66 CommentsAnime Analysis / By Scamp /

Although I still love the show, I feel let down by the Watamote ending

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I didn’t want it to be like this. To  understand why I was let down by what the ending did wrong, I have to first explain what I think the rest of the series did right leading up to that.

For the uninitiated, Watamote is about Tomoko, a teenage girl with severe social anxiety. She’s a hardcore otaku and, despite not being popular in middle school, expects to become stupidly popular once she reaches high school because that’s what all her media tells her should happen. Obviously she doesn’t become popular because she never talks to anyone, but she can’t understand why she doesn’t instantly become popular and starts blaming those around her. The absurdly long real title is “No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular”, pretty obviously reminiscent of the kind of light novel titles that informs her world view. This is one of the very few shows where heavy referencing other anime feels relevant. Her world view comes through the media, so of course she views the world through that lens.

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Tomoko’s main problem is she blames others for her problem, convinces herself that she isn’t lonely and concocts quick schemes that will ensure the universe rights itself. The show really needed to move Tomoko’s character forward in some regard though otherwise it would be get dull. The turning point came in the episode where she visits the red light district. After convincing herself that the reason nobody will talk to her is because she’s just so far above everyone else with her pornographic fantasies, she decides to abandon her family and school and embrace her destiny to become a host girl. After going through rigorous training (offering a lighter to a random man reaching for a cigarette on a park bench) she goes to the red light district and suddenly feels very scared and alone. After panicking and realising her own immaturity, she gets a reassuring call from home asking to pick up some milk and wishing her a safe trip back.

Family becomes a much stronger theme the more the show progresses. Tomoko starts to realise the value of her family simply being there for her, and the simplest of interactions with them make her realise she just wants someone to experience her life with her. One of my favourite lines of the show was when Tomoko asks her brother, for whom they had a pretty antagonistic relationship beforehand, to watch her set off fireworks so she doesn’t feel like she’s doing it alone. She stops blaming others and it becomes more about how she cannot work up the courage to do anything to help her position. Watamote was always depressing in its own way, but the tone got way more downbeat when it became less delusional and more crying herself to sleep at night. The perfect scene that captures this later tone is her trying to get her out-of-town friend she sees very rarely to hug her again so she can be temporarily relieved of her loneliness.

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This was a Good Direction for the show to go. Tomoko can’t develop while using delusional tactics. She was never going to become Miss Popular Social Queen by the end, and if you expected or wanted that then you had gotten the completely wrong end of what the show was trying to do. It was about how these get-popular-quick schemes drawn from the media she consumed would never work. Towards the end she’s still lying and being delusional, but every now and then is trying some more basic things. OK it’s as basic as offering to cut up some flyers for the culture festival, but baby steps people. This also couldn’t make her suddenly popular either, because that’s just the same get-popular-quick fallacy in a different hat, so she still hits brick walls that shatter her confidence.

Positive things do happen eventually. I wouldn’t say she gets a new ‘friend’ since that would be extending the term ‘friend’ far beyond its boundaries. At most she gets ‘sempai to notice me’, but that’s still something. It’s recognition of her work to try make a friend. The ending of episode 11 is brilliantly heart warming and wouldn’t have worked anywhere near as well without the previous 10 episodes of delusions, misery and failures. In many ways I feel that should have been the final episode. It didn’t cover all bases though. It was a once-off event that didn’t offer any light for the future. The final episode could fix that, and very nearly did. Obvious spoilers from here on:

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Tomoko goes up to her new idol sempai to say something. Anything, even a series of squawks and mumbles, it sort of doesn’t matter. They weren’t going to become best pals or anything, but something that offered light for the future. In my head I had imagined Tomoko wanting to ask her how she becomes popular, but as per the development over the course of the show she instead blurts out a question on how to make friends. Then she can run off in a wild panic, leaving us with some final scene of the sempai getting a form for Tomoko to join the student council. A final scene that said Tomoko has learned and something might be looking up for her in the future.

