Manga Mondays: It’s Not My Fault That I’m Not Popular

not popular 2It’s Not My Fault That I’m Not Popular by Tanigawa Nico (a pen name for two artists) is a manga about a high school girl just figuring her life out. I saw it on the home page for a scanlation site and I was intrigued by the title, so I decided to start reading it. I got through about twenty chapters before I had to stop reading.

Kuroki Tomoko has no real friends and is a super introvert; all of her “social skills” she’s learned through anime and her borderline-pornographic video games. She spends her free time in her room watching anime and only has one friend, her old friend from middle school.

I have no problem with the concept of the series; it’s a coming of age story about a super nerdy girl. However, Tomoko is seriously creepy. In one chapter, she went to her old school roof to watch fireworks but instead was a peeping tom (watching some couple “get busy”) with some middle school boys. She vacuumed her own skin so that it looked like she had been kissed to impress her elementary-school-aged cousin. She’s also delusional; if any boy so much looks in her general direction she flips out. Oh, and she cheats at card games against elementary schoolers.

not popularAs a nerdy, “not-popular” girl, I take offense to this entire series. By making Tomoko out as some sort of pervert (which the series does), it puts forward the idea that all socially awkward girls obsess constantly about sex and engage in this sort of self-harming behavior; that every not-so-popular person is a Tomoko. That is blatantly wrong. While I do pity her to a certain extent, Tomoko is a terrible character and is a horrendous example of what typical nerdy, anti-social girls are like.

She is so extreme in her actions that it leads me to believe that the authors think that they’re being funny, that Tomoko’s over-the-top antics are supposed to be laughed at. Well, they aren’t funny. At all. This is a terrible way to stereotype antisocial high-schoolers and is in no way, shape, or form funny.

On a completely different note, the art is off-putting. Tomoko’s eyes are super creepy, which goes with her personality. Unfortunately.

In short, I do not recommend It’s Not My Fault That I’m Not Popular.

6 thoughts on “Manga Mondays: It’s Not My Fault That I’m Not Popular

  1. It’s not stereotyping, you’re simply viewing it as such. The connection between those things aren’t anywhere but in your head. Just because she happens to be those things, does not mean that it was intended to make a connection between loniness and sexuality and insanity.

  2. Choosing to make an anti social female character a pervert is just like choosing to make an African American character only good at basketball. It was a choice, and the way the series presents its characters it’s impossible to not make that connection. I can assure you that I’m not reading too deeply into this; in fact I actively try and avoid doing such.

    • Honestly, it’s actually the first time I ever met such a characterization in manga/anime. Usually, anti social boys/men are horny (see Welcome to the NHK), while female anti social characters are usually shy and uninterested in sex, seeing romance only in an idealized light if they think at all about it, upholding the ideal of “purity” that many readers treasure, thus turning into male pandering. I feel like Tomoko is a rather fresh answer to those characters instead, stating that girls *can* (and not must) be interested in sex too, and that doesn’t make them terrible or vulgar, as Tomoko still stays relatable and even childish. If you see it by anime standards, this is actually a trope subversion.

      • See, I guess I don’t think she’s relatable. And I’m not holding anything against her for being interested in sex, it’s just that in the manga it is blown out of proportion, making it creepy. I would be more okay with it if her interest in sex was more like an interest instead of full blown obsession.

  3. Pingback: Manga Mondays: It’s Not My Fault That My Friend’s Not Popular! | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

  4. In regard to the negative review for Watamote. I feel its portrayal has been misinterpreted. Husband and wife team, Nico Tanigawa, have done a stellar job at creating this unique comedy. Let me go over why it is unique, one female lead, second background wall flower personality, third an anime where no anime clichés work ie. rooftop is locked, sitting next to window in back doesn’t mean you’re special et,. Comedy requires over the top antics to be effective. I and thousands of other readers/watchers of the series found it fresh, funny and relatable. If you’ve never been in embarrassing situations and are perfect or as some would call a shinning white knight it’s definitely not for you. It is a bittersweet comedy. We know it isn’t for everyone but we don’t just say Daily Show, Louie or Seinfeld or in this case watamote wasn’t to my liking because the mature content makes me uncomfortable therefore it is a bad show don’t watch/read it.

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