So, two things I want to address right up front:
- I laughed. Hard.
- I kinda hated myself for laughing hard.
So here’s the thing with Watashi ga Motete Dousunda (is there an abbreviation? Because that’s going to take way too long to type)… Based on one episode, I think this series is built around kind of a reprehensible hook. That is Kae, the main character, is a mean-spirited caricature of overweight girls, and the entire rest of the cast (apart from her best friend) goes from mocking her and ignoring her to slavering all over her. All of the cast are basically jerks in the premiere – either shallow like the main girls or shallower like the main boys – except for the guys named Mutsumi and to some extent, Igarashi. And Kobayashi Yuu’s take on a fat girl is frankly pretty mean-spirited and demeaning.
So why the hell did this thing strike me so funny? Dammit, the fucker is really clever – it gets the otaku humor pretty spot-on, for staters. The dialogue is snappy and smart, and the visuals are amusing. Also, there’s something hilariously meta about Brain’s Base doing a series that deconstructs otome game situations the way Watamodou (there, I made one) does. And then there’s the matter of timing, which is so crucial to this sort of comedy. Banter-driven humor is driven by rhythm – the dialogue has to flow a certain way (Steins;Gate is among the best examples of this). And Watamodou clearly understands this and pretty much nails it.
The core premise (once you set aside the weight stuff) is innocent enough – a fujoshi girl who would much rather fantasize about guys getting together than be in a relationship with one herself ends up being chased by a bunch of guys. Given how prevalent yuri is in anime these days it’s telling (no mirrors welcome) that we haven’t seen this premise get more play gender-reversed, but it’s always interesting to see the female otaku experience portrayed with some wit and incisiveness. Seeing Kae go out on a date with four guys straight out of a Brain’s Base otome game all drawn in a distinctly shoujo art style is side-splittingly funny – first she hides, watching from a distance, then all the while tries to play the role of the demure heroine while pairing them off in her mind.
Finally, Kae’s otaku self wins out when the local
Animate Anime Ito puts a stock of swag from her favorite series (it’s the death of her favorite character, Shion, which has caused her to precipitously lose weight and become a hottie) on sale and she’s forced to admit the truth to the guys. Mutsumi seems genuine in being understanding (I sense a closet otaku here), while for the others it strikes me as more pretending not to care because they want to get into her pants. Finally, Shion dakimakura in hand, Kae happily recounts her date to her friend and fellow fujoshi A-chan, who at least seems to have a bit more common sense than Kae does about what’s really going on here.
I could easily see Watamodou going sour really fast – I mean, the whole idea behind it is pretty abhorrent. But I can’t deny I found the premiere very funny indeed, and it’s certainly not impossible that all this is a setup – maybe mangaka Junko (who seems to be mainly a BL writer, FWIW) actually intends to take these disturbing elements head-on later in the story. I’m not remotely sure how I’m going to feel about this series after one more episode, never mind an entire season, but for one week at least it did more than enough to bring me back for more.