Tomoko Kuroki (黒木 智子 Kuroki Tomoko?) is the lead protagonist of No Matter How I Look At It, It's You Guys Fault I'm Not Popular! ("Watamote"). Socially inept and often desperate, the series chronicles her various attempts to try to be more popular at her school, Makuhari Shuuei High School. She is 15 years old at the time of the series' debut and was born towards the end of February of either 1994, 1997, or 1998.
Tomoko started off very excited about high school. After all, she had had over 50 years of dating experience with over 100 boys in Otome games, and she could not have been more enthralled with the years of popularity her secondary education was bound to bring! However, after going two months without speaking to anyone in her class, Tomoko is baffled by her continuing lack of notoriety and becomes more determined than ever to gain her peers' approval. In both the manga and anime, Tomoko debuts looking up the definition of "unpopular girl"--"mojyo" spelled in the English titles later--on the internet only to discover she fits all of the criteria! In the anime opening titles, she is depicted as a prisoner having her pictures taken wearing a placard that identifies her as "mojyo" in English letters.
One of the ways Tomoko plans to rehabilitate herself is through daily talks with her brother, Tomoki Kuroki, who begrudgingly agrees to this unusual request. She also frequently spends times with her grade school friend, Yū Naruse, whose favorable social status is often coveted by Tomoko.
Though she has little to no success at first, she has slowly gained some of her peer's respect. In her second year she makes a new friend, Nemoto, in her class whom she talks to. She also befriends a member of the culture festival committee, though she has had very little interaction with the latter. It is also apparent that she has become slightly more confident in dealing with other people in social interaction. For example, she can hand over her home economics ingredients which she could not do previously. Unfortunately, her attempts to act "cool" often have disastrous results. Stuck under a covered bus stop with two boys, she attempts scatological humor only to realize how awkward and weird it is. In a way, her panic when confronted by social situations can lead her to speak without a filter.
PersonalityEditTomoko has a grim outlook on life - so much that during a daydream she imagines herself on a motorcycle, only to crash and end up in the hospital. She makes a "censored" with a tone reference to the anime Gantz, hoping her world will be destroyed and replaced. As the series goes on, Tomoko tries to become popular by coming up with ideas on how to get attention. She usually either fails or receives negative attention. She often lacks a "filter" in that she will say what she thinks without considering the consequences. For example, realizing she has never seen male genitalia, she matter-of-factly asks her brother, Tomoki to show his to her without any understanding of how bizarre that request is. Much of the story takes place "in her head" through her continuous thinking and ranting to herself on almost everyone and everything. Her awkward behavior seems odd to even perverted to others. She can be disrespectful and selfish at times, like when she tried to make Tomoki do housework when he was doing entrance exams when the year previously she ducked doing housework with the excuse she had entrance exams. She overreacts to small things, such as seeing her classmates at WcDonalds and trying to avoid them by disguising herself. Her imagination tends to fuel her overreactions.
She can also appear rather perverted to others. Tomoko is a young teen curious but awkward and embarrassed by having no experience other than what she gains from playing games and surfing the internet. Aside from comic misunderstanding situations in the manga and anime where her parents walk in on her, Tomoko will also blurt out what she is thinking especially if she thinks it will make her appear cool and mature, usually with little grasp on the consequences. Early in the series, listening to other girls happily talk about bikinis, she imagines they are all "secreting pheromones" and are sluts. In the anime, she quickly thinks the female manager of the baseball team spends her time tending to the boys' "bats." Bored by being forced to watch a baseball game in the manga, she muses that baseball would be better if the line-up depended on relative penis length or if the batters had to use a bat with a length that compared to their own! She tries to impress her younger cousin with her experiences with a non-existent boyfriend with hilarious results. In school, feeling embarrassed that she may be the only girl her age who has not seen a boy's unmentionables, she enters an image search for "big dicks" on her phone only to drop it, have it scatter across the floor for her teacher to find and see, and to then gain the reputation as the "girl who looks at dicks." Later in the manga, when she has progressed to having lunch daily with two other girls, she reads a young woman's magazine which has a seasonal "Sex Special" searching for something interesting to say. Even though she knows she cannot just blurt out "things you can understand about someone based on their penis" in a conversation, she does so anyways.
