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EP. REVIEW: Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku


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John Thacker
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:12 pm Reply with quote
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My favorite so far is Hirotaka assuming the Gendo pose in the second episode, which by itself is unremarkable, but it's enhanced by the soundtrack going the extra mile to recreate the opening drum beat from Eva's battle music.


Those two things are good, but the crowning part is that Kabakura Tarō assumes the Fuyutsuki Kōzō pose (narrowed eyes, arms bent at the elbow held behind his back) while standing back and to the left of Hirotaka/Gendo, as is only appropriate!

The best part is that Narumi and Hanako both comment on this - with Hanako saying "Kaba, he's doing Fuyutsuki, right?" and Narumi replying "Exactly." They don't comment on the Gendo pose, because everyone knows and does the Gendo pose, but they realize that the Fuyutsuki addition is the cherry on top. (And them realizing that is the cherry on top for watchers of Wotakoi.)
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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:24 pm Reply with quote
I am glad to see good ratings for this show. I was planning to follow it, but I am tired of Amazon's inconsistent upload schedule. I plan to watch Wotakoi after all the episodes are out.
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Engineering Nerd



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:38 pm Reply with quote
angelmcazares wrote:
I am glad to see good ratings for this show. I was planning to follow it, but I am tired of Amazon's inconsistent upload schedule. I plan to watch Wotakoi after all the episodes are out.



Yeah, I understand that pain. But a fair warning though, while binge watching Wotakoi is perfectly fine, consider how heart-meltingly sweet it is, it might give you diabetes:)
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meiam



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:42 pm Reply with quote
I like it, but I'm not sure I see any "strong romantic foundation", really I have to ask, where's the romance? I was surprised when they jumped straight into dating on the first episode, so I figured they'd would really focus on it, but not really. Episode 2 was almost entirely void of any romance, most of it would have worked just as well if Narumi and Hirotaka were just friend. And the only part that dealt with romance in some way was pretty strange, Narumi had a boyfriend before, why is she acting like this is all new to her?

I would have rather they slowly build up to the romance, with maybe starting dating ep 3-4, rather than start dating before they even really know each others.
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XerBlade
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:46 pm Reply with quote
Steve Jones wrote:
As an anime fan long past the tender age of 20 (and rapidly approaching the not-so-tender age of 30), it's difficult to find anime that acknowledge my demographic, let alone shows that directly pander to it.

As an anime fan past that, ......, well, fine, this is good enough. It's not like anime is going to start pandering to any demographic older than that anytime soon.

meiam wrote:
I like it, but I'm not sure I see any "strong romantic foundation", really I have to ask, where's the romance? I was surprised when they jumped straight into dating on the first episode, so I figured they'd would really focus on it, but not really. Episode 2 was almost entirely void of any romance, most of it would have worked just as well if Narumi and Hirotaka were just friend. And the only part that dealt with romance in some way was pretty strange, Narumi had a boyfriend before, why is she acting like this is all new to her?

So basically, the problem is this anime is going for at least some basis in realism, not the complete fantasy adult romances you see in basically all mainstream fiction, nor the melodramatic stuff that kids turn everything into.

[And by the way, she may have dated before, but dating "him" is new to her. Each relationship is its own adventure in any circumstance, but especially when it's got major elements to it that you don't have analogues to from previous ones.]

meiam wrote:
I would have rather they slowly build up to the romance, with maybe starting dating ep 3-4, rather than start dating before they even really know each others.

But... they do know each other....

That said, in real life, adults do often tend to start dating before they actually spend much time getting to know each other as friends.

[Besides, romcom anime about the trials and tribulations of already established couples are both amazing and amazingly difficult to come across. The stuff that focuses on milking all the stuff leading up to just starting the relationship is a dime a dozen.]
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Engineering Nerd



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:17 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
I like it, but I'm not sure I see any "strong romantic foundation", really I have to ask, where's the romance? I was surprised when they jumped straight into dating on the first episode, so I figured they'd would really focus on it, but not really. Episode 2 was almost entirely void of any romance, most of it would have worked just as well if Narumi and Hirotaka were just friend. And the only part that dealt with romance in some way was pretty strange, Narumi had a boyfriend before, why is she acting like this is all new to her?

I would have rather they slowly build up to the romance, with maybe starting dating ep 3-4, rather than start dating before they even really know each others.



