The back half of Watamote took a bit of a darker turn. At the start of the show Tomoko is generally a bit delusional, convincing herself that No Matter What Way I Look At It, It’s You Guys Fault I’m Not Popular (see whut I did thar). Towards about the halfway point though we started to move on to some sort of development curve. It was slow and painful and was going to get worse before it got better, but at least Tomoko was starting to admit that this wasn’t everyone else’s problem. She was sad and lonely and wanted someone to help her no longer feel lonely.
The most heart-crushing moment of Watamote, and a scene I feel kinda sums up what the show is about, was Tomoko trying to trick her friend who was over for the school festival before she left so she could feel her warmth and temporarily forget how lonely she is. It’s still using comedy to make its point, but it’s a desperate lonesome point that put the whole arc of Tomoko at its lowest. She had given up on hare-brained schemes read from otaku products and girls magazines and was actually trying to blend into the crowd by helping out at the fair, albeit still fucking up because she’s Tomoko and fitting in would never come easy. She was now down to the simplest of schemes, not even to get popular, but to just get a hug. Just something to make her not feel so lonely.
In Watamote you’re always longing for something right to go for Tomoko, but the failure comes from Tomoko herself so you don’t feel mad at the world around her. In fact the people in Watamote are generally all very nice, from the boys under the bus shelter giving her an umbrella to the teacher looking out for her safety on the bridge. Her failure to fit in comes from her own actions, so while you can see her trying and desperately want her to succeed, you know she won’t in her current state. By episode 11 though she was actually trying methods that should work. I wanted someone to recognise her effort and for something to go right for her.