Well I’ve gone from praising this show to ranting about it as it was airing. And I still share that resentment I’ve had for Watamote as a whole. However, these last 3 episodes truly stood out by doing exactly what I wished this show would do more often: take the subject matter seriously, but also with subtlety.
What really made this final watch so memorable is how they focus more on Kuroki’s inner sorrows and delusions rather than the formulaic gag reels. She’s gotten to the point where she realizes everything she’s been doing is wrong, and really doesn’t know what to do about her lonely situation. She goes through more delusions of how High school life could’ve been and how her past continues to haunt every possibility to a bright future. Nevertheless, she still tries to find ways in making it all better, even if it means avoiding any shortcuts.
It’s thanks to this that her character feels much more relateable. Rather than sticking to another over-the-top plot, she focuses on more practical ways of being noticed in positive ways, such as cutting papers during the cultural festival or setting up chairs in the auditorium. She also expresses some wanting of human interaction when hugged by the school mascot(really the student council president aka her new role model) or relishing the good time she spent with Yuu-chan during the festival together.
Even the dark comedy has taken a more clever approach to its punchlines, partially thanks to how less arrogant Kuroki is during these scenes. Turning in an application for her own club or crushing a cockroach in the class seem much more like real-life attempts at being accepted in school. So seeing these fail are more relateable and ironically more tragic than the grandiose situations earlier. And while there are still cheap references, some good parody is used in certain cases.
Having said that though, it doesn’t really save the show for me because of how one-note Kuroki Tomoko is as a character. By the end no matter how she tries, Kuroki still runs away when she gets the closest to success. The only time I think staying the same is fine is if that character is proud of themself or admits their flaws. The problem with Kuroki though is that she’s not proud of herself, and yet she still tries to avoid her flaws. Even this could be fine if it was taken seriously(which these last 3 eps mostly do), but in the end it’s mostly for a tired, repeated joke.
In the end, your enjoyment and appreciation of Watamote is entirely dependent on how much you like Kuroki Tomoko. If you find her misfortune to be funny, you’ll have a blast. If you relate to her, you may get either laughs or be disturbed. If you don’t relate to her, you’ll most likely be frustrated at her incompetent social skills. I was mixed between all 3, and for that I say it’s recommendable. But for me, there were too many frustrating and predictable bits to make me watch it again.