Tuesday, 9 July 2013

WATAMOTE ~No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys Fault I’m Not Popular!~ - Episode 1

Tomoko Kuroki is popular.  No, really she is... she's spoken to guys at least half a dozen times during middle school, so high school should see her all-but ending up with her own personal harem, right?

This, of course, is merely the self-justification Tomoko reassures herself with on the cusp of her high school life - in reality, she's effectively friendless, and fast-forwarding a couple of months into the school year that shows no signs of changing given that nobody talks to her and any attempts at conversation anyone might try to strike up will only be met with a garbled, stammering response anyhow.

So goes this first episode of WATAMOTE, as Tomoko tries her best to avoid becoming a total recluse by firstly trying to make herself look cuter, and then by brushing up on her conversational skills.  Of course, these efforts end in misplaced disaster on her part, as her fashion sense is suspect at best and using her brother as a conversational partner doesn't really have much going for it either.

Having read a chunk of the original manga for this series, I knew what to expect from WATAMOTE, yet somehow it still manages to largely disappoint.  Yes, some of its characterisations of chronic shyness are right on the money (figuring out how to leave a fast food restaurant without classmates seeing you're there on your own was a particular example of that unerring accuracy), but this rarely translates particularly well into actual humour - jokes take too long to build up for too little pay-off, and Tomoko herself just... well, she just isn't very likeable for the most part.  Without a main character you find yourself rooting for, this opening episode floats through a sea of mediocrity that certainly does a top-notch job of adapting its source material panel for panel, but that doesn't have anything new to bring to the table.  Still, at least it managed to eke a couple of smiles out of me if nothing else.

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