Welcome to the N.H.K.
All Welcome to the N.H.K. released episodes
Welcome to the Project!
Tatsuhiro Sato is woken up from his deluded dream of conspiracies, by his noisy neighbour playing loud anime music non-stop. All this could be put to an end if he'd just go next door to complain however Tatsuhiro is unable to do this because he is a “hikikomori”. He later meets a girl named Misaki, who will later change his life around.
Welcome to the Creator!
In the park late at night, Tatsuhiro meets Misaki who claims to be able to cure him of his hikikomori ways, as long as he signs up to her project. Tatsuhiro remains stubborn and decides to forget about it however Misaki doesn’t give up that easily. So in the spur-of-the-moment Tatsuhiro lies by telling her that he has a job as a “creator” but she doesn’t believe him and asks for proof.
Welcome to the Beautiful Girls!
By chance Tatsuhiro discovered that his noisy otaku neighbour was in fact an underclassman he knew from High School and they end up deciding to create an eroge (erotic game). Before this Tatsuhiro must first get some inspiration by trying out some eroge himself nonetheless he gets absorbed into the sordid world of bishoujo “beautiful girls”.
Welcome to the New World!
The eroge creating has begun however Tatsuhiro has writer’s block, as he is unable to come up with a scenario or a main heroine for it their eroge. So Kaoru drags him out to many otaku hotspots, like maid cafe, to help him come up with a heroine but this appears to be a new world to him.
Welcome to Counseling!
After 4 years and 4 months, Tatsuhiro has run into his old senpai from High School, Hitomi who now has become a civil servant. His reunion with Hitomi may have sparked something inside him, because now he feels the need to stop running away and to face his problems as a hikikomori. Now the counseling can begin.
Welcome to the Classroom!
Tatsuhiro is struggling with the scenario for his eroge but this has to wait as he has his 2nd counselling session with Misaki. During this session the subject of Kaoru’s girlfriend comes up, which comes as a shock for Tatsuhiro who never thought of him as the girlfriend type. To confirm this Tatsuhiro follows Kaoru to his design school, where he happens to get lost and ends up in a class for game writers.
Welcome to the Moratorium!
Ever since his panic attack at Kaoru’s designs school, Tatsuhiro has become even more of a hikikomori and hasn’t stepped out once. However something unexpected has happened as he receives a phone call from his mom, who’s wants to meet him to see what he has planned for the future. Tatsuhiro feels that he’ll just end up being dragged back home due to his current lifestyle, so he ends up lying to his mom that he works for a company and has a girlfriend. This will prove to be a very troublesome lie but luckily Misaki volunteers to help.
Welcome to China Town!
The day for Tatsuhiro’s mom to visit has come and he is totally unprepared, as his room is in such a state and requires intensive cleaning. When his mom arrives they all go out for lunch in Chinatown. Tatsuhiro begins to feel the guilt from lying to his mom and considers revealing the truth to her, nevertheless she may already be unto him and Misaki and their lies.
Welcome to a Summer Day!
Following the recent intimate moment that nearly occurred between Tatsuhiro and Misaki, Tatsuhiro just can’t seem to get her of his mind. With Summer vacation finally here, Kaoru invites Tatsuhiro to the Summer Comic Market however they first need to finish the eroge they started, in one months time.
Welcome to the Dark Side!
The day after the fireworks festival, Tatsuhiro and Kaoru are back to working on their eroge nonetheless Tatsuhiro’s love for Misaki has grown and it’s beginning to surface itself in different ways. One thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that he still doesn’t know a thing about Misaki and he begins to have paranoid thoughts that she is plotting against him, as a part of the NHK.
I have to admit that I have put off watching this anime for quite some time, despite having heard many good things about it. A series about an anti-social, unemployed otaku who apparently isn't in the best psychological state to boot? How interesting could an anime like this possibly be? But with nothing to do on a rainy Monday, I finally decided to give Welcome to the NHK! a chance to gain my approval. It did much more than that. It also managed to win over my heart with its loveable characters and my brain with the numerous philosophical questions it poses. I couldn't stop thinking about it for the next couple of days. I even had a dream about it - an amazing feat - considering not even my guilty pleasure, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, managed to accomplish that. As great as this series is, I must warn you ahead of time that it arguably isn't suitable for all age groups. And I'm not just talking about the occasional gratuitous fanservice or frequent sexual references and jokes. Frankly speaking, Welcome to the NHK! is a depressing anime. It will undoubtedly cause you to have cynical thoughts, and for those of you who already have a pessimistic outlook on life, it will probably make you even more cynical. Therefore, I would only be able to recommend this series to a mature audience, namely people who are over 18 and are currently enrolled in university/college or who have already joined the workforce. I am not saying that someone younger than 18 would not enjoy the series to the same degree that I did. I just feel like the series is more geared towards an older audience because it tackles numerous issues that often plague us young adults. Now that all the 'do not watch the anime if you are depressed' warnings are out of the way, it's time to get down to the details of why Welcome to the NHK! has managed to crawl its way up to #2 in my favourite animes list. This will probably be the longest section of the review, for a good reason. Welcome to the NHK! is truly a story-driven anime. And by story, I don't necessarily mean plot, because its method of story-telling is not conventional by any means. Realistically speaking, Welcome to the NHK! doesn't have many elements that would normally make you want to watch an anime. It doesn't have flashy fight sequences, bubbly romantic scenes, or any of the melodrama that seems to be omnipresent in most of the popular slice-of-life animes. So what IS it about? Simply put, it's a story about life without any Hollywood-inspired drama. And it manages to depict the struggles of the protagonist, as well as those of numerous side characters, to find their footing in the most realistic manner possible. Put dramatic