Watamote: A Princess Jellyfish For Beginners
Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!” or Watamote for short is an anime that came out of nowhere to take the anime community by storm, the hardcore community anyway. The title roughly translates to “No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys Fault I’m Not Popular,” and that is really the best synopsis for the show.
The show is about Tomoko a teenage girl just getting into high school with some extreme social anxiety problems, that aren’t helped by her delusional expectations of what high school life was supposed to be like, mostly because of her over exposure to Otome Games. Tomoko is basically a nerd that blames the world for not being popular.
Im especially drawn to it because like most nerds we have all experienced or know someone who has had some of these issues before, obviously not to this exaggerated extent but close enough. Its very fascinating to see Tomoko struggle with her self image, constantly comparing herself to the other girls and trying to find her self worth. She constantly has to tell herself how better she is than everyone else for being smart or for not dressing “like a slut” just to attract boys. These thoughts end up preventing her from actually socialising and she ends up a loner which is where most of the shows “dark” comedy comes from.
I call it “dark” because its not really funny seeing semi realistic depictions of a human being, being humiliated for her her social insecurities especially when you’re supposed to be rooting for her to get better somehow. This is also the strength of the show at the same time, by forcing us to watch her in these uncomfortable situations we get more attached to her and want her to get better, either way same result is achieved.
I especially like the various anime references in the show, that actually work in the context of the story they are trying to tell for once. Tomoko uses her exposure to popular media to try and relate with the real world which usually always ends up disastrous in somewhat comical ways.
“So why the comparison to Princess Jellyfish?” you may be asking. Well, I asked myself what this show was trying to say and it occurred to me that the author really wanted to in her own way, encourage many otaku out there with this problem to slowly break out of their shell. I know from personal experience that many Nerds with social anxiety problems don’t even try to combat it. Tomoko on the other hand does everything imaginable in her little capability to become a popular high school girl, she actually tries no matter how humiliated she gets. Just like the characters in Princess jellyfish, they atleast make an effort to change.
I think Kuragehime had a better and more complex way of telling this story but Watamote to me feels like the high school version of that.
I also really like how Watamote ends, without spoiling anything, id like to say it has a realistic bitter-sweet way to finish off its story. its not completely unrealistic, that would have rendered it ridiculous but the author manages to keep the shows integrity by staying within that line of comical dark exaggerated reality which worked for the show all season long.
If you still haven’t seen Watamote id highly recommend doing so.