Ha! I hadn’t seen the newest episode of WataMote 2.0 when I made that last post. But this brings with it a whole new round of interest in the show!
So there’s this woman, Akiko Mizoguchi, who wrote a 400+ page dissertation on essentially yaoi and fujoshi and culture and cool stuff. I highly recommend reading it. If you google “Male-Male Fantasy Narrative as Women’s Sexual Subculture in Japan” you should be able to find it. Anyway, the ultimate point that Mizoguchi makes is that fujoshi, through the sharing of their sexual desires they live vicariously in the characters they ship, become “virtual lesbians” with others. The collective sharing of a sexual fantasy narrative, to the extent that real fujoshi will roleplay the parts of the characters they’re shipping, while not legitimately sexual, creates a simulation of sex under which they become these virtual lesbians.
You see where I’m going with this. When Nishina asked Serinuma over to her house so they could discuss their favorite anime together, there is the implication that Nishina would try to turn their discussion into something personally sexual between the two. They would go from “virtual lesbians” to real lesbians. The transition between virtual lesbian and real lesbian is far less than the transition from straight to lesbian. Therefore, had Nishina not asked over Serinuma over for non-fujoshi reasons, her ability to have charmed Serinuma (had the boys not intervened) would have been greatly weakened. In fact, the only reason Serinuma become available to Nishina in the first place was because she was cosplaying Sebastian.
This metaphorically parallels how fujoshi, by participating in virtual lesbian interactions, become encouraged to legitimate lesbianism. In fact, by Paul Galbraith’s article, Fujoshi: Fantasy Play and Transgressive Intimacy among “Rotten Girls” in Contemporary Japan, many fujoshi are self-identified lesbians precisely because of Mizoguchi’s virtual lesbianism. incidentally, or perhaps because of, the pleasure experienced through coupling two male characters together, many fujoshi are deterred from pursuing men as legitimate romantic interests. Serinuma clearly demonstrates this with her inertia to accepting any of her harem members as potential partners. The farthest extent of this is when the fujoshi then claims herself a lesbian, regardless of her legitimate sexual attraction to women, because the fujoshi culture has ingrained within it a sharing of effectively sexual pleasure, so it is as if she is a lesbian regardless.
Nishina embodies this by being a “real” lesbian (if it’s fair to make that distinction), and is instantly able to bypass Serinuma’s inertia against a relationship— even if Serinuma isn’t attracted to women, she can consider a relationship with Nishina because it doesn’t pull a shippable male from the pool.
P.S. I’m also going to amend my previous statement about finding the show still deeply flawed. The awesomeness of these bits is so great that I can go from ignoring those flaws to no longer considering them flaws at all. i.e., Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda is really great.