One of the season’s best animes is a cute show about a girl who doesn’t want people to know she’s a nerd.
Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For An Otaku, which is airing on Amazon Prime, is about an office girl named Narumi who’s trying to hide her nerdy hobbies at her new job. Specifically, she’s an otaku—an obsessive fan of anime and Boy’s Love manga. At her last job, everyone found out about her interests and started avoiding her, and she even got dumped because of it. At her new job, she meets Hirotaka, a childhood friend of hers that’s a gaming otaku that doesn’t try to hide his nerdiness. After complaining about her disastrous love life, Hirotaka asks Narumi out—what could go wrong when two obsessive nerds start dating?
This is a sweet story of self-acceptance. As she gets to know her co-workers, she learns that they’re all a kind of otaku, some with more typically nerdy obsessions than others. It turns out that her coworker Koyanagi is also into Boy’s Love manga, and is actually a famous cosplayer that she met at a convention. But even the more ‘normie’ Kabakura was the captain of his high school’s volleyball team, and as the show explains, he’s a rare breed of otaku: the sports otaku.
Narumi may say that she doesn’t like other otaku, but when she hangs out with people who have similar interests to her, she reveals she’s always dreamt of having an otaku friend to buy comics with. The interplay of her insecurity over her interests and her burgeoning relationship with Hirotaka are the central conflict for her character. In particular, it’s nice to see Hirotaka be so supportive of her, even when she’s frantically drawing a boy’s love fancomic in the two weeks leading up to a convention.
Wotakoi is a low-key show, focusing on portraying the life of a group of otakus somewhat realistically. Three episodes in, I find it pretty relatable to watch Narumi be more or less normal in public while looking at fanart on the low. Then again, I get paid to write about gay Harry Potter fanfiction, so it’s not like I’m trying to hide the fact that I’m a huge weird nerd. I wonder if Narumi and crew would be jealous?