But no, instead she says nothing and runs away, leaving us with a final scene of her going “eh, it’s not like it matters anyway”. If you’ve been following my train of thought with this post, that retreat and single line kinda undoes her development. She’s back to believing it’s no longer her issue and running away from the problem. This is all done in aid of restoring the status quo for the ending, which pisses me off. She’s still clearly Tomoko. She’s still a stuttering, unattractive mess. You don’t need a hard reset to assure people it’s the same show. The development is subtle, but important. It gave the story a narrative arc. But instead nope, back to square one because the manga is still ongoing and we can’t go providing a narrative arc to a season for an ongoing property, can we? Oh never mind that other anime like Spice and Wolf, Genshiken, Berserk, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Silver Spoon etc. managed to do just that.

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At most, what you could say the ending provided is someone recognising her effort. Someone acknowledged that Tomoko is working hard to improve her life, even though this was done already by episode 11. And hey, maybe they plan to make a second season. Unlikely, given Japan doesn’t give a shit about the show and foreigners don’t pay for anything, but it would at least give them more leeway to pick up the work from last season and develop it fully. Not that it would forgive the ending reversing the work the rest of the series did, but it gives them room to fix the problem. Ultimately I still do love the show to bits. I recognise that not many other people do, but being able to tell this depressing story through comedic means is a massive achievement and it’s what I think more comedy should strive to do. But it was set to be possibly my favourite anime of all time. It was so close too.

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  1. ANON
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    hmm, going by what you wrote, it should be “No matter what way I look at it it’s you guys fault this blog is already as famous as it is.”

  2. mwp
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    The ending reminded me of this.

    Otherwise, the show had a relatively nice concept, but it wasn’t much different from every other repetative parody/slice-of-life anime ever. Save for the main character, whose personality had three layers at most. And a bit of social satire.
    It was a fun watch, I guess.

    I’m probably just being an asshole about it.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      I think the social satire using that main character is what makes it different from every other anime ever. But whatever. And yes, I’m 99% sure that ending was a deliberate parody of the Air Master one.

  3. Posted September 26, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    I swear to god if you changed the names and a few details, this would be a review of my favorite TV show.

    Ever hear praise for something that makes you go “well if you think this is great, then try this?”. That’s what I feel whenever I hear praise for Watamote. I just want to recommend Daria (or Welcome to the NHK) to people.

    Anyways, I think using comedy to tell stories is great. Love Ikkoku and Urusei Yatsura after all.

    • Posted September 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      I’m tempted to add Daria to my cluttered list of Things-I-Must-Watch/Read. Welcome to NHK is also there, which I saw the first episode of but couldn’t get into it at the time being.

    • Posted September 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      By the way, the fact that you haven’t written a thing about the new Eccentric Family episode as of yet pretty much tells me all I need to know. I’ll at least agree that Watamote is a better show than that disappointment.

  4. Mazz
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t get passed episode 7. The show felt like it was going nowhere (except the one scene with her brother and the fireworks, which you mentioned). It didn’t help that I rarely found the show funny (except for the scenes where she trolls her brother). The other scenes were just hard to watch, and not in a good way. It just felt awkward and embarrassing. For this show to work I’m convinced you actually needed to find it funny enough to continue, otherwise its like 10 episodes of the same old awkward, embarrassing shit happening and the final episode brings her back to square one, and proves she didn’t learn anything over the past year (or however long it was).

    • gedata
      Posted September 26, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      “For this show to work I’m convinced you actually needed to find it funny enough to continue”

      that’s how a comedy works.

      Watamote is a comedy first before being a character study or wharever.

      • Posted September 26, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

        Shame Mazz can’t appreciate the refined comedy of a perverted socially awkward girl learning about life and what NOT to do with a vacuum :P

      • Scamp
        Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        Comedy is a means through which to tell a story, not the end goal. If it is the end goal, it leaves no impact.

  5. Anonymoose
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t particularly relevant, but I was just wondering who might enjoy Diabolik Lovers and realized that Tomoko probably would.
    If that gives you any idea as to their target audience.

