Wotakoi: Love is Hard For Otaku – Anime Review

Wotakoi is a remarkably chill slice-of-life rom-com anime. It’s just a fairly drama light series, which focuses on two otaku couples who share a workplace, and have mutual friends, just spending time together. It makes for a nice, refreshing bowl of vanilla bean ice cream in anime form.

Unlike, say, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun, Wotakoi is a based on a Josei manga instead of a shojo one – meaning that this is a series aimed for adult women, with professional lives, and while Josei stories can have just as much drama as shojo, there is a preference for a degree of emotional maturity. No blushing while holding hands or anything like that. That said, the show is also oddly chaste. While Genshiken (which is Seinen) is not explicit about sex, it’s also a series that does establish clearly that these are people who have sex lives.

The closest we get to the implication that the characters have sex lives comes from the last episode of the series. Narumi comes to the apartment of her boyfriend, Hirotaka, and finds that he’s passed out from not eating, because he’s been playing a new video game. She dumps him in the bath (undressed), while making him some fried rice from what little is in the fridge for him to eat. He comes out of the bath dripping naked and her reaction is less shock and more annoyance for him not getting dressed and dripping water on the floor. It does have the implication that they’re comfortable enough around each other to not stress about unexpected nudity.

I also found myself particularly impressed with how the show just dropped more overt call-outs to works of Anime & Manga, without filing the serial numbers off the way Hayate the Combat Butler & Genshiken does. While the works themselves aren’t shown on-screen, you’ll have characters just explicitly make references to Evangelion, Card Captor Sakura, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and other anime & manga. There will be direct name-checks of characters, and even musical references to Decisive Battle whenever Evangelion comes up.

Still from Wotakoi, which references the art style of Kaiji.
Also, references to Kaiji

In all, the show is a remarkably low-pressure romance. It’s not a hot & steamy makeout session the way (for example), My Dress-Up Darling or Science Fell in Love is. It’s closer to cuddling on the couch, maybe in sweatpants and a t-shirt. It’s enough of a chill vibe that, having finished the series, I’m definitely going to check out the manga in the not-too-distant-future.

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