Fives: Watamote, Genshiken N, Uchouten K, shows that don’t care about story arcs, oh, and Teekyuu stats


Watamote is stuck in the same basic rut it was before. Tomoko wishing she was popular (while sneering at the popular girls) tries a lamebrained scheme to make herself more popular, which doesn’t work. The show doesn’t seem interested in going beyond this basic premise, which is their call to make, but it means we kinda know what to expect every week. So we watch it to see HOW it won’t work, and for the occasional moment of trenchant commentary (what’s up with those ridiculously high stools at coffee shops?). This week, we knew that her silent character strategy wouldn’t work, and sadly, there wasn’t much more to that bit than that. The photostickers scene worked better because of her attempts to look photogenic, and for what she did with them later. The red-light district part was this week’s attempt to REALLY freak Tomoko out. But she’s safe. So far the creators have pretty much spared the poor girl any genuine crises, like they’re so indifferent they don’t want to bother really hurting her. That’s kind of sad, actually.

One more note. Anyone think that her older brother looks like a character from Daily Lives of High School Boys? It’s sort of a shame this isn’t that show because Tomoko would be a terrific side character there.


I have little to say about Genshiken Nidaime 5, except I’m a little afraid that it’s going to do the same thing as Watamote, in its own way. They put the characters in a situation and have them play around with the implications without worrying too much about a forward-looking story. Fortunately the cast is so large and diverse (in spite of their common nerd traits) that there’s plenty of potential for good episode fodder. Hato again gets a lot of time this week, but he puts it to good use, first trying to analyze Madarame (arguably the main character of this episode, since Angela’s around) and trying to figure out what would make him happy, deciding that Angela would be a good second choice for him, but turning that on its head when Angela comes on to Madarame late in the episode, because that’s not what Madarame truly wants. Lovely touch, BTW, putting on his wig to give advice. The other characters mainly observe and comment in that way Genshiken characters do. As for Madarame, he is nearly forced to touch a boob and is told he’s a bottom. Not his finest Comic Festival …


Uchouten Kazoku 5 doesn’t bring us any closer to any overriding story either, or it’s done so subtly that one episode all the characters, situations, and past “incidents” will come together without us noticing.

Dining with the enemy.
Dining with the enemy.

But in episode 5 all that happens is that Benten catches up to the fugitive Yasaburou and coerces him into attending a meal with the Friday Fellows, the people who ate his father. Naturally, Yasaburou has mixed feelings about this, but like everything else in this series, he takes it in stride, perhaps considers it a way to study the enemy, or maybe he’s resigned to the fact that humans are above them on the food chain. When Benten mentions yet again that she’s going to eat him one day, he is obviously concerned, but manages to make a joke out of it each time. Much credit goes to the voice actor Takahiro Sakurai, who brings to Yaraburou some of the same unflappability that made Polar Bear such a fun character. So, at the dinner, he entertains and charms people who are perhaps having second thoughts about eating him this new years.

More beautiful background art.
More beautiful background art.

When we’re not marveling at Yasaburou’s calm we further study the mystery-wrapped-in-an-enigma Benten. Part of the time I want to correct her improper behavior, other times I wonder what it would take to make her happy. I think, in spite of himself, Yasaburou would love to make her happy, if he could do so without her eating him. The closest thing we get to a clue is her lament that if she ate Yasaburou, he’d be gone. So she obviously enjoys his company, probably more than she does the Friday Fellows, but it will take more than the affection for one tanuki to make her happy. This is undoubtedly one of the series’ storylines, and maybe the answer is related to the explanation about why Yasaburou’s father was eaten, along with the hidden Kaisei, and the brother who’s a frog, and whether Hotei rescued his mother or not. But not this week. Or next, probably.

Oh, and Teekyuu‘s latest episode is down to one gag every 3.5 seconds. Good work girls!


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