    • Kiraly
      Posted September 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      I think she had a poster of it on her wall.

      I actually read a full summary of Diabolik Lovers. It’s far more screwed up than you can imagine, but right up my alley with it. It’s closer to Litchi than to Amnesia, although with less intestines and outright gore.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Heh, she does listen to Yandere Boys so that fits.

  6. Hurvilo
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really agree with your assessment of the ending.

    I mean, sure, if you have to be all cynical about it that final line does provide a reset route for a second season (and I would be disappointed if they decided to execute on it). But that doesn’t mean the stuff that happened didn’t happen. Because it did. Tomoko made some major strides during the last few episodes, she built up a lot of courage, and to actually go as far as she did with it (even though she still failed a lot of the time) was very touching to me.

    This might just be me trying to bend the final scene my own way, but I sort of viewed it like she realized how ridicilous it is to get so hung op on details. She decided to just “roll with it”, do it her own way and it will be fine, sooner or later. E.g. she now has a belief that she can do it, whereas she didn’t before.

    Needless to say, I love this show. I think it executed on what it set out to do really, really well. When it wanted to be funny it was really fucking funny, and when it wanted to be sad it flatout made me cry. Only to one episode later make me cry again. But this time of joy.

    A mighty emotional ride.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      I don’t think that really fits in with anything else her character had done until now, but I suppose it works. It’s a pretty vague line either way.

  7. shytende
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    I actually didn’t paid to much attention of this final line…

    And I didn’t interpret trhe last line at giving up.
    She doesn’t think anymore she can become the most popular girl of the school, and she realized it’s not what she really wanted. She just wanted not to be alone, (as it was beautifully shown in the episode where she dreams about club life).

    Of course, she may start to withdraw into herself, but I think she will just let things do their own ways.
    And honnestly, she may have better result that way.
    By not caring that much about peer pressure, she can free herself.

    A 2nd season that reset all her character developpment ould be the worst that can happens.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      It wasn’t peer pressure though, it was the media she consumed that made her cave in. But you’re not the first person to come to that conclusion so eh, maybe you’re onto something.

  8. Posted September 26, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t watched the episode yet, but I’m not surprised since most of the dozens and dozens of anime I have seen end in a lackluster or depressingly bad fashion (ESPECIALLY Natsu no Arashi).

    I adore Watamote, though the later episodes barely made me crack a smile. I also agree 90% with your opinion, the ~10% I don’t is referring to the so-called “cringe-inducing” humor… I only ever had a disturbed reaction at the bathroom scene during her panty fiasco because… The whole thing~

    But look on the bright side, Scamp! There is an OVA coming out with the latest manga volume that miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggght just wrap things up more pleasantly. Emphasis on “might”.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      But….I never mentioned cringe-inducing humour. Like I barely even mentioned the actual comedy in this show at all.

      Ah yes that OVA. Somehow I doubt it will be anything other than more of the same. I’ll still eat it up though

      • Posted September 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        I was referring to your first impressions post on episode 1:

        “The ‘humour’ is not aimed at creating laugh-out-loud jokes. The construction is more geared towards at making your cringe. I was gripping my shirt over my face through my stifled giggles as I could barely bring myself to watch. And I was actually popular at school, christ only knows how much this hits home for those who had genuine social anxiety and believed it was just the rest of the world that sucked and not you. That part is key here. It’s not preying on misanthropic teenagers belief that everyone else in the world just doesn’t understand them. That’s the view the OP presents. In reality it’s you who cannot get out there and actually talk to people. But it’s not mean about that either. It’s humour is sympathetic and understanding while also managing to be brilliantly funny and horribly cringe-inducing. It succeeds fantastically at what it sets out to do and uses every single tool in its box to achieve that goal.”

        My statement was also aimed at everyone else who “cringed” at Watamote’s humor.

