DVD Review: Watamote – The Complete Series
11/12/2014 Leave a comment
It’s been quite a while since MVM Entertainment released a ‘Dual-Audio’ language anime series but here we are with Watamote a comical show about being popular; So what did we think of this ‘unique’ series and the DVD release by MVM Entertainment? Find out in our review.
At the tender age of 15, Kuroki Tomoko has already dated dozens and dozens of boys and she’s easily the most popular girl around! The only problem is that absolutely none of that is real, and her perfect world exists only via dating games and romance shows. In fact, the sad truth is that she gets tongue tied just talking to people, and throughout middle school she’s only had one actual friend. All of this makes Kuroki’s entrance into the social pressure cooker of high school a new and special kind of hell.
While Kuroki desperately wants to be popular, she’s actually worse off than she would be if she was completely clueless as to how to go about it. After all, the things that work in “otome” games rarely play out the same way in reality, especially when the self-appointed “leading lady” isn’t the paragon she thinks she is. There’s not much gain and plenty of pain ahead, but even if it happens again and again, there’s always someone else to blame!
I was originally going to suggest that Watamote is one of the strangest and most uncomfortable anime shows I have ever had the privilege of watching; but then I remembered about B Gata H Kei: Yamada’s First Time. Jokes aside Watamote is one of those shows that you don’t expect anything from, but upon watching you receive a complete world of insanity and comical storylines that you ultimately find yourself hating yet you still choose to come back for more. Confused? Yea; me too but hopefully I’ll try to explain.
Watamote is a twelve episode long anime series that follows the daily life of Kuroki Tomoko who after shortly starting high-school finds herself being one of the unpopular girls in school; a weirdo if you like. In a bid to change the status quo Tomoko embarks on various quests to raise her visual appearance and social awareness; be it research on the internet, roleplaying romance novels out in real life in hopes of dragging attention or attempting to build her social confidence. Every episode is a new venture and as a result each episode is entirely different and never the same scenario.
Interestingly when things start to become even slightly repetitive new characters are introduced; be it Tomoko’s middle-school friend, Yu, who has now completely changed her appearance to get noticed (much to the annoyance of Tomoko), or Tomoko’s younger cousin, Ki, who enjoys listening to Tomoko’s dirty stories, much to the discomfort of Tomoko who is annoyed that she can’t act these stories out in reality. Interestingly the prospect of a boyfriend does creep-up, which is led to a rather big lie, but instead of being ‘acted upon’ Tomoko goes back to her old-lifestyle.
This series has an arkward sense of fun and entertainment as it literally pokes fun at those people who are socially inept; but for me the worst part is that we don’t see the character go anywhere. We don’t see Tomoko evolve out of her shell and into society, instead we constantly see her making a fool of herself; and even when the series draws to a close its still relatively inconclusive, even if Tomoko herself has decided on what she will do for the future.
Basically it’s a show that doesn’t go anywhere, makes fun at a girls problems for being unpopular and throws a lot of arkward, and potentially lewd, scenarios into the viewers face – it’s kind of fun and comical yet I can’t help feel disgusted.
The only bonus materials included with this DVD release of Watamote are a selection of trailers and textless songs related to the show.
Since Watamote uses quite a few closing songs, all of which are a blast to listen to, we are treated to all of them in textless form; additionally since Watamote has been authored by Hanabee viewers are treated to a selection of trailers that you wouldn’t usually see on a disc authored by Madman Entertainment; such as Patema Inverted, which is being released in the UK via Anime Limited.
Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 2:28:43 (Disc 1), 2:28:28 (Disc 2)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
Watamote is the odd little series that sees 15 year-old high school student Kuroki Tomoko attempt to become popular at school through various different means with each episode being a new venture into drawing attention. Be it reading-up on novels, changing her lifestyle or attempting to get a job Tomoko tries it all and ultimately fails. It’s not the end result that’s important in this series, it’s the journey, but it does kind of poke fun at people in these types of situations.
For the most part I found Watamote rather awkward to watch, mainly due to Tomoko’s twisted sense of reality and personality, but its mostly due to some of the ideas she comes-up with for trying to become popular. For instance one such scenario sees her trying to be molested from other people on a train; fortunately this doesn’t happen but it does send out a ‘very strange’ message of what you can expect from the series. Like I said each episode is different and unique, but you’ll always find some sense of perversion in an episode – even if it’s just minor.
When it comes to the DVD product itself then there isn’t really much to be said; MVM Entertainment are distributing it within the UK but the discs themselves have been authored by Hanabee, which is an Australian anime distributor, and as such a selection of trailers for Australian releases are included. The picture, audio and subtitle qualities all remain consistent with no noticeable errors, although I tended to stick with the English Dub, which considered it was produced by Sentai Filmworks is surprising. That’s correct this Sentai Filmworks produced English Dub is actually quite good and is easily one of the more better dubs that they have produced; however it was disappointing to discover that they had Americanised it by turning yen into dollars – but I guess this is only a small price to pay for an English Dub that can actually be watched.
Overall I found Watamote to be another Marmite type of show; the story doesn’t really go anyway, although it does have an ending, and the various disturbing topics and ideas that Tomoko brings up just baffles the mind and makes it uncomfortable to watch. If you know what to expect from Watamote then feel free to purchase it, personally I’d go for the Blu-ray due to better picture quality, but if you’ve yet to experience the madness of this show then I’d suggest a try before you buy method.
Watamote – The Complete Series will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 15th December 2014 within the UK.