"Since I'm Not Popular, I'll Boost My Skills" (モテないし、スキルアップしてみる Motenai shi, Sukiru Appu shitemiru?) is the fifth episode of the anime adaption of WataMote. The episode was written by Takayo Ikami and directed by Yasuo Iwamoto. It aired in Japan on August 5, 2013.
As scenes from a romantic anime play, sticks break. Tomoko watches an anime eating Pocky Sticks. As they symbolically break, she wonders how, after three months as a high school student, she is still not popular. She flashbacks to her search for the meaning of 喪女 (mojo "unpopular girl"). Nevertheless, she determines that there are ways she can still become popular. The anime continues with female student character with glasses revealed that she is not only an alien, but she has come to invade Earth with a cool and emotionless demeanor. As the sticks completely shatter, Tomoko hits on the idea that emotionless characters become popular in anime. Tomoko concludes the she just needed the correct "setting" as drawings of her "character" appear in her mind. She clutches three more Pocky Sticks and vows to be "silent and expressionless" as the scene transitions to a shooting star and the opening titles.
Tomoko eats the sticky bean nattō while her mother cheerfully offers her some tea. However, Tomoko does not respond and continues to eat in a robotic and expressionless fashion. Her mother shrugs her shoulders. Tomoki demands to know what happened to his sports drink. In a monotone, Tomoko responds that she drank it. As his eye twitches, Tomoki demands she apologize. Tomoko gives an emotionless apology. Tomoki loses his temper and reaches out. Later, waking to school, with fingerprint marks on her cheek, Tomoko inwardly curses that the marks are "still throbbing." She swears she will later sneak into his room to find "perverted stuff" she can blackmail him with. She then reminds herself of her determination to be an emotionless character.
In class while her classmates excitedly look at protozoa through microscopes, Tomoko stands "gray," emotionless, and utterly unnoticed. In P.E. class, Ogino directs students to pair up for tennis. Tomoko stands silent and "gray." She sits and watches alone unnoticed by others. She then eats lunch silent, "gray," and unnoticed. Tomoko then realizes that "silent characters" only work in anime if someone tries to approach them. As the music turns sad, and her lips tremble, a tear appears in her eye.
Walking home still "gray" in color, Tomoko laments that remaining expressionless proves harder than she thought. She passes by the cafe she visited with Yū previously. She chooses a cappuccino since she heard they are good. When asked for the size, Tomoko struggles as all do with the "T" and "G" designations. She eventually chooses "Giant," which the "Cute Guy" barista corrects as "grande." "Gray" Tomoko turns a bit pink in embarrassment. She make her way to a chair to manager her drink but finds it very bitter. She then notices the sweeteners available. Completely unfamiliar with cafes, Tomoko wonders if they are free. A smile from the "Cute Guy" barista reassures her. She adds a bit of cocoa powder, cinnamon, milk, then chocolate syrup, then accidentally adds a large amount of honey. Her drink is now too sweet. Frustrated, she tries to leave, but misjudges how high her chair is and ends up on the floor. The "Cute Guy" barista runs to assist her, but Tomoko cries in frustration.
The scene shifts to her home. She lays sprawled on her bed stunned as she listens to "the boy" character from the anime she watched in the beginning of the episode addressing the "alien girl" character that he prefers her as someone who "laughs and cries like a human." The blushing "alien girl" thanks him. Tomoko responds, "screw you."
Back in class, Tomoko concludes that the emotionless characters only work if there is a guy who tries to associate with them. The collection of Akane, Hina, Kiyota, and Suzuki discuss a girl Kiyota finds cute in Akane's collection of purikura: photos people take together in photobooths. Akane informs him that she already has a boyfriend. Suzuki teases that Akane and Hina are "ugly" in the photos, then affirms they are cute as the girls act offended then happy. Tomoko inwardly seethes at this. Later, at home, she thinks about how she never took any with Yū. She replays how Hina and Okada happily blushed when Suzuki affirmed they were "cute" and imagines herself having the same reaction. She now concludes that guys are weak to a girl's innocent smile. As she calls Yū, she vows she will now become a girl of "many expressions and a cute smile!"
Unfortunately, as the happy background music slows down and becomes discordant, Yū is not free the next few days. Tomoko next approaches her brother. She offers him a can of "Cola Cola" to replace the sports drink she stole. He ignores her, but she still asks him if he will take "purikura" with her the next day. When he refuses, she reminds him that pictures will be stickers, and he use to like stickers. Tomoki stares at the remains of stickers he removed from his furniture
Alone at an arcade, Tomoko sneaks into a "Puri Princess" booth. She pays for the photos and tries to follow the screens suggestions for "cute photos." Tomoko feels embarrassed and finds it hard to keep up. In the end, Tomoko finds the results a depressing waste of ¥400. That night, after his bath, Tomoki returns to find his room plastered with stickers of his sister. He inwardly rages as the scene enters the advertisement break.