masterpieces like Clannad: After Story aside for the sake of truly enjoying this series. The story follows Satou Tatsuhiro, a dysfunctional college drop out, as he, sometimes humourously, battles numerous social problems one after the other. He sleeps his days away, indulges in alcohol, smoking, and junk food, and has not left his apartment for three years. Faced with constant paranoia that a secret organization, the N.H.K., is conspiring against him to make his life as miserable as possible, Satou desperately searches for a way to escape his hikkomori ways. One day, a mysterious girl named Misaki Nakahara shows up, and offers to help him change his life, on the condition that he signs a contract to participate in a 'project' that she is conducting. What follows is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs and twists and turns as Satou struggles to find a purpose in his seemingly meaningless life. What makes Welcome to the NHK! such a successful series is that it manages to tell a story on two completely different levels. I think most people watch the series expecting a unique blend of romance, comedy, and drama. If you are one of these people, you won't be disappointed, because Welcome to the NHK! delivers. I honestly can't say how many times I couldn't stop myself from laughing out loud during the series, and while the humour is occasionally bizarre and sometimes even borderline black comedy, it is thoroughly delightful to watch. On the other side of the spectrum, we have the drama. As I have already discussed, the drama is extremely realistic and never forced for the sake of inciting an emotional response. Admittedly, there are numerous scenes in the anime that are genuinely painful to watch, not because of the addition of uplifting music or moving dialogue, but rather because they are so believable that you could easily imagine yourself in a similar situation. As a result, these scenes truly touched my heart and allowed me to empathize, and not sympathize, with the characters. Hopefully, they will have a similar effect on those of you who choose to watch the anime. Finally, we have the budding romance between Satou and Misaki. Although the least important and least used of the three main story elements, it is a welcome addition to the plot that certainly enhances the enjoyability of the series. I'm not going to lie; I honestly think that the romantic scenes in Welcome to the NHK! were done far better than those in some romance-centered animes. Like the drama, it is genuine but never exaggerated, heart-warming but never, for the lack of a better word, cheesy. As much as I hate to admit it for the sake of my manliness, I wish that the series had focused more on the romantic relationship between Satou and Misaki because my heart went all doki-doki whenever I saw them together. There, I said it. But Welcome to the NHK! has even more to offer. Setting all the drama, comedy, and romance aside, you're left with a realistic and insightful depiction of the numerous social problems that exist in Japanese culture. It is difficult to discuss these problems in detail without some unintentional spoilers, so I will simply say that the story examines some of Japan's most dysfunctional sub-cultures, including, evidently, hikkomoris, but also otakus, MMORPG fanatics, and even suicide cults. Satou finds himself entangled with the endeavours of all of these groups and, through having to deal with the consequences of his actions, gains invaluable insight on the direction he should be heading in his life. Since Satou becomes involved in all of these social circles, the audience is, consequently, presented with an up close and personal portrayal of seemingly distant concepts, hopefully providing some degree of understanding and justification. So far, I have only been praising the series. However, I do have some small complaints, one of which is that the comedy sometimes feels out of place. Don't get me wrong; I love how the series succeeded in portraying such serious issues in a humourous light. But too many times did I find myself with a sinking feeling in my chest, on the verge of crying, only to be interrupted by an absurd but hilarious comment by Satou or one of his epically funny faces. I think the most inappropriate of these comedic moments occurred during the climax in the final episode. I expected to see a touching and emotional scene coupled with dramatic music and hopefully, some romantic action, but I instead received an absurd sequence where Satou, once again, rambles on about how the sinister N.H.K is the root of all evil in the world and eventually does something equally absurd. Ugh, way to get me all worked up for nothing.Another issue I have with the anime lies with the unfolding of the plot itself. The story is divided into several arcs that, while seemingly unrelated, all contribute to the building of Satou's character and eventually lead to a 'resolution' at the end of the series. However, I felt as if the story occasionally lacked a sense of direction. The problem with having a mix of light-hearted and funny episodes to contrast the dramatic and heart-wrenching episodes is that, at times, you become unsure of what exactly the anime is trying to accomplish. This isn't much of a complaint, as I honestly think the pacing of the story was excellent. Perhaps my critical side is just forcing itself out. To sum it all up, Welcome to the NHK! has something to offer to everyone. For serious anime watchers, it provides insightful commentary on issues not normally tackled in mainstream media, and for the more light-hearted anime watcher, its nice blend of romance, comedy, and drama makes for a delightfully enjoyable ride all the way through.In contrast to the story, the animation is, at best, average. There isn't anything unique about the character or environment design that is worth mentioning. While I did particularly enjoy the sequences that featured Satou's dreams and delusions (seeing Misaki with various sharp objects as arms was probably one of my favourite moments of the series), there really aren't many opportunities to showcase any innovative animation because of the nature of the series. There are some occasional animation mishaps, but they aren't noticeable enough to affect the overall enjoyability, especially if you consider that the technical elements of the series were clearly not where the studio devoted most of its attention and effort. In addition, this is my first series by this particular animation studio, so it wouldn't be fair for me to compare the animation in Welcome to the NHK! to that of other Gonzo animes. I must say that I was thoroughly impressed with the seiyuu performances, especially