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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. In addition to 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.note 

The series has been licensed by Yen Press, and the first five English volumes have been released. A one-cour anime adaptation premiered in July 2013 as part of the Summer 2013 Anime lineup. An OVA was released in October 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 Student Council President Megumi trying to greet her, only to end up accidentally witnessing a blow of wind lifting Megumi's skirt.
    • In Chapter 38 Tomoko accidentally flashes some children while wearing a skirt.
  • A-Cup Angst: Part of her self-esteem issues.
  • Adorkable: Tomoko, in spades.
  • 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.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Tomoko
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: In Chapter 24, Tomoko hears a girl mention being molested on a train and starts to wonder if not being molested is a sign that she's ugly. Subverted when she thinks she is being molested, and realizes that was a dumb thing to hope for (it was actually just a wooden training spear getting caught between her legs).
  • 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.
  • Ascended Meme: Tomoko gained the nickname "Spaghetti-tan" in /v/. Nico Tanigawa drew her eating spaghetti for the licensed version of the manga as a thank you for the people who made the manga popular overseas.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Happens to Tomoko in chapter 35, when she is sent by her mother to mail Tomoki's application to the high school of his choice. She finds a cat on her way and tries to play with it, putting the application in her bag because it got in the way; and later she goes to the bookstore, forgetting about the application altogether.
  • 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.
  • Beach Episode: Subverted in chapter 64, where Tomoko, Yuu and Kotomi go to the beach, only to find out that swimming is prohibited there because of dangerous stingrays. Played straight in chapter 65.
  • Black Comedy
  • Bland-Name Product: In chapter 19, she is seen playing a PFP. Could also be a shout-out to The World God Only Knows.
    • Also Winners Eleven for PF 3.
    • These promo images show her wearing a parody of "beats" designer headphones, Palette Swapped from red to blue and with the "b" flipped into a "d".
    • In one episode/chapter, Tomoko plays Magic: The Gathering with a bunch of kids. The cards are simplified and have a lot of details changed slightly (like the backing and logos), but it is obvious what they are supposed to be from the layout. You can even tell Tomoko is playing an all-black deck and draws a 2/2 as her first card.
    • The English dub of the anime mentions "Brutal Royale" at one point. The logo used is almost identical to the Battle Royale logo, except it has an ampersand in the middle.
  • 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.
  • Caretaker Reversal: Tomoko tries to invoke this trope in chapter 25. She succeeds, but ends up regretting it; see Sick Episode below.
  • Catapult Nightmare: "Where's the Gorilla!?"
  • 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.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Both Tomoko and her brother.
  • Cringe Comedy: Tomoko's like David Brent's Japanese niece.
  • 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.
  • Cry Cute: Poor Tomoko...
  • 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.
    • All the children think The Queen has the power to take exactly the card she needs from her deck... but the truth is that Tomoko is a Card Sharp.
    • Being a Cute Clumsy Girl gets deconstructed in an omake. Sure, it may be cute, but it's also going to get you fired.
    • The series also deconstructs the idea of social anxiety as a "cute" trait. In real life, social anxiety is a MASSIVE detriment to anyone who has it, as humans are inherently social creatures. We need to communicate, and the inability to do so causes nothing more than pain and self-hatred, and WataMote displays this in all its terrible, depressing glory.
  • 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.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Tomoko
  • Emotionless Girl: Tomoko tries to invoke this in the tenth chapter, but she fails. Hilariously.
  • Erotic Dream: She tries to self-induce one after reading an article on what causes them. It doesn't work ... until the next day ... when she falls asleep in class.
  • 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...
  • Excited Show Title!
  • Eyeless Face: Appears frequently on random people.
  • The Faceless: Tomoko's father. He has his face cut off by a panel or hidden behind a text-balloon when he appears.
  • Family Theme Naming: Chapter 18 reveals that Tomoko's brother's name is Tomoki.
  • 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.
  • Generic Cuteness: Tomoko is drawn in the same style as everyone else, with the bags under her eyes, unkempt hair and unflattering clothing the main things that make her look worse than the other characters.
    • Also used as a plot point. During a partner portrait drawing assignment, Tomoko's partner draws her this way. She doesn't realize this, and assumes that he finds her attractive.
  • Genius Book Club: Upon turning 16, Tomoko tries to act mature by reading Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood, but it mostly goes over her head except for the sex scenes.
    • 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).
  • Gonk: Tomoko when she tries to use a duckface expression.
  • Gratuitous English: "It's a true world" in one of Tomoko's Inner Monologues in chapter 28 where she fantasizes about being a hostess in a Red Light District. Later she drops a few English words while calling for someone to free her from Beach Bury in chapter 65.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Tomoko puts on her headphones in order to ignore Yuu after the latter reveals that she has a boyfriend.
