Manga: No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular
Tomoko Kuroki in her natural habitat.
Tomoko Kuroki is a legendary high-school girl with over fifty years' worth of romantic experience and over one hundred male admirers... in the otome gaming world. In the real world, she is an unattractive, lonely, creepy fifteen-year-old Otaku schoolgirl with severe self-esteem issues, so much so that she avoids all contact with her classmates.When she enters her first year of high school expecting her life to suddenly turn around, she is stunned when absolutely nothing changes. This forces her to take a hard look at herself for the first time, and resolve to become more sociable and popular. Hilarity Ensues.No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! (Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dō Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!), also known by its official shorthand "WataMote", is a Cringe Comedy manga published online by Nico Tanigawa (actually two people) with a cult following on /a/ and /v/. Even Tanigawa herself communicates with Anglophone fans on her Twitter account.Despite the title, the series is in fact quite popular, with the third volume selling more than 170,000 copies in the first month, and has an anthology and a fanbook. In January 2013 a Spin-Off, No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault My Friend's Not Popular. (Watashi no Tomodachi ga Motenai no wa Dō Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui.), began running in Monthly Joker. It stars (and is written from the point-of-view of) Yuu Naruse, Tomoko's best friend from middle school who crossed the threshold into adolescence far more gracefully than she did.The series has been licensed by Yen Press, and the first English volume has been released. A one-cour anime adaptation premiered in July 2013 as part of the Summer 2013 Anime lineup. An OVA has been announced for 2014.The anime can be legally viewed at Crunchyroll for people living in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.See also Choku!, an earlier manga by the same authors.
This manga provides examples of:
Accidental Pervert: In bonus chapter 27.5 Tomoko follows the committee girl trying to greet her, only to end up accidentally lifting her skirt up.
In Chapter 38 Tomoko accidentally flashes some children while wearing a skirt.
Ambiguous Disorder: There are some indications that Tomoko might be suffering from an undiagnosed case of Asperger's syndrome, or possibly another Autism spectrum disorder, perhaps even Avoidant Personality Disorder. Of course, the more depressing possibility is that she's just that bad at making friends.
Arms Dealer: Back in middle school Tomoko had the desire to become Japan's first female dealer in illegal weaponry. By the time the main story started she apparently gave up on it, and even finds the idea embarrassing.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: A non-romantic version of this occasionally occurs between Tomoko and Tomoki. However, chapter 35 has a subversion: Tomoki reveals that he isn't angry at Tomoko for forgetting to send his application to his chosen high school, and for a moment it looks like a setup for "Aww, look! They really do love each other" moment... but then Tomoko ruins it by whining that she got lectured by their mother because of the event, and blaming Tomoki for it because he didn't say so sooner. Tomoki promptly kicks her out of his room.
Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: In chapter 39 Tomoko overhears two of her schoolmates badmouthing someone while in the bathroom; she wonders whether they were talking about her, but it is never resolved.
Be Careful What You Wish For: Tomoko tries to get sick by spending time with her sick brother in an attempt to miss school for a few days. While it does work, she gets sick around Saturday, causing her to be stuck in bed on the weekend.
Briar Patching: In chapter 45 Tomoko sets up a prank she wants to play on her brother by telling him that she has dates with her boyfriend in a certain place and telling him not to go there; her plan is to wait for him there and mock him when he comes to peep. Her plan fails because Tomoki doesn't show up for several days; when he finally does it's by accident and Tomoko's prank falls flat.
Brick Joke: At the beginning of chapter 30 Tomoko mocks in her thoughts people who have trouble running the marathon and finish it dead last while being cheered on by their schoolmates. She claims that if that happened to her she'd feel pathetic. Needless to say, this is exactly what happens to her at the end of that chapter.
Chapter 19 establishes that Tomoko considers eating one's lunch in the bathroom to be pretty much the rock bottom of loserdom. In chapter 48 she catches her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Kotomi eating her lunch in the bathroom, and it gives the opportunity to offer her rival some Condescending Compassion.