considering the fact that the seiyuus of the two central characters (Satou and Misaki) are not at all high-profile and have had little experience with voice acting. Look them up on here if you don't believe me. They, in addition with the rest of the cast, put on an impressive performance that is almost never lacking in emotion or vigour.As for the soundtrack of the series, there is not much to say. None of the insert songs really caught my eye (or in this case, ear), but all of them did help establish an appropriate mood that corresponded to the atmosphere of the scenes. I didn't even find the supposedly addictive "Purupuru Pururin" theme song very catchy, but I suppose everyone has different musical tastes. Unfortunately, the version of the series I watched had all the opening and ending sequences omitted, and I am far too lazy to go out of my way to watch and critique them. Why go into such meaningless details when the story itself is so superb? For a series that lasts a lengthy 24 episodes, Welcome to the NHK! doesn't really present us with a diverse collection of characters. There were very few side characters as well, something that may seem unsual to some anime watchers. While series with numerous main characters have been proven to work under the right circumstances (Fate/Zero and Baccano! are great examples), Welcome to the NHK!'s modest cast allows for a greater degree of depth that ultimately leads to the creation of three-dimensional, true-to-life characters with relatable sentiments and motivations. The first character who I will discuss in detail is Satou Tatsuhiro, the protagonist of the story. Satou fits the description of a hikkomori perfectly. He is anti-social to the extent that he rarely leaves his apartment because he feels uncomfortable around other people. Even in his high school days, the only person with whom he interacts on a regular basis is his senpai. He is shown to have a cynical but apathetic outlook on life and people in general, and his inability to adapt and change himself is ultimately what causes him to venture further and further down the path of social alienation. When he finally does realize that he needs to do something about his life, he is unable to accept it emotionally, which leads him to indulge in various other anti-social activities, forming the basis for most of the story. Satou also finds it impossible to relate to anybody else in the world besides his senpai, as demonstrated by the delusional sequences where he ventures outside, only to be ridiculed by the people (and even animals) on the streets. The 'beauty' of Satou's character is that the mannerisms he exhibits are not at all unfamilar to us young adults growing up in the twenty-first century. It goes without saying that some of us will be able to see a bit of ourselves in Satou. Forgive me if I am making unjustified assumptions, but I guarantee that all of us have, at some point during our lives, wondered about our true purpose in this vast universe. I am sure we have all gone through a stage during which we hated the world because we believed no one understood us. Satou's thoughts and actions may be, for the most part, portrayed in an exaggerated fashion, but his character, along with his struggles, shed some light on the problems we face in our everyday lives, as much as we may be unwilling to admit it. While Satou is clearly the star of the show with his adorably quirky character and mannerisms, another character manages to steal the spotlight from him on numerous occasions. Her name is Misaki Nakahara, and she is a mysterious girl who seems to know more about Satou than he would be comfortable sharing with anybody other than his senpai. Yet she maintains an enigmatic personality throughout the series and doesn't tell him anything about her own past. She claims to be able to help Satou escape from his social isolation, and her idealistic nature is something that sets her apart from most of the characters in the series. The two begin a valuable relationship, and it becomes clear that she develops romantic feelings for him over time. She even goes so far as to personally take care of him and make meals for him when his parents cut off his allowance. Morever, the only thing she expects from him is recognition. On the surface, she seems like every guy's perfect girl - a girl with truly pure intentions who probably does not exist in the real world. If she were truly as perfect as she seems, I honestly wouldn't be able to like her as much as I do. Thankfully, she isn't perfect at all. Forgive me for spoiling the story a bit, but the reason why she was intially willing to help Satou is that she pities him. It would be an understatement to say that she's had a rough past, and it pleases her to know that there's someone who is worse off than her. As altruistic as she appears, she is truly selfish in nature because she offers him a helping hand for the sake of making herself feel better. I must also say that I quite enjoyed Kaoru Yamazaki's character as well. Like Satou, he is also rather socially isolated, and he indulges himself with anime and eroge games. But while his extremely obsessive and perverted nature, if exhibited in an indivual in the real world, is enough to make anyone cringe in disgust, he is ultimately a respectable character with realistic aspirations who, unfotunately, falls victim to the many distractions present in today's society.Upon finishing the series, it is easy to see that Welcome to the NHK! boasts some of the most well-developed, realistic, and memorable characters in the history of anime, adding to the overall value of an already remarkable and original series. I want to thank all of you who actually took the time to read through this review. If you still aren't convinced that watching Welcome the the NHK! would be an efficient way to spend 8 hours of your life, I honestly have nothing more to say. Welcome to the NHK! is an absolute MUST-watch for any college-aged anime fan. You NEED to watch it in order to understand the sheer potential of this form of media. Who knows? It might even end up changing your life. I think the best way to conclude this review is to discuss the ending of the anime. I have heard many complaints about how the series didn't have the cliché "happily ever after" ending. As much as I would have enjoyed a happy ending, it simply does not fit with the message that the writers were trying to convey. There are rarely any happy endings in reality, because life is a constant struggle. In each stage of our lives, we are faced with challenge after challenge, and it is only those who have the strength to carry on that are ultimately able to find their happy endings.