    • They seem to be Bland-Name Product Beats by Dr. Dre as well.
    • 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.
  • Hikikomori and NEET: Invoked in chapter 63, where Tomoko comes up with the idea to become one, living with and off Tomoki.
  • 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 only 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.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The format is: Mourning (Fail in the official translation) [Number]: Since I'm Not Popular, I'll [Subject].
  • I Have This Friend: Yuu tries this in Chapter 36, but Tomoko sees straight through it and gets Yuu to confess other things her "friend" has done.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat:
    • Invoked and immediately subverted in chapter 56, where Tomoko tries to pull off a pass straight from Kuroko no Basuke while playing basketball during her P.E. class. All it gets her is a sprained wrist.
    • Tomoko tries to invoke this trope in chapter 62 when she tries to ride a bike, thinking she might have learned how to do that from watching biking anime. Needless to say, she fails.
  • Imagine Spot: Tomoko's prone to this.
  • Indirect Kiss: In chapter 51 Tomoko (wrongly) thinks that her classmate Hina Nemoto tried to invoke this trope when she lent Tomoko her chapstick. Later she gets jealous when Hina lends her chapstick to another girl.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Tomoko does this sometimes. It's much more pronounced in the anime. God, the SOUNDS she makes!
  • Inner Monologue: As Tomoko has very few people she can talk to, this is used most of the time.
  • Insult to Rocks: Tomoko does this to herself without realizing it.
    Calling me ugly would be an insult to real ugly girls!
  • I Wished You Were Dead: Tomoki said this to Tomoko in a moment of anger. She exploits it to blackmail Tomoki.
  • Kafka Komedy
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The universe more often than not tends to swiftly punish Tomoko whenever she acts like a Jerkass. Tomoko herself invokes this trope at the end of chapter 55, thinking that her latest embarrassment must be divine punishment for her making fun of Tanabata.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In one of her Inner Monologues in chapter 65 Tomoko notes that so far she failed to talk to any guys during her summer break, only hanging out with girls instead like a protagonist of some Moe Slice of Life anime or of a 4-Koma manga.
  • Lethal Chef: One of Tomoko's classmates is revealed to be this in chapter 42. Naturally, she offers Tomoko some food she prepared; Tomoko compares its taste to that of pig food, then thinks it insulting to pigs and revises her opinion to industrial waste and actually pukes after eating it. Tomoko calls it good at first to avoid offending the girl, then out of spite once she finds out the girl was planning on making more for a boy.
  • Lonely Together: Tomoko tries to invoke this in chapter 12, intending to convince other loners from her school to watch fireworks together. Needless to say, she fails. Later, in chapter 67, she considers joining a group of otakus in her class who play what appears to be a game from the Super Smash Bros. series during breaks. She ultimately decides against this, as she found an otome game more engaging than the game her classmates were playing.
    • Tomoko discusses this trope in chapter 69 when, while forming groups for the school trip, her teacher makes her join a group of three other girls who did not join any other group; she believes that even thought they are loners and leftovers, they will not be alone now that they are in a group together. Then it's immediately subverted when Tomoko tries to talk to those girls, as it turns out that one of them actually plans to hang out with some other group, the second one didn't show up at all, and the third one doesn't care what they are going to do during the trip. Tomoko concludes that a bunch of loners put together in a group will stay loners, and that all loners are scumbags.
  • Long Title: The untranslated title reads Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! (literally "Whatever way I see it, it's your fault I'm not popular!").
    • The official English title No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! also falls into this trope.
  • Luminescent Blush
  • 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).
  • Nightmare Face: At the final pages of chapter 41.
    • Later in chapter 46. Compare this with this.
  • No Name Given: Pretty much everyone other than Yuu and Tomoko's family. Two of her classmates who've been in the background since the early chapters finally got names in the fourth volume — and that's probably only because the anime writers needed something to call them.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted (though slowly) as Tomoko has moved up a grade and had a birthday as the manga goes on. Also, she has yet to "grow up" in the other sense.
  • Only Six Faces: In-universe, the fat geek who draws Kuroki's face always draws the same cutesy face.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Tomoko's dad finds her asleep in front of an eroge game holding a vibrator note  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.
  • Potty Failure: In chapter 61, after Kii pulls a scary prank on Tomoko, Tomoko lectures her on the difference between pranks that are OK and ones that are not, stating it would not be OK if - purely hypothetically speaking - Kii had scared her so much that Tomoko would have wet herself.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Played for Laughs in chapter 34, where Tomoko has this expression right before crushing a cockroach.
