Flash Review – Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku (Vol. 1-3)

I’m in the bad habit of beginning my reviews with a line along the lines of “Life is hard because [blank],” but this is the first time a series title has done that summation for me. Anyway, love is hard for an otaku, because nobody wants to date an adult who watches Japanese cartoons.

But Is It Really?

The predicament of the title is summed up fairly nicely in the character of Narumi Momose, who has trouble keeping a steady relationship, because her boyfriends abandon ship once they find out she’s an otaku. But this series should do the light novel sentence-title thing and change its title to Love is Hard for an Otaku, Unless You Date Another Otaku, at Which Point You’ll Have a Perfectly Happy and Healthy Relationship.

But Is It Really Happy and Healthy?

Narumi and Hirotaka Nifuji are the alpha couple of this series, but in a twist of inverted trope fate, it’s the beta couple which has all the trouble and turmoil. Supposedly, they’re fated to be together, but I wanna ask Fate if they’ve been hitting the bourbon again, because all the beta couple ever does is argue and insult each other. I don’t subscribe to the notion that the more two people fight the closer they are, in which case both World Wars should’ve been humanity’s biggest lovefests.

But Where’s the Story?

It’s rather uncommon for a story to put any amount of focus on a character’s hobbies, so it’s kinda nice getting to hang out with the characters as they party up in an MMO. However, there’s a distinct lack of plot in the lot of the chapters. Technically, there’s plot, since people are at least talking and occasionally scratching their noses, but it feels less like there’s a progression of events and more like I’m stopping at a vending machine for a drink and just happening to catch a snippet of a conversation centering around which male coworkers would make excellent gay lovers.

The Verdict:

Very occasionally Wotakoi has a funny or charming moment, but all in all, it feels like I’m wasting time with random people wasting time. There’s rarely a sense of anything happening, and when there is some semblance of a plot, it’s split up across multiple chapters, so you’re forbidden from enjoying a storyline in one sitting. Plus, I just really can’t stand the beta couple. Neither is likable on their own, and put together they’re unbearable. The only thing I found hard in this series was finding a reason to like it.

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