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04 March 2016

Notes on Chapter 93

Notes on chapters are obviously spoiler heavy, so you should only read this in order to supplement what you've already read. We reference the fan translation mostly because the official translation won't be done for a long while.

Tomoko's study habits

Not particularly important to the story, but how often do we see Tomoko actually studying? Way back in Chapter 44, we found her in the coffee shop trying to study, because of the threat of being sent to another school, but we mostly saw her fail to study because she was distracted by the anime running on another patron's laptop.

However, we know she eventually succeeded, because she improved her grades enough to stay put.

More recently, in Chapter 90, her homeroom teacher reported to her mother that Tomoko is "diligent and takes school seriously."  We know she has some standards when it comes to schoolwork, because she often thinks of academic success as one path to impress her peers, and she was immensely scandalized when she found Yuu-chan so cavalier about the F's on her report card way back in middle school. From Chapter 16 of TomoMote: "I knew she was retarded, but I didn't think she was that retarded!" In Chapter 68 of WataMote, we find her achieving a perfect score on a test after applying her active imagination to a subject of study. She does have an active and engaged mind, for all her laziness and time-wasting.

So when she runs herself down as a poor student, it's likely her more general lack of self-esteem dragging her down. In Chapter 84, she fantasized about being on the cover of a motivational guide: "In just one year, a below average student raised her test scores by two points and got into a bottom tier university!" Problems with self-esteem are typical with people who have trouble socializing properly. You'll notice that Tomoko is more likley to speak confidently and assertively when she feels superior to the people she's talking to, like children. In Chapter 80, the final night of the school trip, she becomes a patronizing chatterbox after a meaningless quiz on TV leads her to feel superior to Ucchi. As soon as Ucchi reminds her of something embarrassing, she immediately reverted to feelings of inferiority, and plotted to regain an advantage.

Despite her low opinion of herself as a student, it's probably safe to say that Ogino was speaking truthfully, and that Tomoko is at least a good student with decent grades, and not quite the constant loser she makes herself out to be.

One man's trash is Komiyama's treasure

Tomoko's fantasy about simply giving Komiyama a bundle of her brother's garbage for a birthday present, and Komiyama's reaction to Tomoko's actual gift, largely refers back to Chapter 89, when Tomoko rewarded Komiyama for returning her phone by letting her use her brother's bed while he was away. In that chapter, we see Komiyama tripping out from the sensation of lying within Tomo-kun's sheets. Presumably they were not freshly washed, because Komiyama recognizes the smell of Tomo-kun on the unwashed towel that Tomoko carelessly gave to her.

Unfortunately for Tomoko, Komiyama is likely to view this gift as an encouraging sign that Tomoko isn't quite so set against her as she generally seems.

In Chapter 89, garbage was actually an option, so Tomoko's not far wrong.

The big reveal

Recent chapters have had big reveals or big incidents, such as Tomoko's mother finding out for the first time that her daughter has been a quiet loner all through high school (Chapter 90) and Tomoko's sudden interaction with hot guys (beginning in Chapter 88).

The big reveal this time around is Yuu-chan learning that Komiyama has a crush on Tomoko's little brother. Before now, she didn't think Komiyama had any interest in boys. She probably feels the same way about Tomoko, that she doesn't have a boyfriend simply because she's not interested.

Tomoko threatens Yuu-chan

It's always kind of unnerving to see close friends suddenly turn on each other. Tomoko must find the idea of Kotomi as a sister-in-law so incredibly repulsive that it overrules her usual insecurities about Yuu-chan's friendship.

YUU-CHAN (sweetly): If Komi-chan and Tomo-kun started dating and eventually got married, you'd be her onee-chan, right Mokocchi?  
TOMOKO: Yuu-chan...  
TOMOKO (darkly): I swear to God if you say that again, I'll kill you.  

Tomoko proceeds to "punish" Yuu-chan by forcing her to model underwear in a lingerie shop. Yuu-chan nervously obliges, but even she seems to be a bit peeved when Tomoko abruptly suggests they look at towels instead.

This incident was not likely serious, but it is a more realistic depiction of a friendship. There are always strains that pop up between even people who like each other very much.

Ucchi's recurring panties

In Chapter 78, Tomoko sees Ucchi asleep, and notices "with her face half hidden and her eyes closed, she almost looks like Yuu-chan."

In Chapter 80, the final night of the school trip, Tomoko in her haste kicks over Ucchi's luggage just before she comes out of the shower, and winds up hiding a pair of her panties between her sheets, hoping to return it to the luggage later. Instead, Ucchi spies her panties stuck in Tomoko's bed, and starts to become frightened. This chapter marked the real beginning of Ucchi's obsession with Tomoko, which carried over significantly to the athletic meet in Chapter 87, when Ucchi is not only creeped out by Tomoko's behavior, but inadvertently becomes jealous when she sees Tomoko peeking underneath Nemoto's skirt instead of hers.

Now, as anticipated, Ucchi has finally spied Tomoko out on a "date" with her close-enough twin. "S-she's making someone who looks just like me try out all that underwear! What relationship do those two have, anyway?"

As fate would have it, Tomoko notices Ucchi just as she's holding up a pair of panties that look remarkably like the panties from Ucchi's luggage, earlier on. Tomoko doesn't know about Ucchi's increasing paranoia, so all she sees are "people from my class". Of course she knows who Ucchi is, just as she knows who Yoshida is, who in the last chapter she initially identified as "a high schooler playing pachinko". Tomoko, so lacking in social skills and friends, tends to departmentalize people instead of thinking of them by name. Hatsushiba is fatass or fatso, Yoshida is the delinquent, Ucchi is the emoji, and Yuri and her friend who invite her to lunch every day are those two. Komiyama, of course, ranges from Komi-something to shitty cockroach to toilet-dining bitch. Tomoko doesn't even think of her teachers by name.

Yuu-chan's present

This note is a placeholder, because I need some guidance on what the heck exactly that thing Yuu-chan gave Komiyama. It seems to be some sort of steampunk-influenced hair jewelry, and the image is perhaps confusing because Nico Tanigawa chose to leave Komiyama's hair around it un-inked, so as not to damage the delicate lines of the delicate mechanism.

In any case, we know it's something Yuu-chan considers girly (since she learned that Komiyama is actually interested in boys, after all), so it likely is some kind of jewelry that doesn't really suit Komiyama's highly developed otaku fashion sense.

Other than maybe that, there's nothing particularly unusual culturally in this chapter.

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