Well, I guess you did miss a few hints at episode 1 then, my friend. Smile

(I guess this is not really a spoiler at this point since we are pretty much told, if not heavily hinted, regarding those two clumsy "lovebirds" ' prior relationship) The thing is, Hirotaka and Narumi were childhood friends all the way to middle school (mentioned in the beginning of ep 1), and they know each other soooo well to the point even "BFF" isn't accurate enough to describe their bonds. Also by the end of ep 1, you can already tell Hirotaka is the one who has crush on Narumi although he is too clumsy and shy to express his feelings.

The charm about Wotakoi's main couple isn't about how two strangers slowly becoming lovers; but rather how two close friends since childhood slowly re-accepting and re-evaluating their current relationship, and moving forward one step at a time. It's actually a very healthy love relationship, since best couples also happen to be best friends at heart, don't ya think Wink


If that's not your thing, no worries, at least this show has two more couples that will have plenty of screen time in the future (you already met one pair so far), each has complete unique chemistry, I am sure at least of them will hit your sweet spot.


@Xerblade

Does stuff like Inuyashiki count as "post 30" pandering? Smile
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meiam



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:41 pm Reply with quote
Well that they knew each others as kid doesn't mean much, they haven't seen each others for probably something like 10 years+. The person you were as a pre teen is a completely different person from who you are today. Chasing after who that person was by dating who they became sound like a terrible idea, it' worse than dating someones sibling because you can't get them.

I guess it's just personal preference I prefer my romance to progress like so:

"I got time to kill, let's see what's Hirotaka is doing" -> "Boy sure am busy, but hey Hirotaka isn't doing anything let's go see him" ->"where's Hiritaka" ->"Hirotaka"

Rather than:

"I'll literally date any piece of warm flesh" ->"Hey, here's one, let's hope I end up loving him, despite literally not knowing what to do in his presence". It's just... terribly sad.
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mandisaw



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:03 pm Reply with quote
Glad I checked this one out - it's perfectly "adorkable", and mirrors my life in some fun ways (15yrs married to a fellow member of my old anime club, work in an IT dept full of geeks of various flavors, incl our dept head). Even the relationship between Narumi & "Hana-chan" hilariously echoes me & my aunt, anime-fandom partners in crime Very Happy

Episode 2 got me even more in the feels than ep1, since I have spent many an afternoon/after-work group-shopping at local manga bookstores, socializing & swapping recommendations. There's a feeling of camaraderie and "nakama"/family that having fellow geek friends nearby affords that is maybe absent or reduced in the age of ebooks & streaming.

Part of me knows that this series, like MMO Junkie, is a combo of pandering to the older-fan demo, and encouraging a segment of the Japanese target audience to make time for romance (or less subtly, get to breeding). But sometimes the pandering works LOL


Last edited by mandisaw on Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Engineering Nerd



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:12 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
Well that they knew each others as kid doesn't mean much, they haven't seen each others for probably something like 10 years+. The person you were as a pre teen is a completely different person from who you are today. Chasing after who that person was by dating who they became sound like a terrible idea, it' worse than dating someones sibling because you can't get them.




But they do meet each other frequently even after teen years, otherwise Narumi won't even call him "best otaku buddies", have periodical after-work meetings and have no qualms revealing her fujoshi side to Hirotaka; and Hirotaka knows Narumi has a few unsuccessful experiences on love. The only thing that is changing is now they are working in the same company; and Hirotaka finally got his opportunity to speak out what he wants to say a long time ago but afraid it might break their current status quo in case he failed.


I get what you mean then. But after seeing what kind of romantic scenario you prefer, I am confident to say the side couples in this show might be your perfect fix if the main couple isn't your thing. They will get their share of screen time in the later episodes.


Last edited by Engineering Nerd on Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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meruru



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:55 am Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
I like it, but I'm not sure I see any "strong romantic foundation", really I have to ask, where's the romance?


Disclaimer, I've only read the manga, but still it may somewhat depend on your definition of romance...

spoiler[What better way to capture a fujoshi's heart than her boyfriend tending her doujin booth at Comiket in the women's section so she can run off and buy her favorite circles' books before they out, or crossplaying for her? =D]
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mandisaw



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:12 am Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
Well that they knew each others as kid doesn't mean much, they haven't seen each others for probably something like 10 years+. The person you were as a pre teen is a completely different person from who you are today.