  9. Posted September 26, 2013 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Watamote ultimately was too complacent with its setup. Its amusing and occasionally heartful but it doesn’t try to achieve anything beyond that. I would have taken negative character development, e.g. all of her terrible experiences finally overwhelm her and she gives up, over a static setup. Its the American newspaper comic syndrome, you have a good joke but you’ve milked it too far. It’s unfortunate that Watamote ended on, I’d say, its weakest episode because I’d think more highly of it if it ended on the balloon episode.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      I would have thought of it much more highly if it ended on the balloon episode too. As I said, it didn’t cover everything I wanted an ending of the show to deliver, but it certainly did most of them.

  10. AG
    Posted September 27, 2013 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    I actually sort of expected that. It’s a recurring thing that happens in pratically all the episodes where no matter how many little victories Tomoko has in being more social, there’s a moment where the shows says “screw this bullshit, Tomoko is Tomoko” and undo everything that the episode was working for in a funny and akward scene.

    I guess I’m not that disappointed in the ending because I always saw Watamote as nothing more than a comedy anime about an akward girl and, even from the manga (still not up to date yet), I see that it doesn’t try to become anything more than that. Yes you might see hints of character development but it never goes beyond hints because in the end it’s only aim is comedy. It’s a bit similar from shows like The Simpsons, The Boondocks etc… where you might have a small heartwarming moment but it’s just left there as a “Aww” moment.

    Plus as you said there’s also the sequel hook that I always expect in anime like this that might have made it more obvious to me :p

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      See though, the show did change. The last few episodes got way less funny and delusional and way more depressing. It got depressing because Tomoko’s aims were much more achievable goals that you felt could actually get somewhere. They still failed because they couldn’t be an instant solution, but we had finally made some progress in episode 11. Episode 12 sorta backtracked on that.

  11. BwackNinja
    Posted September 27, 2013 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    They engineered a pleasant world that had no antagonists. The person most against her is her brother, and he never actually retaliated despite how much she deserved it. Tomoko’s friend is interesting because it seems like she gave up on some things she liked (like anime) because she no longer had anyone around her who shared that interest. Her genuine positive relationship with Tomoko seems like it’s compensating for what is lacking in her other relationships and why she’s so attached to it. She even separates from her other friends to go through the fair with Tomoko. It makes being popular seem like more of a compromise of who you are that participating in niche groups doesn’t have.

    The big issue with trying and succeeding at being popular is that you’re succeeding at being what other people enjoy and focus on that rather what you want (other than your desire to be loved). How do you feel having a popular blog? You’ve checked for interest in adding additional post types like Manga Driver and some gaming posts. How much of it is revelling in people’s high opinion of you and how much is your own personal enjoyment regardless of what people think?

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      I found it really interesting that nobody in the world was ever a bad person, despite Tomoko’s desires to paint everyone as such. With the exception of maybe the red-light district scene. I particularly liked that one where the teacher ran out onto the bridge and dragged her off and gave her a big lecture.

  12. Mormegil
    Posted September 27, 2013 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    I’m actually glad it ended like this, and I sincerely hope there won’t be another season. Sadly, she gets much worse in the manga and the heartwarming and touching scenes are pretty much nonexistent. What I liked so much about the anime adaptation is that it reminded me of a time when I could sympathize with Tomoko’s situation. And like you said, she even makes some small improvements here and there. Nowadays, it’s impossible to sympathize with her.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Huh, that’s disappointing to hear. Maybe the anime took the exact right approach then. The only mistake was either not ending an episode early or not doing an anime original ending. It’s not even like they had to change that much either

  13. DP
    Posted September 27, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I see your point about the ending, but I actually thought it was very fitting. The thing that makes Watamote fantastic, and what makes it so much better (to my mind) than wish fulfillment nonsense like “Welcome to the NHK” (yes, shut-ins often have beautiful young girls fall in love with and try to reform them) is that despite its broad comedy, it’s always faithful to “real life” and the core truth that changing one’s personality isn’t easy or simple.

    Even though Watamote steadfastly portrays the world as a pretty good place, full of decent people who are generally nice to Tomoko (or at least not mean to her), she’s still an anxiety-ridden, delusional teen. And like most of us, she isn’t very likely to change much, if at all.

    Most of us run away from our problems rather than confronting them, and that’s what Tomoko does in the end. (What a lovely touch it was that her “friend,” running alongside her for awhile, gets distracted by a cat!)

    At the end of Watamote, there’s a glimmer of hope for Tomoko in her potential mentor from the student council. And while that’s a small thing, I think it’s just right. Doing more than that would have betrayed the underlying true-to-life theme of the story.

    While obviously not for everybody, Watamote was a really, really great anime.

    • Wodes
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 5:35 am | Permalink

      Maybe I’m just at that phase of life where I’ve had enough of the shinji’s, the shower angst, and the deconstruction, but “true to life” just seems outright appalling as a concept. I mean, that’ s what you have life for. And indeed, it sucks. Give me large uplifting tales ala TTGL over “true to life” any day.

      • DP
        Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        I totally understand preferring your entertainment to be escapism! In no way do I think Watamote is something that would or should appeal to a broad audience. I’ll be honest, I shed more tears watching it than I had good laughs. The scene at the end of episode 6, where Tomoko winds up watching the “fireworks” with two middle school boys was absolutely heartrending.

        I appreciate wating escapism, too. Especially in your cartoons!

        But for the most part, one harem looks pretty much like every other. And while I certainly wouldn’t want everything I watch to be so unflinching in its “real life” portrayal of the things many of us experience, I really don’t think there’s much threat of that happening! Not in anime, not on TV, and not in the movies.

        It’s great that most stories have happy endings. I recognize that’s what people want to see. But usually, what I personally remember most fondly are the stories that remind us that even when there isn’t a happy ending, there can still be a glimmer of hope. Because most of the time, that’s life.

      • Scamp
        Posted September 28, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        You can like both you know. It’s anime, it’s probably the least realistic medium around.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Thing is she spent the first half of the show doing nothing other than running away from her problems. To finish the narrative arc the show seemed to be going for, it should have finished on her not running away from the problem and finally being rewarded for that. It’s the ending, it’s the one time that should have happened.

  14. Popka
    Posted September 27, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m hesitant to call NHK wish fulfillment because Misaki literally only makes things worse for Satou.

    >But it was set to be possibly my favourite anime of all time. It was so close too.

    Sorry to hear this. It’s frustrating when something is really, really good, but you know it just missed the mark of being the greatest ever.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Starting to realise that what I got out of Watamote is what the people who love Welcome to the NHK got out of that.

  15. Shikamaru
    Posted September 27, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Ugh. I really wanted to like Watamote. The first few episodes were funny. Then I started feeling really bad for laughing at Tomoko. She has real problems. I want to see her enjoy her life. I want her to be happy. That hickey scene was the last straw for me. Humor officially dead. That was so sad to watch. She might end up killing herself at this rate so it’s really hard to laugh at this.

    I’m not here to angst but lets just say that I have my own problems too. I watch anime to escape my shitty life for a while. I watch anime so that I get something else to think about. I want to have fun while watching anime. I only got more depressed while watching this. Thank god for Genshiken. Genshiken always cheers me up.

    I will definitely try to rewatch this at some point. When I’m feeling better. I want to laugh at Watamote too. Right now this just was too depressing for me. NHK is one of my favourite anime ever. It’s really funny and it also has really good story at the same time. But if I tried to rewatch it now I probably wouldn’t be able to laugh.

  16. Wodes
    Posted September 28, 2013 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    I watched the first two episodes, got really excited by the concept, read a good chunk of the manga, wondered if anything would change, skipped ahead to current chapters, realized nothing does, and then dropped it about two months ago.

    From what I read elsewhere, it seemed to follow the manga fairly faithfully, so I was expecting a flat ending. I’m suprised there are people who were seriously expecting tomoko’s character to develop (and even more suprised that people saw character development in the past 11 episodes; the level of “subtlety” in the supposed character development really looks like grasping at straws to me).

  17. Posted September 28, 2013 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    “People who sexualise Tomoko are weird.”

    Like the mangaka, and all the people involved in animating the anime?