Broken Pedestal: Tomoko's cousin Kii-chan starts out seeing Tomoko as a Cool Big Sis, but starts having doubts about when Tomoko lies about having a boyfriend and realizes the whole truth after catching Tomoko cheating in a card game with little kids just to impress her. The next time Kii appears, she treats Tomoko like a rather pathetic puppy.
Brother-Sister Incest: Invoked in chapter 25 by Tomoko towards Tomoki. While she's deliberately trying to get sick by spending time in his room when he's sick, she jokingly asks if he's finding her interesting as a woman. He vehemently denies it.
In chapter 6, she becomes convinced she's become sexy enough that he's lusting after her (in reality, he thinks she looks a mess).
Call Back: In chapter 35, when Tomoko tries to apologize to Tomoki for forgetting to send his application to his chosen high school, she greets him at home wearing her school uniform in the same way she did when she looked in the mirror in chapter 1.
Cat Scare: In chapter 18/episode 9 of the anime, Tomoko is eating cup noodles by herself when she hears a rustling bush and fears it's a pervert. It's just a cat, of course.
Caught with Your Pants Down: In Tomoko's case it was being caught by her mother while redubbing a sex scene from an otome game with herself as the protagonist, but it seemed to be equally embarrassing.
At the beginning of chapter 15 Tomoko is implied to narrowly avoid this as Kii entered her room while Tomoko was playing a game. We don't get to see what the game was, as it gets censored, but Tomoko is visibly unpleasantly surprised and embarrassed, blocks the game from Kii's view and tells her to knock before entering her room. Fortunately, Kii, while confused, apparently did not figure out what exactly was happening.
The Chikan: Was the focus of chapter 24 aptly titled, "Because I'm not popular, I'm going to get molested". In the chapter, Tomoko hears one of her classmates complain about how she was molested on her way to school and laments that no one wants to molest her. Eventually, she does get molested only to find out that her "molester" was in fact a large staff.
Chocolate of Romance: Chapter 47 reveals that back in middle school Kotomi wanted to give Tomoko's brother Tomoki a Valentine's Day chocolate. Unfortunately, she picked Tomoko as the one to tell this to Tomoki, and it all went downhill from there.
Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: In a flashback to her middle school times in chapter 31 Tomoko is shown using this pose while daydreaming about becoming an arms dealer.
Closet Geek: After entering high school, Tomoko's middle school friend Yuu became one of these to fit in.
Coincidental Broadcast: An example that borders on a parody of the trope in chapter 28: while Tomoko is upset that it is so hard for her to talk to people and wonders what to do, an interview with a hostess working in a Red Light District is broadcast on TV. The hostess mentions that she used to be shy and had trouble talking to people, but her job made her more sociable. This gives Tomoko the idea to become a hostess herself.
Condescending Compassion: In chapter 48 of the manga Tomoko expresses this to Komiyama after finding her having lunch in the bathroom.
Conveniently Seated: When the second semester starts and Tomoko loses her back row seat by the window, she lampshades it by commenting about how lucky she was getting "the seat main characters always get in anime and light-novels" in the first period, lamenting that she now has to dwell in an awkward spot, surrounded by people.
Cool Big Sis: Tomoko wants to be seen as one by her cousin Kii-chan, apparently the only person who looks up to her. To achieve this, she lies a lot about, among other things, the extent of her love life. Kii-chan ends up finding out the truth and pities Tomoko.
Chapter 32 reveals that Tomoki actually saw Tomoko as one when they were younger.
Crossover: GanGan Online promoted this series and Daily Lives of High School Boys, two of their biggest hits, by making flyers and posters with Tomoko and Yoshitake riding a train on the way to their schools.
Deconstruction: Of the cool otaku character archetype. Haruhi, Keima, and Konata have friends, talent, and looks to balance out their otaku tendencies. Lacking these three attributes, Tomoko's life is for the most part lonely, depressing, and frustrating.
Despite The Plan: In chapter 48 Tomoko plans to make her rival Kotomi jealous and miserable by getting along with Tomoki, whom Kotomi has a crush on, in front of her. The plan deteriorates quickly as Tomoko accidentally crashes into Tomoki and gets a nosebleed; however, Kotomi gets to see Tomoki taking Tomoko to the infirmary and this does make her jealous in the end.
