look at Hatsune Miku. It started off as a computer software, begat into an internet phenomenon, and now Miku is friends with Google, Dominos and Toyota.

        Anime alone is a small franchise of breeding cross industry relationships. Watamote manga begats Watamote anime, Watamote anime begats Watamote merchandise, etc. etc. And all of those royalties go back to the original creator.

      6. KJ, as to whether the original creator gets anything from tie-ins and merchandising is entirely up to their contract with their publisher or studio. In most cases, I doubt that they would gain anything directly, but at least there’s the indirect benefit of probably getting more work in the future and being able to ask more for it.

    3. Looks like some people took my sarcasm seriously. I apologize if I offended someone by doing so.

      Like Name (required) and Enzo said, I was talking about pre-order sales. They were pretty low and the “reviews” (a.k.a rants) by Japanese netizens on 2ch/other sites suggests that they don’t really like Tomoko’s “exaggerated” attitude and how it relates to their own lives.
      However, again like Enzo said, the manga sales were good. I expect the BD/DVD pre-order sales to rise as more episodes come out.

      With that being said, Japanese people doesn’t want to watch something that reminds their negative sides. Their escapism and denial are pretty strong and any negativity shown on any forms will be ignored/trashed immediately. As a result, Tomoko’s attitude was a big turn-off for those who has similar lifestyle as Tomoko. Same for Welcome to NHK as well – it received bad reviews and not many of them liked it for a number of reasons.

      Whatever the case is, when it comes to “dark humor” in SOL genre they tend avoid it as much as they can.

      1. Japanese netizens on 2ch/other sites suggests that they don’t really like Tomoko’s “exaggerated” attitude and how it relates to their own lives.

        2chan cannot be considered to be a reliable source of data. The population of such sites is widely known to draw heavily from a relatively more socially awkward demographic which hardly represents the entirety of Japanese anime fans. Most otaku may be rather geeky, but it cannot be assumed that they are all just like the extremes that populate such sites. 2channers likely skew heavily towards the extreme high end of social awkwardness, and their opinions cannot be presumed to represent those of all Japanese viewers as a whole…

        And second, while it may be true that otaku (who remain the big BD buying demographic) won’t especially like seeing Tomoko portrayed, looking at her as some sort of otaku/otome icon is completely missing the point.

        What Enzo said. If anything this reaction of 2channers just shows the general immaturity and disgusting social apathy that is the dominant culture on these kinds of anonymous discussion sites…

      2. What I am hearing is this is considered as the “out of the blue” series of the season in Japan. It’s getting popular, but since it lacks visual “wow” factor a bit, BD/DVD sales could be low. Anyway at least the manga should end up selling a lot.

      3. I wouldn’t necessarily bet on the sales beeing low just because the japanese viewer don’t like the series. After all the series became a success because it became enough popular on 4chan, that the fans from overseas ordered the manga from japan even without being able to read it, just to support the series.
        So we might see something similiar here with the BD/DVDS bought by the series fans on 4chan just to support the series again.

  2. The subs are released on the most absolute inconvenient time for me- at 1 in the morning when I need to go to sleep for the next workday. So, it’s good that you do not include TOO many spoilers in your review because you don’t really focus on telling you the plot, and talk about themes instead, many of which I already knew from seeing snippets of the manga and the first episode. Again, Tomoko is somewhere deep inside us all… those have my pity if Tomoko is on the surface! I had this epiphany in my teens when I woke up one morning and realized, “holy crap my younger brother is popular, happier and more successful than I am!!” Of course, he has a fiance, and I am single. Figures,

  3. I feel really awkward watching this series. It’s good, but depressing and makes me feel very hopeless sometimes =S I can empathize with her a little, but for the most part I just feel very sympathetic towards her and want to hug her T_T

  4. I beg your pardon, but it almost seems as if this is : Suicide Note, the Anime. It’s that painful to watch. It’s as if Tomoko is on a one way ticket to a very bad place, involving prostitution and probably drug assisted suicide.

    And Tomoko VA’s performance is absolutely stellar. She makes voicing the awkwardness of Tomoko seem so effortless and natural.

  5. Yandere Boys Vocal Abuse CD made my day… if only because I enjoy yandere females in anime myself – maybe not to the point that Kuroko does, but still…
    All things considered, the anime is a mix of comedy – Tomoko definitely is funny – and tragedy, because she is so deeply unhappy.
    Myself being definitely depression-prone, yet a bit more stable in my adult age, I find myself wanting to tell Kuroko – relax, it in the long run doesnt matter if you are popular or not, and even if you never land a boyfriend, the world wont end because of that. You can still be useful to society, work, and most importantly, accept yourself.