  • Reality Ensues: Happens frequently when she becomes Wrong Genre Savvy.
  • 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.
  • Rescue Romance: A low-key version: volume 6 omake implies that Kotomi started to develop feelings for Tomoki when he intercepted a baseball that would hit her without his intervention.
  • 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.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Most of the chapters.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Implied with Yuu, who's supposed to have been quite average-looking during middle school.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • 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.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Tomoko is quite often on the receiving end of some physical comedy, e.g. getting smacked by Tomoki or Kotomi for being obnoxious, getting accidentally hit with her own desk while daydreaming in her class in chapter 9, getting accidentally hit in head by a basketball while daydreaming during a P.E. class in chapter 25, crushing into Tomoki and getting a nosebleed while trying to annoy Kotomi in chapter 48, spraining her wrist while trying to pull off a pass she saw in a manga while playing basketball in chapter 56, etc. - all Played for Laughs.
  • 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 Successor: To Welcome to the N.H.K..
    • 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 that Tomoko's experiences with games, in contrast, all prove to be utterly incompatible with reality.
  • Squick: invoked In an Omake in volume 1, Tomoko's brother sees an old video of himself and Tomoko playing together as children... where he says he wants to marry her, and they possibly kiss each other. He's so shocked by it that it actually drives him into a Gendo Pose.
  • 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, to her teacher Ogino questioning her about her lack of friends, and to Kii trying to take care of her.
  • 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.
  • There Are No Therapists: Tomoko could probably benefit from some anxiety management therapy, but of course that doesn't happen. As with most anime, this is justified, as the culture of Japan generally views the concept of therapy as weak and shameful.
  • This Loser Is You: Look at the quote on top of the page.
  • Those Two Guys: Kiyota (the guy with glasses) and Okada (the blonde girl) in Tomoko's class.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Sometimes, but may also lead to more suffering.
    • In chapter 21/episode 11, Tomoko manages to be happy while hanging out with Yuu during the school festival and later gets hugged by someone.
    • In chapter 37 she finally manages to have a casual conversation with one of her schoolmates that does not end with her embarrassing herself.
    • In chapter 44, she creates a sort of unspoken friendship with another anime fan and succeeds in accomplishing her goal of (marginally) improving her grades.
  • Toilet Humor: Tomoko tries this in chapter 5, only succeeding in making her "audience" think she really needs to go.
    • In Chapter 30, she really needs to go. Only problem is, she's in the middle of a school marathon.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: After 5 months trying to convince herself that she is popular, Tomoki literally sees herself in 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!
  • Tsundere: In chapter 41 Tomoko acts like one towards Tomoki when she visits him in his class during a break only to find that he is not particularly happy to see her. Tomoki is not amused by this.
  • Unnamed Parents: Tomoko's parents have generally gone unnamed.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Tomoko in the beginning of chapter 7, when in her enthusiasm, she decided it would be a good idea to run all the way to school...after she just ate a huge breakfast.
  • What If?: One piece of omake explores how various situations might have turned out had things gone differently.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: To their mother's dismay, Tomoko prevents her brother from enrolling at his dream high school because she forgot to mail his application.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Tomoko is so socially awkward that pretty much all of her knowledge of social interactions comes from anime and otome games. As a result she ends up applying anime tropes to Real Life, with little success. Up to Eleven: The audience knows Tomoko’s thoughts, and so her actions seem logical enough, but for anyone who interacts with her, Tomoko’s actions seem surprising, irrational or just plain crazy.
    • 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 27: She decides to start a club for losers so they can sit around doing nothing all day. The student council rejects her proposal.
    • 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.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Sometimes it seems things are looking up for Tomoko but it doesn't last.
    • 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.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Yuu in Chapter 8 wears a uniform invoking this.

The anime further provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Tomoko is a little cuter in the anime due to its less sketchy art. Also some of her more grotesque faces are toned down somewhat.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The anime adapts and combines some chapters out of order.
  • Art Shift:
    • During Tomoko's fantasies. One shounen TV show-style parody is presented in a lower aspect ratio with less animation. The opening song is also done in punk rock tone and style compared to the actual show and the ending song.
    • 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.
  • Black Blood: When Tomoko accidentally cuts herself.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • WcDonald's, Cola-Cola, and SterTully (Starbucks)
    • Gaagle
    • Spirit Blade IV
    • In episode 6 Tomoko reads The Oranges of Wrath.
    • 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 having a different reaction to it.
  • Cat Smile: Tomoko's expression while trying to choose a cake in episode 9.
  • Color Failure: In order to show Yuu's extreme differences with Tomoko, Tomoko turns grey up until they start talking about crappy anime like "EFB" ...then Yuu declares that she had a fight with her boyfriend and Tomoko goes green and brown.