Disproportionate Retribution: In chapter 47 Kotomi privately admits to Tomoko that she didn't like her back in middle school, immediately adding that she thinks they might get along in high school. This, combined with remembering an old misunderstanding they had, enrages Tomoko so much that in response she embarrasses Kotomi in public.
Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Inverted example. In chapter 25, after Tomoko purposely drops some hot porridge onto her brother's face, he responds with a swift kick to her back. Although it seemed painful, he claims he didn't kick her that hard, which may be true considering she was still holding the porridge in her hands instead of dropping it due to the force of his kick.
Everyone Has Standards: In chapter 19 Tomoko briefly considers eating her lunch in the bathroom during the lunch break, but ultimately decides against it, stating that she hasn't become that much of a loser yet.
The authors' previous manga, Choku!, began with the main character eating lunch in the bathroom.
Exact Words: In chapter 18/episode 9 of the anime, Tomoko wishes on a meteor shower for a boy to be with her. Shortly afterwards, she discovers that the cat that showed up is a male. Never said anything about a human male, after all...
Fan Nickname: /v/'s nickname for Tomoko is "Spaghetti-tan", because of their meme about spaghetti leaking out of their pockets during socially awkward situations, seemingly for no other reason than to make the situation even more awkward and embarrassing for them.
World Three, the primary scanlation group for the series, affectionately gave the manga the project title "loser girl."
Yuu is known as Slut-chan.
Fawlty Towers Plot: Tomoko tries to invoke this to show Kii-chan how cool she is. But Kii-chan already sees through the ruse.
Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: This seems to be how Tomoko's and Tomoki's mother sees them, with Tomoko as the foolish sibling and Tomoki as the responsible one. She does occasionally berate Tomoko, stating that as the older sibling she should be the one to set an example for Tomoki to follow rather than the other way around.
Tomoko tries to invoke this trope in chapter 48 in one of her attempts to one-up Kotomi by making a show of the fact that she read books written by (expies of) Murakami and Ango Sakaguchi, and by claiming that they are much better than "kiddy books" recommended by the school library. This backfires on her as Kotomi (the library assistant) turns out to be a much bigger bookworm, and gleefully notes that Tomoko acts all high and mighty despite the fact that she actually read only a few books of the aforementioned authors (and borrowed "kiddy books" herself just the other day).
Headphones Equal Isolation: Tomoko puts on her headphones in order to ignore Yuu after the latter reveals that she has a boyfriend.
She wears headphones again at the end of chapter 39 so she wouldn't have to listen to her classmates calling things "Kuroki-level" bad.
Homoerotic Subtext: One wonders if Tomoko is heterosexual at all, given the way she seems to constantly fantasize about Yuu and other girls. At this point, calling her Ambiguously Bi wouldn't be all that truthful.
Hope Spot: Near the end of chapter 27/episode 10 of the anime, Tomoko gathers the courage to form her own club much like in other anime shows and manga. In the anime there is even a very serene song playing as Tomoko looks at her newly formed club with two other people, and they just spend the afternoon doing random things in the classroom. Then her mom starts shouting her name, and it turns out said serene scene was just an Imagine Spot she was in. To make matters worse, her club application in real life was rejected for being too vague in its goal.
In chapter 47, after ignoring Tomoko's attempts to befriend her for a while, Kotomi finds out that her old crush, Tomoki, ended up in the same high school as her. She then starts to treat Tomoko nicer, hoping that she might introduce her to her brother properly, and even suggests that in the end they might get along... but then Tomoko remembers a misunderstanding they had in the middle school, decides that she doesn't want to be friends with Kotomi after all, and humiliates her in front of Tomoki.
Hypocritical Humor: Done a lot since Tomoko mentally disparages people for allegedly being or doing what she herself aspires to be, or already does.
Tomoko mocks the fat guy from chapter 9 in her thoughts because she assumes that he has no friends (supposedly completely unlike her, because she has her brother to talk to) and spends weekends sitting at home and playing video games.
In chapter 44 finding out that the guy sitting next to her in a café watches an anime on his notebook makes her think of him as a loser. She then immediately starts watching the anime herself.
