Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki
by Kim Morrissy,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki ?
This episode was pandering to me, so I absolutely have to give it a good score. Give an anime dude a guy pal and you have my rapt attention. Mizusawa may look like a playboy, but he earnestly develops a friendship with Tomozaki, and they even get a bit touchy-feely here and there. I love it so much. Thank you, Tomozaki anime!
Seriously speaking, though, Tomozaki and his relationships with the characters around him are evolving in ways that are both really interesting and really authentic. For example, when Tomozaki gets nervous about joining a group chat for the first time, I really felt that. It is indeed something that feels scary the first few times you do it. And when Tomozaki takes newfound pride in his appearance, I felt really happy for him. Physical appearances shouldn't be the be-all-or-end-all of people, but being happy with one's own looks is an important part of building up confidence in general. It's rewarding watching Tomozaki take those hesitant first steps towards feeling comfortable in his own skin.
If this were simply the self-help show that the opening episodes made it seem like, then this episode wouldn't feel quite as satisfying. What makes it work is seeing Tomozaki build up a rapport with other people and making friends in his own earnest way. For a shy and geeky guy like him, striking up a platonic friendship with girls like Izumi is a good way to expand his comfort zone, but so is talking to popular guys like Mizusawa, who on the surface seem like they exist on a completely different dimension. Mizusawa seems to respect Tomozaki's honesty in the previous episode, but it's hard to get a sense of what he really feels. Amusingly, he seems to unconsciously get touchy-feely with Tomozaki, as if he's "putting on the moves" like he would with a girl, and I think that points to him being the type who is so used to putting on an act that he can't willfully turn it off.
This wasn't an episode with much drama, but the types of interpersonal conflict being tackled are definitely escalating. When Hinami calls attention to how Mizusawa manipulates the atmosphere in the group to make his bland suggestions seem like a good idea at the time, Tomozaki is outraged by the dishonesty of it all. But as Hinami points out, that's the nature of social interactions. A genuinely good suggestion has to be presented in a palatable way, because otherwise a bad suggestion with nicer wrappings could win out. There's a certain level of skill involved in making sure your own ideas get through to people. This scene is immediately followed by Hinami and Mimimi both declaring that they're running for the student council presidency, so we're going to see how these ideas apply directly to student politics, which is a distinct step-up in terms of complexity.
It really is a shame that so many people seem to be sleeping on Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki this season, because it's a greatly rewarding show to keep up with. On the other hand, it's kind of satisfying to see this show start at the bottom and climb its way up, just like its protagonist. I'm looking forward to seeing where Tomozaki's journey takes him next.
Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki is currently streaming on Funimation Entertainment.
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