    1. What I don’t understand is why a depressed, socially anxious person would want to listen to a verbal abuse CD. It’s the opposite of building yourself up via fantasy isn’t it?

      1. I thought about it a little more and it makes sense – notice how even her sexual fantasies are negative in some way? It’s because she’s so stuck in negative thinking, she can’t even have nice fantasies. That’s actually how depression can work 🙁 Damn this show is depressive…I really hope it can end on some sort of positive note. I keep going “DAYM GIRL, you need some real help and conversation skills, trying to imitate anime tropes to be popular won’t help…!”

  6. “Hatsushiba drew her because she’s easy to draw and he uses her as a stock background character in his manga”

    Actually, it’s the other way around – or at least is was in the manga. He used a stock character to draw her, because it’s more or less the only way he can draw.

  7. ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    if you feel uncomfortable with this series, please try another series like The World God Only Knows where social outcast get as many girls as he like to make his own harem, that kind of series able to make you comfortable in your FANTASY, hide under your fantasy, unable to face the truth, keep running from reality, and never become better in real life.

    1. Obviously, you don’t even understand the show that you referenced anymore than you understand the comments people are making about this show. Keima could care less about his “harem” . He only cares about his games. As for this show, there is a difference between someone who fails, learns something, gets up and tries again as opposed to this poor girl who fails and learns nothing and continues to fail again and again. If you like watching someone beat their head against a wall, don’t let me stop you. Revel in your sadism.

      1. It’s just the 2nd episode man.I don’t think she won’t learn anything at all by the time the show will be nearing it’s end.I find it impossible not to learn from experiences,especially negative ones.It won’t be easy to put that knowledge into practice once she has it -there’s a big gap between knowing and doing after all- but even the fact that she’s going to be better mentally prepared for whatever disappointment life throw’s her way should be considered progress;outsiders might not notice it at all but she(and us viewers of course) will know she’s improved.

    2. While The World God Only Knows indeed has a harem, but it’s no way easy fantasy escape material. Keima did a good amount of efforts, successes and even failures, especially later on. Theoretically his methods could be applied to real life, although of course it requires good execution, good basic social skills and luck (plus since it’s not intended as a super-realistic story, there are some exaggerations here and there)

      If you really want to give an opposite comparison, please name any other harem/reverse harem where the main lead didn’t do any real effort to attract opposite gender, yet harem flock to him/her without any clear/realistic reasons. But still, don’t do it here.

      1. What’s wrong with “fantasy escape” stuff? I have a fairly normal, happy life and that doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy some magical delusional adventures of my own! be it anime, or manga or VN or LN or drama CD’s or “yandere verbal abuse CD’s.” XD

        Helvetica Standard
  8. Yamcha nooo! (Thanks for making me realize the reference with that image)
    Funny too the reference to Fate with the let’s restore your magical circuit.

    This chapter was a lot better. She had fun this time with an old friend and the twists here weren’t really so dark, just normal (that pair blocking the way, that can really be annoying). Far more enjoyable than the first one.

  9. Guardian Enzo, I wrote a comment this morning on WataMote’s first post in RandomC about someone picking this up for weekly blogging. You can’t imagine how happy I am to see this series blogged after all! Lot’s of respect to you for squeezing it into your schedule. I realize that it’s not gonna be the easiest show to blog but I am certain (and I am sure many RandomC readers will agree with me) that you are more than up for the challenge!

    Its thematology is a little dark (or a lot!) but I personally find it a very refreshing show and, although I was never someone like Tomoko, there are bits of pieces of my past self that I recognize in her and that makes this show all that more special.

    Again, tnx Guardian Enzo. Looking forward to your posts!

    1. Indeed, thanks for finding the time to blog this! Having had to deal with people with light depression from time to time in my life and having slightly had it myself. This show is just something else with how it can be so funny yet so dark… I’d really just wanna tell her its gonna be okay or something.

    2. Thanks for saying so – indeed, I’m conflicted about this show but I guess because it’s clear the author understands what he’s writing about and is doing this as a kind of humor therapy, I understand where he’s coming from.

  10. Ok, what I dont understand is that if Tomoko is narcissistic to the point of not being able to swallow the idea that it’s her fault that she is unpopular(as evidenced by her shutting Yu out at the end of this episode), why does she have what really looks like a rape fantasy to me? It’d make more sense for her to to think of herself as some sexually dominant succubus that flits from man to man at will.