Tomoko is also a Covert Pervert in general, and repeatedly tries to make Tomoki lust after her, but when she convinces herself that Kotomi is sexually interested in Tomoki, this enrages her and makes her disgusted with Kotomi. The fact that she accuses Kotomi with great indignation of "being after dicks" and wanting to see Tomoki's penis is also funny considering Tomoko's own actions from chapter 43.
Mood Whiplash: The stories can switch from making you laugh at Tomoko's failures to crushing your spirits at how depressing it all is. And sometimes, the two overlap.
Motorcycle Safety: Hilariously averted when Tomoko daydreams about how cool she'd look riding a motorcycle while wearing a Spy Cat Suit — only to wreck and end up in a hospital because she was too busy looking cool.
Netorare: In chapter 48 this is used by both Tomoko and Komiyama against each other.
Nice Guy: They come around every once in a while, not that Tomoko notices. In fact, most of the schoolmates that Tomoko has a (very limited) contact with seem to fit; while they generally don't go out of their way to strike up a conversation with her, they do treat her with respect and kindness (at least to her face; later it's revealed some of her classmates have been using "Kuroki-level" to mean Epic Fail behind her back).
Open Minded Parent: Tomoko's dad finds her asleep in front of an eroge game holding a vibrator note Makes Sense In Context, it's actually a massage wand lying on the floor. His reaction is to carry her to bed.
Otaku: The main character, Tomoko Kuroki, as well as her middle-school friend, Yuu.
Reality Is Unrealistic: Tomoko believes that due to the sheer amount of dating games she's played, she would naturally be just as popular at school in real life. Then she finds out that she was quite wrong...
Red Light District: Tomoko visits one in chapter 28, hoping to get a job as a hostess there. She gets scared by what she sees there and, after getting a phone call from her mother, decides to give up and come back home.
Rei Ayanami Expy: In chapter 10, Tomoko thinks that it would be a good idea to become one.
Security Cling: In chapter 21 during the school festival Tomoko convinces Yuu to go to the haunted house together, hoping to invoke this trope. It doesn't work because Yuu wasn't scared at all.
Sick Episode: Chapter 25 is mostly about Tomoko's brother getting a cold and Tomoko pretending to nurse him while hoping that she will catch the illness from him and won't have to go to school for a few days. This, predictably, backfires on her: she does get an infection from her brother, but it takes a few days to develop and she only starts exhibiting symptoms at the very beginning of her weekend.
Slice of Life: Only the life in question is that of a Butt Monkey. Typical plots include being self-conscious of eating lunch alone, avoiding classmates outside school so they don't realize she's a loser with no friends, and wanting to go to a festival but having no one to go with.
Spiritual Antithesis: According to some people, WataMote is this to The World God Only Knows. Both works feature main characters with huge experience in romance games and dating sims, but while Tomoko is obsessed about using that knowledge to become popular and respected, the protagonist of the latter doesn't care that much about Real Life. Not to mention, Tomoko's experiences with games all prove utterly imcompatible with reality, unlike TWGON.
Stop Helping Me!: In-universe, Tomoko has this reaction to her classmate Hina Nemoto's attempts to reach out to her, despite wanting to be her friend earlier, and to her teacher Ogino questioning her about her lack of friends.
Tempting Fate: In chapter 23, Tomoko forgets to bring a textbook to class. Since she was too late to fake being sick and going to the nurse's office, she attempts to go "stealth mode". Unfortunately, it doesn't work, since the teacher immediately spots her and asks her why she didn't have her book, nor asked the guy sitting next to her to share his.
In the very first chapter Tomoko concludes that her experience gained while playing otome games makes her perfectly prepared for high school. Her realization that it does not sets up the plot of the entire comic.
In a later chapter watching an anime gives her the idea to become popular by being an Emotionless Girl. Since this doesn't involve any change in behavior, nobody notices.
In chapter 8 she decides to eat her lunch two periods before the lunch break, thinking this might make her look as cute as anime heroines who are always eating. Instead, all she attracts are some surprised and unflattering comments from her classmates.
