Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, anime review: four otakus, two couples, one job

The young employee Momose changes jobs after complications in her old company. At her new workplace, she surprisingly meets Nifuji. He is a childhood friend and unfortunately remembers her darkest secret. Momose is an Otaku (nerd, nɜːd) in her private life. After she was often excluded from her environment because of her love of comics and video games, she had planned a fresh start. However, when she makes acquaintance with her superior things turn out differently than she expected. Secretly Koyanagi is a famous cosplay idol. Her boyfriend Kabakura is a colleague of Nifuji and an Otaku as well. A friendship emerges between the four, which is presented in a Slice of Life scenario and emphasizes what it means when fundamentally diverse characters come together. Ultimately, the question arises whether Nifuji’s and Momose’s reunion will eventually be more than an upgrade of their bygone friendship. In his new work, illustrator Fujita tells a story about the love between nerds, differences in partnerships, and how all of it is viable despite the harsh standards of Japanese work life.

Wotakoi (2018, A-1 Pictures) impresses with a modern drawing style and contemporary animations. Now and again these seem a bit too sterile and therefore take away depth from the overall picture. However, the mood is pleasantly relaxed including various genre offshoots. The humor is slightly overstated but not obtrusive. Kawaii-ridden moments are omnipresent. Like when the characters slip into their gaming sprites of the multicolored MMO game worlds. Especially real-life nerds will enjoy regular references to the local gaming scene and manga culture. A major plus is that adult characters once again have their standing, giving the general idea of the anime an interesting appeal and sincerity, contrary to the common depiction of immature and youthful figures in most popular shows.

So far, the manga template has been efficiently pressed into a meager list of 11 episodes. More is not expected by now. Nevertheless, fans can look forward to both an upcoming OVA and a planned live-action movie. Both are due to appear in 2019.

Predicate to the anime: „easily digestible romantic comedy, which takes the topic of love more seriously again.“