Watamote – Episode 1

I don’t think I’ll be covering this. Christ, I don’t think I could be covering this – cringe humor makes my teeth hurt, and comedies generally have a hard time impressing me in the first place. But the buzz is going in the right direction and it’s kind of our version of Event Television, so I’ll at least be checking it out. Plus, it kind of amuses me to think that this is OreImo as a blunt satire instead of a wish fulfillment fantasy. Not that I’m expecting this to compete with Welcome to the NHK or OreGairu or anything, but… well, we could always use more of that genre. And I’ll also try to avoid unfairly comparing it to OreGairu, which I’ll admit is made slightly difficult by the fact that I still think OreGairu deserves more credit and apparently zero other critics actually got the intent of that show and seriously do I have to explain the very concept of an unreliable narrator and Okay maybe getting off topic here a little bit but


Let’s get to it.

Episode 1

2:46 – This VA is pretty perfectly chosen. Her voice sounds… scruffy

3:01 – Also, this OP is so perfectly EveryxTragicxHighxSchooler it’s kinda scary. Great choices so far

3:55 – I’m also just always in favor of meta-jokes that don’t have to explain themselves, like that OP. Though I guess this entire show is inside her head, so there never really is gonna be a straight man to tell her how ridiculous she is. Which is probably one of the core differences between this and OreGairu, in that Ore wanted you to empathize with their position by having it explained and then shaken, while this will probably be more concerned with either cringing or pointing and laughing

But again, the very existence of so many totally unironic shows proves that OP’s point is a very relevant one

6:22 – “Can’t this school be occupied by terrorists?” Man, she’s like the very worst of my most adolescent thoughts all rolled into one continuous wave of vile awkwardness (well, I didn’t wish terrorists upon my classmates, but still)

7:43 – “Well, I can talk normally with my mother…” This is actually pretty frank stuff. Was it really us that got this show produced? Good job, us. We need more of this

10:43 – Hey, anime? This Death Note thing is how you do a parody. You don’t just mention another show, you fit in an element of that show where it’s both relevant and highlights the absurdity of the source material. I just… I wasn’t sure you were aware of that

Granted, it also helps that Death Note was directed by Japanese Michael Bay…

11:22 – Is there a single person in the known universe who actually finds duckface attractive? WHY DO PEOPLE DO THAT?

12:59 – “You wanted me for something, right?” “Converse with me.”

Comedic timing and direction are both nailing it – this show is really killing my expectations. Apparently they’ll be using her brother as the straight man, which is all kinds of amusing

13:07 – “So talk with me an hour each day for rehab!” Oh come on Watamote. No audience would put up with such a contrived device as that

16:57 – “While I’m on a roll…” Oh god, she’s doing so just-short-of-normal. What horrible thing is going to happen to her?

More props to this VA, by the way, she’s doing a lot of work here

17:36 – “A place like this where everyone’s worse off than me isn’t so bad.” Must… shake… her…


And Done

That was remarkably better than I expected! I think stringing the various skits into a full narrative/day made it seem a little less mean-spirited, though obviously our protagonist is a sad little brat. But a lot of the jokes landed, the overall satire is very sharp and true, and the direction was surprisingly excellent. I’m on board.

8 thoughts on “Watamote – Episode 1

  1. I’m glad for you that you are covering this, Bob. I think it’s my favourite series of the season thus far, by a large margin, from all the new shows.
    I really like laughing, but most “comedies” try too hard, or are “Romantic comedies” which aren’t really… comedies.

    I agree, cringe-comedies (say, The Office) always walk a fine line between you watching and dropping them, but for some reason I didn’t feel this was a cringe-comedy. I also didn’t find myself empathizing or sympathizing with Tomoko, which are known reasons to not cringe at something. So dunno, I just found it hilarious. Really hilarious.

    I need the first episode.

    • Yeah, I’m normally incredibly wary of anime comedies for a variety of reasons (stale/cheap humor, explaining jokes, non-jokes, lack of any substance BEYOND the non-jokes), but great direction and a good lead VA are strong steps in the right direction. Plus I could always just infuriate everyone by contrasting it with OreGairu’s approach all season.

  2. I wasn’t planning on watching this at first. but it (along with Love Lab) are my surprise shows of the new season. I expected generic moe with plenty of ‘witty’ in-jokes, and instead I got sharp satire and pop culture reference jokes that are actually timed well and don’t suffer from the creator trying to explain them. In fact, this is probably the best first episode of a series I’ve seen in quite some time. I’m in!

    • It’s a very good first episode, but the best one I’ve seen recently (even if the anime is a bit older) must be Tonari no Kaibutsu-Kun. The show is nothing special, but the first episode covered what many series covered in 4-6 episodes.

      • I’m kind of the opposite – I thought the first episode of Tonari was at best average (at worst plain bad), but I loved the rest of the series.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I love the show, I absolutely love it. But I don’t think it’s amazing. I thought the first episode was great, stupendous really. I still plan to write about it at length :p

        I just think the pacing and amount of stuff delivered was amazing. The show was good, for reasons that had stemmed from the first episode – “I love you” is only the beginning, and it clears so much up when it’s your start point rather than some lame ending point.

        But that’s just little old me.

    • Yeah, I had pretty similar worries – those “here’s a thing you nerds do/like!” references are always pretty awful. Even this season we’ve got Blood Lad waving the “hey, you know this thing!” flag high.

      I also need to check out Love Lab; it doesn’t look like my kinda thing at all, but people keep saying it’s surprisingly good.

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