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    Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki First Impressions: Going Pro IRL

    Last Friday, January 8, the first episode of Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki released on Funimation. Since I listed this anime as a Winter 2021 anime to look out for, I obviously had to check it out. The first episode of Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki had a mediocre first impression for me, and here’s why.

    Photo by Project No. 9

    Starting off, Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki follows Tomozaki Fumiya, a pro-gamer who ranks #1 in the anime-equivalent of Super Smash Bros. Tomozaki is considered an outcast by his peers due to his unruly appearance and nerdy lifestyle. So, Tomozaki believes that it’s impossible for him to live like a normal person. However, popular girl Hinami Aoi decides to help Tomozaki gain the experience he needs to be more confident in himself and thus become recognized by his peers.

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    Photo by Project No. 9 and Funimation

    The episode starts out with Tomozaki playing Tackfam, which is basically Super Smash Bros., with his classmate, Nakamura Shuuji. After losing, Nakamura blames the game for his loss and says that the character he picked was a bad matchup against Tomozaki’s. He calls Tackfam “trash”, which insults Tomozaki. Tomozaki then challenges Nakamura to another game, but this time they switch characters. If Tomozaki wins, Nakamura has to apologize.

    Photo by Project No. 9 and Funimation

    To no surprise, Tomozaki wins. Nakamura then leaves Tomozaki alone and meets up with his friends to go to karaoke. This opening sequence was indicative of 1) Tomozaki’s hobbies and interests and 2) his current status with society. If his outward appearance didn’t give it away, his dedication and love for Tackfam was a sign of his bottom-tier societal status. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be good at a game, we all know that based on typical tropes an anime character with this kind of lifestyle is regarded as a “loser” within society.

    Photo by Project No. 9

    Tomozaki returns home and plays a round of Tackfam against NONAME, a player who ranks #2 nationwide. Tomozaki is amazed at NONAME’s improvement and their neck and neck battle. NONAME sends Tomozaki a message after he wins asking to meet up in real life.

    Photo by Project No. 9 and Funimation

    During Tomozaki and NONAME’s meetup, Tomozaki learns that NONAME is actually Hinami Aoi, the most popular girl in his class. Aoi is extremely disappointed that Tomozaki was the one behind the screen and expresses her disgust at how she expected the other player to be someone who put in alot of effort into their lifestyle. Tomozaki, offended, goes on a rant about how life is unfair for him.

    Photo by Project No. 9 and Funimation

    Tomozaki’s rant really put me off and, to be honest, made me angry. He goes on about how life has it out for people like him and that he’ll never have a normal lifestyle like Aoi. He has basically given up on assimilating into society. During the opening sequence, we see how he puts no effort into making himself more presentable and is fine with looking like a slob. He blames life for his low status rather than himself. However, when it comes to Tackfam, he gets angry when others blame the game for their loss rather than their own skill. This seemed extremely hypocritical for me, which is what made me so annoyed. I was relieved when Aoi pointed out Tomozaki’s hypocrisy, but I found his rant to be unnecessarily long.

    Photo by Project No. 9 and Funimation

    I can already tell that Aoi is going to be one of my favorite characters in this anime. She takes Tomozaki to her house and shows him what she looks like without makeup. For a teenage girl of her status, this is quite a big deal, especially when it comes to showing someone you barely know what you look like without makeup. This was a bold move Aoi made in order to gain Tomozaki’s trust.

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    Photo by Project No. 9 and Funimation

    Aoi strategizes how Tomozaki will become a normal person and even inspires him to put effort into her plan. She lays out a step-by-step process for him, which includes a small, medium, and large goal. Aoi seems to know what she’s doing, which makes me feel reassured that her plan will be a success.

    Photo by Project No. 9 and Funimation

    The episode ends with Aoi telling Tomozaki what his goal for the day will be, which is to talk to three girls. I already know that I am going to feel alot of second-hand embarrassment during the next episode when Tomozaki attempts this. I only hope that Aoi counts as one of the three required girls.

    Photo by Project No. 9 and Funimation

    There seems to be hope that the anime will take a turn for the better once Tomozaki starts to change (I hope he gets a haircut soon). The first episode didn’t quite convince me to continue to watch the show, but I’m going to give it a couple more episodes because I do enjoy these kinds of character development anime.

    What did you think of the first episode? Are you going to continue watching Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki?

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