First Reactions: WataMote Episode 2

The biggest potential pitfall for WataMote as a show is that it is essentially one joke retold countless numbers of times. However, the series’ greatest strength is that it’s made by people who understand exactly what that means for a comedy.

There’s really only one good way to do good pathetic-character comedy. It’s a two-step process of building up expectations for a character and then having them take the fall in a somewhat predictable way. You can’t just toss a puppy into a volcano every five minutes and expect laughs. There’s gotta be hope for the puppy along the way for it’s fall to be at all compelling; a dangling bowl of fancy feast above the crater, escape from a predatory pack of mountain lions, something. Takao Yoshioka’s writing has shown that the staff of WataMote understands that principle, with them finding ways to tell the same fundamental joke (that Kuroki is a sad, delusional loner) about 12 different times this week without being boring. Oonuma Shin’s constantly-varied visuals helped a lot on that front as well, both in the more explicit fashions shown below and more subtle scenes; the one where Kuroki was trying to pass the shoving couple on the stairway required a certain degree of understatedness, not flair.

WataMote-2-2

WataMote’s soundtrack was alright in the first episode, but this week really started to gun the golden pipes to their full potential. I’m noticing now that most of the music sounds like a rip from a standard 90s slice-of-life romance show like Kimagure Orange Road or To Heart, except remixed with clumsy recorder sounds to emphasize the fact that the main character is creatively failing at plugging herself into said genre. It’s also being managed well. Sound handler supreme Satoshi Motoyama saved his big-gun hardcore-sounding yandere guy stuff for the beautifully abrupt punchline at the end, then just let it play out for the end credits. That was as snazzy a way of transitioning into the end credits as I’ve seen since Kuragehime brought back love.

WataMote-2-1

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