**Introduction** A review on anime heavily based on psychological and social problems is no small feat. Even so, taking a concept of a hikikomori and fully fleshing out its various symptoms onto one concise package is an even bigger feat. This anime is yet another one of those productions that is coined under the phrase "Greatest Anime Ever", does this anime live up to this name or does its flaws take away this glorious title? What more can I say than: **Story** This series is not by any means basic or generic when it comes to plot. At it's core, this is a production that introduces the viewer to the concept of being a hikikomori and the mental/social issues that revolve around it. This is done through the interactions between the hikikomori 22 year old Tatsuhiro Satou and the various characters that crosses his path. Since it is psychological in it's nature, the characters that surround Satou's life all have their separate personal traumas and issues. These issues would later form as a cornerstone for the arcs within N.H.K. They signify hurdle for Satou to conquer and ultimately progress in curing his hikikomori condition. In terms of pacing, N.H.K is done acceptably so you as the viewer should not get lost and will be able to hold attention. This is especially true if you can connect with what is being portrayed like I was, being sucked in the world of the N.H.K and having to ask yourself, is everything around me really a conspiracy, is it all a ruse put on by my "friends and family" to ultimately destroy or debilitate my life? Often it is this same connection with the viewer which will draw you in closer and have you wanting more. The conclusion of the story is not one of happy skies and colorful rainbows, but it's one of a exceedingly gray sky and clouds with silver linings. Ultimately, even if it fell a bit short, it proves its self satisfying, satisfying that you the viewer was able to connect with the main character and the series of events that unfolded before him. **Animation** Welcome to the N.H.K began in the summer season of 2006. This is to give a general idea of what the animation quality is like if you are an avid anime viewer. However it would be dishonest of me not to point out this iteration's shortcomings. The show shines rightfully so in most episodes however for others, the animation takes an absolute nosedive. This is especially apparent in episodes 4 and 17. It is not so bad in the rest but you can pick up the noticeable drop in quality in the various episodes. All that said, the drops in quality is not constant and will not take away too much from the full experience. Other than those little nitpicks, the animation is acceptable for such an anime in this genre. Let's put it this way, if this was a constant action, flashy explosions and blood everywhere anime, then any drops in animation would have been a BIG problem but thankfully this isn't so in this case. **Sound** The sound design in Welcome to N.H.K fits its genre well and accomplishes to set the mood perfectly. In my memory, there was no out of place musical pieces or sound effects that felt out of place during it's course. The music did well to help you feel tense or downright feel the depression seeping through the screen. There is a particular piece that plays throughout the series which in my view, defined N.H.K as a series. Whenever you hear it, you will know what I'm talking about. The serious and comedic moments all had their various pieces and fit well to whatever situation the characters were in. The soundtrack is not a masterpiece but it stayed a relevant and an important part of the N.H.K. **Character** This is what would make or break this type of anime as a series. In the event that the characters were one dimensional and completely uninteresting, the show would not have the merits it has today. Indeed this is where Welcome to the N.H.K shined. It introduces our protagonist, Satou who has been a hikikomori for 4 years and had no plans to stop. Day after day he stayed in his apartment doing nothing but sleep and eat. This would come to a stop when a mysterious girl suddenly tells him that she can help his condition. The story takes its course and Satou begins to be counselled by 18 year old, Misaki Nakahara. She takes it upon herself to fix his condition and is seemingly harmless but in reality this is actually a ruse to conceal her deep rooted mental issues that rivals or is even larger than Satou's. Another integral character to Satou's development was his next door neighbor Kauro Yamazaki. He is an otaku by nature and damn proud of it, a bit too proud however. His bad temper is his bad point and underneath lies deeper social issues rooted in him from youth. The last character I will discuss is Satou's high school upperclassman Hitomi Kashiwa. Her character is an interesting one especially when it became apparent to me that she was the catalyst that instilled the very values into Satou that made him the way he was. She, like almost everyone on the cast has major issues. She is almost always depressed and believes everything is a conspiracy by an evil corporation called the N.H.K, which will later plague Satou's life (or so he believes). These characters all develop and deal with their issues to an extent which can only leave the viewer satisfied. I say satisfied because it's not something overly too happy but one that makes the viewer be happy they were able to make it through. The same can be said for the ending and Satou's life thereafter. **Enjoyment and Overall** How many series do you know can affect you emotionally and leave lasting questions that boggles the mind? This is what Welcome to the N.H.K did for me. Personally, as a fresh graduate and one who has his own issues, N.H.K impacted on me with every passing episode. It doesn't have eye-melting action scenes nor does it have masterpiece level sound design but why did I enjoy it so much nonetheless? You mean I enjoyed it even though I was literally ripping my hair apart because of the character's behavior and decisions? Yes, I did. The reason for this is because I could put myself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling, I did not think of them as 2-D animation, I saw them as humans who had their own aspirations and issues to deal with. I believe for someone thinking about watching N.H.K, this is what this show will do for you. I asked at the beginning of this review, does it deserve the mantle as one of the greatest anime ever? I humbly say yes to this question. It takes a fresh new concept and does not rush, it takes the time to introduce it's characters and develops them through out the show and comes at a satisfying close. This genre is not something you see everyday and I implore you, the viewer to give it a try. Now, without further ado, I'll give Welcome to the N.H.K, a humble **9/10**.