It gets lampshaded in chapter 19: Tomoko notes that in the first semester she got the seat in the back row next to the window just like main characters in anime and light novels, and yet nothing anime-esque ever happened to her. Later in that chapter she can't eat her lunch on the school roof because the door to it is locked, and comments with irritation that it would be open for sure in an anime or a light novel.
Chapter 30: While knocking on the door of an apartment to ask to use the bathroom, Tomoko wonders if the owner might pay to watch her take a dump. Um, Mokocchi, what genre do you think you're in?
In chapter 32 Tomoko's mother's praise for Tomoki for cleaning his room and making his own lunch pisses Tomoko off (because he made her look bad in comparison), but also makes her worry that her brother might be the one who is "some kind of light novel protagonist" instead of her.
The entirety of chapter 50 revolves around Tomoko being Wrong Genre Savvy, as she tries to give a proper start to her "story" by sitting alone in an empty classroom at dusk, trying to look mysterious and beautiful, and waiting for some Ordinary High School Student to find her. This naturally does not work, which makes her briefly contemplate whether she even has the qualities needed to become a protagonist of a story. In the end she does get "found" by her P.E. teacher Ogino, who misunderstood the situation and thought that all this time Tomoko was watching her schoolmates playing tennis and wanted to play herself but lacked the courage to say so.
An early example has Tomoko reconnecting with her best friend Yuu and having fun all day but being crushed at the end after learning she has a boyfriend.
In chapter 39, Tomoko's second year of high school starts with new classroom seating arrangements. Her new seatmate Hina Nemoto not only remembered who she is but also thought her introduction at the beginning of the first year was funny. Tomoko is overjoyed thinking that maybe she managed to find a friend at last. But then the time comes for her to introduce herself and it turns out that Hina told everyone how great Tomoko's first year introduction was and now everyone is looking forward to another great introduction. This causes Tomoko to panic and publicly embarrass herself. As a result her very name becomes a synonym for something embarrassingly bad in her class. And she doesn't get as close to her classmate as she imagined.
Later Tomoko does talk to her new seatmate occassionally, a slight improvement from talking to none of her classmates. But in chapter 43, Hina strikes up a conversation with Tomoko while the latter is searching the Internet for some NSFW pictures... during class. This surprises Tomoko so much that she drops her phone and it ends up in their teacher's hands with the images still onscreen.
Whenever other people (besides her family and Yuu) are being sociable toward Tomoko, she is too socially inept to respond much in turn. Whenever other people go out of their way to be kind to her, she's oblivious to the act.
The subplot of Tomoko reuniting with another middle school classmate led to this since she's made a potential friend into an enemy. Though they never got along in middle school, both wanted to be friends with the other now, before Tomoko ruined it.
In episode 12, Tomoko talks to her brother one last time about their talks they've been having. For a few moments, the art shifts into the same animation style used at the end of previous episodes when they discuss the next one.
Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Happens to Yuu in episode 12. She chases after Tomoko when the latter runs away from school due to another failed attempt to socialize. When Tomoko turns a corner, Yuu suddenly spots a cat. She stops to pick it up, forgetting all about Tomoko.
Bittersweet Ending or Downer Ending: The last episode broadcast on TV, after showing Tomoko failing to start a conversation with Megumi, seeing a Panty Shot, and running away in embarrassment, ends with Tomoko alone in her room, looking up the meaning of the term "mojo" on the Internet just like she did at the beginning of the first episode, and then suddenly exploding with laughter. In her last words in the episode she says that "it doesn't matter". It is left ambiguous whether she is responding to the Internet page she just closed - which would make the ending closer to a Bittersweet Ending as Tomoko comes to terms with her own unpopularity and decides that, unpopular or not, she doesn't care either way - or whether she is agreeing with the narrator that her story doesn't even matter, which would make it more of a Downer Ending. Either way, the ending also has a glimmer of hope in the form of Megumi saying she'll need to keep an eye on Tomoko.
In episode 7 Tomoko asks a question on Yahuq! Answers, visits MyTube, orders a webcam from Konozama, and tries to hold a livestream on Hera Hera Douga. Tomoki drinks a bottle of Pukari Sweat.
