I almost feel bad for laughing at Watamote sometimes.
Tomoko is so miserable at times. But then it occurs to me that the one making her miserable is herself. The life around her is average and benign, not even a hint of the nearly apelike classmates you might see in Aku no Hana. No one is going out of the way to ostracize her, bully her, or do anything negative. In episode three a boy even buys an umbrella–too bad she was asleep and didn’t see the deed. Okay, the universe might like to play a game or two with her at times, mainly for the sake of the punchline, but largely it’s her own doing. I’m not talking about her nasty side. The way she treats her sick brother in episode 3 shows you how nasty she can get, but does being mean to siblings really count? Would she treat a classmate that way? No, she wouldn’t. And her comments about wanting to see lovey-dovey classmates die in a fire, or whatever, aren’t so unusual for a fifteen year-old.
But the sadness is there. Sure, no one’s going out of their way to make her life miserable, but that’s because no one is going out of their way for her at all. At most they respond out of politeness, helping her out because it’s the right thing to do, when circumstance makes them notice her. It’s not that she wants to be popular, in fact, I get the impression that she would hate it if she got it. She wants to be noticed. The sadness is that her attempts fail, because she has no idea how to even make the attempt. All of her little “victories” are happenstance. She can’t put any big plans into motion because she’s too busy freaking out about the latest thing. So I do feel sad for Tomoko at times, when I’m not busy laughing.
Genshiken Nidaime 3 gives us a good look at our old friend Madarame, another character who has problems socially, though his is more to do with women.
It’s the best look at Madarame the show’s given us since season one’s excruciating nose hair episode. Early on he runs into Keiko in the clubroom, and it’s the same old Madarame, on the defensive when she starts talking about Saki and his otaku habits in general. It stings because it’s true, and you wonder why he can’t just admit certain things to himself. Sue (who’s been into a heavy Monogatari kick recently) breaks it up and gives him useless advice–probably a quote that I didn’t recognize. And then when returns home and finds Hato has cleaned his place up, you begin to wonder if the show is leading to something. Nope, this show is too smart for that.
It’s a cross-dresser using a lonely man’s apartment to change, certain thoughts are thought–and rejected by both sides, well, at least for Madarame. Hato’s been reading too much BL. And instead we get Madarame play host, chat, drink beer, relax with Hato, just two guys. Hato is surprised and pleased that Madarame treats him the same way however he’s dressed. So was I. Indeed, maybe for the first time, Madarame comes off as an adult, comfortable in his life, comfortable around a guy who cross-dresses. Maybe “careless and vulnerable,” but he’s grown up a little. Maybe Hato has some little fantasies (spoken by his–naked–female whateversheis), but he’s still young.