First Reactions: WataMote Episode 5

This week’s installment of WataMote was probably the most painful watch yet, but offered proof-positive that Oonuma Shin is enjoying the hell out of himself. From the start, where he scattered the character design roughs over Tomoko talking about creating a character, to the ED, where he just straight-up made a viral video for the fun of it, this episode consistently spoke to how much fun the people at Silver Link making this are having.* It’s more fun than Tomoko, that’s for sure.

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It was kind of unnecessary to spend the first third of the episode having Tomoko attempt to play the speechless, expressionless silent moe archetype. It wasn’t a totally ineffective parody, but so is the entire show; the entire skit was effectively just her acting normally. I mean, could you honestly tell me you would be surprised if this screenshot came from any other episode?

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In the scene where Tomoko was calling up Yuu to make print club photo plans, I fully expected them to go there like last time. Satoshi Motoyama’s sound handling played a big role in that scene, tapering off the track as it became clear that plan A was dead on arrival. Plan B with her brother was deliciously haphazard; her trying to bribe him with the overshaken coke conjured images of an adorable puppy dog dragging a dead frog into the kitchen. I felt extremely sorry for him by the time the stickers went up. He definitely was justified in unleashing the Shining Finger that somehow made Tomoko cuter.**

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Oddly enough

That last skit, the one with the red-light district, was pretty hardcore. The fact that she got totally overwhelmed 2 minutes in wasn’t just a Tomoko-cluelessness level thing. A majority of high-schoolers finding themselves there would probably have about the same reaction. good thing mom was there on the other end of the phone with sukiyaki and love. It would have been damn powerful if the episode closed with that 360-degree camera pan, but what the staff did instead was a pretty fair trade.

*For those who don’t obsessively follow obscure popular culture for fun, the object of imitation is called にんげんっていいな, a popular song with a dance to go with it that has some pretty awesome video parodies already. I only found out about it because one of those parodies is of my third-favorite anime.***

**Oh yeah, another thing I like about this show; not all the references are just verbatim shoutouts. Some of them, like the aforementioned Shining Finger, were low-key to the extent of being potentially accidental. I even thought it was just a coincidence until he did it a second time.

***The sooner someone matches up this episode’s ED with the Kaiji version, the better off all of mankind will be.

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