|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
NHK ni Youkoso!
I wanted to check this out for some time now. After going through it, you'd never know that this series was actually deeper than what the synopsis would reveal. I'm actually glad I watched it. It's all about this guy named Sato and him being a "hikikomori". It's an actual term which means to forcefully shut yourself out from the world. It relates to a couple of things like intense stress from bullies, school, or anything in society that would make a person literally lock themselves in their rooms and never leave. With Sato, that's what it boils down to. However, his life of a hermit takes a complete 180 when he meets this girl, Misaki. She has a plan to take Sato and "educate" him to no longer be a hikikomori. The rest I leave to you.|
What I enjoyed about this was the fact that it's an actual condition played out in a slightly humorous way. I thought it would be something completely mental with the hints of conspiracy all around. Turns out it was just a front for Sato. He's nothing more than a modern day hermit whose afraid to go out in public. He survives on his parents' allowance and lives on his own. He used to go to college but one day he freaks out and then becomes a hikikomori from then on. This series was more surreal then it lead on to be. I guess that's why there were so many side stories going on which ties in to him being a hikikomori. The plot was pretty close to cut and dry but with Misaki's character finally being revealed towards the end it kept me curious. There's a decent amount of comedy so it wouldn't be completely serious. Most parts are absolutely hilarious and seems to be over the top. Nonetheless, it still remains constant (Ssto being a hikikomori) and still opens up other stories without losing focus on Sato.
Nothing else really caught my eye. The art/animation was ok along with the characters. Without spoiling it, you'll have to rent it. If you go by the trailers, you'll be fooled or maybe just a bit turned off. Believe me, it's worth watching.
Last updated Monday, August 31 2009. Created Monday, August 31 2009.
NHK ni Youkoso!
The plot seemed interesting. However...|
Art, Animation and Character Design
Art and animation is average. Nothing special. Character designs were okay and your typical run-of-mil flavors.
The OP was a pop style of music of which I'm not too fond of. It was bearable nevertheless.
Series and Episode Story
I sorta felt "detached" from this anime. Normally, when I watch an anime, I do so and I end up enjoying some aspect of it and getting attached or I'd get attached to any given character.... especially of the female persuasion. However, this anime didn't do that for me. The characters were one dimensional, the plot was pretty much unbelievable and the overall feel of it left me yawning out of boredom. With all that said though, "some" aspects of it was interesting. For example, Misaki, the lead female role pretty kept this anime on it's feet. She introduced some "reason" behind the lackluster plot and added reason for Satou to exist.
Overall, I wasn't too thrilled with this one. It was okay to watch if you're bored and don't have anything else to watch. Otherwise, move one.
Last updated Sunday, February 22 2009. Created Sunday, February 22 2009.
|Watch 4||7||9||5||6||9||7||Devil Doll||[series:1397#752]|
NHK ni Youkoso!
[Score: 68% = "Watch"; similar series: NieA_7]
This is a show about lies: People being desperate enough to build their whole existence on lies, people being stupid enough to take everything for granted regardless how blatant a lie it is, people being too weak to face the truth, people making money off lies, and even people toying around with truth. About two thirds of the events of this show are triggered by Tatsuhiko bringing himself into embarrassing situations by brainless, blatant lying. It's like: "There's no way this could possibly work, its absolutely certain that it will cause another embarrassing and painful situation for me and others, but let's do it anyway and bet my whole life on it." Blah.
Episode 8 had me leave the room several times to calm down and continue watching this show. During episodes 10+11 the characters begin to define themselves by their emotions instead of their idiocy; episode 13+14 (the "off-line meeting") made a sudden twist from embarrassing stuff to truly black humor (which I can apparently handle much better). Then again, the Multi Level Marketing arc returned to the idiocy being the source of the storyline (with stupidity being contagious this time).
The concept of the Story is excellent, dealing with interesting elements of (not only) Japanese society; it's just that you have to be able to like a hysterically silly presentation of depressing stuff. The lyrics of the first ED song are worth being read thoroughly.
The "magical turnaround from hikikomori to productive worker" may appear unrealistic but you actually don't know what you're capable of until you try - this might be the message of this series. Tatsuhiko hiding behind his hikikomori status and claiming to be unable to leave his room turned out to be fake early on in this show - it didn't take much to make him act and overcome his issue in order to help other people.