I'm just an average everyday watcher, so take what you read with a grain of salt.So NHK ni Youkoso! or "Welcome to the NHK" for us English speakers, is a slice of life psychological anime about Satou Tatsuhiro. He's a 22 year old, unemployed "hikikomori" living on his own. He hasn't talked to another person for about a year, and hasn't left his apartment for 4 years. He believes an evil organization known as the NHK has doomed him to this fate of being an anti-social loser. One day, he comes into contact with a young girl named Misaki, who claims she can cure his hikikomori disease and make him a productive member of society. From there, literally EVERYTHING that could go wrong, does, and it's amazing.Basically, NHK has 4 main characters, Satou and Misaki being 2 of them. Also, there is Satou's old Classmate Hitomi, who believes in the NHK and conspiracies just as much, if not more than Satou. Then there is Yamazaki, another school acquaintance of Satou's who just happens to live next to him, and also just so happens to be a fanatical misogynist and otaku. Satou and his friends get mixed up in everything from pyramid schemes, to porn addiction to hentai games, and that's just the tip of the iceberg! Even though all the main characters are very messed up and sometimes even despicable, we can all find something we relate to in them, and the struggles they go through. While the show does have a lot of comedy, it also has a lot of drama and often t's hard to tell if what you are watching IS comedy, drama, or both!The art in this show is good for the most part. The characters are well designed, move realistically (for the most part) and have very detailed and expressive faces, looking more run down than a lot of other animes, fitting with the tone. However, there are times where the animation goes for good, to flat out horrible, with characters turning into caricatures of their former selfs and not moving so much as teleporting from place to place. It is clear they didn't use their budget wisely. But, it's not unwatchable, and once again, the majority of the time the show looks just fine.The music is fantastic, the soundtrack is only beat out by Cowboy Bebop as one of my favourites. Songs are used repeatedly throughout the show, but they all sound great, are used at the right time, and never overtake what is happening onscreen, only enhancing it. The score reminds me of something I'd hear in an indie movie. The first opening and ending themes are amazing too, and the second ones are also pretty good.The subject matter of this anime is VERY questionable. This is definitely not a show you want to show to kids, and some adults may even be turned off by it for how disturbing and perverse it can be. The show pokes fun at porn, MMORPGS, and of course, otakus. When you've made an anime that calls out it's main demographic, you've got some balls! The anime is so hell bent on sending a message that it almost becomes a subversion of slice of life anime, which I can totally get behind!Overall, Welcome to the NHK is an all around amazing series. It's got the addictiveness and watch-ability of a slice of life, but has a lot of substance behind it. It can go from disturbing to heartwarming to funny to sad, and sometimes all within the same episode! At 24 episodes, it's worth a watch.
An absurdist, black comedy drama, <em>Welcome to the N.H.K. </em>is about the life of a hikikomori (social shut-in) named Tatsuhiro Satou. By pure chance, Tatsuhiro’s daily shut-in life is forever changed by a girl named Misaki Nakahara, who seems to know almost everything about him. From then on, Tatsuhiro begins to encounter new and old friends from long ago, running into new problems that seem to connect to together, one way or another. But is it truly because of the luck of the draw that all this happened? Tatsuhiro is under the impression that all of Japan is part of a large conspiracy organization known as the N.H.K.; the Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai (Japan Hikikomori Association) under the facade of the Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) bent on creating more and more hikikomori through the use of otaku media. Tatsuhiro will learn about the world beyond his front door, how to heal his hikikomori condition, and how the people around him deal with their problems in different ways. <em>N.H.K. </em>at its best is a cynical and skeptical drama about the interaction between Tatsuhiro and the people around him, who some through various ways are connected to each other. Obviously, the plot revolves around the life of a hikikomori, but also goes through themes such as death, suicide, religion, and absurdism (the belief that individual life has no meaning). The show keeps a melancholy tone throughout most of the show, while offering comedic relief through the use of the above themes as basis for the humor, hence black comedy. <em>N.H.K </em>features the lifestyle of several different people living depressing or lonely lives, with Tatsuhiro as the center of all of them. The human interaction between the characters and dialogue in the conversations reveals the cynical aspect of life that the efforts an individual puts forth will ultimately lead to a pointless end, and that the effort to even try anything in the first place is pointless. The moral message is that everyone has their own problems, regardless of the magnitude or quantity of them, and unfortunately their efforts to solve them are hindered because of the show’s expression of cynicism, skepticism, and absurdism. Every character in <em>N.H.K </em>is used well. There are no true expendable side characters but rather minor characters, as they all play a part in progressing the story, and expressing the personal and inner thoughts and reactions of the major characters. The plot is dynamic and utilizes the characters to fit in well. <em>Welcome to the N.H.K. </em>is a unique show that uses black comedy to talk about the touchiest of subjects in life through the depressing and lonely lives of the people in it, and how interaction between them can make all the difference in the world. Honestly, after I watch this anime I got a bit depressed because at that time I'm a shut in because I stopped in school for about 1 and a half year. It was a life changing experience.
**Lately, I seem to find myself watching many shows that are all very character-driven in nature.** By this, I mean the shows that have little or no real storyline, and rely solely on the quality of the characters to push themselves forward. **Welcome to the NHK** is a *very* good example of one of those anime. Shall we begin? <u>The STORY:</u> Let us start off with the story! Now, like I mentioned earlier, NHK is a very character driven show, so there isn't as much story to be told as there would be with other anime, but I'll try to give you the best description I can. Tatsuhiro Sato is a hermit living alone in a small apartment in his early twenties. He avoids all encounters with the outside world, and has stayed completely indoors the majority of the past 3 years of his life, after dropping out of college. He relies on his parent's cash, due to a lack of employment, and is looked down upon by most. That's when Misaki shows up at his front door. She is an energetic teenager who has created a program to help cure hermits, or "hikkikomori," of their social issues. And, guess what? The first person she decided to test the program on is... (you guessed it) **SATO!!!!!