Her actual experience is limited mainly to fantasies from playing games, making up scenarios, and listening to her special yandere audios. In one incident early in the anime and manga, she sees into the window of a "Love Hotel" where she can watch two people making love. She is shocked by the detail she has not seen before in her games. When she becomes reacquainted with Yū , who in middle school wore glasses and seemed nerdy to Tomoko, she is shocked to find Yū has lightened her hair, discarded her glasses for contacts, has developed more than she, and has had boyfriends. When Yū hugs her, Tomoko is embarrassed that Yū's breasts touch her then misunderstands what is happening and thinks she should grab Yū's bottom. This does not happen, but Tomoko remains fascinated.One has to take care in interpreting Tomoko's developing sexuality. As expected, she has fantasies she engages in which the manga and anime hint at and often play for humorous effect. She will play a game and have tissues ready. She will listen to yandere boys CDs. Reading on how to have "erotic dreams" she wastes a night trying to have them only to fall asleep in class having one. A lot of humor involves her trying to act more experienced than she is. She is curious about her body but sometimes tries to hide it. Thus, the scene with Yū is played more for her curiosity rather than actual attraction to Yū. Similarly, during her high school field trip, when she has a difficult time rousing another girl named Yoshida, she decides to tickle her under the covers and it is clear she lets her fingers wander. The Japanese manga makes it clear she starts pinching her. Tomoko later admits this and apologizes. This will serve as the beginning of a few comic misunderstandings between the two characters. In another incident in chapter 84, Nemoto asks her in the bathroom to scratch her back: "Put your hand inside my sweater." Tomoko blushes and has to take a moment in the stall afterwards.On the other hand, soon after in chapter 86 Tomoko must participate in school-wide athletic activities. She has to pick a "hot guy" as a pair in a running race. Desperate, she approaches her brother who refuses but provides an upperclassman from his soccer team. Tomoko becomes so overwhelmed she fears participating in the three-legged race with another boy. Doing so, in her words, breaks her mind. She realizes that other than "business handshakes with voice actors," she has had no real interactions with boys.
AppearanceEditTomoko has fairly pale skin, large jade green eyes, and long unkempt black hair that she wears down on her shoulders, often covering her right eye. Her eyes have visible purple dark shadows beneath them, which is mostly due to her lack of sleep. As a child, Tomoko did not occupy dark undertones. Tomoko has a fairly small, circular face compared to the rest of her peers, and her figure is very delicate and petite. However, she generally imagines herself to be a tall, curvaceous woman, contrasting to her real frame. Tomoko is shorter than younger brother. Her height is about 5'0" or 152cm, though in episode 12 of the anime it is written as 120cm or 4'0." The anime opening shows her against height marks up to just under 5'0" when she stands up straight as opposed to bending forward and smirking at the viewer. When she stretches to throw her sign, she reaches about 5'2". Of these, 5' may be the most reasonable measurement.
Her most common outfit, her High School uniform, consists of a collared, white buttoned up blouse accompanied by a garnet necktie. Additionally, she wears a pale, yellow jacket that is adorned with cyan-colored buttons, and a knee-length wavy skirt the same color as the jacket she wears with black trimmings. She wears jet black stockings and brown shoes. When Tomoko was in Middle School, she wore a traditional navy sailor fuku outfit. At home, Tomoko wears non-feminine like clothes, and when she later realizes this is insufficient for a "popular" girl, she attempts to make her clothing slutty to convince Kī that she is experienced, although her clothing did not exactly qualify as slutty.
