Everyone loves a good rom-com manga, so why not read one about dating as an otaku? Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku is a josei manga about two adults named Narumi and Hirotaka, who develop a relationship due to their mutual fondness for all things otaku. Meeting again as adults in an office they both work at, Hirotaka and Narumi pick up where they’d left off as kids, who enjoyed playing video games together and attending conventions. Slice-of-life moments ensue as the two grow in their bond and navigate dating while being die-hard otaku.
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku is full of fun, easygoing storylines. The first volume was charming and portrayed a very realistic depiction of what an otaku relationship could look like. Since the version of the manga I read included the first two volumes, there was a part where the mangaka mentioned some fun tidbits in a small comic between volumes. She noted that the characters were based on her own friends and loved ones. She got permission from them and everything. I thought this was a fun piece of trivia that added to the relatability of the story.
The manga is very slice-of-life with many comedic and fun moments between Narumi, a closeted fujoshi, and Hirotaka, an openly avid gamer. It also involves the relationships of other otaku, like their co-worker friends, Koyanagi and Kabakura. The group work in an office, go to conventions, and hang out together while Narumi and Hirotaka figure out how to navigate their blossoming relationship. While the new lovebirds figure out their own drama, the long-time otaku lovers, Koyanagi and Kabakura, go through their share of relationship ups and downs as well.
It seems that, much like Horimiya, many modern love stories in manga and anime depict more realistic types of romances rather than the classic tropes of the past. Of course, usual tropes will always exist, but it seems we are starting to branch off into new territories in these particular genres in anime. That’s very refreshing to me as it makes the stories more unique.
Something that was also unique and fun about Wotakoi was the references to other anime and manga, as well as otaku culture in general. An example is a homage to Neon Genesis Evangelion, where a panel has the Wotakoi characters drawn in a way that clearly pays tribute to the classic mecha series. With little details and Easter eggs like that, it makes the story even more relatable and enjoyable for any anime or manga lover who reads it.
The first issue of Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku was published in April 2015, after the mangaka Fujita had first published the story online. The final volume of the manga was just released last year, in October 2021. The story has also had an anime adaptation and live-action adaptation.
If you’re looking for a fun romantic comedy manga or want to read something that is relatable for otaku looking for love in their twenties, check out Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku. It will definitely bring joy to your day. I look forward to reading more volumes of the manga and watching the anime adaptation.
Have you read Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter!