Jul 16, 2021
Ezekiel_01 (All reviews)
Do you ever felt that you are getting tired of Romance Comedy Set in Highschool? When the troupe of this kind of slice of life romance comedies is starting to get boring? And as time passes, it starting to get very jarring to watch. When the idea is getting stale when nothing new is introduced on the table.

If you feel that way? You’re not the only one. Because I am also growing kind of tired of this kind of show as I hit my late 20’s. The problem I see with this kind of show is that we get an ample amount of it every season with little to no variety amongst them that sometimes make the experience no longer engaging enough for me to care. But to be super clear I still enjoy watching high school rom-com every now and then, especially the very old ones. It’s just becoming much harder for me to try out new ones especially if I expect I am not getting the pay-off. And by the way, a lot of rom-com doesn’t end in a very satisfying way which ends up either make me wanting more or felt depressed.

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku is a show I consider, in my opinion, a breath of fresh air when it comes to the romance and slice of life genre. Sure, there are lots of anime featuring working young adults' love story while some are more solid because the couples are already married. But if you going to count the memorable ones that heavily focus on the idea I mention. I think I cannot count them more than my ten fingers.

In this Review, we are going to explore why I think this anime is good and fresh on what is presented in the year 2018.

(Story/Plot/Writing) (7/10: Good) (Spoiler Free)

The first thing that I found interesting in the anime is that the basic story is about characters living their normal young adult life with their hobbies co-existing with their current lifestyle. The catch in the formula however is that they also have to build and maintain upon an established romantic relationship with their partners.

For young audiences who haven’t been involved in this kind of stage of their life as a working adult will find it kind of boring and unrelatable. But for me currently as a young adult on the writing of this review found it very common around the office. People balancing work and relationships is a challenge by itself.

I find it fascinating that characters are realistically self-aware about the public mentality against otaku culture, they are not ignorant about it. Even though the approach is quite different for each character. There is a sense of realism about it.

Most of the time, on other anime I’ve seen but not all, heavily glorified “Otaku Culture’’ as some kind of magnificent way of life that society failed to understand. They victimized otakus as an undesirable group of people that society failed to understand. Giving the notion that Otakus are ”Special” and the “Real World”’ is a stupid place, only Isekai’s will understand them. The show is quite subtle in showcasing a sneak peek at how otakus enjoy their niche hobbies in a very down-to-earth way. No exaggeration or Hyperbole involve. Just regular people doing the things they love.

Ok, we cover why I found the core synopsis interesting, now let’s move on to the comedy aspect of the show. The show makes use of some really funny inside jokes about certain otaku habits. And I am surprised that the gag is only used in small amounts. Usually, in rom-com with otaku-related humor, we commonly get like 10 or more of the referential jokes each episode. But in Wotakoi's case, there are only lesser than anticipated per episode if I remember correctly. related to jokes that might be niche jokes that only certain groups of people will get the reference. Jokes that only otaku knows sort of things. The show relies on basic office humor and your typical slice of life rom-com humor that any non-otakus person can understand. I found this style pretty nice. Less is more. The more time I can breathe between jokes the better. I am not a fan of comedies that loves to bombards 10 to 20 random jokes within the span of 1 to 5 minutes. Looking at you Pani Poni Dash!

The humor is well-paced in the majority of each episode. It has a good transition from serious mood to light-hearted or awkward mood to relatable feel-good moments. Though emotional whiplash exists in this show, it is not too damaging enough to destroy the overall experience.

Now we are done with the core aspect of the show comedy. Let’s talk about the show main spice in the story, the romance. If I am going to rank the character's level of relationship on the scale of 1 to 10. I say they are between a 6 or 7, depending on how far you look at the depth of the romance. I say the character's mutual attraction to one another and how they behave is realistically normal. The romance of the show is more slice of life than heartwarming romantic.
It doesn’t shy away from the reality that a romantic relationship is not all about flowers and sex. Most of the time you will just see characters having a mundane conversation about each other’s lives, hanging around in each other’s houses, watching movies, and playing videos games. Doing dates that don’t seem to be super fun as other people romanticize it. And for me that’s Ok. A relationship is all about sharing life experiences and personal stories to their partners that they wouldn’t honestly talk about to other people.

It's all about being comfortable being yourself. Doing what you love around the person you love and you are proudly supported every step of the way. And to me, that’s pure romance at its core.

