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Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku (2018, A-1 Pictures)

Anime Reviews

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku (2018, A-1 Pictures)

ヲタ恋 / ヲタクに恋は難しい
Wotakoi / Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii

26 year old Narumi Momose seems like your average optimistic cheery girl but she has a secret. She doesn't want anyone to find out she's an Otaku (geek) because guys always dump her when they find out she's also a "Fujoshi [rotting girl, word play that refers to women/girls]" - a girl who is into "Boys Love (explicitly illustrated fiction featuring gay men relations)". After her last boyfriend left her, she decided to start afresh at a new company and tries to keep her Otaku nature a secret but she soon finds out she wasn't the only Otaku there. Her childhood friend Hirotaka Nifuji who isn't a fairly socialable gaming Otaku also happened to be working there and there was also fellow Fujoshi, Hinako Koyanagi who cosplays as male characters and was a fan of her self-published BL. Hinako's rash, angry looking but considerate boyfriend Tarou Kabakura is also a bit of an Otaku too but hardly shows it.

As Narumi and Hirotaka catch up she reveals how she doesn't have any luck with guys. She never makes a mistake in dating sim games so she doesn't understand why it never works out but, doesn't want to date an Otaku who might be more accepting of her because she considers them disgusting. However, when Hirotaka points out he can be really accepting of her Otaku habits and always be with her like in an RPG, Narumi decides to give him a chance. And so, a new relation begins for the new Otaku couple but as they hang out together with Hinako and Tarou, they feel like something's not quite right.

A slice-of-life romcom that started off as a comic on the Japanese online artists community Pixiv before being serialised as a web comic. When you think of an Anime about Otaku you'd probably think of classics like Genshiken but this show feels quite different. Probably it's set pass the stage of uni clubs and right into working adulthood. It's a cute show with an opening that features a dance with fun hand gestures. Narumi has cute expressions and it's always entertaining when she's trying to help people around her. It's fun watching the couples get caught up in each other's little fights or just supporting each other too. Geeks watching this will probably be able to relate a lot to the show right away. It's filled with emoji since Hirotaka isn't very good at expressing himself. There's even features footage from Monster Hunter X on the Switch.

Actually, you'll see a lot of product placements in it, no parodies like the usual Anime and lots of references to other Anime shows like MacrossEvangelionOne Punch Man and Maison Ikkoku. Part of the fun is recognising them all so unless you've seen a lot of shows or played a lot of games then you'll probably miss a lot of the references.

Some of the not so clear references that would have been hard to translate are as follows which is a few minor spoilers.

During episode two, Hanako says "よろしい、ならばクリークだ [Then krieg is what you shall have]" to Narumi when they were having an argument. It meant she was declaring war but is a reference to a line used in Hellsing when a 13 page speech was given in the Manga - in other words, a fierce argument ahead. Episode 3 use the phrase "夜戦るルートの完全回避 [You avoided the night battle route!]" refers to Kantai Collection game when players are happy they don't have to do battle during the night because it wastes a lot of ammo just before a boss fight - in this case, they have plenty of beer. Episode 4, Narumi says "Gevanni" when Hanako proudly says she processed a large bunch of photos in one night. This is a reference to Death Note's Stephen Gevanni from the Manga who managed to duplicate a bunch of notes including the exact handwriting in one night - means wonderfully done.

There's also a fair bit of Otaku lingo too - a bit like the time when Densha Otoko was released and there had to be a glossary except there's none here. Some examples: ガチ勢 [gachi-zei] hardcore gamer, 推しキャラ [oshi kyara], a character you like or support. すこ [suko], which is the typo for suki (like). 把握 [ha-aku], same as "wakatta" in net speak (which is why Hirotaka gets fined). 今北産業 [imakita sangyo] - short for "I just got here, please summarise what's been going on" on 2ch forum.

There's a YouTube video that explains all the lingo and references used although some you might be better off not knowing if you're a guy because some are Fujoshi related...

There's nothing too explicit in this show but since it stars two Fujoshis, there are times you hear and visually see what they're fantasising about men in gay relationships so you might not like it if you're a guy. Thankfully they rarely occur - I've only seen it happen once in the entire series. Show looks great, nice clean art like most of A-1 Pictures slice-of-life shows and the music's mostly cheery too.

So if you're not bothered by the odd Fujoshi fantasy going wild, it's mostly a straight cute romcom that isn't overly mushy. Don't miss out on the extra scenes after the ending. The show just gets better as it progresses.

Looking forward to a season two! In the meantime there are three OADs released with special editions of the standalone Mangas. First release with volume 7 tells of how Hanako and Tarou met in high school, second with volume 10 focuses on Naoya's relation with Kou and third came with the last volume 11 of the Manga featuring the co-workers going on a hot spring company trip to Hakone. All a fun watch.

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii

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