A new school term has begun, and immediately any thoughts that this is the real start of Tomoko's high school existence are not so much dashed against the rocks of reality as obliterated entirely.
For starters, a seat reorganisation sees her lose her prized seat at the back by the window, instead thrusting her into the limelight in the midst of a bunch of talkative students... not that anyone particularly wants to talk to Tomoko mind you. Before she knows it, Tomoko's desk becomes part of the lunchtime furniture for a group of friends, leaving her to find shelter elsewhere to eat her lunch. The school roof may not be open but there's a prime location available next to it, until even this is snatched from her, leading to her simply not eating lunch at all and quite literally flaking out.
Of course, the advent of preparations for the school culture festival is going to do nothing to change Tomoko's standing in her class - if anything, it makes her feel even more lonely. Perhaps she should join a club? No, perhaps she should start her own? Tomoko's fantasies of life in an after-school club seems to be exactly what she needs to glean at least some enjoyment from her high school life, but when even these plans are shot down it seems as if there's literally nowhere left for her to turn.
Regardless of any debate about the frequency and quality of WATAMOTE's comedy, its almost entire absence in this episode leads to an instalment that is hugely depressing - I'm left half-expecting next week's episode to open with Tomoko hanging from a clumsily fashioned noose or something. It actually feels a little odd to run this episode when there are still a couple of the series left unless they have something special lined up for it; this feels like a finale to the series to show that nothing has changed and likely never will, so I'm not really sure what (if anything) it has up its sleeve. Still, at least it can only be more cheerful than this relentless and unforgiving portrait of abject loneliness - not that there's anything wrong with that kind of outlook, but without anything to actual say for itself about the situation I can't really fathom its ultimate goal.