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.
I 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.
What 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.