Book Ends: Episode 1 starts with Tomoko looking up the definition for unpopular girl online. Episode 12 ends with Tomoko once again looking up the definition for unpopular girl but this time accepting that she's unpopular.
Cat Smile: Tomoko's expression while trying to choose a cake in episode 9.
It's Tomoko's turn for everything to go grey when she gets a worrying phone call from Yuu.
Tomoko goes grey upon arriving at the cafe where Yuu's working, signifying how out of place she's feeling.
In episode 10, it's her change in seating that triggers the color failure.
Happens twice during episode 11 - once at the beginning, while the rest of the class is preparing for the cultural festival, and again while Tomoko's waiting for Yuu to turn up.
In episode 12, after realizing killing a cockroach only seems to have pushed her classmates away, Tomoko turns transparent for a brief while, before going grey as she determines to carry on. There's also a brief color failure during PE.
Credits Jukebox: The commonly used ED song is the Stylistic Suck one sung by Tomoko's VA, but episodes 2, 5, and 11 have endings sung by a band named Velvet.kodhy and episode 6 has Hatsune Miku (of Vocaloid fame) on vocals.
Evolving Credits: The standard ending credits sequence is sometimes modified or replaced to reflect the episode's events, with new songs to go with it.
Done at the start of episode 10. With the new school term, Tomoko's seat is reassigned from the back corner towards the front center of the classroom. After distressing about it for a while, she does an Art Shift, screams, and then transitions into the opening credits.
A scene of Tomoko browsing the internet for cuteness-enhancing tips receives an epic soundtrack, exaggerated mouse gestures and rapidly-changing camera angles, Death Note-style.
Another one has Tomoko epically play a rhythm game.
Mythology Gag: Episode 9 of the anime has Tomoko being made to help her mother with cleaning their house, and protesting over being made to do it even though it's a hot summer day and not a New Year's Eve. While the events of the episode take place during the summer break, the events of the chapter it was adapted from (chapter 32 of the manga) did take place shortly before a New Year's Eve.
Throw the Dog a Bone: In episode 3, after suffering through a series of bad events, including a wind gust breaking her umbrella, Tomoko is forced to wait out a rainstorm underneath a shelter with two guys. Both she and them attempt to make small talk, but she constantly ruins it, then runs off to a nearby bathroom. When she returns, she finds out the two boys are gone, and falls asleep on the bench. Turns out the two boys left to buy umbrellas, and one of them bought one for her since he saw her broken one earlier. When she wakes up, she finds the umbrella, and then wishes that a boy would do something nice for her. While the original manga chapter was this as well, it wasn't to the same extent, as most of the bad events were taken from other chapters.
Closet Geek: The third chapter reveals that Tomoko was one in middle school, insisting that she stopped watching anime back in elementary school. Yuu on the other hand was more open about liking anime back then.
Hair Antennae: Tomoko and Komiyama try this in chapter 3 but people just think they have bedhead.
Hypocritical Humor: In chapter 5 Tomoko mocks Komiyama for not having any guy friends. This backfires on her when Komiyama finds out that the only guy she saw Tomoko talking with was her brother Tomoki.
When Komiyama reveals she likes a certain anime, Tomoko dismisses anime as kid stuff. When Yuu says she likes it too right afterward, Tomoko flip-flops immediately.
Lonely Together: The first chapter reveals that this is how Tomoko's and Yuu's friendship started. After Yuu moved to a new class none of them knew anyone they could eat lunch with during the break; Tomoko noticed that Yuu was alone and managed to muster the courage to invite Yuu to lunch. Yuu later befriends Komiyama in the same way.
Otaku: In addition to Tomoko and Yuu themselves, Yuu's other friend from the middle school, Komiyama, is revealed to be one as well.
Perverted Drooling: Tomoko does this in the first chapter, when she rides a bike with Yuu and fantasizes about groping her.
alternative title(s): Watashi Ga Motenai No Wa Dou Kangaete Mo Omaera Ga Warui; Its Not My Fault Im Not Popular; Watashi Ga Motenai No Wa Dou Kangaete Mo Omaera Ga Warui; Its Not My Fault Im Not Popular; Wata Mote