Watamote Vol. 12 Review

Title: No Matter How I Look at it, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular Vol. 12
Author: Nico Tanigawa
Publisher: Yen Press
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 144
Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy
Publication Date: November 13, 2017

The Story

In volume twelve of Watamote (No Matter How I Look at it, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular), Tomoko experience a rather hilarious Valentine’s Day before the book transitions into a story arc that ends with Tomoko’s second year of high school coming to a close. While there were a couple of situational chapters in between, these were the two biggest story arcs that were covered in this volume.

While the gags have remained the same, this volume felt a bit different than previous volumes. Tanigawa seemed to focus more on a story setting rather than just relying on chapter-by-chapter humor. The underlying story was mainly brought to light through Tomoko’s brother Tomoki as he observes Tomoko on graduation day. This observation really drives home just how many people have come to know Tomoko over the course of her two years at high school. Obviously, things are not what they seem as not all of them are Tomoko’s friend. In fact, a lot of them only mention Tomoko because she sticks out like a sore thumb and has built some sort of loner reputation.

Still, Tomoki takes notice of it all and wonders why she keeps coming to him crying about not having anyone to talk to when she’s becoming more popular now than ever. While it’s meant to make you believe that Tomoko is finally gaining popularity, little does he know it’s because of her giving out poop-shaped chocolate or proclaiming that she’s in the market for a boyfriend during her Year 3 introduction. It’s those kinds of actions and moments that are making her popular for all of the wrong reasons.

Outside of these arcing stories, everything you love about the series is intact. Tomoko’s little inner monologues are she makes observations about the world are as priceless as ever. Now that her third and final year of high school has begun, it makes you wonder just where they’re going to take this story.

Characters

Once again, the spotlight is on Tomoko but I don’t feel like she’s actually grown all that much as a character. As I mentioned in the story section, this volume felt like it was just the culmination of all of the things Tomoko had done in high school up until this point. The series stopped focusing on building Tomoko and just let the dialogue of its cast of characters show the results of all of that build up. Tomoko hasn’t really gotten any further in her progression here than she had in the past couple of volumes.

What is interesting, though, was her run-in with Imae during graduation. Tomoko didn’t realize it but she was the one in the mascot suit during the cultural festival and gave her a hug. It was a nice little tie-in to a previous story and Tomoko even noted that it’s just like her to not notice something like that right away. It was one of those “we’ve met before but you don’t know me” moments and unlike a lot of characters in Imae’s spot, it didn’t really seem superficial. That sucks for Tomoko because now that Imae has graduated, there went a prime candidate for someone she could become good friends with. Such is Tomoko’s luck, though.

Final Thoughts

Volume twelve of Watamote still delivered on the kind of humor you would expect all while dialing things back a bit. I feel like that this volume was used to take a breather with the main goal being the transition into Tomoko’s third year of high school. This is where things are definitely going to get interesting as it’s “do or die” time for Tomoko. If she has any hope for becoming popular, this is the year that she’s going to have to make those efforts.

The funny thing is that with the way things are being set up, it seems as if Tomoko is building herself a bit of a yuri-style harem. I mean, she is in her third-year class with a bunch of people she already knows and not only that, but it’s with a bunch of people who tolerate her on various different levels. So she is positioned as a character to make those advances so it will be interesting if she’s able to capitalize on it. My only regret is that it may be a while before we get to see that happen as the previous volume was released eleven months ago here in America. Then again, Japan is on chapter 144 as of the time of this writing and volume twelve covered up to chapter 122 so it’s understandable why the releases are few and far between.

Still, I like how the series used this volume to set up the next arc. Go Tomoko! You can do it!

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This item was provided for review by Yen Press.

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.

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