After the break, Tomoko sits in front of the television depressed thinking that nothing has changed. The happy weather girl chirps about how wonderful the weather is. Tomoko concedes that it is sunny, Sunday, and nearly summer break. As she wonders what she is doing, she chews on three Pocky again as she channel surfs. She sees an interview with a "cabaret girl" who claims she was shy until she started her work. This gives Tomoko the obvious idea: she will be the honor student by day and "a lovely butterfly of the night" after school.
Tomoko buys a cigarette lighter to practice lighting cigarettes. She imagines in her hostess training being timed and coached on how to light cigarettes and pour drinks. This she does by waiting in a park for men who need lighters for their cigarettes. She spends over an hour until she can get the lighter to light as a man searches for his lighter.
At home, Tomoko watches Tomoki try to prepare instant coffee. He cannot find the sugar. Before he can retrieve the back of sugar, Tomoko adds ice to his coffee like a mixed drink. He once again grabs her face. In school, Tomoko smugly feels she has mastered the skills of mixing drinks and lighting cigarettes which places in a different world from her peers. That night, goes to the Kabukcho to apply to the Pandora hostess club. She finds the neon clubs intimidating. She watches an adult girl walking who is accosted by a man seeking girls for work. He looks her way, walks towards her as she panics, but then walks past her to accost another lady. She then hears another man trying to pursuade a salaryman to check out his pornographic DVDs. Tomoko becomes progressively frightened by the sights around her. She flees finding the city "weird" in an artistic montage of references which ends with her face depicted as cubist .
She receives a call from her mother reminding her that she planned a meal of sukyaki. As the music for the ending theme enters, Tomoko agrees to buy eggs on her way home. After the end credits, the cartoony Tomoko tells her brother that there really is no place like home. He reminds her that the summer break is soon to which she panics that she still has not done anything.
- Mrs. Kuroki
- Unidentified Classmates
- Yū Naruse (flashback)
- "Cute Guy" Barista
- Akane Okada (unnamed)
- Hina Nemoto (unnamed)
- Yoshinori Kiyota (unnamed)
- Suzuki (unnamed)
- Tomoko thinks back to her search for the meaning of mojo (喪女 もじょ) in the opening to Episode 1.
- Tomoko visits the cafe she went to with Yū in Episode 2. The logo is "Ster Tully's" rather than "Star Tully's" in the manga.
- Imagining herself as a hostess, Tomoko flashbacks to her fantasy of being ravashished in Episode 2.
- The date of the character drawings is "2013/03/29." The title given for them is 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前ら悪い.
- The Ending Theme for this episode is "Yoru no Tobari yo Sayōnara " (Farewell, Veil of Darkness) by Velvet Kodhy . Tomoko's voice actress Izumi Kitta hilariously recreates it in live action with the singer.
- Translated as "screw you," Tomoko utters the venerable Japanese invective: fuzukenna (ふざけんな).
- The Puri Princess booth costs ¥400 (~$4-5).
- Pocky Sticks : the snack of every self-respecting anime girl.
- Nattō : a staple that people either love or hate .
- Starbucks and Tully's coffee chains. Tomoko also struggles with the "tall" and "grande" designations.
- Cola Cola
- Cabaret Girls
- S-Rank/Class : the origin is harder to explain, but given Tomoko's penchant for games, the link makes sense. A certain minor manga and anime hair deficient character obsessed with gaming, and who can only punch once, also uses "S" as the highest class.
- While the reference is intentionally censored, Tomoko fears that she will become like the "white kid" from Akira .
- Police 24/7
- A "Cute Guy" takes Tomoko's order, and she is able to eventually give it without degenerating into a stammering mess.
- Tomoko who is, depending on her depictions at best 5 feet (152 cm) tall, also struggles sitting in the high chairs used by the coffee franchises.
- "He must be hiding some perverted stuff in there. . . ." – Tomoko
- "I am a silent, cool, cute girl." – Tomoko
- "But everyone knows cabaret clubs are gathering places for S-class bitches." – Tomoko
- "I'd be a plain honor student by day, and after school, a lovely butterfly of the night. . . ." – Tomoko
- "Use broad, circular motions to make your chest stand out." – Tomoko's Fantasy Hostess Coach
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