In the manga she is sometimes shown, such as in chapter 29, wearing a Christian cross necklace.
Tomoki Kuroki is her younger brother. Tomoko and her brother's relationship is strained, to say the least. Tomoko often looks to her brother for help, despite being older than him. However, her requests often come off as creepy, such as asking him to show her his penis, causing him to become annoyed and often resulting in him throwing her out of his room. She also tries to use him for her own end, such as pretending to look after him in order to get sick herself. He seems more responsible which irritates her further. Reminiscences such as video of them as very young children show they were devoted to one another. As young teens, their independence along with Tomoko's awkwardness have driven them somewhat apart. However, they do both care for each other. Tomoki becomes irritated when his sister insisted on practicing talking to people with him; however, he does go through with it night after irritating night. When Tomoko saw him alone in class, she planned on trying to help him make friends, though it is revealed that she was mistaken. Tomoki often helps out Tomoko, even taking her to the bathroom when she became too scared to go alone after binge-reading horror stories, as well as taking her by the hand to the infirmary when she had a nosebleed caused by him, and even finding her a male partner for a three legged race, although that was more so he could get out of being her partner for it.
Tomoko's mother starts as one of the few people she is able to talk to. Her mother often gets annoyed by Tomoko, but still trusts her daughter to a limited extent. There relationship is what is expected from a mother dealing with a young teen struggling to cope with and understand becoming an adult. Tomoko tries to avoid responsibilities to the irritation of her mother. Whenever her mother tries to get Tomoko to do housework, Tomoko will complain and try get away with the bare minimum. She seems the early antagonist to Tomoko; however, her scoldings always appear justified, such as when Tomoko tried to make it look like she had kiss marks using a vacuum cleaner then lashed out at her mother when she was too embarrassed to explain what she was doing. On the other hand, when she walks in on Tomoko accidentally playing the lewd fantasy mix of her own voice with that of a favorite voice actor's she recorded out loud, she tries not to embarrass her mortified daughter further by simply turning around and telling her to come to dinner when she is finished. In another example, she gives Tomoko her allowance early when she sees an invitation to a party, albeit one Tomoko does not go to. She does care about Tomoko even if she struggles sometimes to understand her.
Only seen briefly in the anime and in the manga as well, not much is known about him. His face is not depicted as are most people Tomoko does not appear have a strong relationship with. However, his brief appearances in the manga and anime suggests he does care for her. Returning home from work with a cake, he asks for her and goes to her room. In a scene both comic and touching, Tomoko had fallen asleep on her floor in what appears to be a lewd situation: a yaoi video game paused on the television with her holding a still running "personal massager." He does not react other than to pause briefly then simply switch off the instrument, television, and gently put her to bed. In a later chapter, he lets Tomoko accompany him fishing and asks her how she is doing.
Kiko, also known as Kii, is Tomoko's younger cousin by three years. Kii respects Tomoko more than anyone else in her family. She looks up to her and refers to her as an older sister which pleases Tomoko greatly. Tomoko lies a great deal to Kii in an attempt to seem more mature; however, this ultimately backfires when Kii finds out when she confronts the guy she claimed to be her boyfriend for being with another girl, only to have her illusion shattered. Since then Tomoko has tried to be nicer to her in an attempt to win her back, even bringing her along to watch her win a card game against younger children, and trying to give her money at New Year's which Kii refuses.
Tomoko befriended Yū in middle school when Yū joined Tomoko's class. Tomoko offers to eat lunch with her after being told to eat lunch with her friends, believing that she could take advantage of her good will. At the time, Yū wore very long hair, glasses, and she shared Tomoko's love of anime. In middle school, Yū was also friends with Kotomi "Komi" Komiyama; however, Tomoko and Kotomi did not get along very well.