Technical attributes: Unimpressive Music and OP song, freaky first ED song (albeit suitable for anime theme and lyrics), too many jazzy tracks in the BGM for my taste; the music gets heavy on Blues during the final episodes, and for a reason.
Art is so-so, Animation is spectacular at times with its information overflow for the audience (it must have been hell to subtitle this series) but it's hard work to watch this show because of this.
The Characters were what cost this show a "Rent" rating. Most of them feel unreal: Tatsuhiko is obsessed with being a hikikomori (why else would he have signed that silly contract?), his a former club kouhai is obsessed with making eroge (galge) to commercially conquer the world (despite being a newbie without any achievements so far), Misaki-chan is obsessed with making Tatsuhiko her guinea pig for half-baked theories (insulting him while telling him she were about to raise his self-esteem?), and then there's the shy, paranoid pill-popper senpai pining for that boring Tatsuhiko for no apparent reason. In other words, a bunch of idiots. How can there be even one likable character?
Yes, the females look cute but that alone can't be sufficient, right? It's true that they all have their serious, even gloomy side but stupid behavior remains a significant characteristic of them nonetheless. That class rep, while being an interesting and surprising woman using cool techniques to achieve her goals, is not exactly "likable" either. Compare that to the characters of, say, Shin Seiki Evangelion (whose main theme isn't that different from this series by the way): Many of these are mentally deranged as well but they don't behave like idiots, they fight with all they have, and when they fail, you can feel for them. Where NGE was a character drama NHK ended up being a parody of itself, and that's a shame given this setting and story.
If Tatsuhiko had a tiny bit of brains (he obviously has read Freud's theories, his intellectual capacity shouldn't be zero) then the first thing to do should be questioning what agenda Misaki has early on... even more so when he actually believes in all that conspiracy stuff. Why would a cute and apparently capable girl like Misaki-chan attempt to spend lots of time (for whatever reason) with a hikikomori? (Other than this hikikomori being a handsome nice guy, making him anything but the prototypical hikikomori in the first place.) Why did she have so much spare time and no friends? But while being a tragic character of sorts, he permanently starts doing things without trying to think them through to the very end. As such he fails in his very role, thus damaging the whole scenario. And while Love Hina's Urashima Keitarou can overcome his horrible weakness of daydreaming weird fantasies with time, Tatsuhiko keeps that flaw until the very end.
His friend Yamazaki has major consistency issues: How can a guy who never got any allowance and had to rely on part-time jobs to earn money for his rent, living and school tuition have been able to purchase hundreds (if not thousands) of expensive otaku items without ever caring about money? And why would this guy attempt to complete his game at any cost while at the same time not believing in his chance and thus dumping his cute and understanding girlfriend ahead of time?
Misaki is the only consistent character in this show. She actually has an agenda and acts accordingly, with a fascinating consequence. Because of her, this show makes a significant turn to the better during the final couple of episodes, and in the end I don't regret having watched this show because of this.
But this strong ending is not sufficient for earning this show more than a "Watch" overall: It had five good episodes (all those dealing with death, strangely enough), a lot of comedy fillers and at least three that had me convulse with pain. So while this series was indeed an experience for me, it wasn't much fun.
I've watched a similar series earlier: NieA_7. This one shows a similar (albeit less intensive) view of Japanese society, and it makes use of similarly absurd comedy elements to lighten up the atmosphere that might be too gloomy otherwise.
Last updated Saturday, August 02 2008. Created Wednesday, July 30 2008.
NHK ni Youkoso!
Welcome to the NHK is a black comedy/ drama focused on our male lead Tatsuhiro Satou, a 23-year old college dropout who has isolated himself from the public at large living life as a hikikomori. He runs into a mysterious teenage girl named Misaki Nakahara who claims that she can cure him of his hikikomori ways and this kickstarts Satou's time with Misaki and several others he knew from his high school days that have their own varying personal problems that he winds up becoming entangled in.|
Outside of this being one of Gonzo's more better works quality wise, Welcome to the NHK is rather refreshing in its exploration of living life as a hikikomori through the eyes of Satou. While many anime titles nowadays tend to glorify living life as a NEET or hikikomori with their lead characters, NHK depicts that lifestyle through a more realistic lens as Satou is depicted as a mentally unstable and impulsive man-child with a deep fear for interacting with the outside world. He has his vices that he will give into such as online gaming, eroge games and downloading pornography to ease his boredom while isolated within his apartment. In addition, he gives into delusions of conspiracy to try blaming society at large for the problems he has with interacting with the outside world. His interactions with Misaki and others throughout the series lead him to gradually get over his social anxieties and come to grips with what he wishes to get out of life, while becoming entangled with the personal problems that each character brings along with them.
