The main character of the series, who struggles with becoming "popular", making friends and coping with adolescence. Unfortunately, this is not helped by her social ineptitude and unpleasantpersonality.Despite being incredibly anti-social, she craves the companionship and attention of others. She suffers from a raging superiority complex, vivid delusions of grandeur, intense self-loathing, and social anxiety so severe that she can barely get out a sentence when talking to someone she is not intimately acquainted with.The dark circles under her eyes are genetic (and shared by her brother).
Ambiguously Bi: Has pretty obvious sexual lust for Yuu, as well as being shown enjoying the memory of a stranger's panties. That said, she is constantly trying to get with boys, including her own brother, and she enjoys Otome Games as well as Bastard Boyfriend characters.
Amusingly, while thinking about what it would be like to be with another girl, Tomoko thinks that her harassment of Yuu is totally normal.
It could be argued that Tomoko has been very confused by all those H-Games she has played. In chapter 51 she sees the Yuri GenreSchoolgirl LesbiansRomantic Two-Girl Friendship with Yuu as something natural and normal, and so too the Brother-Sister Incest with Tomoki, but she doesn’t actively think about getting with girls the way she does about getting a boyfriend, or see herself as a lesbian… until it’s a chance to be popular.
Annoying Younger Sibling: Acts like one for Tomoki despite actually being older. According to the volume 5 omake it was her obnoxiousness that caused their once-loving relationship to turn sour. On the other hand, one What If? omake shows that he would end up disliking her even if she were to remain kind to him.
Butt Monkey: Any of her attempts to become popular always come out wrong for her.
Character Development: Albeit slowly. By her second year, she's dialing down her schemes to become "popular" and noticed by everyone, just aiming to befriend and talk to people. She's also become more comfortable at cafés and other public places. However, she's also reignited an old feud with a middle-school classmate who ended up in the same school as her.
Cosmic Plaything: She doesn't realize it, which might be a good thing as the truth might plunge her into the pit of despair or worse, since she can't realize why her attempts to make friends are massive failures.
Covert Pervert: She tries to peek on a girl's panties out of "curiosity" over what kind of panties a girl with a boyfriend would wear.
Though when she's in her thoughts or talking with her brother, it's not very covert.
There was also the time where she tried to change her appearance, which worked out well until she decided to mess with her face.
Green-Eyed Monster: She enjoys the misfortune of others and frequently wishes for horrible things to happen to people that she perceives as having happy carefree lives. She also does have big green eyes, and calls girls more socially successful than herself, including her best friend Yuu, "bitches", "sluts", etc.
Tomoko:"If you're not a worthless god, I'd like to see you try and make me happy... If you can't manage that, at least make everyone as unhappy as me. If you can't, it's fine I guess... But I'll despise you forever..."
Also why she couldn't get along with Kotomi in middle-school despite being much alike, as she wanted to keep Yuu to herself.
Hollywood Nerd: Mostly averted. She's an introverted shut-in, with the disheveled appearance and complete lack of social skills to highlight it. In a departure from the archetype, she's also not particularly accomplished academically.
Ironic Name: Depending on what kanji you spell it with, the name "Tomoko" can mean "beautiful girl" or "wise child", among others. Needless to say, she's neither of these things.
Jerkass/Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Zigzagged, depending on the point of view. In the main series, she can come off as a condescending jackass who can occasionally show humility and self-esteem, although she most often keeps her negativity to herself. However, Tomoki and Komiyama tend to see and feel the more unpleasant side of Tomoko.
Never My Fault: Zigzagged. She often derides herself and finds faults with her social skills and appearance, but never dwells on it and immediately finds something else to blame for her social failings.
Otaku: of Otome games. So much that she attempts to socialize in real life with tactics from the games. See the Expy/Distaff Counterpart entry for details.
Peek-a-Bangs: Although both of her eyes can occasionally be seen, this trope is largely in play for her through much of the series.
Person as Verb: In Chapter 39 she tries to stand out more in her class by performing a wacky introduction during the first day of second year. For her efforts, among her classmates her name becomes a synonym for doing something exceptionally poorly. Fortunately it seems to have gone out of fashion by Chapter 42.