At the start of the main series, Yū attends a different high school. When they renew contact, Tomoko is shocked to learn that Yū has changed her hair style, wears contacts, has a boyfriend, and has even "developed" more than Tomoko. Tomoko mainly contacts Yū to ask for advice including about what kind of underwear she was wearing at the time. Though as it progresses, Yū asks Tomoko for help, and even notes how mature she feels Tomoko is. During the culture festival, she visits Tomoko's school, where Tomoko attempts to get a hug from her by bringing her into the haunted house (resulting in her annoyance that they were unable to scare her).
Yū recognizes the conflict between Tomoko and Kotomi, and she asks and tries to make them get along.
Yuri by default, becomes one of Tomoko's closest friend in high school. Yuri's best friend, however, is Mako. They met during the school trip and since then have continued to maintain a casual and friendly relationship initiated by Yuri which involves eating lunch and walking to school together. When she reads a text from Mako after a comic misunderstanding that declares Tomoko a "nice person," Yuri wonders to herself: "She's not a bad person, but I wouldn't exactly call her a nice one either." As their relationship develops, Yuri shows a curious jealousy. When she meets Yū with Tomoko and Kotomi at a cafe, she begins to relate many of Tomoko's embarrassing moments during her field trip. Mako takes her aside and accuses her of acting like Minami. Yuri punches her in the arm in response. During the school trip to the amusement park, she and Tomoko have a few hours alone. Tomoko jokes about it, but Yuri does not understand it until a few beats later. Inwardly, she confesses she has a hard time communicating while for her part, Tomoko realizes she is straining herself to respond.
Mako and Tomoko are casual friends that are really only together because of Yuri, who acts as a buffer between the two. However, in Chapter 99, when Yuri is sick and messages both to have lunch together both individually fear they have nothing to discuss with the other. Mako gets asked by others to have lunch instead, to Tomoko's relief, but in a complicated comic misunderstanding, Mako thinks she sees Tomoko crying over being left alone. Added in what she feels may be some unfair accusations by Ucchi, Mako feels compelled to apologize to Tomoko directly by cornering her in a bathroom stall and asking to be her friend. For her part, Tomoko utterly misunderstands this as a possible overture and later messages a confused Yuri asking if Mako is "one of THOSE people?"
Yoshida and Tomoko have an odd friendship that they themselves are not aware of. They are thrown together as part of a group during the high school field trip to Kyōto. Tomoko quickly stereotypes Yoshida as a "delinquent" (ヤンキー・"yankee") which angers Yoshida. However, when Yuri asks Tomoko to wake the difficult to wake Yoshida, Tomoko tries tickling her under the covers then takes the opportunity to fondle Yoshida and then pinch her nipples. Yoshida responds by punching her. With Yuri's urging, Tomoko later apologizes by asking Yoshida to pinch her nipples! When Ucchi later tries the same thing to wake Yoshida, in her dreams Yoshida imagines it is Tomoko and elbows Ucchi viciously then later wakes to accuse Tomoko who admits the first case but denies the second. This becomes a frequent comic situation between the two. Back in high school, when Tomoko turns away as she attempt to open the door to the bathroom, Yoshida, leaving, opens it first, so Tomoko, not looking, grabs Yoshida in the Unmentionables. For her part, despite Yoshida's reactions, Tomoko cannot seem to avoid the opportunity to wind-up Yoshida. When she catches a glimps of Yoshida's panties which have a cute kitten cartoon character on them, Tomoko cannot resist teasing Yoshida, then pushing further by asking if Yoshida is mad because she is menstruating! Despite this, they show hints of care for one another. Tomoko baits Yoshida to join her in completing a long climb knowing Yoshida will enjoy the view. When Tomoko sprains her ankle during the climb, Yoshida carries her on her back. Later, Yoshida senses, and is offended, by Tomoko's fear to ask her to share an umbrella. During the trip to the amusement park, Yoshida cannot help but notice that Tomoko and others are willing to support her to enjoy the park, unlike her regular friends, and even Tomoko inwardly notes that Yoshida seems "happy." During this trip, unlike previous encounters, Tomoko does not insult nor tease Yoshida's love of cute and childish things.