** This plot then pulls the show through many different arcs, most of which last around 2-4 episodes, but none of them are all that complex or confusing, and I enjoyed all of them. The show is well paced, with the wonderful "not-too-fast-but-not-snoringly-boringly-slow" kind of pacing that makes this show relaxing most of the time, with occasional peaks, supplemented by a killer soundtrack, (but we'll talk about that later on, right?) NHK, while sometimes being very lighthearted and simple, likes to use a lot of very dark humor, and it's funny stuff, especially near the beginning f the show. It's the kind of humor that doesn't like to hold itself back, which I tend to love in shows like NHK, in which most everyone is crazy in one way or another. <u>The ANIMATION:</u> UP NEXT: The animation. The horrible, wobbly, fluctuating mess of pictures that Gonzo likes to call animation. Yeah. It's Gonzo. WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE F\*\*\*\*\*G *GONZO?!?!?* Right... now that I'm finished with my raging, let's continue with the review. I'm probably being too harsh on the animation for this series, but for the entirety of the anime most of it peaks at just above average*.* The thing is, it really doesn't matter that much how NHK looks. You're not watching this for the animation anyway. NHK is about it's comedy and it's characters, not about it's appearance. And, it of course, occasionally does impress, but it's not consistent enough to call it good animation by any means. <u>The SOUND:</u> Geez, are we already on to the sound? Well, I suppose that's a good thing, because I am quite a fan of Welcome to the NHK's soundtrack. The majority of it just consists of strummed guitar chords and light drumming to match the calm and relaxing dialogue scenes, but there are a few tracks that I find to stand out far more than the others. The one you found at the top of this review page was one of them, but my absolute favorite track is this one... Like, you know some **serious shit** is going down when this plays. There are some other tracks that play that also stand out, but I'm not going to bother naming them. *Just go look up the OST.* It's nice to listen to when doing things like writing anime reviews. If you're wondering whether to watch it Subbed or Dubbed, I'm going to tell you go go with the English dub, unless of course you are already biased the other way, in which case you were probably already planning to watch it subbed anyways. The one major turn-off about the dub that I found when I first started watching the show was that Greg Ayres is in the cast, but he does a surprisingly good job of not sounding horrible as Yamazaki. Also, Sato's English VA, Chris Patton, needs more roles. He's amazing. I don't think there are many problems with the original subs either, though, so, watch it any way you like, I guess. The opening isn't much to talk about, although it does have an interesting style, but I found both endings to be, despite their differences, awesome. Especially the first one. Like, WTF? Dancing blue people? WHY THE F\*\*K NOT? <u>The CHARACTERS:</u> On to the Character portion of the review! I'm going to go over the main cast one by one, so be patient with me here. First off, we have... <strong> Tatsuhiro Sato. </strong>The main character. This guy is the king of all hermits. And conspiracy theorists. And NEETs. He's rather Skeptical of most people and what they say, mostly because of him being a conspiracy theorist who has barely spoken to anyone in a few years. His social skills are.. let's say... a bit rough. He doesn't always understand what people are trying to say to him, and he often has emotional breakdowns during which he can't handle the emotional stress of being part of society. He's a bit lazy, but overall is quite likeable. We see a lot of character development with Sato, as would be expected throughout a show like NHK. One thing people may dislike about this guy is his ability to make absolutely stupid decisions sometimes. It's a good thing he has two other main characters to help him out! **Next up is Misaki Nakahara.** This girl is rather lonely, and spends most of her time with her Aunt and Uncle, whom she lives with. Despite this, she is full of energy, and, with nothing better to do, spends most of her free time around Sato. She developed the supposedly flawless help program that is supposed to help cure Sato. She spends the majority of this anime shrouded in mystery, and we never really get to find out more about her character until the end of the show. <strong>Finally, we have Kaoru Yamazaki. </strong>This guy is an Otaku. Pretty much sums up many of his actions. He's Sato's neighbor, and has known him for many years. He's currently going to a game creation college in Tokyo, and knows all the ins and out of the Otaku world. He can be harsh, and like Sato, very skeptical, but his intentions are (usually) good. He's got a small drinking problem, so he's drunk the majority of the time, which helps us see his true personality and thoughts over his controlled, reserved one that he likes to use most of the time. The characters of this show are very deep and realistic, which really helps you connect with them when shit gets bad. I loved the supporting cast as well, even though some of them can be ridiculously evil sometimes. What's interesting is that every character in this show has some kind of problems, whether they be with family, money, or work. They help the show delve into a darker level of storytelling, and remind the viewer of how harsh the world can be if you're not careful. <u>ENJOYMENT and OVERALL SCORE:</u> Overall, I loved every minute of Welcome to the NHK. Its dark humor and moral messages sent through characters who are all messed up in some way or another make it unique and awesome to watch. Maybe it was just that I liked the scenes in which Sato is talking to his appliances, or maybe it was the Psychological depth of the show, but this whole thing was just awesome. Unfortunately, many moments of the experience are tarnished by Gonzo's lazy animators, which lowers the score by a small bit. Still, the final score for Welcome to the NHK is an absolutely spectacular 9**/10.**
It rare to find anime that can be so realistic and relatable. Welcome the the N.H.K. is an slice of life, drama,comedy about guy just trying to find out where he fits in world. The anime discusses themes like friendship, love, pyramid schemes, RPG games, suicide packs, and hentai, yes hentai. The characters in N.H.K all are developed well an serves their purposes I felt the bromance between Sato & Yamazaki is one of the best in an anime. The story is also pretty engaging and pretty depressing at times I do feel the end was rushed as well but it has a good story. The english dub is also a good with Chris Patton (Sato) and Greg Ayres (Yamazaki). Overall, Welcome to the N.H.K. is great slice of life anime that shows different view points of an Otaku life style.
So i watched Welcome to the N.H.K.... Nothing makes me feel shittier than watching Tatsuhiro Satō be Tatsuhiro Satō. It quite personally is one of my favorite Anime due to the deep psychological elements and fascinating characters. **Animation - 4.5** Pretty shotty actually, very inconsistent but that doesn't get in the way of the story. **Sound - 8** Personally one of my favorite soundtracks, it fits the series beautifully. **Characters - 8.5** Without a doubt the strongest element of the entire show. **Story - 8.5** It is a very character driven story and because the characters are strong so is the story. **Enjoyment - 8.75** It's a show that makes you think, but also manages to throw in some dry humor. **Overall - 8.25** Even with the spotty animation this doesn't fail to be one of the more deeper shows I've seen. The great characters coupled with a extremely well fitting soundtrack makes this quite a bone chilling experience to see how low one man can go. It is currently licensed by FUNimation and is available on their website for streaming or Netfix for those of you that have it.
