41 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Watamote ~ No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular! episode 1 – I’m Coming Soooooooon

vlcsnap-2013-07-09-21h57m16s190Free eat your heart out. These bishies speak engrish.

Watamote parodied Death Note and had a reference to Parasyte. Next episode will have the main character pull a Jojo’s pose while reciting the first law of equivalent exchange for maximum ‘hit Scamp with the right nerd references’ because apparently I’ve become a loser and enjoy spotting references. If references was all Watamote had, then it would be pretty crappy, even if they were all Parasyte references. Thankfully Watamote is goddamn fucking perfect at absolutely everything. So yup, not just references.

vlcsnap-2013-07-09-21h58m01s128I think the best example of why I’m so excited by what this first episode had to offer can be encapsulated by the OP and ED. You know the way the OP and ED for Detroit Metal City perfectly captured the two disparate types of music being parodied by the story? The opening had a man screaming at his audience to murder their parents while bouncing about at one of their extreme concerts looking completely absurd. However the ending, with its barf-lyrics and sappy singing, managed to show how ridiculous in turn the music the main character aspired to sing is. In those two songs included the central joke that made up the entire point of Detroit Metal City.

Watamote is the kind of anime that would often have some voice actor do some crappy love song in an attempt to propel her idol career, or bash in some generic jrock with barely related lyrics with whatever band the producers are trying to push today. Instead they include an OP so dramatic in its Chuunibyou-ness that it seems like a parody. It’s how the main character likes to see herself and her struggle with those around her as being fighting against the chains of society. Meanwhile the ED, with it glorious straining voice that cracks whenever it has to hold a note either too high or too long, reveals the true side of a girl who just desperately wants to be liked and has no idea how to go about it.

vlcsnap-2013-07-09-22h01m02s150What I’m trying to say is Watamote feels like everything is contributing to its central premise. None of the animation is animation for its own sake. It’s always done to feed into the main character’s delirious perception of the world. No character feels like they’re there to appeal to any sort of viewer. There really only was the one other character in her brother, who was there to give her someone to express her desperation to and bounce off of. Related to that, it’s quite interesting to compare this to the first episode of OreImo. Are you the main character and your sister is a hot athletic smart popular blonde who just so happens to have the dirty secret that she’s into porn games with cute girls, or is the sister the main character and she’s a unattractive loser who likes drawing circles on cartoon mens’ chests with her DS stylus until they scream?

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.

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41 Comments

  1. Posted July 10, 2013 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Yep, said it before, saying it again. If Kirino and Tomoko ever shook hands, the resulting antimatter event would wipe out every animation studio in Japan. Two totally different shows. Good stuff.

  2. luffyluffy
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    this show is impossible to watch because it hits entirely too close to home. in fact, while we watched the episode together, a friend of mine admitted to always be reminded of me whenever they read the manga, in the “it’s like every bad quality of luff’s combined and exaggerated” kinda way.

    I’m still not sure how to take this…

    • Pusswookie
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      With a grain of salt, hopefully.

    • Mr. Anon
      Posted July 12, 2013 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      Well on the plus side, at least they added ‘exaggerated’!

  3. Posted July 10, 2013 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    I probably would have been more positive about the show if the humor didn’t get old really quickly. There were times where it was clever, but then there were times it become almost indistinguishable from a Kristen Wiig skit.

  4. Posted July 10, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Yep, you hit the nail on the head there. I was pretty like Tomoko when I was in high school and as you said, my face does an impression of that one guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Arc with pretty much every chapter I read. Honestly I’m not even sure giggling really seems to be what it aims for so much as sobbing with some nervous, self conscious cackling, but I find it hilarious regardless.

  5. Rait
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Someone in that book shoop was reading a manga which I happen to read aswell. It was kind of interesting to see it, since that manga isn’t really well known. I wonder why it was there.

    http://myanimelist.net/manga.php?id=25132

    It’s a pretty good manga btw. Kind of Mirai Nikki style throw logic out of the window and bloooood.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Looks like a pretty interesting manga. Also if it’s referenced in the same anime that referenced Parasyte, that has to be a good sign

    • MEEEE
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Seriously? -_- Not well known? It’s number 104th most popular manga on MAL and you call in unpopular?

  6. Shadow
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    Just because someone picked the eraser for you 1 out of 3 times during your high school life doesn’t mean you were popular Scamp XD.

    I enjoyed this episode. The fact that Kyosuke is voicing the otouto is going to make this an even more epic ride XD.

    • RandomGoodJobGuy
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      “The fact that Kyosuke is voicing the otouto…”

      Really? That makes the contrast between this anime and the other stupefyingly long titled show even greater.

      For me to actually enjoy it, it really depends on whether or not the series does stay true to the intentions that was shown in the first episode, that being a story telling us the struggles of a shut-in with social anxieties. Also, having no incest undertones would be a huge plus.

      • Scamp
        Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        I noticed the brother having the same voice as Kyosuke too. From what I’ve heard of the manga it never goes down that stupid path, so no worries there

    • Twinkel13
      Posted August 22, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      I would say that Tomoko ATTEMPTS to charm her brother (for selfish, manipulative reasons), of course failing completely to do so as the dead-pan brother only goes “r u stupid or something? gtfo of my room.”
      (srsly, their sibling-relationship is one of the most realistic I’ve seen in any anime/manga.)

      I’m not surprised she would try, though, since the majority of what she know about how social interaction and general morality works, she learned from anime and games :/

  7. Cobrah
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    I didn’t think much of this show from the preview, but I loved the first episode. Really hoping my first anime season will be a good one!