    1. Women who are generally quite confident might love the idea of being dominated rather than being the dominator. It’s “different” and unexpected. Might also just be her inner thoughts trying to tell her “You’re not in control”. It’s quite common for, particularly, women to have reverse-dominance fantasies.

  11. I’ll repeat what I said on Lostinanime, this show makes me feel like a loser because Tomoko is just like me, and they seem to be trying to drive home how pathetic she is ._.

  12. Tomoko is the exact opposite of 8man.

    8man attained illumination while Tomoko is still in the “It’s not my fault” phase…

    I could even thing there was a deeper meaning in airing this after Oregairu…

    1. The positive way of looking at this might be considering Tomoko to be the otome game loving,female version of a younger 8man.One that progresses slower though since 8man was already at pro-level in highschool.

      Still,to think that Tomoko makes 8man look like a lucky person.It’s like the world itself is trying to torment her.

      1. The problem is that Tomoko suffers from a very real handicap – a severe case of Social Anxiety Disorder, that makes it very difficult for her to even verbally respond to anyone, let alone initiate the conversation. 8man suffers from no such problem – he has the full capacity to initiate conversations, engage in long, coherent and interesting conversations with others (Yukino-8man’s banter cannot be replicated by Tomoko with Yuu, because Tomoko can’t even hold a prolonged conversation with those outside her family, and even with her family, her way of speech is unfortunately quite nasal – I suspect she also needs speech therapy).

        Perhaps with psychological treatment, she’d be closer to a Hachiman – a natural born loner, but one that can engage socially, if she must, and engage with friends in a semi-non awkward manner. Actually, I’d like to propose that Tomoko and the protagonist of Stella C3 Bu both share the same disorder, and are therefore closer analogies than Keima or Hachiman – it’s just that Tomoko’s communication problem is way, way worse than Stella C3 Bu’s protagonist. And of course, the latter isn’t a burning ball of hatred and spite.

        Of course, even if she overcame her problems with interacting with anyone in a meaningful capacity, there’s still her outlook on life that needs to be tackled with. But if she could overcome that social anxiety, then she’d simply be a very snarky, deadpan and cynical girl. Not the seeming social basket case that she is (without psychological treatment).

        So, yes. Without psychological intervention, I doubt there’s hope for her. This isn’t Tamayura or C3 Bu, where a more mildly socially awkward girl acquires an awesome group of well-meaning friends that slowly coaxes her out of her shell . Even if Tomoko had Kodaka’s social luck in High School, it’s not going to help her, because fundamentally, her social anxiety makes it virtually impossible to respond to any overtures to her.

        Even, if by some miracle, she meets a Hayato from Ore-gairu that tries to raise her up, I doubt he or she would succeed. She needs professional psychological help, but sadly, the Japanese taboo against psychological help works against her.

        And given the “realism” factor in this story, I don’t see it ending well, baring treatment to overcome her social anxiety. Which might make for an interesting fanfic story, for a psychological major (which I am not) to write, on how to treat such a case. Sadly, in true Watamoe fashion, that hypothetical fic would likely take an “it was all a delusion” route.

  13. I was laughing so hard in this episode. Especially at Tomoko’s thoughts about the baseball manager and her players. When she was with Yu-chan I was so happy. Seemed like she finally got a friend. And then the end came. My expression: O_O
    I felt so bad for her at that moment. Yu-chan only called her because she was sad about her boyfriend?! Tomoko needs a hug. Definitely.

  14. This really does cut close to the bone, but I enjoy it, a lot. It’s funny. The fact that I understand it so well lets me laugh more at it, because I know what I’m laughing at. It’s also really painful, but the thing that keeps me warm is how hard Tomoko is trying. She really is trying and not giving up, and not blaming the people around her without thinking there’s nothing she can do (even though her measurement of success is pretty warped. That’s funny too, even though it’s just as sad). I’m really impressed that she’s trying, because it does feel very real and it feels like she’ll do something to make herself improve.

    The only worry is that I don’t know if it will get better for her. With Yuu, she’s perfect as someone she could confide in and get help. Unfortunately I think she’ll be too scared to ever talk to her again. I don’t think this show will just be worthless and just keep Tomoko in pain for the sake of laughs. Sadly I don’t see an accessible way out for her, but I have hope (for now) that the show will please me with something realistic, which is why I allow myself to enjoy it.