Showing just how pathetic Satou's character is makes up much of the black comedy to the series. The delusions that he has regarding his conspiracies and whatever thoughts he has of certain characters are both funny and sad. They are funny as said thoughts are rather over-the-top and get rather absurd, such as when Satou talks with talking electric appliances to go along with his delusions of a conspiracy leading him to be a hikikomori. At the same time, they are also rather sad as they believably depict just how low the man has gone with resorting to vices and delusions to escape from the hardships of everyday living.
The mentioned supporting characters in Satou's everyday life also get their fleshing out as we come to learn more of the personal problems each face. Issues such as child abuse, suicide and pyramid schemes are brought up in exploring the ordeals faced by Misaki and Satou's old classmates as hints are dropped of each character having more going on with them than what it would seem on the surface and arcs of the series are devoted to exploring their personal issues. The fact that NHK can explore touchy social issues in a realistic fashion while maintaining a decent balance of black comedy and drama makes it a unique title that sticks out rather prominently.
Visually, Welcome to the NHK is a bit on the average end for a 2006 title. For the most part, scenery and character designs have a decent amount of detail and shading applied to them with believable details to go along with the show's realistic focus. Characters move about in a fluid pace with no sign of noticeable shortcuts, though the animation is nowhere on par with high quality titles like Black Lagoon and Death Note made in that year. The animation does occasionally degrade in quality at points during the series with characters being off-model and movement looking a bit jerky during some animated sequences, this being quite noticeable during points in the show's nineteenth episode.
Having seen this years later, Welcome to the NHK sticks out quite a bit for an anime focused on a NEET/ hikikomori character. The series doesn't glorify the lifestyle as others of its ilk tend to do nowadays and offers a realistic and believable focus on the ordeals faced by such a person in the form of Satou. It also offers a good deal of focus on Misaki and other characters that the man interacts with as they also have their own personal issues that have to be addressed. If you are looking for a series that is strong on character exploration and offers a believable look in the hikikomori lifestyle, Welcome to the NHK is a strong title I would recommend you try out.
Last updated Friday, September 04 2015. Created Saturday, April 19 2008.
NHK ni Youkoso!
(All episodes watched--twice):|
It took me a long time to watch any of Welcome To The NHK. On the one hand I'd heard a lot of favorable comments about this show, while on the other it seemed to have a disturbing premise. So, I compromised and saved it to watch later on if I so wished. The kind of dark humor reminds me of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei which also dares to address the parts of Japanese culture which the country isn't particularly proud of. I had thought this would involve lots of seperate sub-stories about different people with a wide variety of mental illnesses (which was why I wasn't eager to watch), but in fact this has one main plotline with a relatively small cast that you can get to like. It's not nearly as dark as I'd feared; despite his problems, Tatsuhiro seems a likeable guy, and his meeting a cute girl who has an interest in his situation was intriguing. He doesn't seem to be nearly as messed up as I'd expected at first (his belief in the supposed NHK conspiracy seems half-hearted and is seldom mentioned), which is a relief. In fact, at times this show reminds me a good deal of Genshiken, and is one of the most amusing series I'm currently viewing. This is a witty, sophisticated show, which is evident from the way the episodes seem to end much too soon. Who wouldn't love the eroge video game, online RPG, and other otaku-themed story arcs? The longterm plot, involving Tatsuhiro and Misaki's states of mind, was a little uneven and difficult to take seriously; the people who make anime seldom seem to have much idea what the actual symptoms of emotional disorders are (even though I hear the original manga was partially an autobiography). For instance, the suggestion that once Hikikomoris are cut off from financial hand outs they'll immediately come round and become productive members of society--if only it was that easy. Maybe this ignorance is for the best. But the series as a whole was fun, and a pleasant surprise. I may well be rewatching it someday.