(Characters, Only Main to Talk About) (7/10 Good) (Spoiler-Free)

I usually talk about each individual character on their pro and cons when a show has a limited scope of less than 6 acting casts. But I decided just to highlights some very significant general traits to avoid giving up some major spoilers. That show doesn’t have an overarching plot. Most episodes can be very independent of one another. The enjoyment and the main content of Wotakoi can offer is the main character themselves. Just to give you guys the idea.

People should know that otakus are not set as a single stereotype. There is a multitude of different niche groups of otakus with varying interests and hobbies. Hirotaka, Narumi, Hanako, and Tarou present the message that not all otakus have an aligned set of interests. Even though Narumi and Hanako almost shared the same interest but they have different opinions and perspectives on specific topics like most individuals within a fandom. Not very stereotypical. This makes each character stand out in their own right and not getting overshadowed by another.

When it comes to conflict and relationship hurdles. The format is quite similar to Boy VS Girl squabbles. As I mentioned recently the show remains consistently light-hearted and never sway too much on more serious adult theme boundaries. And there is no antagonizing character either in this show so expect there will be no serious dispute will occur in this show.

I also found the small cast of characters very fun to watch since I like the relationship dynamics with a combination ok humor.

(Technical Stuff) (Art & Animation 7/10)( Music and Sound Design 7/10)

I only gonna make this section a little short since there isn’t anything much to talk about. The Opening "Fiction by Sumika is enjoyable to watch every episode. Good OST Ambience on particular scenarios has some very relaxing vibes to it. And the Ending Music is Good too.

For a modern anime made in 2018, I would say the animation and art style is quite standard, nothing special. Not always being flashy nor super hyperbolic nonsense all the time. The style plays out very maturely most of the time. For Slice of Life Anime About Adults, I think the art style is good for the show in general. And for small details, the “Lighting” and “Shadowing” are quite good too.

(Enjoyment/ Bias Personal Opinion) (7/10 I have Fun Watching This Show) (W/Spoilers)

I’ve been telling a lot of positives about the show but I would like to discuss some of my little complaints about it in this section though they aren’t that many. This issue I found in the show might be not a negative to others.

Introducing some new character in mid-way is ok but in the last few episodes, I considered a foul play in regard to character introduction. And Wotakoi actually did this kind of tactic which I found kind of annoying since this anime didn’t get a season 2 to fix the sudden introduction of the character. Until now I don’t remember him/her very much because of lack of screen time.

The character "Fleshing Out'' is Good but there isn’t any deep development or change on the characters. But I would like to counterargument that each character does establish to know each other’s interest and dislike over the course of the series which still made them organic until the end. And can you blame them? There isn’t any major conflict in this show that will force them to change their ways. And that is fine for a slice of life Rom-Com. But it also filled me the void of wanting it more and I might check out the source material in the future.

(Final Thoughts) (Overall 7/10 A show worth recommending to specific niche)

The show did a good job of presenting a basic slice of life romance story of your modern office worker that has a niche interest. It didn’t go deep into any heavy themes and stay consistently light-hearted to the majority of the 11-episode run. I like the way this show doesn’t represent otakus as creepy pedophilic rapists or pathetic basement dwellers. The show presents them as normal human beings who live a healthy life. It doesn’t make you feel sorry for them or feel disgusted if a person has a distinct interest in anime, games, or stuff people will find disturbing.

I will also conclude that this show is not for everybody but I believe that people's preferences change over time depending on our age and our environment. So you might not appreciate this kind of show now but maybe someday you will.

Like the show once said. I used to be Pure. I wasn’t born as a boob guy.

Closing Remarks:

If I have the chance to describe the show overall using specific character dialogues this is what I choose.

Narumi Momose to Hirotoka Nifuji:

>My last boyfriend, and the one before that, and my first boyfriend were all the same.

>They all dumped me because I was an Otaku. It is always like that for me. It was always like that, so this feels easy for me now! I don’t have to hide the fact that I am a nerd.

>But Neither of us is the other’s ideal type. We are both otakus. I am sure we’re both making some compromises.

Hirotaka Nifuji Reply to Narumi Momose:

> Well you’re right, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t compromising on anything.

>I’m not with you just because you’re a nerd or just because it’s easy.

>I love seeing you do the things you like.

>Anyway that’s how I feel

End of Conversation

And Always Thanks for Reading Guys! Peace Out!