Thanks to a wonderful review by Irina on her blog I watched the hilarious anime Watamote yesterday. Now, I guess the title can be confused with the term hilarious. This anime has wonderful notes of humor that directly relate to social anxiety and just the plain awkwardness of puberty. However, there are some pointed notes of the characters loneliness and confusion on why people don’t like her even though the audience may understand, the mc believes in her unique charms.
I took a lot of screenshots while I watched. I noticed after I finished with the last episode the moments I picked were mostly focused on the quiet times in the anime. The times where she began to doubt her wonderfulness and felt the keen loneliness of not having friends around her. It is easy to see myself in this character when I grew up I had a small handful of friends (who I am very thankful for) but there was always that need to feel “popular” to be the one that everybody liked since I believed myself to be a good person. I think I was lucky in the fact that I wasn’t a target for bullies. The only time I was was bullied was by people who didn’t even go to my school. (That is a story for a different day). This character isn’t bullied she isn’t made fun of she is just merely left alone.
In a way that can be just as saddening as being picked on. It is like she doesn’t exist to her classmates. I honestly really like the fact that she isn’t bullied and the classmates are not seen as the villain. In a matter of speaking the main character is the one who gets in her own way half the time. She comes up with these crazy plots to make people or boys notice her and they backfire in strange ways. Half the time she can’t even talk which over the course of the anime shows how crippling her social anxiety really is and you watch and you just want her to “SAY SOMETHING!” But she can’t it isn’t something you can just get over.
Time and time again she tries to get people to realize how wonderful she is but in the end she goes back to her room and plays otome games. That is the only way she can have that human and sexual interaction that she desires.
Also there are so many references to anime and otome games it is pretty fun to see if you can spot them all. Being and English Literature major I enjoyed this one a whole bunch.
There are some golden humorous moments with her parents during these times of her sexual awakening. One with her father that involved a personal massager and a BL otome game and one with a recording and her mother.
Kudos to the parents for just acting normal. I think that is a great moment of showing those lovely years where our parents don’t understand us, but then they still love us. The way the creators us the pauses for humor is on point and it gives laughter to a lot of moments that could be considered very sad. I think this is an anime that does very well with dealing with the tragic things of being lonely but adding in humor. In my mind it doesn’t make fun of her, but I think if it just focused on her loneliness it would be a very hard anime to watch.
These two image are from one of the moments that really begin to show her isolation. She wants to form a club and be with people in the first image it shows this dream happening. There are two other students who joined her club and they are having a peaceful moment just being together. Then after the song is over you see that she was having tea with her two stuffed toys all along. The club was never formed and she is still alone.
The sadness from her isolation shows up more and more towards the end of the anime. Now when I watched I really wanted for her to find that awkward friend that she could be with but I don’t think that this will be that kind of anime.
Given a choice she will always choose to be on her own. She finds these safe places where she feels at home and clings to them. It is hard for her to talk and meet new people. So when we see the funny. Moments of this anime we also get those moments that we can relate to as an introvert or a person with social anxiety. Some will never understand why we can just go and “make friends” it is never that easy. When we do step out of our comfort zone we have one thought in our minds…
I hope to see a season two for this anime. I hope to see some of her growth and still have the humor shine through. This was a great balance and if you had those awkward teenage years this will be very relatable… maybe more so for women, but I think most will enjoy this anime.
Sometimes I think that while we live and grow we have a habit of hoping that things will just happen to us. That change will be easy. We need to go out and do things ourselves and build those relationships with those close to us instead of hoping to be popular.
I wanted to end this post with a challenge. The way the mc is alone all the time really spoke to my heart. I know what it is like then and now to sit, eat, and be alone. It isn’t easy. So maybe this week if you see someone who is alone say hello, smile at them, maybe sit next to them if you know them. I’m not saying go forth and harass people, but there are those out there who go days without any meaningful human interaction. In this anime for a long time the only person who talked the the mc was the teacher who said goodbye to her at the end of the day. That moment meant something to her and trust me… coming from someone who is alone a lot… A hello can mean the world to someone. I’m going to do my best this week and I hope you all will reach out too.