Shrinking Violet: Combined with No Social Skills, this is the reason she can barely put together a full sentence with anyone she doesn't know. She once went a month and a half without talking to anyone outside her family — her streak was broken when she managed to tell her teacher "goodbye".
Ironically, her inner monologues are highly eloquent.
Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: With Komiyama, whom Tomoko dislikes because she feels that she has to compete with her over Yuu's attention, later also because she convinced herself that Komiyama is sexually interested in Tomoki, causing Tomoko to be disgusted with her, and, as of chapter 47 of the main story, also because Komiyama admitted that she didn't like Tomoko back in middle school.
Tomato in the Mirror: Chapter 1: After 5 months trying to convince herself that she is popular, Tomoko literally sees herself at the mirror and admits the horrible truth:
Now that I look in the mirror after a few years I see that I turned into some creepy entity!
Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Her portrayal switches between this, Cosmic Plaything and some combination of both depending on the chapter. She can be very pitiable, but at the same time rather self-centered, condescending (especially to her classmates, though this is restricted to her Inner Monologues and never expressed outwardly) and, in Chapter 33, is shown to be a devotee of schadenfreude. In the spinoff she is portrayed much more unsympathetically than in the main story.
Wrong Genre Savvy: One of the major factors behind her inability to adapt to society is the fact that she tends to "learn" social skills through her games, and mistakes many character interactions therein (including those that are, from an objective viewpoint, downright outlandish) for actual practice, and tries to emulate them in real life, which more often than not only serves to further humiliate her.
Tomoko's younger and more responsible brother. He is a fairly average and well-adjusted person for his age, and treats his sister with the usual level of sibling-related intolerance. Despite this, he does care for his sister and tries to support her when she needs it.
Annoying Younger Sibling: Played with. He does tend to get on Tomoko's nerves, though not so much due to obnoxiousness as due to the fact that he's guilty of such "crimes" as staying home sick while Tomoko has to go to school, having friends who care enough to visit him while he's sick, or cleaning his own room and making his lunch himself (much to their mother's praise - and unlike his sister, and thus making her look bad in comparison). Also inverted, as Tomoki definitely sees Tomoko as his annoying older sibling.
To be fair given her situation it's understandable that she'd find the friends thing painful to see.
Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: In a home video their mom found in episode 7, he said as a little kid he wanted to marry Tomoko. He was notably disturbed when he saw this video (also because of how much more affectionate he was towards her).
Not So Different: Subverted in Chapter 41. Tomoko visits him in his classroom and sees him sitting alone and by himself; this gives her the impression that he is a loner just like her. However, when she visits him later she finds out that he is actually very popular in class and has not only friends but also admirers. Tomoko doesn't take the revelation well.
Tomoko's best friend from middle school, who managed the transition to adolescence far more gracefully than Tomoko. She was originally very quiet and nerdy; however, after moving to high school she dyed her hair, improved her fashion sense and personal appearance, became more outgoing and eventually got a steady boyfriend. Despite changing so much, she remains a kind friend to Tomoko, though she remains blissfully oblivious to how different their social lives are and is unaware of the more unpleasant aspects of Tomoko's personality.She is the protagonist of the spin-off manga It's Your Fault My Friend's Not Popular, which details her middle-school life with Tomoko from her perspective.
Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: In the final episode of the anime, she starts to chase after a distraught Tomoko out of concern for her but ends up being distracted by a cat.
Brainless Beauty: Despite her beauty and kindness, she's oblivious to Tomoko's unsavory nature and has below average grades. In the second Christmas special Tomoko opines that even using Twitter or keeping a blog would be too complicated for Yuu to handle. She also remains oblivious to the animosity between Tomoko and Kotomi until chapter 54 of the main story.
Decoy Protagonist: In the spin-off she is set up as the protagonist at first, but the narrative focus eventually moves from her to Tomoko and Komiyama, and the story is mostly about the two's "friendship".
Erotic Dream: Implied in chapter 7 of the spin-off. Tomoko and Kotomi are pretty delighted by it.
Even the Girls Want Her: Tomoko and Kotomi both have pretty obvious crushes on her in middle school and separate high schools have done little to ebb their lust.
Foil: To Tomoko, also to Kotomi. She had been, initially, shy like her two friends but was able to overcome it and build a social life, unlike Tomoko. In middle school she already had a hidden natural beauty that drew attention. Most importantly, she has shown negative feelings towards other people the least, unlike her friends.