Nemoto became a classmate of Tomoko in her first year. She introduces herself at the start of their second year, surprising Tomoko as she feared no one remembered her from her last class. She found Tomoko's introduction in her first year funny (as Tomoko had intended), and built up the rest of the class's expectations for her second year introduction. Tomoko tries, unsuccessfully, to come up with a new introduction. This leads to her embarrassment and the disappointment of the rest of the class (see Kuroki Level). Despite this, Tomoko seems to warm up to her, and later mentions talking to her on occasion. Later we find out that the two had met during the high school entrance exam.
Hina and Tomoko have been in the same class since first year. At the start of the second year, she surprises Tomoko by remembering her from first year,explaining that she herself is happy that the other girl could recall her name. Tomoko was able to talk to Hina sometimes and even interprets the other girls friendliness as that of lesbianism. Things however changed one day as Tomoko recognized her as a closet Otaku. Hina's irritation with Tomoko was finally revealed as we found out the two had actually met during the entrance exam but that Tomoko had killed any chance of becoming friends as she had forgotten about her. During their year [[WataMote Chapter 122|Chapter 122], spurred on Tomoko's introduction Hina admits her Otaku nature to the rest of the class. This becomes the start of a change in the relationship between the two as Hina aggressively starts pursuing her friendship with Tomoko to which the other girl responds with feelings of intimidation and awkwardness.
Kotomi is an old classmate from middle school who Tomoko barely remembered until after they reunited in high school. Kotomi despises Tomoko since she blames Tomoko for ruining an introduction with her brother Tomoki over which she has a crush. In flashbacks, each considered the other a rival for Yū's friendship. After meeting in high school, they were on bad terms, but after hanging out with Yū for a bit they both silently decide to attempt to get along.
Ucchi Emiri and Tomoko are initially not friends. Ucchi seems antagonistic toward Tomoko based on a number of comic misunderstandings during their high school field trip which leads Ucchi to suspect Tomoko has lewd intentions towards her. However, she grows obsessed with Tomoko, feeling some pride in her belief that Tomoko is attracted to her, feeling jealousy when she thinks Tomoko is attracted to others, and eventually trying very hard to be near Tomoko. When other students imitate Tomoko, she offers a deeper description of Tomoko's character and even defends her. She throws a tantrum when she realizes she will not be in Tomoko's class. On a field trip, she cries over being lost from her group of friends until she joins Tomoko's and then ceases all help to find her original group. She later lies on her phone to a friend in her original group claiming she found Tomoko alone and felt sorry for her. After sitting next to Tomoko in a roller coaster where Tomoko happens to grab her hand, Ucchi immediately want to ride it again with her, and she becomes very jealous when Tomoko is paired with others instead. Her true feelings towards Tomoko appear to be a "work in progress" and are not, currently, defined. For her part, Tomoko seems to have little interest in her. She does not know her name and refers to her as "Emoji" in reference to her face. However, she does try to talk to Ucchi when they share a room because she feels Ucchi may be lonely. Otherwise, nearly every time Ucchi thinks Tomoko is stalking her, Tomoko either does not notice her or has far different intentions.
Tomoko's enthusiastic homeroom teacher. Ogino aggressively tries to get Tomoko to make friends within her class, much to Tomoko's annoyance. However, after finding a picture of a penis on Tomoko's phone in class, she does become incensed, but she does not mention the incident to Tomoko again. She seems sincere in her desire to help her students. She stays after school to play tennis with Tomoko and encourage her, despite Tomoko's continued irritation, she continues to try to help Tomoko make friends during the field trip chapters, and she tells Mrs. Kuroki that Tomoko is diligent and takes school seriously as she slyly winks to Tomoko during their parent-teacher conference.