    1. “not blaming the people around her”
      well this part I’m not so sure about. Sure, she doesn’t directly blame her social awkwardness to something someone did, but she’s always internally judging people as if what they do is “wrong” or “stupid.” There is no “right” way to live, and that’s ultimately the thing that Tomoko needs to realize before she can change (or, if she wants to, stay the way she is, but be proud of it and accept it).

      Also, I don’t find Yuu perfect at all. She randomly calls Tomoko out of the blue to hangout. In the end we find out it’s because she’s having boyfriend problems. Perhaps she’s still has trouble fitting in herself. She seems like one of those people that has an aspect of their personality that they are too ashamed to wear with pride. That’s why she comes back to Tomoko, who she knows wouldn’t judge her for liking anime and whatnot.

      1. By not blaming, I worded that wrong. She does blame others, but not in the way that she thinks there’s nothing she needs to do. She hasn’t removed the responsibility away from her, she’s still trying to do things regardless.

        I didn’t mean that Yuu was perfect, but that she was the perfect person she could go to for help. She knows her, Yuu cares for her at least a bit (more than just about anyone else we’ve met), and Yuu also lifted herself from being ‘boring’ into what she is now. I don’t think it was the same kind of struggle, but if Tomoko said “I want to be like you,” Yuu could help at least a little. For example. Tomoko didn’t know that girls could smell like that; she wouldn’t need to get strange advice from scouring web sites (imagine if she tries doing that). Even if she ends up being poor at helping her, she’s one of the very few people that Tomoko can actually have a conversation with. Unfortunately, I don’t think she’ll try.

      2. I honestly don’t want her to try and fit in like Yuu, especially if that’s not what she really wants. Does she want to wear the “right” clothes and say the “right” things to get friends, or would she be better off making friends that get along with her on a more personal level? She has tastes that not everyone can accept, but I do hope she finds someone other than Yuu that she can comfortably talk to and be friends with, but at the same time, like I said before, It’d be nice if she realizes that people are different an there is nothing wrong with liking “normal” girl things (and not otome games).

      3. But I do get what you’re saying though. I just don’t think Yuu is the right person. She seems to be that type of person that would gladly ditch Tomoko if she had other plans (I could be wrong, but I’m basing this on the fact that she only called because she had boy problems and needed an escape from her new lifestyle).

  15. I think you nailed why the original manga got so popular in the first place. Very rarely is a character like Tomoko properly portrayed in any kind of media – too many lighten the load and “pretty up” the character, avoid cutting too deep, provide magical fixes or a group of friends out of nowhere, and so on. It’s a brutally blunt, honest, and funny dark comedy.

  16. I notice a lot of people like to pity themselves and wonder why life is so unfair to THEM but at the same time find the effort to judge others for their physical/character flaws (being fat, being weird, etc.) I don’t see this often enough in anime.

    So I thought it was great when it was revealed that Tomoko isn’t just another “I feel so sorry for her” character. There are definitely aspects of her I don’t like, even though as a whole, I DO feel for her.

  17. I think people are taking this a little too seriously.
    I grew up in a small General Motors town and am smart, interested in cosplay, manga, fantasy, sci-fi, poetry, etc. In the 80’s. Dude.

    I had friends but not many and never dated anyone in high school. Then i went to U of M(ichigan). Yea, liberal arts college, manga club (in the 90’s!), lots of smart people to talk too, and i had friends and dates.

    So, i do not think this is automatically the end of the world for her, with any luck she gets past this, if it was real.

    And yandere boys is pretty much the funniest thing i have heard in years.

  18. Okay finally watched this.

    … Is it wrong to say that I never once felt depressed after watching these two episodes- I just found them funny? It may be that I kind of read the post here before seeing it, but also because I become kind of jaded to these topics. Maybe I try SO HARD to ignore the depressed parts that I search more for the funny parts. Who knows.

  19. I’m an introvert, not very talkative, only have a few friends, and cannot relate to tomoko, nor do i have any friends that are very smiliar to her. despite that, i’m mildly enjoying the series albeit many of its moments are cringe worthy and are a bit depressing

  20. tomoko listen to ipod story got called from person from middle school to meet in weekend so tomoko going wonder to ready yet she puke her food away.

    so at school trying quick lunch yet no body notice her to point she went nurse to nap recover then school over got a baseball give back & seeing couple plan alone together going snark thinking blah to huh.

    still wonder to do give trying fantasy think til desk guts ow then had do art with fat guy yet had messed-up wonder on him til art he made art done quick so tomoko just simple draw yet find his “ok”.

    day arrive tomoko meet person from middle school aka yuu yet she more well done than tomoko yet still ok give coffee, arcade, etc then day over yet tomoko go life my school life is like nobody notice but i will survive.

    yet yuu bit understand give reason also meet tomoko cause prob with a guy caused tomoko to ipod listen & back to usual doing.

