In Episode 4, Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki is forced into an AtaFami match, leading to an angry outburst at one of his classmates.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki Episode 4, “Sometimes You Conquer a Dungeon Only to Find a Strong Boss In Your Village,” now streaming on Funimation.
Familiarity with a conversation topic usually helps an introvert feel more comfortable opening up to his or her peers. In Tomozaki’s case, there’s no topic in the world more natural to him than AtaFami (a play on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate). The famous video game takes a central role in Episode 4 of Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki, allowing Tomozaki to open up more than ever before and strongly confront not one, but two of the social leaders in his class.
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Tomozaki is slowly but surely improving his character in the game of life, aided by the efforts and expertise of his classmate and life coach Aoi Hinami. Although Hinami takes a backseat in this episode, her influence is clearer than ever. When Tomozaki is forced into an AtaFami rematch with the ill-tempered Shuji Nakamura in front of a viewing audience, an angry outburst at another classmate reveals what Tomozaki respects — and hates — most in life.
Tomozaki’s classroom neighbor Yuzu Izumi is desperate to learn how to play AtaFami. She has a crush on Nakamura but he’s been ignoring her lately. So Tomozaki goes over to Izumi’s house to tutor her in the game, using many of the same hand and facial expressions Hinami does when she’s teaching him life lessons. Izumi starts getting the hang of the game and is ready to reclaim Nakamura’s attention, but Nakamura himself has other ideas.
After school the next day, Nakamura’s comrades find Tomozaki and bring him to a classroom that has a “Yontendo Smotch” set up to play AtaFami. As the top player in Japan, Tomozaki knows full well he’ll crush Nakamura again and tries to back out but Nakamura insists on challenging him. As the two play numerous rounds — Tomozaki winning every time without losing a single life — their audience grows. Along with Nakamura’s faction, Izumi and a few other girls show up with their leader Erika Konno. At long last, Nakamura manages to take a single life stock from Tomozaki’s character.
But Konno, just as headstrong and confrontational as Nakamura often is, starts mocking him for putting so much time into a silly game and still losing. Surprisingly, Nakamura doesn’t really defend himself. Instead, it’s Tomozaki who erupts in anger, defending Nakamura’s hard work and passionately rebuffing Konno’s taunts. In Tomozaki’s view, Konno has never played the game, nor does she appreciate the idea of working hard to improve oneself. He expertly compares AtaFami to the game of life, lauding Nakamura’s efforts while proclaiming his hatred for anyone who mocks others for trying to improve themselves.
This astonishing outburst reveals the extent of Tomozaki’s efforts, both in AtaFami and in life. The classroom’s hierarchical structure becomes clear when a shaking Izumi, normally subservient to Konno, also defends Nakamura by saying AtaFami is fun and that working hard at it is rewarding. It all ends on an awkward note as Konno fails to comprehend their argument and leaves with her friends. However, Izumi scored a clear victory. Nakamura is impressed by her courage in standing up to Konno and he also acknowledges Tomozaki in his own blunt manner.
Hinami, who entered the room later than the others, silently watches the entire scene but is clearly in agreement with Tomozaki’s views. He combined his own passion for AtaFami — which had earned Hinami’s respect in the first place — with his growing efforts in life, which she is helping to nurture. Though his argument didn’t reach Konno or her friends, Tomozaki’s courage in dealing with two of the boss characters in his life shows his passion and hard work are paying off.
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