Here is my official review of Welcome to the N.H.K That was released on my YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfojRwCEst8 Please keep in mind that Hummingbird's grading system is different from my own. I tried to make it as close as possible. Either way, i hope you enjoy :)
*No spoilers, aside from one pre-warned section. Read on without fear.* Welcome to the NHK is one of those anime that is nearly always considered a staple for a fan. The reasons for this are twofold: the anime is genuinely good, but moreover, many viewers will be able to relate to the protagonist, Satou. You see, Satou is a NEET (Not in Employment, Education, or Training), instead living alone in an apartment paid for by his parents, staving off his major depression after dropping out of college a few years before. Now, I’m not going to deal in absolutes here, but let’s face it: this is probably not too far from many anime fans’ (no, I will not use the word “otaku” as a synonym) situation. Even if it’s not the case for currently or ever in the past, you can probably imagine it. This is why it gets a reputation for “hitting too close to home,” and some people drop it after a few episodes simply because of the discomfort it causes them because of the resemblance to their own lives. Anime is a form of escapism, after all. But this one has a tendency to send a portion of the audience away looking for a rope and a sturdy anchor point. I’m going to convince you why it’s worth sitting through Welcome to the NHK, even if it hits you hard. **Story** - **9/10** As mentioned above, Satou’s life is going nowhere, until one day a chance meeting introduces him to Misaki, a high school girl who inexplicably wants to help Satou rise from the ashes and become a functioning member of society. Demanding that he meet her in the park every night for counseling, she quickly becomes an integral part of his life, as does his next door neighbor and high school acquaintance, Kaoru. Satou is pulled out into the world, and what he finds is almost never positive. His plans tend to backfire on him to great effect, usually leaving him in a state of emotional and financial ruin. NHK is almost unarguably a very pessimistic anime, constantly projecting an image of a world that is vicious and unforgiving. The vicious world which constantly crushes Satou is, at least in his own mind, controlled by an evil organization called the “Nihon Hikkikomori Kyoukai” or by my own translation, “Japan’s Shut-in Organization.” The terrible things that happen to him are all eventually blamed on this non-existant entity, and Satou goes so far as to hallucinate about appliances speaking to him about it, as well as seeing its “members” on a regular basis. The story itself is split into parts, with a few episodes dedicated to a certain event with a number of longer-running plotlines. This works well in that the viewer can watch this show as quickly or as slowly as they want, without becoming bored in a marathon or forgetting too much after setting it down for a time. As I mentioned, there is a lot for many to relate to in Welcome to the NHK, from pyramid schemes to years of unrequited love. Satou always falls victim, and the studio does a great job allowing you to take a seat in Satou’s place, to sympathize with him, to feel his pain and the consequences alongside him. This anime feels so believable, and because of that, it will hurt you all the more. It has one of my favorite, and best written, full stories that I’ve experienced. The observant reader will note that I have not given the story a perfect score, and there is a good reason: there are a few minor flaws which can significantly hamper the experience. To me, there were times when I felt ripped from the story by something that just didn’t fit. Please note, the remainder of the “Story” section will contain spoilers. --- The first moment I felt pulled away was the explanation of Satou’s high school life. Here, he acts completely out of character, despite stating that he hadn’t changed much as a person since then. This arc is necessary to introduce Hitomi, a girl in the literature club who plays a major role in the story, and is the reason why Satou sees so much of the world as a conspiracy. It also gives reference to how Satou knows Kaoru. There are two moments in the introductions of these characters which make no sense at all. The first is that in the introduction of Hitomi, after some long period of time of doing nothing but playing cards with her after school, it is heavily implied that they have sex. I say heavily implied, because even on my 3<sup>rd</sup> rewatch of this anime, I have never once heard it stated, and only one scene goes far enough to even imply that they have some sort of intimate contact, even a kiss. I will therefore defer this action to every wiki article ever, or the novel (which I have never read), and assume that this action does indeed take place because everyone seems to know about it but me. Neither party really had any feelings for the other at the time, both were incredibly introverted to the point of having no other friends (and perhaps not even considering each other as such), and there is no trigger for it other than Hitomi’s graduation or lack of sanity. It simply would not make any sense, and the only reason I can think of for them to imply/state this is that it may make Satou attracted to Hitomi later, which could have been explained without such a crude and out of place action. The other outlier is Satou’s defense of Kaoru when he is being beaten up one day. Despite Satou’s passive, selfish personality, he jumps to his aide and gets knocked around himself. I can only assume this is a plot device allowing Kaoru to become his friend on the spot when they later meet. If these two details were corrected, I would say the story is about as close to perfect as it can get. **Animation - 7/10** Welcome to the NHK was created by Gonzo and released in 2006. Unfortunately, its art style makes it feel a bit more dated than it really is, but the anime is still produced well. There is no lack of detail in whether character design or the backgrounds, although I must say than many character designs feel quite generic. Animation itself seemed to be okay, but in the interest of full disclosure, it was hard to really tell. My standard methods of looking at animation and color pallet are on a 120hz TV with an input locked at 24fps; in layman’s terms, the animation should be buttery smooth, as there is no dropdown conversion which produces the stutter many of you may see during panning scenes if you watch anime on a 60hz monitor. I also watch on a 60hz PLS color-corrected monitor that does double duty in showing me the “average viewing experience” as well as the truest possible colors. In both of these applications, and with 3 different encodes, I experienced a strange blurring effect, more or less ghosting images during panning or certain movement sequences. This makes it impossible to judge fluidity fairly, but from what I saw, it was fine. This ghosting has never shown up in another media file. The anime is old enough where you won’t be