That’s a good damn question. Are Narumi and Hirotaka actually dating? I can’t tell. I also can’t tell if I like this show or not. It’s full of references for otakus, but it has little in way of story, romance, or humor. At the same time, however, it’s not boring either. Normally, when a show starts boring me, I’ll start browsing the web on the side, glancing back to the show only to read the subtitles. So don’t get me wrong, Wotakoi isn’t bad… it just doesn’t make me feel any particular emotion either. But why don’t I just start breaking down the episode like I usually do?
— In the cold opening, we see a groggy Hirotaka emerge from his bedroom with a Switch in hand. This man is truly in love with that console. The first thing he does in the morning is game… then he gets ready for work. When he finally gets on his bus, he takes out the Switch and starts playing again. That’s real dedication. Just how much time does he game per day? Plus, the Switch is really the only console that enables this sort of obsessive behavior. You can’t exactly lug your PS4 from room to room, can you? Nor can you bring it to work and play it during your lunch breaks. Well, technically, you could try the remote play feature on the PS Vita… but Sony never really took advantage of that functionality.
— Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not a Switch fanatic. I’m still waiting for more games to play.
— Anyways, Hanako is surprised to here that Narumi is now dating Hirotaka, and honestly, I kinda am too. Plus, our heroine has this to say about the guy: “I don’t feel excited or anything anymore after all this time.” That’s a little… sad. They just started dating, so they should still be in the honeymoon period. Unfortunately, Narumi isn’t enthusiastic about the guy at all. She just agreed to date him because he asked.
— Not only that, she’s been avoiding him lately: “…she always runs away like a mythical Pokemon.” So what does dating even mean to these people? ‘Cause when I think of dating, I think of going out, hanging out, making out, so on and so forth. At the moment, Narumi and Hirotaka just seem like friends. Hell, they don’t even seem like close friends.
— And of course, she hides when he looks over in her direction. C’mon, they’re adults. I feel like I’m watching a bunch of teenagers. The setting around them might have changed, but their level of maturity sure hasn’t.
— Hanako warns Narumi that she might be giving Hirotaka the wrong impression: “Nifuji might think you don’t like him anymore.” But did she ever like him?
— Taro has almost nothing nice to say about Narumi. He compliments on her smile, but that’s about it. Meanwhile, Hanako apparently sees Hirotaka as a dreamboat. Makes you wonder why she didn’t go for him first.
— It’s free real es-… aaaaaaaahhhh…
— Then here’s the real kicker: Narumi reveals she prefers guys like Taro over Hirotaka without realizing that both guys are now within earshot. At first, I was like, “Damn, you can’t come back from that.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what she said wasn’t really all that bad. Everyone has a type. That doesn’t mean you have to fall in love with your type. I like tomboyish girls with short hair, athleticism, and some attitude. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t date someone outside my preferences. Nevertheless, I’d never say it out loud… at work… where my SO is also employed.
— You notice how every time video game elements appear on a show, it’s always 8-bit aesthetics? That generation of JRPGs weren’t even that good. That’s right, I said it.
— Hanako tries to defend Narumi, and Taro… I’m not sure what he’s doing. Is he trying to defend Hirotaka? Hirotaka doesn’t need any defending in this scenario. Nevertheless, Hanako and Taro end up getting into a fight. Apparently, they used to know each other from high school. Anime is always full of childhood friends.
— Meanwhile, Narumi tries to slip away but Hirotaka catches up to her before the elevator doors can open. He tells her that he didn’t mean to scare her, but then again, he does that stupid pose that guys always do in these shoujo scenarios:
— Anyways, he confesses that they seemed closer when they were just friends, so he regrets telling her that he ever liked her. But then they both realized that he never actually confessed that. He merely asked her out. Still, the implication is there, right? Why would you ask someone out if you didn’t like them?
— Nevertheless, it’s her turn to act like a typical shoujo heroine. Jesus, the guy is only supposed to be 6’0″ tall, but he completely dwarfs her. Plus, their workplace seems so empty. I don’t mind PDA, but hoo boy, PDA at work? That’s a step too bold, especially since my office is always full of chatty, obnoxious people (I share a room with both the marketing team and the account managers so yeah…). If I ever hugged a coworker, that little tidbit of gossip would travel twice around the room before I ever let go.
— Donghae? That sounds Korean, and a Google search reveals that it’s the name of a popular k-pop star, but what connection this has to Wotakoi, I can’t say.
— Anyways, in the second half of the episode, Taro invites everyone to go drinking after work. Narumi wants to drop by the “bookstore” first, but we all know that a bookstore for an otaku like her just means manga, manga, and more manga.
— On their way to the bookstore, Hirotaka reveals that he can’t wink. Um, okay? Thanks for that info?
— Oh no, don’t get that manga! It’s not good at all!
— That’s a bad manga too!
— The girls eventually bond over their love for yaoi, and Narumi voices how happy she is to finally have a friend who can share her interests in all things otaku-related. You might then feel the need to ship her and Hanako, because why not, right? Don’t these two seem to have more chemistry with each other than anything we’ve seen between Narumi and Hirotaka? But that totally ignores sexual preferences. It’s like when people argue that Captain America and Bucky should be a couple. “You wouldn’t go so far for just a friend!!!” That doesn’t mean Captain America is turned on by penises. The problem with shippers is that they tend to ignore sexual preferences when they zero in on the emotional intimacy being shared by two characters. But I digress.
— All that really happens later is that Hanako ropes Narumi into cosplaying with her in some distant future.
— In the end, Narumi, Hanako, and Taro bought so much manga that they’d rather just go straight home and nerd out. So much for after work socializing. Hirotaka doesn’t really complain, because he always has his games, but I can’t relate. I also love games, and I also love anime (just look at this stupid blog). Nevertheless, I’d never pass up a chance to hang out with my friends. Games and anime aren’t going anywhere. They’ll still be there when I get home, but oh well. I guess I’m not as hardcore as these guys.
— In the post credits scene, we finally get the first genuinely funny joke. Hanako tries to unnerve Taro by winking at him from across the room, but to her surprise, he simply responds with a smile. She’s flustered, but he doesn’t notice: “I don’t know what’s gotten into her, but she looks like she’s in a good mood. I bet she pooped.”
— We then close the episode with Hirotaka practicing winking. Um, okay.
Donghae apparently means a fish in love. I don’t know man, that’s all I could find.
I am turned off by the disorganized and illogical romance in this anime. I was already weirded out when by how cold Momose acted when Hirotaka asked her out. And then Momose just had to run away and Hirotaka just had to misunderstand her. And of course all misunderstandings are cleared up by a hug. It’s like I’m like watching high schoolers frolic in an office. And who the hell cares about winking? There wasn’t even a segway into why they started talking about winking.
Wotakoi is missing all the points it’s supposed to hit. It isn’t fleshing out the uniqueness of an otaku relationship or taking advantage of the work environment. The humor that saved episode one magically disappeared. I’m even more disappointed by the characters’ taste in manga. If you are going to make the heroine a fujoshi, at least give her good taste! She recommended the shallowest piece of shit to Hanako (Dakaretai Otoko Ichii Ni Odosarete Imasu) and I may drop this anime just because of that.