An anime about nerds with a love of manga, games and everything in between is this season’s best new show so far. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku is now streaming on Amazon Prime, and while only a handful of episodes have aired, its relatable characters and fun story make it a must-see.
Wotakoi revolves around Narumi Momose and Hirotaka Nifuji, a pair of 26-year-olds who try to work out their romantic relationship, despite being hardcore nerds. Narumi is fresh at her new company when she runs into her childhood friend Hirotaka. It’s quickly revealed that she left her old job after being exposed as a hardcore nerd and wants to keep her interests a secret at her new office.
Narumi is a nerd who’s into female-catered series, like manga about pretty boys in love, even drawing her own fan comics to sell at Japan’s comic convention, Comiket. Meanwhile, Hirotaka is super into video games, and can frequently be seen playing something very close to Monster Hunter on his Nintendo Switch-lookalike.
The characters often reference a bunch of other anime and games, and they aren’t heavily censored or awkwardly parodied. (Yep, that’s actually Masamune from Sengoku Basara that you saw.) There’s something satisfying about pointing at the screen and getting to name all the different references that pop up.
I wouldn’t label Wotakoi as the most relatable anime on the planet, as the issues the characters go through aren’t exactly problems I have. Instead, the characters are who I’m watching for. I, too, have tried to hide my love for anime and gaming from my coworkers in my previous jobs. Watching Hirotaka use his lunch hour to play Monster Hunter made me clench my teeth, because I’ve used my break to play games before, too.
Wotakoi originally started out as a webcomic published on the Japanese art website, Pixiv in 2014, written and illustrated by Fujita. It was later serialized through Comic Pool as a licensed webcomic. That comic is being published in English by Kodansha USA, with volume 1 available now and volume 2 coming on June 12.
New episodes get uploaded on Thursdays; the season will run 11 episodes.