As @Engineering Nerd points out, they clearly have still been in contact. The fact that she immediately recognized Hiro as a grown man shows that she likely has seen him at least post-puberty. In any case, that shared history of growing up together, or being from the same place, can itself be a germ of a new relationship. Happens in real life lots of times, even moreso now that social media can reconnect people after long periods.

Quote:
I guess it's just personal preference I prefer my romance to progress like so:

"I got time to kill, let's see what's Hirotaka is doing" -> "Boy sure am busy, but hey Hirotaka isn't doing anything let's go see him" ->"where's Hiritaka" ->"Hirotaka"

Rather than:

"I'll literally date any piece of warm flesh" ->"Hey, here's one, let's hope I end up loving him, despite literally not knowing what to do in his presence". It's just... terribly sad.

Personal preference can't really be right/wrong. But for my part, I don't really see much of a parallel to real-life romance in that first one, more like "music video romance" (I can practically hear Adele singing LOL).

This show seems to be going for a more mature, realist approach, so there's apparently none of that whole pining-from-afar, super-slow realization of love stuff. There are plenty of shows that do that (Kimi ni Todoke is made of it), so if that's more your thing, this just might not be to your liking.

As to the second, I don't think that's what's happening here. Both Narumi & Hiro seem to be unhappy with the love & romance aspect of their lives, and they're trying to shake things up to see if it helps. She's dating a guy who's not her usual type, and I guess we're meant to assume that he's decided to try dating, period. Maybe he's had a low-power crush on her for a while, or maybe she's just the woman he's most comfortable around and feels closest to. Either are perfectly acceptable, and happen in real-life & fiction all the time (just not so much in teen-directed anime).

----

I think it's both interesting and realistic that Narumi is at a loss for what to do after the initial decision to date. I'd guess that the guys she's previously dated have taken the initiative and set the pace, and so she's kind of torn between waiting for Hiro to do so, and reflecting their earlier dynamic where she seems to be the more active/dominant friend.
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Nojay



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:42 am Reply with quote
mandisaw wrote:
meiam wrote:
Well that they knew each others as kid doesn't mean much, they haven't seen each others for probably something like 10 years+. The person you were as a pre teen is a completely different person from who you are today.

As @Engineering Nerd points out, they clearly have still been in contact.


The anime subs from episode one where Narumi recognises Hirotaka explicitly say "We haven't seen each other since middle school. Long time no see!" The scanlated manga speech bubble in the same scene is similar -- "It's been forever! Since, what, middle school?".
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Merida
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:42 am Reply with quote
Adult characters, otaku who are functional members of society, no excessive blushy-blushy shyness, contrived misunderstandings don't get dragged on for several episodes - i love this show so far! Sure, there were some pretty convenient coincidences but i can easily overlook those as long as the anime keeps avoiding my pet peeves.
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Meongantuk



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:50 am Reply with quote
Nojay wrote:
mandisaw wrote:
meiam wrote:
Well that they knew each others as kid doesn't mean much, they haven't seen each others for probably something like 10 years+. The person you were as a pre teen is a completely different person from who you are today.

As @Engineering Nerd points out, they clearly have still been in contact.


The anime subs from episode one where Narumi recognises Hirotaka explicitly say "We haven't seen each other since middle school. Long time no see!" The scanlated manga speech bubble in the same scene is similar -- "It's been forever! Since, what, middle school?".


Narumi was sending an 'act like we don't know each other' message since Hirotaka know about her being an otaku (which he failed to notice). It was basically a lie.

Notice that Hirotaka's answer was asking her if she will table in the next event in very casual manner. That's not words of someone who hasn't seen Narumi for years.
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Nojay



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:27 am Reply with quote
Meongantuk wrote:
The anime subs from episode one where Narumi recognises Hirotaka explicitly say "We haven't seen each other since middle school. Long time no see!" The scanlated manga speech bubble in the same scene is similar -- "It's been forever! Since, what, middle school?".


Narumi was sending an 'act like we don't know each other' message since Hirotaka know about her being an otaku (which he failed to notice). It was basically a lie. [/quote]

If Narumi's been in touch with Hirotaka during the period between them being in middle school and now working in the same office why did she take so long to recognise him and then questioned if it was him, and he had to look carefully at her to identify her as Narumi? Why did he not know what happened to her boyfriend from school, her "hot" boyfriend and her quitting her previous job? Why didn't she know he worked at that office? etc.
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