I guess that’s it. Wotakoi is not particularly romantic. It’s not particularly funny either. It also doesn’t really have a plot. Nor is it really insightful. After all, it portrays a very narrow range of otaku love. None of the couples are any good at communicating, and they’re all content to have their relationships move at a snail’s pace. And sure, you don’t have to conform to society’s measure of true love, but at times, it doesn’t even feel like these characters are right for each other. They certainly don’t always love and support one another as much as they should (looking at you, Taro). So y’know what? I honestly can’t recommend this show at all. It’s just not satisfying on any level unless you like really shallow otaku references. I don’t need drama, but none of these relationships seem to make any serious progress. The best that we get is Taro swallowing his manly pride and reading one of Hanako’s BL manga. Seriously, that’s it. But hey, if that’s your thing, then go hog wild on the anime. Personally, Wotakoi really let me down. I wasn’t expecting a winner, but I expected better than this.
Final grade: C-
Misc. notes & observations:
— Back in high school, Taro and Hanako used to act like they really hated each other, but look at them now! They can read manga together on a lazy afternoon. The guy will even get her a fresh cup of coffee! Wow! What progress!
— Afterwards, she suggests a fun date for just the two of them, but Taro absentmindedly adds that it would be fun to go with everyone. Well, Hanako doesn’t want to go with everyone, so she makes a face. But does she tell him that? No, of course not. She just gets mad at him for not being able to read her mind. Is Taro normally an insensitive clod? Sure. But he’s not gonna change if she doesn’t communicate. The problem with this show is that it isn’t really interested in having its characters find solutions to common relationship problems. It simply wants to add an otaku flavor to age-old relationship stereotypes. “Ugh, men don’t understand women at all!”
— Speaking of communication, Narumi has decided to pay Hirotaka a visit. It’s an unannounced visit, though. As a result, she worries that he might not want her around. She worries that he might think of her as a bother. You know how you could solve this problem? By communicating with him. Sure, she might want her visit to be a surprise, but that’s still easy to circumvent. Just ask him beforehand if he would ever have a problem with her showing up at his apartment unannounced. That’s not so hard, is it?
— The show’s animation is so inconsistent.
— Anyways, when Narumi gets to Hirotaka’s apartment, nobody answers the door. For some reason, the door is unlocked, and she quickly finds the guy collapsed on the ground. But this is Wotakoi, so the guy isn’t in any serious danger. He simply collapsed because he played games so much that he forgot to eat. Haha, what an otaku!
— This sounds like my kind of fridge. Who needs more than bacon and onions? Just kidding. If he had eggs, she could at least make an omelette. Or a scramble if she sucks at omelettes.
— Apparently, this is the first time that Narumi is cooking for Hirotaka, which sends her for a loop. I don’t know how long they’ve been dating, though. I also don’t really think this is a big deal anyways. Not everyone can cook (even though home-cooking is just following simple instructions).
— Narumi can’t believe that Hirotaka doesn’t have any salt and pepper, but I dunno, I don’t think you need salt when you have bacon. As for pepper, eh…
— In the middle of her cooking, Hirotaka emerges from the shower buck-naked. Is this the first time that she’s seen him in the nude as an adult? Not only that, he’s forgotten why she’s here. Welp.
— Elsewhere, Kou is worried that Nao has gotten tired of online games. Here’s another potential couple that can’t communicate. I’ll let her off the hook, though. First, she’s deathly shy. The other characters aren’t, so they have no excuse. Second, Kou and Nao aren’t a couple yet. Hell, he still thinks she’s a boy…
— We then see Hanako get on Taro’s case about BL manga. Naturally, their conversation soon devolves into a fight. The guy refuses to read BL manga probably because he’s a typical guy, and typical guys avoid gay stuff as if it’s infectious. Again, the problem here is simple. She just wants to share something that she loves with the man that she loves. Unfortunately, Hanako can’t quite spell this out to Taro, so he kinda has to piece together the clues until he realizes what she’s really asking for. To his credit, he finally relents and compromises. After all, relationships need compromise. Afterwards, he discovers that he actually enjoys what Hanako’s recommendation. Naturally, BL manga are just as good as any. Unfortunately, the ones that get turned into anime are often shit. Same with most yuri anime. Before you tell me that this is just my opinion, well, obviously. Whose opinion would it be if not mine?
— Back to Narumi and Hirotaka… eh, the fried rice desperately needs egg.
— Narumi learns that whenever Nao stays over, he kinda acts like Hirotaka’s mother. She, however, thinks that these chores are what a girlfriend should be doing for her boyfriend. Eh. Nevertheless, this gets her kinda jealous, so she drags Hirotaka on an impromptu date. Whatever works for them, I guess.
— Anyways, Kou learns that Nao hasn’t gotten tired of games at all (of course not). The only reason why he hasn’t been logging in lately is because he’s such a saint. Not only does he not want to bother his brother while the latter is on vacation, he also takes on more shifts to help his coworkers. Dude, what is this guy? Jesus incarnate? Nah, Jesus would probably be good at Mario Kart.
— So to help Nao out, Kou has handwritten a personal strategy guide for the guy. Yeesh… I think that’s sweet? I guess that’s how game otakus express their love.
— I thought Narumi and Hirotaka were going on a date, but they ended up stopping at a nearby playground.
— Then out of nowhere, the date is cut short because… well, because Narumi is an otaku.
— Hirotaka is still hungry, so he initially tells her to go on without him. But look, she needs him! Progress…? Sigh. Nevertheless, this is good enough for Hirotaka, so he tries with all his might to crawl home. This in turn impresses Narumi. God, these otakus…
— In the after credits scene, Narumi is on a shoujo manga kick, so she wants to know about everyone’s first 2D love. I recognize Nakoruru from Samurai Showdown, but definitely not Doi-sensei nor Otonashi Kyoko. Sorry, but Maison Ikkoku and Nintama Rantarou are well before I started watching anime. I think Hanako name-drops a popular voice actress, but I’m not sure.
— Nao drops by and accidentally reveals that Narumi is Hirotaka’s first love. For some reason, however, Hirotaka starts staring daggers at his brother. I don’t get that. Why would he want to hide this? Is he embarrassed by it or something? Wouldn’t Narumi find it romantic that he’s loved her after all this time? She is on a shoujo manga kick, after all. This should be right up her alley. Unfortunately, the girl is too slow to catch on, so she thinks Nao is talking about Nakoruru. Yo, you can’t date a 2D character. I don’t care what otakus want to believe, because you just can’t!
— But that about does it for Wotakoi. What a short series about… well, nothing.
It’s so strange reading opinions about this around the net; “wow, so refreshing to have a romance about ADULTS” blah blah, nevermind that they barely act like adults at all, or as you mentioned there’s basically no romance either.
Everyone’s mileage will vary. All I can say is that none of these relationships resemble anything I’ve ever seen.