Watamote. A popular anime and manga around the Internet despite being all about an unpopular Mojo girl who suffers from acute Social Anxiety.
Before I'll review this OVA, I'd tell you a little about Watamote's first rise to success, and I'll cover about Kuroki Tomoko's character as I wished to do it for a long time now, and then of course, I'll review the contents of this 13th Anime Original episode OVA.
Watamote (Shortest way to call it, so I'd just use that) started out as an unknown little manga that featured a very unique female protagonist, a Mojo, meaning a very gloomy unsociable girl. When I
first lay my eyes upon a random 4chan thread back in 2011 featuring Tomoko , I immediately knew this manga is going to be something special.
As one who enjoys unique portrayal of protagonists, and even better, something closer to home, a more realistic one, someone you could relate to easily, I knew I had to try it out.
So I read the first chapter that got scanlated by an Anon, and I was immediately intrigued.
How did Watamote managed to rise to success so easily?
It was with the help of those 4channers themselves, which stands out as a very nice story. 4channers promoted the manga in many threads, and even helped the mangaka financially so she could write more chapters by buying as many copies as they could. So instead of Japan, we got the West to support Watamote's first rise to success.
4chan is a controversial home to various people who enjoy social interaction through image boards, troll each other, and generally spread the Internet phenomena of Memes. Through the years it had its ups, downs, and as one who used to follow threads daily for years, 4chan indeed earned its name on the Internet.
So those 4channers who many of them themselves suffered from social alienation, enjoyed Watamote the best. And after the manga became enough popular, a 2013 anime adaptation adapted the manga story, shone Tomoko in different light, making her come to life with great visuals, sound, and endless attempts for Tomoko to become a popular sociable girl, which always resulted in utter failures.
From what I read in reviews on MAL, Kuroki Tomoko is a character you could easily relate to if suffer from similar societal anxieties, or you could just throw her existence as a loser who can't learn from her ways, and have a clear lack of empathy for her, even clearly feel pain from what she goes through, to the point you feel awkward when you watch the show.
Her life portrayal in a dark comedic show is something that can be very unfunny to some, while some would laugh and then feel guilty about it.
When I watch Kuroki Tomoko in action, I don't see a loser girl that clearly. Tomoko is someone that tries her best, and fails. Then tries again, then fails. A loop that will occur in the whole show.
Why does that happen to her? Why is she so different from other people surrounding her? Is this her fate? Is this how she supposed to live her whole life?
My own answer is, her state of mind, which over the years, strayed afar from a healthy one, into one ridden with such social anxieties.
Tomoko in Middle School was more sociable than in her teenage years, that's when the social anxiety attacks harder. While some who suffer from SA can live with it, some clearly, can't.
As one who knows what it's like to feel such heavy anxiety, despite not suffering from clear SA but something different, I'd tell you, even on one sunny day, things begin to change.
Sometimes you won't feel it right away, won't understand why it's happening, that you're in this mess, but after a few years, you won't remember how it even happened.
You'll be so delusional you'll think your whole life was this way, that you amount to the lowest human being.
And when one thinks he will fail, he's prone to failures much more than others. When one is in unhealthy delusional state of mind caused by anxieties, traumas or a mental illness, he will see the world differently, sometimes live his daily life through his hobbies, will fail to see the world as it itself works in reality like others without such anxieties, see them as clear as the sun.
Then it can be a life long suffering.
The worst thing is, that many or even most people around you will see you as a lower human being than their standing. And when many, or even every person acts hostile towards you, you'll make generalizations about this world, and build up years of hatred towards many of your peers, despite the problem lying deep in yourself.
It can be an lifelong cycle of hatred, that can bring you to make drastic measures. Shut yourself in? Lose friends one after another or never have a close friend at all? Succumb to the state of mind until it becomes a lifelong illness? Much is possible.
Can one go out of it? With kind help from others, a change in environment or even with years with good Rehab, and the right medications, one can slowly come back into a healthy state of mind: A healthy soul in a healthy body.
