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90%Al Jensen

No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys' Fault I’m Not Popular


Mangaka: Nico Tanigawa 谷川 ニコ
Original Publisher: Square Enix
English Language Publisher: Yen Press
Published: August 2011
Status: Ongoing
Number of Volumes: 9
Serialized: Gangan Online ガンガンオンライン
Genre: Comedy, Tragedy
Demographic: shonen

High school student Tomoko Kuroki vows to become the most popular student in her new school, only to end up nearly the opposite. As a result, Tomoko embarks on one misadventure after another, creating a veritable catalog of what not to do in social situations.

Tomoko Kuroki is the antidote to every overly cheerful, cookie-cutter adolescent hero in shonen and shojo manga. Awkward, shy, and also somewhat egotistical and overly-judgemental, Tomoko Kuroki is everything truly anxiety inducing about the teenage years, condensed into one single character.

What makes the sometimes painfully awkward situations she finds herself in bearable, and actually entertaining, is her own wry sense of humor and tenacity. Tomoko Kuroki simply will not give up or give in. And as the series progresses, she does find herself developing a social circle of sorts, and gains a bit of self-knowledge and even wisdom.

From otome game obsessions to love hotel spying sessions, to finally learning how to ride a bike, Tomoko Kuroki ends up inadvertently having quite a colorful, if not conventional, high school life.
Background & Impact
Known as Watamote to its fans, this somewhat dark comedy series has achieved a high degree of popularity - and notoriety - both at home and abroad. Along with Daily Lives of High School Boys, this is Gangan Online's most popular series, with one volume selling more than 170,000 copies in its first month of publication, and has even generated a spin-off series. A twelve-episode anime adaptation was released in July of 2013.

A subject of some dispute is whether the protagonist is just a socially awkward adolescent, or else actually suffering from acute social anxiety disorder, and consequently whether or not the series is mocking people with a serious, and painful, mental condition.

This debate might at least partially be attributed to the combination of the license fictional narratives have for exaggerating characters for comedic effect with the contemporary tendency to pathologize any negative aspect of human behavior or experience.