Wotakoi: On Why Love is Hard for Otaku in this Movie Review

29 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Fantasia Festival 2020
North American Premiere
Aug 29, 2020

Based on the manga of the same name, Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku (ヲタクに恋は難しい,) by Fujita is a hilarious live action musical comedy that doesn’t require audiences to know anything about the source material.

Narumi Momose (Mitsuki Takahata) is a young office worker who reads yaoi manga. She keeps this fact hidden very well. Also, she likes Hirotaka Nifuji (Kento Yamazaki). They knew each other when really young, and now he’s working in the same building as her. He’s always had difficulty expressing his feelings to her and it’s very amusing to watch them rekindle their relationship. She’s high strung and he’s mild mannered.

This parody on otaku life updates viewers on the term and it doesn’t have to be derogatory. Some folks can get overboard with some aspect of Japanese fandom, but how is that different from Star Wars fans with rooms dedicated to merchandise since its release in 1977? Or how about Transformers or KISS?

The nerdy culture is played up for laughs, and even I’m comfortable with it. My obsession is with Studio Ghibli merchandise and getting every Transformer Shockwave available! Nifuji’s secret life is scary, but when compared to Momose’s, I was in stitches at the revelation.

The highlights of this movie are the song and dance numbers. They borrow from the Disney aesthetic. Takahata’s voice is tops, and ever since her acting debut in 2007, she’s been earning her chops. The film has the soul of Grease 2. When there’s a boy trying to be cool and he struggles, it is the girl who takes charge. This tale is very relatable. It doesn’t have to be about hiding your affections about the things you like. Instead, it’s about having confidence in who you are under any circumstance.

4½ Stars out of 5

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