Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Lesson in Popularity from Watamote

We’ve all been there at least once in our lives. Working our nine to fives, wishing for a life more glamorous than the one’s we tell ourselves we’ve “settled for”. Some still hold on to a dream of fame and fortune and with ever new day of being stuck in the same job, town, or stalemate position we become more and more bitter with how things have turned out.
Tomoko from the anime WataMote has a similar situation. She’s just starting High School. Being a young girl who’s lifestyle finds her locked up in a room playing video games everyday, has become a major shut in. In starting high school, she hoped to make her “debut”. However that didn’t happen. Why? She suffers from what has to be the most extreme social anxiety condition anyone has ever seen. That and the fact that her classmates are some of the most unobservant people you could ever meet. From this failed first impression, Tomoko expresses both hateful and cruel thoughts on the popular people around her while at the same time day dreaming of being a part of the lives of the popular kids around her. The show revolves around her many attempts to be noticed and failing miserably going from hilariously tragic to pathetically saddening. Every episode would bring a small glimmer of hope that Tomoko would finally reach her goal of the day, only to have it taken from her. But by the 12 and what some are suggesting will be the final episode due to lack of popularity in Japan (talk about a cruel irony), It ended in the oddest way. By episode 12 the only hopeful thing we see is a older student making at least one kind gesture towards Tomoko for who knows what reason. And with that we end this season with Tomoko looking at the description of a “unpopular girl” like she did in episode one with a narrator stating “this is an unpopular girl who’s story doesn’t matter” only this time she laughs about it.

I didn’t get it. It was just an odd ending. Nothing seemed accomplished. I still loved the show but wasn’t satisfied. That was until I saw a tweet.
It then all made sense to me. When we feel unhappy about being unpopular, it’s just because we aren’t recognized on the streets, or have our name up in lights, or are praised by everyone.The thing we forget is that just because the world doesn’t know who you are it doesn’t mean you don’t mean the world to someone else.  We all have at least one person who could not imagine a world without us. Someone who takes inspiration from the words we say, is moved by our struggles, and is happy when we are around. So what you only have only a few followers on twitter. So what you don’t have an awesome video web series with dedicated fans. So what you don’t go on tours with amazing artist.
No matter how you look at it, you popularity is not important.
but you are.