[Anime] Watery Reflections of Watamote

Scared Tomoko

First, I'd like to defend myself that not everything that Ruben says here is true and I absolve myself of any-- wait, I don't think that's quite right. Regardless, I don't know if this may seem strange, but Watamote doesn't really hit me as hard as Ruben may seem to say it does. The reason is really simply Tomoko Kuroki's approach to the problem in the first place.

To avoid unnecessary verbosity, let's make this into a list:

  • I don't actually spend my day walking around like a zombie. But I do fall asleep a lot in strange places. My drug wasn't drama CDs or video games either, but reading, watching anime, or drawing.
  • I truly never have mapped my way out of a fast-food joint. But this is only the case because I'm fairly sure I'm invisible most of the time to people, or at least if you pretend not to notice them they won't notice you. In this way I relate far more to Kuroko of Kuroko's Basketball.
  • I don't feel awkward sheltering with strangers, I just ignore them unless they talk to me first. My problem isn't with conversation, it is initialising it.
  • I was never particularly worried about not being picked in sport, because everyone had to be on a team in the end, if you're not picked last you're still tolerable. I still always did my best. Sometimes 'my body is the defense' came into my mind and I would ricochet balls off me to defend the goal... because everyone else was too busy being the offense.

What was not mentioned before that I would do from the episodes Ruben and I have watched (which is episodes 1, 2 and part of 3, by the way) - I also would not ask to borrow a textbook if I forgot mine, mostly because of not wanting to inconvenience than out of awkwardness though (or maybe this is what I tell myself).

The actual anime

In any case, let's move on to the actual anime. I'm not particularly into any anime recently, I mostly only watch things because of stylistic aspects, such as my initial attraction to Neptunia was because of the art. Watamote is a little different in that I don't watch it for the art, per se, but for the approach to delivery. (In this, I also differ to Ruben and you should actually read his post instead of this one because it's more interesting.)

Alone Tomoko

The music in this anime is really well done and shows Tomoko's inner tumoil very well. I've written about the theme song here, but this time I focus on the background music. All the tracks seem rather unique, I don't know if I can remember a previous track being played. Sometimes turbulent piano illustrates the turbulent mood, and sometimes a dissonance of instruments play in a dark disharmony to illustrate her scattered and distinctly negative mood to the situation. Regardless, they are well composed and selected for the situations they appear.

This makes the storytelling overdramatic. Your mileage my vary, but Tomoko can be said to be reacting in an extreme manner to the supposed 'challenges' that come her way. Perhaps some of these are how you would actually act, but judging from the overly dramatic animation and music (that would even fit in a dramatic murder mystery), this anime appears to me to be making a point, and rather than reflecting reality directly, overemphasising it.

Cute Tomoko

I think it would be interesting to note that after some consideration, Tomoko is basically every single negative trait you can find rolled into the one ball and bounced against the wall a few times. In some ways it's hard to find a positive trait about her, despite the fact she is cute(r when she's not trying to be) and we can sympathise or empathise with her in her solitude and some of the actions she makes. Yet her attitude to her own solitude itself and her reaction to others having a good time is almost what renders her an antihero.

Further thoughts

Probably the best part of the anime I can relate to is being alone and of wanting to stay inside the house, though home has never particularly been a place I like being in. Regardless, the charm of this anime is not necessarily that it relates to everyone, but it relates to someone in some degree precisely because Tomoko has so many different traits that make her who she is. What is she though, I don't know? But even in the form of Yuu, Tomoko's reformed friend, this gives others who may have 'escaped the life' the opportunity to connect on some level.

Scared Tomoko

In watching Tomoko struggle though, and without knowing any further into the story, I think it's important to remember that people still belong somewhere, and even in the midst of your alienation, you belong with those others that are alienated, those misfits. Often they can be hard to find, but find the right people and you can belong.

But if you have a place anywhere, you belong already. It's not necessary to think of the internet as a kind of hidden domain. While I don't consider talking online to be 'socialising' in the sense that the usual stressors are all stripped away (for me, that is basically being put on the spot or approaching people), online is just as significant as reality in terms of interaction and in terms of your 'popularity'. With Tomoko's skill in games and her online habit, it would be simple for her to find her own niche online.

Although I'm not particularly a fan of the content at times, I would continue watching Watamote because it presents a different view of the world, and in a way it shows me how I prefer the way I am, even if I may be messed up in other ways. The art is interesting though irks me occasionally and the approach to storytelling is quite eccentric. My favourite parts are probably still looking out for references from other movies or series and from real life, however.

Starbucks?Po Po Pon? Whisper of the HeartKuroko no Basuke

Have I mentioned that I do not really understand the concept of 'nerd' still?... More on this later.

Have your traditional endcard:

Tomoko Kuroki

TVアニメ「私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い!」© 谷川ニコ/スクウェアエニックス・「ワタモテ」製作委員会