I stumbled across a mention of this show and decided to begin rewatching it. This is a comedy with a serious story to it, something which is rather rare. Or, You might say that this starts out as a comedy but gradually becomes a drama with some good jokes as well. I wish that the extent of the character's behavioral disorders had been made more clear. The makers seem to have had little idea what typical symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders are, and as a result the viewer can only guess whether those terms are appropriate at the moment or not. Characters seem to bounce back and forth from deeply disturbed to more-or-less normal overnight. How seriously does Satou really take the NHK conspiracy theory? It goes without mention for episodes at a time, and hardly seems to exercise a controlling effect on his life, yet at the very end it turns out that he wasn't just pretending. But this is a powerful show, with likeable characters struggling with problems that are not mentioned in polite society. The viewer doesn't come away feeling that the victims of various disorders have only themselves to blame and are getting what they deserve. I felt a little sad at the end, since it wasn't entirely a happy ending, but still was completely certain that watching NHK again had been a good idea. Too bad the fine details weren't tightened up a little, because it had the basic framework of a great story.
P.S: I really like the OP song; after watching an episode I often listen to it at the start of the next one as well.
Last updated Friday, September 26 2014. Created Wednesday, April 02 2008.
NHK ni Youkoso!
I wasn’t going to watch this series. Honest. The premise seemed too goofy and depressing. But there was a lot a buzz on the net about it, people who were excited about it without saying why, and I got curious.|
And that’s pretty much what the show is like: Goofy and depressing, both at the same time. The lyrics of Elanor Rigby kept popping into my head when I thought of how to describe what it was about.
All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
All the lonely people, where do they all belong?
But that doesn’t quite say it right, either, because it’s also a hopeful show, and a humorous one. Not "funny," really, but it’s about living on the darker side of Japanese society, and the show takes good advantage of the fact that all kinds of life, even that kind, has its humorous aspects.
The "hero" of the series is Saito Tetsuhiro, a college dropout and hikikomori for three years. (See the BBC link below for background on the syndrome.) Secluded in his apartment, wallowing in his hopelessness and indulging in blaming his condition on conspiracies, he answers a knock on his door to find a matronly woman and young girl distributing flyers on the dangers of hikikomori in the neighborhood. He frightens them away, but later the girl, Misaki Nakahara, returns and announces that she is making Saito her "grand project" and proposes to cure him of his condition.
The process is less a cure than the start of a chain reaction, as Saito’s life spins out of its isolated orbit and collides with others’, primarily those of people from his past: His high school class president, the girl from the school literary club, the underclassman he rescued from bullies. Each time our worthless hero stumbles into their lives, he thinks they can help save him, only to find out that their lives didn’t turn out much better than his. But in the process he somehow manages to help them just by trying to help himself.
I’m not sure what the series all adds up to exactly. Maybe it’s about how the clean, efficient, productive Japanese life has left behind these shady sub-cultures that can trap people. Maybe it’s about how simple human contact can show you how to free yourself from those traps. Maybe it’s about facing your inner demons and, if not vanquishing them, at least learning how to keep them locked up in the closet long enough to get on with your life. In any case, it’s an offbeat, thought-provoking, and entertaining series that I enjoyed watching a great deal. Strong rent rating.
Last updated Wednesday, January 31 2007. Created Wednesday, January 31 2007.
NHK ni Youkoso!
The first fansub episode is available on this very strange, surreal and paranoid series under the title of Welcome to the NHK. It is a commentary (or perhaps a parody) on the lifestyle of a small group of Japanese society. |
Here are a few important terms defined.....
Hikikomori or NEETs or Shut-ins – a term for those alienated and detached Japanese youth, but they are also associated with a potential for homicidal and violent behavior. (More info at - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori
NHK – Japan's primary public TV broadcasting company (and rumored to be at the center of many conspiracies – NOT).
For more information as to the manga series - see the very interesting summary at - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welcome_to_the_NHK!.
Last updated Tuesday, July 11 2006. Created Tuesday, July 11 2006.
|Rumored to be the Official Japanese Series Web Site||http://www.kadokawa.co.jp/hikky/|
|BBC article series on hikikomori||http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/correspondent/2334893.stm|