We GitS now.
This has to be the best episode of Watamote yet! Usually Tomoko’s mishaps are just hilariously painful to watch, and the same is still true. But I think this might be the first legitimately entertaining episode that doesn’t rely solely on Tomoko’s misfortunes. Oh, and there were also a surprising number of adorable moments to boot!
So You Had A Bad Day
It’s OK to cry.
Let’s start with the pain. It’s a gloomy, rainy week; a textbook setting for unfortunate events. So from the very beginning we kind of expect poor Tomoko to suffer. And boy does she suffer. Her day starts with getting berated by the grumpy literature teacher for forgetting her textbook and not asking her neighbor to share his. His words aren’t all that harsh in all honesty, but I think what really got to Tomoko was the humiliation of being told off in front of the class. Then, when she’s heading home, she gets scolded by yet another grumpy old man for standing in front of a flooding river. I won’t fault this guy as that could very realistically have been dangerous, but obviously Tomoko didn’t take kindly to being told off again. Making matters worse, after escaping the old man, her umbrella breaks before she can reach home so she gets stranded under a shelter in the park. And of course, a couple of guys show up to make things awkward. The ensuing exchange (if you can even call it one) actually surprised me a bit. I figured Tomoko would jump at the opportunity to try and impress the boys, thus leveling up her popularity points. But I guess she’s had such a depressing day so far that the last thing she wants to do is bother with guys. So things get rather awkward (not that it wouldn’t have been if she tried flirting anyway) as she makes several uninspired attempts to make small talk. Needless to say, she fails miserably and retreats into the lady’s room to hide her embarrassment. Returning to the shelter hastily to make it clear she wasn’t taking a dump (what was she even thinking), she finds it deserted and slumps down onto the bench in silent defeat.
Wish come true. Sort of.
Unbeknownst to her though, there is a silver lining to this cloud. While she’s passed out on the bench, the two guys return. We’re initially led to believe that they bolted in Tomoko’s absence, presumably finding her creepy. But in reality, at least one of the two (the one who responds to her attempts at conversation) is actually rather kind-hearted, and he leaves a new umbrella by the bench after checking on her. That was such a sweet moment, and I can’t believe how happy I was for Tomoko. Really, Watamote does a terrific job of investing us in her character if we can even feel happy for her over such a simple act. Well done. And as the cherry on top, when our lovably pathetic protagonist wakes up, she wishes wistfully for a boy to be nice to her just once in her life. That little moment of irony punctuating the end of the segment is nothing mind-blowing in and of itself. But with respect to Tomoko’s shitty and then not-so-shitty (though unknown to the girl herself) day, it really completed the picture perfectly.
They get along just fine.
The second half of the episode sees the spotlight return to Tomoki, the little brother. His interactions with his older sister were entertaining enough in the premiere, but now we get more of that family bond we only very briefly saw at the end of that episode. Long story short, Tomoki comes home soaked on that same fateful day related previously. Tomoko, in a bad mood, locks him out of the bathroom and the hot bath he desperately needs. Being an anime character, it’s only natural that he then catches a cold. The next morning, Tomoko is reluctant to go to school after the incident in literature class. So when her mother reveals that her brother is skipping school after coming down with a cold, she goes to his room and messes with him. That was perhaps the only moment where I’ve been annoyed with her, given that she all but caused his cold thanks to anime physiology. But no matter. A fantasy and a basketball to the head later, Tomoko also finds a reason to ditch school, thus initiating a surprisingly endearing segment. It begins with her barging into her brother’s room in an effort to catch his cold and thus skip the last day of school before the weekend. The guy obviously doesn’t appreciate her loafing around obnoxiously, but what can a sick man do? Fortunately, their mother checks up on the siblings and Tomoko is forced to nurse her little brother back to health.
She does a pretty half-assed job, but then laser-guided karma strikes in the form of two girls who pay the Kuroki household a visit to deliver some printouts to Tomoki. I wouldn’t normally enjoy Tomoko’s “misfortune” in this way, but seeing her previous behavior towards her brother made it much easier to laugh at her this time. And really, this is just another case of her being overly conscious of “popular” people, so her bringing suffering upon herself doesn’t win any “genuine” sympathy from me. Regardless, her ensuing breakdown was surprisingly touching as she honestly vents her frustrations at her nonplussed brother. There’s even a brief interruption when a package arrives for her and gets her hopes up that it’s someone here to pay her a visit. But no. It’s just the good ‘ol Amazon ripoff, here to make a delivery. That was a rather blatently telegraphed moment, but still, watching her face light up cracked me up in anticipation of the expected crushing defeat. And to complete this week’s episode, Tomoko finally manage to achieve her goal of catching a cold, but only in time to ruin her weekend. Ha!
As mentioned, I thought this was a great episode in terms of actual comedy. Some of the punch lines were very clearly set up, but the show manages to deliver them all the same. Also notable is the returning focus on the endearing relationship between the Kuroki siblings. They might not get along too well normally, but when the going really gets tough, they’re here for each other. It’s really touching to see that Tomoki is willing to bear with his sister when he finds her so idiotic and annoying. And that very short scene where Tomoko wakes up in the middle of the night just to change his towel (albeit sloppily) definitely put a smile on my face.