    • Tomoko turns grey again to represent her attempt at emotionlessness, with the grey background characters going full color while she does so.
    • When Tomoki sees the old video where he wants to marry Tomoko, everything turns grey.
    • 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.
  • Credits Running Sequence: Tomoko does one in the ending. And manages to trip up more than once.
  • 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.
  • Expressive Accessory: In episode 11, Yuu's ribbon jumps in excitement when she hears Tomoko.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the beginning of episode 4, while Tomoko is surfing the internet, her screen shows the Gangan Online website, which is plastered with pictures of her and ads for the TV show.
  • Gainaxing: Tomoko in her fantasy about becoming sexier, and Yuu while chasing after Tomoko at the end of the series.
  • Gainax Ending: Inverted and parodied in the OVA episode, which begins with a Mind Screw sequence quite obviously inspired by Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In episode 7, Tomoko watches what is implied to be porn (or at least a video of a naked boy), with headphones and a box of tissues in front of her. She grabs a tissue and the screen cuts away. Not extremely risque, but still the most obvious scene of female masturbation seen on TV Tokyo.
  • Grasp the Sun: Done near the end of the opening.
  • Hypocritical Humor: A meta gag. In-universe, Tomoko ridicules many current anime shows as pandering to moe fans, while she herself is arguably moe.
  • Imagine Spot: Expands upon the ones in the manga, and adds some more as well, like a sequence where Tomoko imagines going on Nico Nico Douga.
  • Lemony Narrator: At the start of the first episode and the end of the last, narration proclaims that this is a trivial, insignificant story of a high school girl.
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: Happens when Tomoko encounters a disappointing situation, i.e. often.
  • Metal Scream: The opening theme starts with one.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • 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.
  • Names to Know in Anime: Tomoko is such a unique character that the producers had to find a relative unknown to fit the role, but they're making up for it with the rest of the cast. Makes perfect sense, though.
  • One Degree of Separation: In the OVA episode. Aoyama, the boy Tomoko tried to impress, is apparently friends with Tomoko's brother.
  • The Rashomon/Once More with Clarity: The subject of the OVA episode. A boy named Aomatsu has two encounters with a strange girl on the rooftop. Afterwards, the same events are shown from Tomoko's perspective.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The grunge and cutesy feel of the opening and closing themes, as opposed to the Cringe Comedy feel of the anime. Also Lyrical Dissonance for the latter song.
  • Stylistic Suck: The main closing theme is sung by Tomoko's voice actress in-character amateurishly. It gives an adorkable effect though. Until she starts having an emotional breakdown it's actually quite good with just a few slips.
  • Taken for Granite: Tomoko is in this mode a lot.
  • 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.
  • Title Theme Tune: The opening track.
  • You Wanna Get Sued?: Episode 12. During junior high Tomoko said that she wanted to be an arms dealer like Torn*** and needed bodyguards from Del** Force, Navy SE**s or the SA*.

The spin-off manga provides examples of:

  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: How Tomoko and Komiyama overhear two of their schoolmates badmouthing them in chapter 3.
  • 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.
  • Heroic BSOD: Played for Laughs in chapter 13, where Tomoko has one when she finds out that a caterpillar fell on her head and it gets worse when Yuu accidentally crushes it while it's still on Tomoko's head.
  • 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.
    • When Tomoko suggested Komiyama would spend her Christmas tracking everything her favorite male voice actors do, Komiyama is disgusted, then immediately starts tracking everything her favorite baseball players do.
  • 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.
  • Roadside Wave: Happens to Tomoko, Yuu and Kotomi at the same time at the end of chapter 14.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: In chapter 4, when she doesn't wear her glasses and lets her hair down, Yuu's almost immediately swarmed with people.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: In chapter 14, on a rainy day, Tomoko offers to share her umbrella with Yuu when she finds out that Yuu forgot her own. Then Kotomi mentions that she forgot her umbrella too, only for Tomoko to rebuff her and state that there's only room for two under her umbrella.

Ano Natsu De MatteruCreator/MVM EntertainmentGolgo 13
LaonCreator/Yen PressOtoyomegatari
Tantei Opera Milky HolmesCreator/Izumi Kitta    
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Neppu Kairiku Bushi RoadAnime of the 2010sNon Non Biyori
Tasogare Otome X AmnesiaCreator/Sentai Filmworks    
Nodame CantabileMangaNon Non Biyori

alternative title(s): Watashi Ga Motenai No Wa Dou Kangaete Mo Omaera Ga Warui; Its Not My Fault Im Not Popular; Wata Mote; No Matter How I Look At It Its You Guys Fault Im Not Popular
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