Title: No Matter How I Look at it, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular Vol. 5
Author: Nico Tanigawa
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
The fifth volume of Watamote deals with Tomoko in high school. The first chapter seemed like a turning point for Tomoko as she met a third-year boy during the graduation ceremony that also seemed like a loner. The biggest thing to note was the style of text used in Tomoko’s dialogue. The text had a normal font to it rather than the chicken scratch that is used to depict her being nervous. Last volume, I felt that there should have been some kind of breaking point with Tomoko and apparently this was it. It seems that if the person is also a loner, Tomoko has an easier time talking to them.
However, all of that goes down the drain when she runs into her home room teacher during her second year. Her teacher wants her to make friends and even calls her out in front of everybody to find out why she hasn’t made any friends yet. This was a cringe moment because you can just imagine being an introvert and having to be put into a situation like that.
Later on in the volume, Tomoko ends up running into someone that she knew in middle school, but couldn’t remember her name. She guessed it wrong twice before just borrowing her book and leaving. Tomoko sees who was on duty and remembered her as someone she hung out with in middle school alongside Yuu. Apparently, Tomoko ended up sneezing in her face at lunch, but she doesn’t remember that at all; however, Komiyama did. Tomoko feels that the two of them can become friends; however, Komiyama felt insulted that Tomoko didn’t remember her after what she did to her that one day. While nothing came of it now, I can see the seeds being planted for the future and it’s not going to be pretty!
The new character, Komiyama, seemed like a bit of a nerd herself. She seemed quite normal now and after the whole issue with Tomoko not remembering her name, she seems to have developed a grudge. This ought to make things interesting if they have another encounter. If this is more than just a one off thing, I’ll be disappointed.
Tomoko herself got a bit of development in the sense that she was actually able to talk to someone normally, but that’s only because she thought of that third-year as a loner like her. Whether or not that was true remains to be seen, but it seems like that they are building off of this through her second-year homeroom teacher. While the teacher is a bit on the annoying side, she is pushing for Tomoko to try and make friends.
Speaking of friends, there seems to be a budding relationship between Tomoko and her classmate Nemoto. Nemoto is sitting next to her this year and remembers Tomoko from their first-year class together. She actually goes out of the way to talk to Tomoko on several occasions, which actually stuns Tomoko. While the two of them haven’t really done anything aside from brief conversations in class, it’s a start and, perhaps, a turning point in Tomoko’s character! We’ll see!
I really liked the developments in this edition of Watamote. It seems like they are trying to push Tomoko towards curing her shyness, but this is just the beginning. I don’t expect something like this to be cured so quickly and easily, but baby steps and slow burns are always the best course of storytelling in these situations.
While the past few volumes have made you feel sorry for Tomoko, this has been the first volume of Watamote that has given you a sense of hope for her. Whether or not that trend will continue through volume six remains to be seen, but I like where it’s going so far. One interesting facet was the class rep from Tomoko’s first year stepping in and claiming that she’s her friend when she saw Tomoko’s homeroom teacher pressuring her about making friends. Whether or not that was a kind gesture wasn’t really explored, but it got me thinking that maybe all of this is in Tomoko’s head. Perhaps she’s too wrapped up in her own thoughts to realize that people are aware of her and all she needs to do is take that first step to say hello to someone.
Would be a nice little plot twist, but I have feeling I’m reading too much into it. Another good entry into the Watamote series!
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This item was purchased for review.