But such thing may never happen to many people, and they will succumb to it, lose themselves in it until it breaks them, and simply tears them apart from the inside.
They can easily lose their sanity, or meet an early demise.
This is not a matter someone can brightly joke about.
Kuroki Tomoko however, is in a dark comedy anime. The show name can be used in two ways: No Matter How I Look At It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Unpopular!/ It's Not My Fault That I'm Not Popular! which clearly expresses the delusion Tomoko is living in. Can Tomoko break out of it?
I didn't follow the manga to recent chapters yet, but I heard that recently she shows more of her social side, so there is some change. But clear change can take years of serialization, or...
May never happen at all.
It's time for me to review the OVA itself.
This OVA feels, looks, and is an original story. The story also feel much more lighthearted compared to the main show.
It starts with a prologue that hints about a possible second season. The prologue is about Tomoko wanting to change the series completely for the second season, then snaps out of it by Kii, her cousin, with the flashy entrance of the OP, which I really grown to love.
It manages to portray a more sociable Tomoko, in 2 halves:
One is through the eyes of a regular Chuunibyou middle school kid Aomatsu, which sees her as a cool girl who can change his boring daily life, just like in the anime he enjoys.
This part doesn't really feel like the regular Watamote, but more of a homage to many anime that cater to Chuunis. We see a cool Tomoko, with a cool voice, appearance and demeanor, spouting some chuuni remarks which the guy finds oddly intriguing.
The second part is from Tomoko viewpoint, which actually shows what happened in reality, and not through the help of Chuunibyou vision.
So it's basically half an episode covered in 2 viewpoints.
What I liked about it, that Tomoko feels different while she was in middle school, even if the Original Story setting required her to act different.
She was even unbeknown to me and to the other viewers, taller in her middle school years than her high school years, which clearly ignited the guy's Chuuni Mentality.
They both met a few times on the school rooftop, a setting to many Chuuni-inspired stories.
Tomoko just wanted to create a cool setting for them to meet frequently, but sadly, it didn't go anywhere in the end.
After 3 years, he couldn't even recognize her anymore despite bumping her once. Tomoko managed to change so much just in 3 years, with her additional social anxiety silent behavior.
So in the end, this was a refreshing Watamote story, through if I look at it overall, it was nothing that special.
I did enjoy it more compared to Yahari's original story OVA (a similar protagonist show) which I felt was more lacking, and not as refreshing.
-Art & Animation: 8-
The art is the same as the main series, which is perfectly understandable. Silver Link made the simple manga's art into something that looks way more grim and flashy at the same time. No complains here.
The OP and ED are the same as the main series, and the sound is just as great.
While some hate the combination of J-Pop and Screamo Metal in the OP song, I really found it to be the killer combination, perfectly fits the show theme of regress.
I missed the ED as well, and hearing it again in the episode after such a long time sure feels nice.
Kitta Izumi is back and great as ever. She carries the show without any flaw with her portrayal of Tomoko, a voice that she never uses in other shows, which it makes her most special role.
Tomoko, Tomoki and Yuu-chan return, with the addition of 2 new characters, Aomatsu and Komiyama Kotomi, a friend of Tomoko is her middle school years. They don't play a big role as a whole, but for a show with so little characters, every addition is welcome.
I enjoyed the main series and this OVA in the same way. They both have the same Watamote feel, despite the OVA being an original story, which shows the director's ability to produce good Watamote episodes even if they are not adapted straightly from the manga.
I also enjoy Watamote's anime more than the manga, because of great directing, and of course the addition of voice acting, music, animation, better art, and it's just better as a whole for me.
Despite this review was more about Watamote as a whole and not only this Stand Alone OVA, I said pretty much everything I wanted which was pent up about the show, since there was not much to review on this episode as standalone. So it's basically a Two-in-One review.
I recommend Watamote and this OVA to every person who enjoys dark comedy, different protagonists to the norm, and those can relate to Tomoko more easily because of their circumstances.