watching it for its looks, anyway. **Sound - 8/10** The OP, Puzzle, is often found atop the favorite OP lists I see, and for good reason. It was sung by Round Table featuring Nino, and they do a superb job. There are several outstanding backing tracks, especially when things really go downhill for Satou, such as “Youkoso! Hitori Bocchi” (Welcome, Solitude!). Voice acting is good for both the English and Japanese voice casts. Because I feel a bit more qualified to pick at English, my only complaints would be the occasional cheesy proununciations from Kaoru’s voice actor, and that Misaki’s had a few moments where the emotion just wasn’t behind some important lines. Overall, a great backing soundtrack and two good casts means that sub or dub fans can each have their pick. **Characters - 9/10** I like to think that if you added up all the best points from the main cast of NHK, you would have one sane person. As it is, though, I think that’s wishful thinking. My best advice would be to buy a “Psychology for Dummies” book and start flipping through as you learn how crazy each and every one of them are. Even if the cast could have been randomly selected patients out of the waiting room for compulsory intensive therapy, they are, overall, a likable and believable bunch. Let’s start with Satou. Always reserved, he becomes a shut-in after dropping out of college due to issues with grades and social interaction. Ever since, he developed a fear of people, and would only leave his apartment for the barest of necessities and to go to a park and think. He is constantly depressed, often to the level of contemplating suicide, and his agoraphobia precludes him from being able to hold even a part-time job until Misaki steps in. Satou is a bold insert character. Let me explain. Most characters that the viewer is meant to project into are cookie-cutter, gutless protagonists with no personalities. This way, it is easier for the viewer to “take their place” and imagine themselves in the story. Satou is not like this in any way; he is well developed, and his personality leaves no room for you to project your own. This is because this anime’s target audience is already so like Satou, or can imagine themselves becoming like him, that it is completely unnecessary to make a hollow character. Even if one has nothing to do with his lifestyle, he is incredibly well written (save for the issues I pointed out in the “Story” section), so there would still be nothing to complain about. Satou goes through a lot during the course of the anime, and seldom did I think that his action was unbelievable. His situation helps the viewer be sucked in, or even pulled down with him. Misaki’s character is largely spoilers, so I would feel as though I would be taking away much of the experience by telling you too much here. What I can say is that she is more than she seems, and is written in very well. As the anime progresses, her miraculous angelic appearance starts to fade into something much darker. Can you tell this anime likes depressing content? She is a great female character, and the last few episodes that focus on the reasoning behind her and Satou’s interactions are among the best in the anime, and provide some stunning character development quickly, but without feeling rushed. This is done because the anime was able to tactfully provide clues along the way and tie them together nicely all at once. Satou’s otaku neighbor, Kaoru, is perhaps the sanest of them all. He is the image of a “functional otaku,” that is to say, he is eccentric, but still perfectly functional. He is able to attend school for creating games, and spends a lot of time teaching Satou about (and enveloping him in) aspects of the otaku world. He never really undergoes character development, and really serves more as a plot device for Satou, and just an enjoyable character in general. While I really have no complaints about him, he really only served the purpose of placing Satou in certain situations in which he would not otherwise find himself. The final important character is Satou’s upperclassman, Hitomi. She is not a constant character in the series, but often finds herself encountering Satou. She serves two main purposes aside from Satou’s introduction to conspiracies: to be an object of attraction (and depression), and to contrast Satou’s own life development. While she is quick to point out that he is a NEET and hikkikomori, she herself is depressed to the point of being suicidal, and is an alcoholic and drug addict. If I’m honest, she is my least favorite part about the anime. Not only is she the type of person I hate the most, I myself have had the misfortune of being in a relationship similar to her and Satou’s, with a major exception being that I don’t spend my life locked in a studio apartment. Personal feelings aside, she is written well enough, again outside of the exception I mentioned in the story section. The side cast ranges from great and memorable to one dimensional wastes of time, but there are very few that stick around for more than an episode or two without being one of the main cast I mentioned above. **Enjoyment - 9/10** Whether you feel like you are standing in Satou’s shoes or watching from a completely foreign viewpoint, Welcome to the NHK is an anime that should not be missed by any fan. It is shows the darker side of life, and is a believable story of someone whose life just took one too many wrong turns. It is a dark and depressing tale, even as a rewatch. If you have any heart left at all, grab a box of tissues and sit down to watch this anime today. You may or may not enjoy it, but I can almost promise that you will at least walk away with tremendous appreciation for the characters and story.
I have watched a decent amount of anime, but in the last year I've found that I am enjoying it less. I become bored very easily, and few anime have kept me watching until the end. I am happy to report that Welcome To The N.H.K was one of those anime. The only way I can think to describe this anime was that it was an experience. It wasn't exceptionally exciting, it wasn't exceptionally funny, it wasn't exceptionally dramatic and it wasn't exceptionally interesting. It was however, exceptionally enjoyable. For reasons somewhat unknown to me, I kept coming back after every episode. A young man with no job, who does nothing and never leaves his apartment. A beautiful younger girl, for reasons unknown to the viewer or the man, starts trying to help him. The part about the girl showing up sounds unrealistic and juvenile, but no. It felt very real and very mature. Maybe thats why the anime is so good. The entire anime is based around this one man and two other main characters. All of these three characters are extraordinarily realistic. Also, the soundtrack is a delight. I recommend this anime to people at least over 18. It deals with real adult problems and issues. I fear younger viewers may be unable to relate and so find it uninteresting.
Director, Episode Director, Storyboard
Episode Director, Storyboard
Episode Director, Storyboard
Script, Series Composition
Storyboard, Character Design, Animation Director