Green-Eyed Monster: Surprisingly, in chapter 57! She deals with it in a completely different way than Tomoko, though.
The Heart: She is pretty much the only reason Tomoko and Kotomi even talk to each other, and also the only reason they are willing to be civil when they do talk. In chapter 54 she takes an active role to the trope.
Innocently Insensitive: Her casual remarks indicating that she has a much more fulfilling social life than Tomoko can hope for, including having a boyfriend, cause Tomoko a lot of distress.
Komiyama was also hit with this, in chapter 6 of the spin-off.
Meganekko: Wore glasses in middle school. Still wears them at home.
One of Yuu's old middle-school friends. She immediately takes a dislike to Tomoko, who sees Kotomi as a rival for Yuu's attention. Unfortunately, Kotomi proves to be just as passive-aggressive and anti-social as Tomoko.Kotomi is formally introduced in the spin-off manga It's Your Fault My Friend's Not Popular, and later on she is re-introduced in the main series. Kotomi does not appear in the anime as it only adapts stories from before her first appearance. However, she will be appearing in a special OVA, bundled with the Japanese release of the main series's seventh volume.
Ascended Extra: She first appeared in Tomoko's flashback to her middle-school years in Chapter 30 of the main series as the third, unnamed girl running the the marathon with Tomoko and Yuu; she's only seen in three frames and has no speaking lines. In the spin-off series, starting with Chapter 2, she is one of the main characters. She then makes her formal debut in the main manga in Chapter 46.
Berserk Button: Badmouthing her crush Tomoki, as Tomoko found out in chapter 54.
Opaque Nerd Glasses: Sometimes she is presented like this depending on the situation. Her glasses are a little variant of this trope because they are not so big.
My Father Is Dead: Has revealed that her father died from an illness when she was five. Yuu gets awkward, Tomoko... not much.
Not So Different: Apparently neither she nor Tomoko had any friends in their class before befriending Yuu. She and Tomoko both like the same anime, got the same type of hairstyle in Chapter 3 of the spin-off, got insecure with Yuu's beauty in Chapter 4, found themselves unable to talk to guys and ended up in the same high school. Chapters 47 and 48 of the main manga show her walking home from school alone and eating her lunch in the bathroom, implying that she doesn't have many - possibly even any - friends in high school either. Notably this does not make them less hostile towards each other at all.
Their Not So Different nature is even lampshaded by the title of one of the 4-Komas from Chapter 7 of the spin-off, "Cut from the same cloth".
Right in Front of Me: In Chapter 2 of the spin-off she tried to break the ice with Tomoko by telling her a story about having a laugh in the previous year when she heard that some middle schooler was still riding a bike with training wheels. Guess who that middle schooler was?
Unknown Rival: When they reunite in Chapter 46 of the main story, Tomoko has forgotten about Kotomi. On the other hand, Kotomi bears a grudge against Tomoko. (The next chapter reveals that they didn't spend all of their middle-school years in the same class.) Now both are aware of the other's dislike.
Broken Pedestal: How she sees Tomoko after all her attempts to look cool backfires spectacularly on her. Unlike other examples though, she takes the revelation well, and the next time they meet her admiration is replaced not with utter disdain, but with pity and appreciation that at least she tried her best.
Replacement Goldfish: In chapter 60 Tomoko speculates that Kii tries to take care of her because she treats her as a replacement for her deceased dog. At the end of that chapter Kii even gives Tomoko that dog's hairpin (the one she is always wearing).
President of Tomoko's (and later Tomoki's) student council.
Early-Bird Cameo: In the anime, when she replaces the random girl holding the stack of papers that Tomoko accidentally runs into. Downplayed because this first appearance is an earlier part of the chapter/episode she would appear in.
Nice Girl: Some female students mention that she's popular with both boys and girls at the school due to her helpfulness.
Throw the Dog a Bone: Seeing Tomoko down after Yuu leaves at the end of the school festival, Megumi borrows a mascot costume and gives her a hug and a balloon. In Episode 12, she also mentions having to keep an eye on that "cute girl" after Tomoko ends up getting flustered out of trying to strike up a conversation with her after a gust of wind gave her a good view of Megumi's panties.