This is not a show about beating Social Anxiety so far, but one that just portrays it. Something that is avoided a lot in more of an Escapist (But not only) Mediums such as Anime and Manga. Please keep that in mind.
Enjoy Watching, and I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as I enjoyed writing it. (:
Great little episode. If you already watched the original show then you already know what your gonna get with the ova. Lots of comedic and cringing scenes from the lovable outcast Tomoko and amazing voice work from her voice actor. The story doesn't really progress anything but still enjoyable to see Tomoko again and to catch some of the anime references strewn about. This episode does give a Chuunibyou feel from it, to anyone familiar with that series. All and all nice little bonus episode to watch and relive Watamote's funny and sad feels that it gives off.
I waited for a whole year and finally we have the OVA.
The episode can seen from two perspectives: Aomatsu's and Tomoki's. These play out with the exact same scenario.
A big thing to note about this is that we are finally able to see how Tomoki actually looks and sounds like to other people. Generic MC-kun's version of Tomoki is tall, mysterious, and has a voice you can totally have the hots for. This isn't groundbreaking, but I definitely like this interesting take on our usual chibi-fied and raspy-sounding MC we've kept track of for 12 episodes.
Even if it wasn't noticeable, a new character is also
introduced, which is Kotomi Komiyama, a friend both to Yuu and Tomoki back in middle school. She eventually becomes a character who'd constantly "hang out" with Tomoki in the current manga, so seeing her in this OVA made me happy.
There aren't a lot of cringe moments in this one, but this will definitely make you laugh and facepalm one way or another. The artwork is still the same, but there are some quirks in the animations that reminded me of Shaft (which isn't a bad thing). The OP and ED were amazing as always.
Overall, I think it's a good OVA and it just makes me crave for another season of this show.
I will not give it a 10 due its length...too short, too enticing and yet soo short!
The way the shoot this little OVA, giving the point of view from both the guy, and then Kuroki, was totally delicious to watch, and made me laugh and cringe along te way.
Also, as noted by a reviewer here, it was really interesting to see how Kuroki really looks like to others than herself. That reminds me a bit of Yamato Nadeshiko, where we have a girl who thinks herself ugly although she is actually really beautiful. Kuroki due her own misconception about herself thinks little of her,
reflecting on how she looks (to herself) but when we saw her through the eyes of the guy, she is actually pretty cute, as well as strong. And yes, the voice! Well, that type has always been my favorite in anime!
I enjoyed this completely, and I hope they carry on with the series, soon!
Episode 13 of Watamote, or the OVA, is a nice finish to the season.
We're introduced to Aomatsu, a boy who seems to be just like Tomoko. No friends, like's to read and play games.
Just when he's thinking everything is ordinary, he meets a strange girl on the roof. And she makes things interesting for him again.
And Tomoko gets herself in some trouble..
There's not much of a plot or a point, it's just Tomoko being her usual self for us to enjoy.
It does hint a couple of times at there being a second season, so we'll have to wait and see.
This is one of three anime so far which I have given a 10/10 rating. I only give this rating when a show is not only perfect, but expands my horizons with regard to what I think is possible with the medium.
I'd never thought it was possible to relate to an anime so much as I did with WataMote. The few characters that are featured are written with a brutally realistic depth, and the show is the only example of what I might call "Slice of True Life". The realistic juxtaposition of narcissism and depression incarnated in Tomoko Kuroki belies a character depth and understanding
of humanity usually only displayed by therapists and other psychology professionals. There was never a choice made with regard to the writing that I didn't find believable and, on a fundamental level, correct for the character. Lying to people relentlessly, cheating, mentally insulting strangers, every bit of it was exactly who I was in middle school. The way she is utterly alone in her pain is almost never expressed in anime, but this show treats loneliness like an old friend, joking with it, laughing as it dies inside. This is so much closer to the reality of being a lonely but narcissistic kid. The meta-commentary never ceases to be hilarious, which at first I thought might just be unintentional, but in the beginning of the OVA they pretty much spell out that they understand the metacritical implications of their storywriting. Some people say this show is too cringey, but I usually hate schadenfreude comedy and I love this show. It feels less to me like they're trying to get the audience to laugh at her than it feels like the audience is laughing at her despite the author's wish to engender sympathy, which of course is icing on the metacritical cake.
