Is The Live-Action of ‘Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku’ Worth A Watch?

Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku, also known as It’s Difficult to Love an Otaku, is a 2020 Japanese live-action film based on a manga written and illustrated by Fujita. The manga’s name is Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii.

Synopsis: Momose Narumi is a 26-year-old otaku who enjoys reading boys’ love manga but hides it from others. She begins work at a new company and meets her old childhood friend Nifuji Hirotaka. Hirotaka is handsome and good at his job, but he is also an otaku. After work, Narumi and Hirotaka talk about their otaku interests. Hirotaka asks her if they can date, telling her it will be nice. They begin their relationship but face many hardships and difficulties. (source – MyDramaList)

Expectations: I remember ranting about this movie late last year. It was a detailed post explaining my love for the source material and how I felt about the upcoming film 👉🏼 My Excitement Is Real – WOTAKOI: LOVE IS HARD FOR OTAKU is getting a live-action film. YESSS🎊🎊🎊.

(warning – spoilers ahead)

Review:

Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku released in February, and I just saw it last week. It took me a while to watch it mainly because I was waiting for subtitles and HD quality. It’s interesting to see one of my favourite manga/anime come to life. I think Saito Takumi and Takahata Mitsuki did okay considering how the director/scriptwriter crafted things.

Alright, there goes my sweet intro. Belt up people because things are about to get sour. I have seen the anime, bought and read the manga, which proves my commitment. Therefore, I am fully authorized to comment.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to partake in or even slightly enjoy the musical aspect introduced in this live-action. I’m probably mistaken about the target audience, but the musical scenes felt random, cringe and lasted way too long. I enjoyed Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii since it had a certain maturity level due to the office setting and the characters’ age group. I also loved the weird/witty comedy. Thankfully, that was left intact.

Nonetheless, this film completely threw out the source material’s fire and left me watching what I couldn’t exactly wrap my head around. Ladies and Gentlemen, I must admit that I could not bring myself to sit through the entire movie at this juncture. The frustration and utter disappointment were too real. Actually, throughout this week, I have been contemplating whether to write this review. I’m only giving myself the go-ahead to break down some significant elements that ultimately caused this film to go left –

  1. The replacement/partial removal of essential characters like Koyanagi Hanako and Kabakura Taro – In my opinion, the director didn’t showcase enough of them. Instead, he gave us two other support roles that took all their lines/screen time from the manga. Also, these newly found second leads weren’t essential to the story’s development.
  2. The director did a lot of tossing around with the story – It felt like he placed the source material on a chopping board and failed to puzzle it back correctly. The storyline was oddly out of place and felt too rushed. Don’t get me wrong, I know the manga was fast-paced, but at least the story flowed. By taking away specific essential roles in the live-action and mix-matching the timeline of specific events, everything else came off quite sloppy, in my opinion.
  3. Odd story progression leads to missed opportunities for good character development – Take, for example, The No-Otaku date that Narumi and Hirotaka had. I think it came too early in the film. Hence, it failed to accomplish the same understanding and growth brought to their relationship in the manga/anime version.

I could go on, but I’m going to end things here. Overall, Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku did not do its source material justice in any shape or form. I highly doubt that anyone would watch this film and become intrigued enough to pick up the manga. Maybe I’m too picky, and some people enjoyed this live-action. WHO KNOWS? Still, for me, this film gets a 4.5/10. To better understand how I rate each drama or movie, click 👉🏼 Drama|Movie Rating Guide.

If anyone is still interested in watching this movie and forming their own opinion, it is available on Dramanice with English subtitles.

14 thoughts on “Is The Live-Action of ‘Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku’ Worth A Watch?

  1. Nuala

    I have to agree with you here… all the way. I love the manga and anime, so I was also excited by the live action adaptation, but I had my misgivings early on (right from the get-go since I didn’t find the monologue of the boss in the opening funny). I was hopeful though and was willing to give it a chance. But i found myself fast-forwarding whenever there’s a song coming on 😓 Don’t get me wrong, I love musicals, but for me, it didn’t work in this case.
    I think the casting had a great potential, looks-wise they’re perfect, and they didn’t scrimp on the budget either for costumes and settings but everything was missed opportunity. The story they’re telling didn’t deliver. Kabakura-Koyanagi pair sometimes overshadowed the main leads for me in the manga, I was so invested in their story, but they barely grazed it in the movie, which was such a great loss! We didn’t see that Kabakura was also a hidden Otaku and the necklace story line? waaah! Nowhere in sight.
    Takahata San was amazing in this though, and YamaKen’s Nifuji was spot on. Just that they didn’t have much to work on script-wise. It’s just sad that the most entertaining one was Kento Kaku’s character, which was not even in the manga.

    1. You’ve said it all, although I did enjoy both couples in the manga equally.
      This live-action adaptation had loads of potential with the cast and budget, but it failed big time. Plus, don’t even get me started on the musical aspects. I live for musicals, but this was a NO-NO for me. At least it sounds like you were able to complete the film, unlike me 😂😂.

  2. I’m a fan of WOTAKOI for sure. I’m 26 and love romance comedy anime very much. I have yet to watch the film but it’s a shame it doesn’t seem to hold up. Well there’s always other things to watch.

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