  18. HenryIsHot
    Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Because the character traits the anime pokes at, I think this anime appeals to a narrow range of anime viewers.

    It doesn’t appeal to people who have social problems and are uncomfortable with the idea that they watch anime as a substitute for being social. It doesn’t appeal to people who think “I have anime. I don’t need a social life” in the same way someone rejected by someone they like thinks “I don’t need them to be happy.” It’s a subconscious defense.

    In those cases this anime is shows transparent those defenses are, and it hits too close for comfort. No one likes being told the truth if they don’t want to believe it. In these cases they probably decide the anime is trash or something, because we don’t take what trash has to say seriously.

    On the other hand, people who don’t have this problem, are comfortable admitting their problems, or really do only care about 2D, wouldn’t have this prejudice, and would judge the anime based on its quality. But they’re probably in the minority.

    For that reason, regardless of quality, this anime will never be popular.

    • Posted September 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      I’m part of that minority, it seems.

    • Wodes
      Posted September 29, 2013 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      I didn’t know Hideaki Anno commented on the cart driver!

      Isn’t it a bit of an over generalization to say “there are two types of people: those who like watamote and those who will eventually end up in a mental hospital”?

      • HenryIsHot
        Posted October 1, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        Yes it is, but only because you overgeneralized my argument.

  19. Alt nadgers
    Posted September 28, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    You know, despite being macho dickhead who vomits at the first sight of anything “moe”, I actually enjoy the manga. I guess it’s a sympathy thing.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 30, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Maybe because it’s not moe

      • Nadgers
        Posted September 30, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Oh. I need to get these terms down.

  20. Frog
    Posted September 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Heeding your advice, I watched the first 11 episodes of Watamote and then stopped. The result was satisfying.

    I’m curious about where this show would rank among your favorites, if at all.

    • Posted September 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      I second that. From what he’s said it should at LEAST get on his Top 60.

      • Scamp
        Posted September 30, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        I gave it a 10 on MAL. That automatically qualifies it for top 10

  21. Hanasra
    Posted September 28, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    “Spice and Wolf, Genshiken, Berserk, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Silver Spoon”
    I’m feel crushed seeing both Baccano and Mushishi not on that list.

    • Gan_HOPE326
      Posted September 28, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Never seen Mushishi – but I’d say the big difference with Baccano is that it was heavily plot driven, rather than character driven. Even more if you consider that it was narrated in a chronologically inconsistent fashion, so you didn’t really get character development – if anything, you got to understand the reasons why your characters had turned out like you already knew they had.

      • Hanasra
        Posted September 29, 2013 at 12:12 am | Permalink

        Mushishi is episodic, but of course if they want. they could make it also ended in cliffhanger, leaving room for second season that actually would never come.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 30, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Neither Baccano nor Mushishi had an ongoing plot thread that they wrapped up within the season. That’s the point I was trying to make with that list.

  22. Usny
    Posted September 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you, Scamp. The show went a really interesting direction by viewing the world from the point of view of a otaku outcast in a way that is realistic and doesn’t glorify them. Tomoko slowly tries to acclimate herself to a normal life because she knows, deep down, that blaming others for her shortcomings is just a petty defense mechanism. I really wanted to watch her continue coming around and then the ending undoes pretty much all the development she sent through for the sake of a stupid last joke and a pointless book end wrap-up.

    The only show that abandons character development so readily for some cheap laughs is The Big Bang Theory and that’s not a show any other show should aspire to be like.

    • Wodes
      Posted September 29, 2013 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      I’ve been far enough down the rabbit hole of “realistic and doesn’t glorify”–reading books like catcher in the rye and the perks of being a wallflower, listening to the smiths, and reading Sylvia Plath religiously–to know that it really is glorificatIon in the end, just of a more macabre sort than what is traditionally associated with “glorification” and “escapism”. I guess that’s why Watamote could never really do it for me.

