WataMote Episode 8

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Recap: With her younger cousin coming to visit, Tomoko plans to wow her with stories about her boyfriend. As expected, this fails miserably, leaving Tomoko to resort to other means of looking cool.

Jel’s Thoughts: I was both pleasantly surprised to see the return of Umbrella Guy and disappointed to see him burned on such an easy joke. I’m not saying I would have expected a romantic relationship to develop with him at any point, but after his awkwardly sweet initial exchange with Tomoko it would have been a nice tease to hang out to. Much like Tomoko’s relationship with Yuu, it could have been one more glimmer of hope that she is going to figure this all out someday.

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Instead we got another rehashing of Tomoko’s social ineptitude, and overall this episode didn’t bring anything we haven’t seen before. Tomoko’s inability to even comprehend what it takes to be a “cool” high school girl has been beaten to death, and bringing in her cousin just gave us another long suffering family member that has to learn to put up with her. Seeing Tomoko’s mom finally crack and yell at her crazy daughter was a welcome change, but in the end really had little bearing on anything. Even the flashy, more abstract than usual presentation of her cousin’s thought process just felt like an inadequate attempt to liven up the same old joke.

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If there is something positive to be noted here, I do appreciate we get to see both the good and the bad with Tomoko. Cheating to beat little kids in a card battle is arguably her most loathsome moment yet, but earlier in the episode we saw her willing to take responsibility for her actions with Umbrella Guy to protect her cousin. However misguided and twisted her logic may be you always feel like her heart is in the right place, which I think makes her a pretty interesting character. I just hope WataMote can find some new ways of exploring her thought process as I am starting to lose interest with each episode.

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Zigg’s Thoughts: Honestly, I’m almost done here. It’s not that Watamote has drastically deteriorated so much as its just been running in one spot for a while now. The formula has become so obvious that it’s painful – Tomoko is bored/lonely/horny and does something stupid or tells a mad lie to get her in a situation where hijinks can ensue.

We do at least get another character here, but Tomoko’s cousin isn’t really a point of interaction,, more a new canvas for her to bounce her embarrassment off of. She’s allegedly in middle school, which makes her at least 13, but she looks and acts half that age. Honestly her ridiculous hero worship of Tomoko never rings true considering we know the girl was just as much of a shut-in throughout her middle school days.

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There’s also a sort of uncomfortable edge to Tomoko’s attempts to impress the girl by boasting of her sexual exploits. I get it’s meant to be desperate, but it’s maybe too desperate and occasionally becomes uncomfortably creepy. Her stomping of a bunch of grade schoolers at fake-magic-the-gathering is also excessively petty and doesn’t make her look good. Again, I understand the writers are trying to establish how pathetic she is for needing these victories over children, and if they had played it with a slightly more serious edge it might have worked. But this jokey, goofy tone just makes her look cruel and unsympathetic.

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Increasingly, I’m finding it difficult to relate to Tomoko – while I was a shy kid I was never this cripplingly withdrawn, and increasingly the show is making me less sympathetic towards her. I’m tiring of its propensity to make everything a sex joke too. Combine that with the lack of narrative progression and I’m really falling off the bandwagon hard here.

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