The cutest background character ever.
I know I’ve been slightly very late with my post lately, and for this I apologize. I’ve been busier than usual with preparations for graduate school. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back on track this coming week so you guys don’t have to wait 5 days for a post again. orz
Eat food, get popular.
This week, Tomoko is contacted by an old girlfriend from middle school. Yuu-chan, voiced by the ever-present HanaKana, used to be just another average, plain girl in Tomoko’s middle school class. Back then, the two of them never stood out, so I guess it was only natural for them to band together. Plus they’re both otaku, although I’m betting Yuu-chan isn’t nearly as bad as Tomoko. So when Yuu-chan rings Tomoko up for a hangout over the weekend, Tomoko jumps at the chance to impress her old friend. Thus begins a classic string of Tomoko delusions. First up is her attempt to become popular by eating a lot. You know, those girls who are always eating in anime are so cute, right? Seriously though, I can’t believe she actually thought it would work. I don’t think the problem is with their lack of appreciation for “hungry characters”, Tomoko. Next up, Tomoko balks at the notion of pairing up for art class, so she feigns illness and hides in the confines of the nurse’s office. And of course, there’s a boy sleeping in the bed next door who probably has a legitimate reason for being there. So how does Tomoko interpret the situation? Why, obviously she was sleeping with a boy. And in broad daylight in the nurse’s office at that. Damn, Tomoko, you naughty girl. Except that’s not how it works. That complacent grin of hers as she strutted past the baseball club afterschool almost made me head-desk. How delusional can you be to think you’re hot stuff because you slept in a bed adjacent to one in which a sick boy was lying? I’m hoping for Tomoko’s sake she was grasping so desperately at straws to impress Yuu-chan that she convinced herself she was hot stuff. Because if she truly believed it… dameda korewa. The best part of the episode, however, has to be when Tomoko is stuck afterschool drawing portraits with a rotund, unattractive guy because they both ditched art class. Fatty leaves in a hurry, which upsets Tomoko. But when she goes to turn in the portraits, she sees that he’s actually drawn a very “cute” image of her, which leads her to seriously consider him as a boyfriend. But only for a very brief moment. I’m not saying there’s something wrong with overweight people, but damn is Tomoko desperate.
Insult and Injury
Maybe Tomoko should just consult Yuu-chan for advice.
So the weekend comes around and Tomoko meets Yuu-chan at the local Starbucks ripoff. And she gets the shock of her life: Yuu-chan has made a striking image change from her middle school days. Gone are her dweeby glasses, boring black hair, and unassuming appearance. Now she has striking blond hair and wears contacts and stylish clothes (complete with miniskirt). Oh, and she’s also grown up in certain areas unlike Tomoko. Zing. I’m surprised Tomoko didn’t start puking on the spot, but I guess that’s because Yuu-chan has been her friend for a long time. After a bit of conversing, however, Tomoko thinks she has Yuu-chan all figured out. While she may look different on the exterior, she’s still the same on the inside. And it’s what’s inside that counts, right? So instead of trying to impress Yuu-chan, Tomoko takes her old friend out for fun at the arcade for old time’s sake. Things go swimmingly well, and Watamote actually has me thinking that it’s not so bad for Tomoko after all. Despite her lonely high school days, she still has a friend she can lean on, even if said friend is doing much better socially than her. But no, it would be way too easy for Tomoko to have an out from her cruel life. Because just as she is feeling rather comfortable and the audience is relieved to see two bffs reunited, Yuu-chan drops the bomb. She was just hanging out with Tomoko to get over an argument with her boyfriend. Wow. Talk about kicking someone when they’re down. I know that Watamote revolves around Tomoko having a tough time, but that was just brutal. Now, that’s not saying that Yuu-chan did this maliciously. I’m sure she legitimately wanted to lean on an old friend when she was going through hard times of her own. So perhaps actually the “low blow” in this case was merely Tomoko’s fault yet again. If she weren’t so self-conscious about other people being better off than her, surely it wouldn’t have been such a shock to learn that her best friend now has a boyfriend. Even guys being jealous of their friend “betraying” them by catching the attention of a hot girl1 don’t take it as heavily as she does.
Watamote is great for its bleak portrayal of Tomoko’s life, but I’m pretty sure we’re all here to see her grow up and eventually overcome her social hardships. So where are these developments? So far we’ve only seen her keep getting socked in the gut over and over again. And her delusions still seem as bad as ever. The only slightly redeeming moment has been her day out with Yuu-chan, but that was essentially overturned at the last moment by the boyfriend reveal. I’m not complaining that the show is getting old at this point, but can’t we start seeing Tomoko change for the better? You can only pull off “Tomoko’s life sucks and she can’t do anything about it” so many times before the show starts smelling like a one-trick pony. Heck, even after being disillusioned with her old friend, we as the audience get to see yet another insult to Tomoko with the revelation that the “cute” image fatty drew was actually his standard background character face for manga. I mean, it wasn’t a direct stab at the poor girl, but that’s another blow to her in our minds. Tomoko just needs to get her sh*t together fast, with or without help. Surely that isn’t too much to ask for.
1Standard fare in anime. Bonus points if there are multiple hot girls for a harem.