    • Scamp
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      You picked a pretty good season to start with. Been enjoying a lot of shows this summer

      • Mr. Anon
        Posted July 12, 2013 at 12:22 am | Permalink

        Yeah for real, this must be the first actually good summer season I’ve seen to date. Usually there’s like 2-3 watchable shows.

  8. TienesMilanesas
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Ok, picked up.

  9. Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Not being able to talk to “real” people after spending too much time by yourself is something I relate to a little too well.

    I think you are right on the spot by saying that everything in the episode feels like if contributing to the central premise, the animation, the music, the art style, the seiyuu, the narrator, the “serious humor”, truly everything. Looking forward to see how the series keeps going.

  10. Maxlous
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    I’m coming sooooooon!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3YxRG-52T4

    I feel like they’ve taken a page out of Ikuhara’s…diary.
    A bit heavy on the neurotic side to be labelled a straight comedy, IMO. Shin’s visual quirks, specifically the Picasso bit, worked extremely well along with the offbeat BGM. The lighter moments could encroach on the severity of Tomoko’s self destructive attitude, so it will be interesting to see how they meld the contrasting tones later on.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Oh god, that’s an actual game? I thought it was just a dumb parody!

  11. Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Great first impressions post; I agree the anime is a very well-handled adaptation. The team behind this seems to understand what the manga is all about and manages to expand on the jokes and concepts that make this series work so well. Rather than simply add some movement, color, and sound, they’re really using the anime medium to their advantage to build upon Watamote’s hilarious-depressing atmosphere. Probably my favorite anime episode of the year so far.

  12. Posted July 10, 2013 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    I was expecting this to be a much dumber, more mean-spirited OreGairu, but they pulled it off. Decent writing, great direction, excellent voice acting. Happy to be surprised.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      What I didn’t like about OreGairu is the show seemed to be playing to the main character’s bitterness and siding with his belief that everyone else around him sucked. The show itself felt bitter while Watamote feels way more honest

  13. Posted July 10, 2013 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    This series is basically people of 4chan in anime form. And that’s why I’ve been anticipating the anime adaptation for a while.

    I also like the Gantz joke Kuroki made. The “Shorty Aliens” she was referring to was a really messed-up story in the manga.

    • gedata
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Yes, that was the best reference (Death Note references are overplayed) people who’ve read Gantz will know how horrible what she said was.

  14. gedata
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I liked this first episode and all, but we’ll need some more memorable characters down the line, preferably losers in their own way. Welcome to the NHK wouldn’t have been so awesome if it only focused on Satou after all. I’m not getting my hopes THAT high, but still, I’ve got my expectations for this one.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      I’m kinda cool with it just being the main girl, but it can help to give her someone to play off

  15. gedata
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I also like the ending theme for this, it’s cute how she keeps fucking up her lines.

  16. Pusswookie
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    You know, instead of trying so hard to be a proper female, she should just eat more sweets and sit with her feet in the chair; then she could be a Fem-L.
    :D

    • Scamp
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      uuuuuurrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhh

  17. abyssion29
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Given the studio, I was worried it wouldn’t do the manga justice. Glad I was proven wrong.

    The ‘coming soon’ part had me in stitches. Best Engrish of the year.

  18. arcanes
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Not sure about you guys, but I laughed my ass off the entire episode. Sure, not all of the things portrayed in this episode are to be taken lightly, but oh boy the execution. And to all the people who think the events in this episode are horrible, lets just say when difficult adolescence does not include family problems\bullying, it’s not so bad. that’s why I could laugh the entire episode, and I hope you will do the same.

    Last thing to say – finally a decent OP in an anime. where are the days I got excited only by hearing the song of an OP?

  19. aethelwulf
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    I’m going to be the weird one here and say I didn’t enjoy the episode much (the only thing that made me even crack a smile was when she was trying to disguise herself from her classmates). I found Tomoko’s disconnect from reality and lack of reasonable expectations to be annoying, which completely overshadowed those socially-awkward tendencies of hers with which I would normally identify. Her methods are more like get-rich-quick schemes rather than a constructed plan, and her goal of being popular reminded me of a dog chasing a car–would she really know what to do if she caught one? I just found her too illogical and ungrounded to sympathize with.

    I will agree with you in that the opening an closing credits were amazing, though (particularly the opening visuals!!).

    • Pusswookie
      Posted July 11, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      I, uh, I think that’s The Point of the show. You know, displaying her disillusioned and oftentimes humorous attempts at gaining popularity.

      Right?

    • aethelwulf
      Posted July 12, 2013 at 2:10 am | Permalink

      You’re absolutely right on that (and I completely understand why some people find this show hilarious). Personally, though, I just felt Tomoko was too unrealistic and illogical for me to care about her. My situation back in high school was nearly identical to hers (I even had a good-looking, popular younger brother), but even I found ways to make friends despite being at the bottom of my school’s social ladder.

  20. Alex Voda
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Scamp,
    Genshiken ep 1 review,
    Please!!

  21. hint
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    In anime, the first thing Imoutos do is jumping on the bed and start squirming in their brothers lap to wake him up. Its refreshing to see this is not happening here.

    • Posted July 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      In this case she’s the (strangely rare) older sister. And almost as rare, the brother actually treats her the way anyone treats an annoying sibling.

    • Hanasra
      Posted July 12, 2013 at 4:11 am | Permalink

      That is why we refreshed when we saw gut-punching-younger sister like Tadakuni’s Sister last year. Heck, even the older sister character is very frightening sibling bully.

  22. R1CK_D0M
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    I believe they also made a ref to the movie toy soldiers, though that could just be me.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103112/

  23. Kuroneko
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I am having a hard time relating to this anime. Everything is so exaggerated to the point where almost every scenes becomes stale.

    So far I’m not impressed. The protagonist is the most pathetic lead that I have watched so far.

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