First Reactions: WataMote Episode 8

WataMote is fun to watch when it’s primarily about Tomoko self-destructing on her own. It gets less fun when she gets others wrapped up in her pathetic bluffs, especially when they believe in her. The style of humor this week wasn’t that different from normal, and the episode in general was way stronger than 6, but the subject matter straddled the barrier between funny sad and sad sad.

WataMote-8-4

Though the vacuum scene was still appreciably fun

Too many anime suffer from parents who constantly burden their kids with backbreakingly heavy expectations, but I think WataMote showcases the counterargument to that. Tomoko’s parents, while they may occasionally rebuke her for doing something excessively stupid, generally just leave her alone and don’t make an effort to enforce any sort of long-term rules or goals aimed at self-improvement. Even given that WataMote is a comedy at the core and needs Tomoko to be that way to work, the way the parents act feels like a too-accurate bit of background. In other words, the way they act generally coincides with the gap-filled way Tomoko seems to have been raised.

The main focus of the episode, Tomoko’s interaction with Kii, felt similar in form to a premise that worked better in series like Mx0 and Ghost Sweeper Mikami; a protagonist lacking a particular ability but bluffing their way through the situation regardless. Unfortunately, Tomoko lacked the charisma to really pull off that approach, and what was left was Kii being somewhat gullible, and then not even that. The scene between Tomoko and Kousaka/Mr. Umbrella started out cute, if still awkwardly silent. However, even that eventually led to more of the Tomoko/Kii plot that was closer to John Sketon in early December than an adorable butt-fumble fail. I mean, I took a break and watch Turning Girls halfway through the episode to get the awkward taste out of my mouth before continuing, and that’s not exactly an un-awkward show itself. The middle of the episode really stretched my tolerance levels. The punchline, Tomoko cheating against elementary school kids to try and win back Kii’s respect, was more what I wanted out of the episode. That waded into a deep enough swamp to be legitimately funny sad again.

WataMote-8-7

I feel more sorry for her than Tomoko

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