I could write an essay on WataMote, so I'll stop here. Suffice to say I think this is the best Slice of Life anime ever, and that I'd recommend this anime to absolutely anyone.
I enjoyed Watamote OVA a lot with its creativity and originality. The concept of this OVA has two perspectives in the school rooftop from Aomatsu's (Tomoko's soon to be friend), then Tomoko's, which, in my opinion, was well-handled. I like the new character introductory of Tomoko and Yuu's friend from the middle school and her interaction with Tomoko. I wish we had more interaction with her and the other girls, though but one was good enough.
Aomatsu and Tomoko's meeting on the rooftop was a nice touch despite not seeing face-to-face but, it was nice to see someone actually talking to Tomoko and find her
attractive for a change. She's a pretty teenager with a good sense of humor and imagination.
I give the OVA a 10 for everything it stands for. And I hope we will get a second sometime in the future.
The “Watamote” OVA is a very interesting anime to watch and to think about. It’s composed of two parts, independent of each other at first glance. Nevertheless... The first part of this episode depicts an exaggerated and devilish (even for the manga and OP standards) location where Tomoko and her friends are writing a script about the protagonist. Tomoko is, of course, greedy and egocentric so, because of that, she receives a certain sort of punishment from Kiko. It’s impossible to tell whether this introduces us to the more important part of this story... Or whether it’s a completely irrelevant fan service (to remain in
line with the anime’s overdone intro [which was never in line with the tone of the manga whatsoever]). However, the question “are these two parts connected or not?” should be very important to everyone who watched “Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!: Motenaishi, Nazomeite Miru”. It could completely change the tone and interpretation of the plot and its main events...
Well, depending on the interpretation, it (we’re talking about the second part of the episode) could be considered the best time in Tomoko’s life or... the worst thing that actually happened to her in her life (why, Kiko?...). I will not spoil any detail. I won’t tell what happens, see it for yourself. But it’s so different from what we have already seen “Watamote”. It’s a cute segment. It’s an unfulfilled and tragic love story. It’s pure entertainment for the viewer and for the protagonists. For me, who admire the “Watamote” manga more than its derived anime, it’s the best episode ever made. It could have easily been made into a movie comparable with “Kimi no na wa” (not on the aesthetic level of course, though I see some similarities).
The romantic story of the OVA is charming and beautiful in a simple way. But it will only make such an expected impression when you are familiar with Tomoko’s everyday life. Otherwise, it’s just a fun to watch chapter of one loser’s life.
First off, I love this series. It expressed social anxiety in a way that was very accurate and hilarious at the same time. And although social anxiety isn't something to that to laugh at in particular, it was still refreshing to watch and makes you want to extend a hand to those who don't fit in.
That being said, I didn't much care for this OVA. It involves Tomoko meeting a boy on the school's roof in very odd ways with the episode featuring both character's perspectives of the encounters. To me, it was very boring and hard to watch. I thought it was confusing right
from the start and I didn't understand was going on until it went to Tomoko's perspective. I didn't enjoy it much at all and I was honestly just waiting for it to be over so that I can move on to a different anime.
I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad OVA but after watching the whole series and enjoying every second of it and then watching this episode, it left me in a very off putting way and I kinda just walked away from it. It's like watching a series you really love and once you are finished, you get that feeling like you don't know how you're going to move on, then you watch a really crappy episode of it and you're completely over it. And to be honest, I wish more great series had crappy episodes for the viewers to watch once they finish in order to kill that feeling and make it easier to move on.
But I'm not saying don't watch it, it's only a 27 min long episode, so watch it and judge it for yourself. I personally loved the series as a whole and this was the only episode that I hated.