WataMote is a slice of life anime about Tomoko Kuroki: a 15 year old girl who has just entered high school. She has no friends due to her crippling social awkwardness. She is easily recognisable by the black rings around her eyes due to the amount of time she stays up playing dating sims. Her ultimate goal is to get boys to like her, but she can’t talk to anyone outside of her own family. To be honest, I’ve been meaning to give this anime a look since around about the time it came out back in 2013. One thing I notice right away is the amount of times they save animation budget by telling the story through Kuroki’s inner monologue, or using Japanese characters. As someone who finds it difficult to talk to strangers, I can totally sympathise with her. There is one scene where a boy starts talking to her, and she cannot respond, thus he thinks she is ignoring him and openly says it out loud. I have been in this situation far too many times, where people think I’m ignoring them but in reality, I just can’t find the words or bring myself to look them in the eye. She then tries to diffuse the situation with a poop joke…..yup.
The series makes a lot of references to popular Japanese video games and anime such as Animal Crossing, Ghost in the Shell, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Akira. They even parody franchises, and a John Steinbeck book. Those aside, the anime itself did make me laugh quite regularly. I couldn’t find the sub, so I watched it in dub. The voice acting wasn’t the best, but I did find myself quoting lines from it after watching. Tomoko also sounds like Fionna from Adventure Time. While usually I’m not a fan of comedy centred around social awkwardness, I did quite enjoy WataMote because we get to see things from the perspective of the sufferer, rather than the onlooker (you can see why I’m not a fan of the Big Bang Theory) so it can be made fun of without being made light of. It’s also the first anime I’ve seen that satirises let’s play videos on YouTube, so make of that what you will. I’m not sure how I feel about her obsession with being a 15 year old virgin. I mean, is there something wrong with being a virgin at 15? It is below the age of consent in quite a few countries after all! A lot of the things that Tomoko does are supposed to come across as really creepy and strange, but I had literally just finished watching The Comic Artist and his Assistants, so I found it difficult to be creeped out by anything that was happening in WataMote.