The seasonal battle for dominance in the world of anime is an intense one. With giants like My Hero Academia stealing the wind from almost everyone’s sails, it’s no surprise that a lot of things fall by the wayside. But there are many genres of anime. The typical staples (Shounen, Mecha, etc.) still get most of the attention. But every once in a while comes a pleasant little surprise from the tamer side of anime. This spring brought anime viewers the delightfully charming and funny Romantic Comedy, Otaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii (Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku). The series follows two couples that work in an office together. The hook is that they all happen to be a bunch of highly eccentric otaku. It’s really witty and surprisingly mature and that summary is woefully oversimplified. But the series garnered a great deal of love.
The publisher of the manga on which the anime is based began streaming a video on Thursday. It was essentially a promo video for the sixth volume, which is due out on July 31. However, accompanying that was the reveal that the series was getting a live-action film.
This may not seem like an especially significant announcement to western audiences, but one never knows. There are plenty of outlets that bring these live-action adaptations to western audiences. Crunchyroll, for example, does stream subbed versions of many Japanese live-action shows and films. Especially those based on manga and anime. Netflix also offers services of that nature, and that goes well beyond just Japanese shows and movies. Though they clearly have been zeroing in on that particular underserved market. As more and more Japanese media bleeds over into the west, these things will likely become more commonplace, with easy, widespread accessibility to much more general audiences.
The only real question that arises is the nature of the film. Wotakoi doesn’t exactly have a plot. It’s largely episodic, with very little in the way of an ongoing narrative that could likely keep a 90-minute film above water. It’s possible (and extremely likely) that the movie will borrow bits and pieces from the original work, then try to string them together with a plot of some kind. But a large part of the show’s charm is that the characters are, more or less, just living their lives to the best of their ability whilst juggling their particularly… eccentric hobbies.
It’s far from uneventful. But it uses that format to its advantage to set up a lot of extremely self-aware and meta-humor that wouldn’t really work if the series took itself in a more seriously dedicated narrative format like, say, a film. So we’ll see what this yields. In the meantime, Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku is available on Amazon Prime Video.