Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun (Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki) is a recent Winter release focusing on the eponymous character - Tomozaki. Obsessed with a particular fighting game, he has climbed his way to the top of the leaderboards to become the highest-ranking player in Japan. However, although Tomozaki is a top-tier gamer, he is bottom-tier in his everyday interactions in the real world. Let’s take a look at the first three episodes to see just what kind of misadventures lie in store for Tomozaki!
Tomozaki Never Stops Crying
So right out of the gate, we see Tomozaki playing a game bearing a striking resemblance to Smash Brothers. We here at Honey’s also wish to avoid any copyright infringements so let’s move swiftly along before Nintendo (or in this case, Yontendo) drops the DMCA hammer on this article. Tomozaki’s opening monologue was interesting. He ruthlessly compares the real world to a video game drawing parallels wherever he can, before concluding that everyone in the world is just a giant phony! After this, Holden Caulfield - I mean Tomozaki, bests one of the popular boys in a game of [Redacted], and herein lies the problem. You see, the confident Tomozaki who monologued for us at the start is replaced by a timid and meek Tomozaki when ushered to speak.
Needless to say, if you plan to do a show in the same vein or touching on the same messages as the masterpiece that is Oregairu - you need to do something different! Hikigaya was a breath of fresh air amidst the shunned outcast world of slice of life protagonists. Despite his abject misanthropy, he held his head high and was not afraid to speak his mind, regardless of who he might upset. It’s clear that these kinds of shows are targeted toward the stereotypical anime viewer demographic; stuffing their faces full of Cheetos in their mother’s basement while complaining how all women never date nice guys. Our 14-year-old selves would have absolutely lapped this show up. The message Tomozaki-kun preaches about societal integration is appreciated. Yet, if you truly want an inspiring anime about letting go of your past resentment, this cannot in good conscience be recommended over Oregairu.
Nice Guys Finish Last
Continuing on, we are introduced to the most popular girl in school, Aoi. Tomozaki rants for a solid few minutes about her in a large exposition dump before, in the following scene, describing in detail once again the number two ranked [Redacted] player of all time. Oh gee, oh golly, I wonder just who this mystery player could possibly be!! So, after arranging a meeting with NONAME, Tomozaki, in the greatest plot twist since Inception, discovers her to be Aoi. She scolds him for giving up on life and Tomozaki proceeds to cry again about how unfair life is, how popular people are playing life on easy mode, and how girls only date bad boys and jerks and won’t even give a nice guy like me…*ahem*, him a chance!! Needless to say, by the end of the first episode, the poor pacing, uninterestingly obvious plot developments, and disappointing lead left us wanting a lot more. Let’s see if Tomozaki can redeem himself.
Starting his training to integrate into society, Tomozaki is tasked by Aoi to transform his appearance and ultimately get a girlfriend. He is first tasked with talking to some girls and here we meet our mainstay cast. Unfortunately, these girls are the product of a teenage horndog’s fever dream, as they constantly fawn over one another as well as the incredibly awkward Tomozaki. As mentioned previously, fourteen-year-olds will be all over this anime. Should you be in the mood for a lighthearted and less-serious tale about societal integration, there are no qualms to be had with the show. However, if you were in the market for Oregairu season four, you’re fresh out of luck.
The Rules of Life
Tomozaki-kun follows a lot of the same beats as Oregairu. One such beat is the protagonist’s use of ‘rules’ in everyday life, which equate to societal norms (or what extroverts would do) in any given situation. Tomozaki is a nice change of pace from Hikigaya in that regard. Hikigaya is so confident in himself that the viewer always feels safe in the knowledge that, no matter how awkward a situation may become, he will be able to find a way out of it. Tomozaki’s comical flustering is amusing to watch and feels right at home in this ‘Oregairu-lite’ narrative.
Oregairu was a form of escapism for all the lowly nerds who wished they could hold their heads as high as Hikigaya does. Tomozaki-kun instead chooses to go the opposite route; showcasing just how awkward high school life can be for those outside the popular circle. It’s very rare to cringe whilst watching Oregairu whereas Tomozaki-kun delivers cringe humor in spades. Hopefully, this was done intentionally but regardless, it does switch up the played-out high school outcast trope just enough to warrant some praise.
All in all, after these first three episodes, Tomozaki-kun is shaping up to be another forgettable harem featuring a protagonist who would not receive as much attention in the real world as the writers would have you assume from Tomozaki’s interactions. Three episodes is not a full season, however, so we remain hopeful that Tomozaki-kun can stick the landing by its final episode. While trying its best to emulate the popular Oregairu, this show does not even come close at the moment. We, however, are hopeful for the future and look forward to seeing if Tomozaki-kun finds a way to stand out from the crowd. Let us know what you think of Tomozaki-kun down below!