  23. arcanes
    Posted September 29, 2013 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed the last episode and I actually think that the last line is brilliant. The subs I saw phrased the line like this -” Seriously, what trivial stuff” and to me, it’s full of irony. Because for Tomoko those things are anything but trivial. So she laughs about it.

    Anyway, Watamote was awesome and I will miss it.

  24. Nekonome
    Posted April 9, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I just got done watching this show and I have to say that I really loved it. It was painful to watch at times, she reminded me of myself when I was shy in high school, though not nearly as bad as her.

    While most would say that the show should have ended at ep11, and I felt like that for a while as well, but after thinking about it I rather ep12 to be the swan song.

    She is slowly making strides, she caught the eye of the student president, and she is no longer sick while sitting in the middle of the class. I like to think that sooner or later the class leader would have struck up a friendship with Tomoko and maybe help her break out of her shell. That last line in the show did kind of suck but I just ignored it and moved on.

    Not sure how the Manga goes, I have no plans on reading it, but if the series never gets a second season I am glad it ended how it did.

  25. johnny`
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree the ending was lack luster. I half expected by episode 10 that it would fail. I didn’t think the 2 last episodes would be enough to finish properly. I was hoping to at least get an ending that implied the beginning of character change. Instead I got something that felt more like a “maybe we’ll continue the show later” episode that left the viewer on a moral cliff hanger. By moral I mean the themes;some weren’t really fleshed out enough to understand what the show was saying about them. Too ambiguous. For example main character decides to let go of the past but we never really see the outcome of that choice play out. Generally speaking letting go of the past is considered good advice but the imagery present when the character says this looks kind of somber so is the show saying its a good or bad? The end just left me feeling so unsatisfied, like there should’ve been 2-3 more episodes
    They should do what they did with the OG Full metal alchemist show and just ignore the manga. First FA show was so much better than the manga as a result. All this show needed was a decent resolution and it would’ve been instant classic for me.

  26. johnny`
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree the ending was lack luster. I half expected by episode 10 that it would fail. I didn’t think the 2 last episodes would be enough to finish properly. I was hoping to at least get an ending that implied the beginning of character change. Instead I got something that felt more like a “maybe we’ll continue the show later” episode that left the viewer on a moral cliff hanger. By moral I mean the themes;some weren’t really fleshed out enough to understand what the show was saying about them. Too ambiguous. For example main character decides to let go of the past but we never really see the outcome of that choice play out. Generally speaking letting go of the past is considered good advice but the imagery present when the character says this looks kind of somber so is the show saying its a good or bad?
    They should do what they did with the OG Full metal alchemist show and just ignore the manga. First FA show was so much better than the manga as a result. All this show needed was a decent resolution and it would’ve been instant classic for me.

  27. johnny`
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Also the last line of the show sounds negative but I think it suppose to be a positive one. The main character is painfully narcissistic because she care about what others think. She never gets to be herself and develops social phobia as a result. So deciding that popularity doesn’t matter would be a step up from the way she think. Although I can’t even be confident in this interpretation because the ending just failed in delivery the message. The ending feels like getting the answer to a question without an explanation. So as a result of a bad ending the last line is more confusing than it should be.

  28. AlexFDR
    Posted August 6, 2014 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    by the end of it i felt, since the scene from the ending is pretty much the same as the scene from the beginning, that she imagined everything that happened and that was what made her laugh at the end. but that’s just me.

  29. Otaku2412
    Posted August 24, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    While the ending wasn’t really THAT great, I felt the series as a whole was satisfying. Clearly a 9/10 from me!

    I had too many of those “I have experienced this before” moments though, as I was unpopular at school and was pretty much like Tomoki (including her hobbies) and had a hard time accepting normal people as well. Later on, I realized I didn’t really want to become popular (I had two friends anyways) and felt peace. I hope this development goes for this series as well, as she gets older. I want her to get at least one friend at school as well, I feel really bad for her when she’s all alone. Especially after spending time with her middle school friend, it was heartbreaking at the 11th episode. Maybe make her brother a “nicer” person as well…

    I have no idea if the ending had any meaning at all, but let’s see how the OVA turns out like.

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