  21. This series is really similar with Welcome to the NHK in a lot of ways. Its unrelentingly realistic depiction of Hikikomori,and the steep, craggy road the MC will have to overcome to solve their issues.

    I understand it might put off some people (i was kinda scared off by NHK too) but believe that just goes to show madly immmersive the nuance and the narrative tone of the series really are.

    I love the series.

    1. “Come fight me! See this building I’m on! Why don’t you destroy it?! Why are you leaving! COME BACK!! I SAID MY LAST WORDS IN THE TRENCH BACK THERE, AN EVERYTHING!” ;____;

  22. I don’t think 2ch’s boycott is actually the problem. Just look at the comments and view counts of both episodes 1 and 2 on himawari, not many anime get this kind of reception.

  23. I’m loving this show for both reasons you mentioned. I have Social Anxiety Disorder myself, though not as severe, and I’ve known people who had it really, really bad, so I’ve learned to recognize the symptoms. And because of that, I can really tell how much Tomoko is suffering. But, the show also makes me laugh when it wants to be funny, despite being shockingly realistic in its concept.

    And yes, not everyone can relate to her. It’s something you need to have dealt with yourself in one way or another, just hearing or reading about it isn’t enough. Because of this, a lot of people get the wrong idea about Tomoko and write her off as an annoying character who’s lazy, apathetic and who should just change herself if she wants it so much. And that in turn negatively effects their view on the show itself, which is sad, because this show looks to become one of the best shows of the current season.

    1. This is the misconception I often see with Tomoko which reveals that the commenter has no direct experience with mental illness. Effectively, they say “She just needs to suck it up!” It’s like telling someone with diabetes to stop whining and go eat an entire chocolate cake. Positive thinking is great, and behavioral therapy is important. But someone with a medical condition (which is what severe anxiety disorders and clinical depression are) can’t simply wish a medical condition away, and blame it on a bad attitude.

      But again, it’s simply a matter of whether you have first-hand experience. The show can certainly be enjoyed on a level of just looking at Tomoko as a socially inept hikikomori, and it very much works as a social satire in that vein.

  24. I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!! and greatly enjoy all the comments of people who dont like it and cant deal with it..SOOO interesting..plus da girl is a total freak and thats what makes her awsome

    BROOKLYN otaku
  25. @Guardian Enzo

    I hadn’t actually thought about the series in quite those terms until you mentioned something.

    But I truly believe its the writer’s intent to show his audience where they should be — looking
    back at themselves. And trust me to all of those who feel they can identify with her in real time;
    it will pass. You can make those things a memory in your life. It takes long looks in the mirror,
    and people have gone through those same things for time on end and have arrived at the other
    side in their own way.

    Preaching – damn right.

    I though the jealous rationalization that she did was especially well done and it’s probably one
    of the most common things people do and carry into adulthood (though it’s tempered by then).

    This show is starting off as a good study of problems everybody faces to some extent, and
    they’re damn embarrassing to think about or discuss or articulate. This show provides an opportunity
    to put to words behaviours that we all are too shy to admit, even to ourselves, that we have.
    I really don’t think the show is meant to be mean spirited, but the fact that many feel repulsed,
    IMHO, shows that nerves have been hit. Think of somebody (a co-worker) saying as sincerely as
    possible, man your breath stinks!

    Same feeling – riiighttttt?

  26. This girl is just like Hachiman Hikigaya from Yahari. The difference is that Hachiman doesn’t care about what other people will think and he doesn’t want to be popular or “normal”. This girl, even though she sees that other people are stupid (just like Hachiman did), she still wants to be like them. Hachiman is more like: “man, these high school kids are idiots; good thing I’m by myself here”.

  27. I been following this manga since it first came out online and was translated by people on 4chan….. To the people that say this anime is depressing,you might have a point but it is also really funny and there’s nothing out of the normal when it comes to the main character’s behavior. She has social anxiety, something I used to suffer from… Her reactions and behavior are exactly how I used to feel.

    And that is why I love this show so much and can appreciate it…. it’s refreshing,I have never seen social anxiety presented in such a way before in any type of entertainment show.

  28. I finally got around to watching this episode.

    During the ED when she slowly opened the drawing, and her smile slowly got bigger. I’m not even kidding, my eyes slowly started to well up as her smile widened. *sigh* this show will not be good for my heart.


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