Iguchi is an underclasswoman with a crush on Tomoko's brother. Initially, she thought Tomoko was Tomoki's girlfriend and Kotomi was Tomoki's sister. Tomoko is aware of her interest, and she occasionally uses it to torment Kotomi.
A friend of Akari Iguchi, Sayaka first sees Tomoko during the school's sport festival and believes she is a rival of Iguchi's affections for Tomoki. When she learns Tomoko is actually Tomoki's elder sister, she insists on meeting her. In response to Tomoko's immediately raising Iguchi's apparent interest in Tomoki's genitalia, Sayaka asks Tomoko why she would think it is "weird" for girls to be interested in such things.
Memorable quotes Edit
- "No, no. Actually I should be super popular among those pedos. Is it really because I'm small?"
- "Yeah. You're right. I'll kill myself."
- "If shortening my lifespan by a year would kill these guys, I'd do it..."
- "If you're not a worthless god, I'd like to see you try and make me happy...if you can't manage that, at least make everyone as unhappy as me. If you can't, it's fine I guess...but I'll despise you forever."
- "I'm getting really turned on..."
- "It's fine if the sun wants to start shining brighter now that it's almost spring, but I wish it would take into consideration people like me who are weak against the sun."
- "Phew.... My mind is so stuck on dicks I can't concentrate at all..."
- "Show me your dick."
- "Don't read if you're a bitch."
- "Get your ass over here you cockroach!! I'll show you the power of humanity!!"
- "I-I figured I'd go take a really messy shit in the bathroom or something."
- "My favorite jam is Strawberry Jam!"
- "I just had a totally normal conversation with someone! I'm gonna go stop for ice cream!"
- "You want stain the red suit even redder with virgin blood, huh, Santa?"
- " oh my god, i just talked to a hot guy!"
- "Don't read if you're a slut, then there's no way I'll be able to compete with you." - (Episode 06)
- "I just made a poop joke."
- "I totally have a boner all the time."
- "I peed myself a little, is there something wrong with that?"
- "Now that it's come to this I have no choice but to ask a stranger if I can use their bathroom . . . but just asking some random guy to use their bathroom is kind of . . . It's a high school girl asking to take a shit in their own house!! Hell, I should be able to get some money out of this!!"
- Tomoko means "wise child" and Kuroki means "black tree"
- Tomoko was born February 29, making her Pisces.
- The dark skin under her eyes is a result of insufficient sleep.
- It was never clearly stated why she turned from an average everyday school girl into a gloomy, very pessimistic, insecure girl. Some readers suggested an unspoken bad incident she experienced in the past may have affected her psychology and eventually her body. Or the psychological shift might be precisely because of body issues like not developing as the other girls have.
- Tomoko currently has a group of friend on LINE, which include Yū, Yuri and Mako.
- Tomoko is a cheater in card games
- ↑ Chapter 36 of the manga, released in late February 2013, has her celebrating her birthday in winter garb
- ↑ (According to the manga); on chapter 33, page 3, the current year is shown to be 2010 on a New Year's postcard
- ↑ (According to the official fanbook)
- ↑ (According to Episode 4 of the anime)
|Female Characters||Tomoko Kuroki | Yū Naruse | Mrs. Kuroki | Kotomi Komiyama | Megumi Imae | Kiko | Ogino | Yuri Tamura | Masaki Yoshida | Mako Tanaka | Emiri Ucchi | Hina Nemoto | Akane Okada | Asuka Katō | Akari Iguchi | Sayaka | Koharu Minami | Itō | Futaki | Miyazaki|
|Male Characters||Tomoki Kuroki | Mr. Kuroki | Kakinuma | Yoshinori Kiyota | Kosaka | Hatsushiba | Suzuki | Jun Ishimine | Homeroom Teacher | Art Teacher | Aomatsu | Yocchan | Nico Tanigawa|
|Manga Volumes||01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13|
|Anime Episodes||01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | OVA|