September 26, 2013

Anime Review - WataMote: It's Pretty Popular . . .

Kuroki Tomoko is a super popular, high school girl who has had 50 years of dating experience and 100 boys... in the Otome game world. In the real world, she is a 15-year-old shut-in who has all of the qualities of a "mojo" (a unpopular woman).
However, when school isn't going as she expected, and she isn't as popular as she had thought she was, she takes a look at herself in the mirror for the first time in a few years, and has some shocking revelations...
Source: (MU)

Awkwardly Amusing (7)
To be honest, there is no story, just Kuroki experiencing different everyday experiences where she tries her best, but keeps failing. And she tries again. And she fails again. The story gets really repetitive, and you can watch any episode without spoiling anything.
Putting that aside, it is quite amusing to watch Kuroki react through her everyday situations, but that might just be the sadistic side of me. The cringe-worthy scenes were both hilarious and depressing, because these kind of awkward moments happen in real life, and I can relate on a personal level. 

Nevertheless, WataMote is a great anime to watch when you need some comedic relief. 

Simple Yet Effective Artwork (7)
You can tell that this was a low-budget production, so the artwork isn't very impressive. Though, Kuroki isn't quite the attractive character nor the enthusiastic type, so it wouldn't make sense to use a "mainstream" art style. But don't judge that this is a bad anime because of the art style! This lack of quality is actually beneficial in making this an enjoyable anime, and adds extra laughs. Keep in mind that the style is a bit different and it does take some time getting use to.

Strange Soundtrack (8)
Kitta Izumi as Kuroki Tomoko. Perfect match!
As much as I find the opening animation strange, the soundtrack itself is wonderful. The opening song is very energetic. It gives you a burst of energy, but the episode's story slowly sucks it all away, until you are a miserable mess wishing that Kuroki had some sort of success. And to refresh you once again, the ending song is this cheerful, sweet song full of hope. With Kitta Izumi singing it with her Kuroki voice, it provides an overwhelming amount of motivation. 

The animation for the opening song is strange. Everytime, I keep thinking, "Is this is Death Note?". Note, that may just be my personal opinion. The ending song, on the other hand, is quite creative. I like the unique concept of the phone presenting Kuroki's life. The only other ending I can think of that is similar would be FMA Brotherhood, where Al and Ed "draw" the ending.

Also, Miku had an ending song appearance!

Lack of Development for Characters (6)
There is really only one character in this anime, and Kuroki doesn't have that much growth to her character. The last two episodes show some character development, but again, it isn't that much. Besides the development, Kuroki is a well-portrayed socially awkward high school girl, a little extreme albeit but still well-portrayed. She is an interesting character since she is different from the normal cut-out characters, and I love that about her. Also, Kitta Izumi does a terrific job in voicing Kuroki and she really brings a realistic side to Kuroki, because not all Japanese girls have an adorable, moe voice. 

The one thing that I would have liked in this season was to have the side characters make more frequent appearances. Naruse Yuu was a funny airhead and I wish that she had more lines, same with Kuroki's brother and Imae Megumi. The side characters add depth to the story and truly show how Kuroki interacts with different people. Hopefully, if there is a next season, I want the side characters to have a greater role.

Cringe-Worthy Experience - In a Good Way (8)
Every single episode had some sort of cringe-worthy moment. It was humorous, yes, but I kept wanting to pull my hair out. So many awkward scenes, but hey, they lighten the mood on the fact that Kuroki may never become popular. 

As well, I enjoyed the references to other anime, to the point where I would take screenshots and ask others if they recognized the reference.
Guess the anime reference :D
Screenshot by me
Overall: Good (7)
Watamote wouldn't be the anime that you would watch for story, or art or character; it is for the embarrassing and humorous moments. If you can relate to being socially awkward, then Watamote is perfect for you, unless you never want to open the door to your past again. And even if you can't relate, Watamote is an enjoyable, yet cringe-worthy anime that is worth a few laughs.   

Whew, done. 
Good night everyone~