[Review]Welcome to the NHK

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[Review]Welcome to the NHK

Post by Kurairush on Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:22 pm

Info:"Welcome to the NHK was originally a novel released in 2002 by Tatsuhiko Takimoto and it later was adapted into a manga in 2004, then into an anime adaption in 2007.

A few months ago, this anime just was sitting there, on the "Plan to Watch" section on my anime list(Yes, the site, mind you.) and after, [s]suffering through[/s] watching "Tokyo Mew Mew", finishing"Azumanga Daioh" and that work of art, known as "Death Note", I finally watched "Welcome to the NHK" and needless to say, I enjoyed this fine anime.

Our story starts off like a kickass action anime(Well, for the first few minutes), that's actually just a dream, that our hero is having and during that time, he speaks of some sort of "conspiracy theory", throws a bomb at a big monster... and then we go to reality.

Satou Tatsuhiro is and has been a master "hikkikomori"(basically, a social recluse) for almost about four years and well.. it's doesn't seem like he's leading too much of a normal life.
He sleeps for like 16 hours,believes that a organization called the "Nihon Hikkikomori Kyokai"(Japanese Social Withdrawal Group for you non-Japanese speakers) is the reason for all the misfortune that has happened to him,lives off a "allowance" from his parents and he lives next door to a otaku who plays a infinite loop of a annoying anime theme about a "ULTRA SUPER MOE" magical girl and for the most part, his apartment is probably worse that your roommate's place.

Then someone knocks at his door(Oh shit..) and he opens the door up to see a cute girl with a umbrella, similar to the one in his dream and then... her aunt shows her face and gives Satou a magazine, with an article about the condition he's in.
Our hero, of course jokes around and tries to deny that's he's a NEET(Not in education,employment or training) and a hikkikomori, but takes the magazine anyways.

Later, he tries to head out of his house, to find a job and he sees that same girl, working at a manga shop and then he tells her that he's into motorcycles, forgetting that he went there for a job and then he runs back to his apartment.

Then, he heads to this park that he usually comes to, late at night and encounters the girl again, who then offers him a chance to cure his condition, by signing a contract (Hint, she's a stalker, as you'll find out later.)and our hero declines, bringing up a facade that he's actually a game designer and promises that he'll show her one of his own games and then after being fed with that stupid anime song, he confronts his neighbor and knocks on the door(which is unlocked... apparently no one has enough sense to lock their doors.), but then we soon learn that this person is actually a old buddy of Satou, in high school, who's a otaku that loves galge(eroge) games and other Japanese stuff(Figurines,anime,etc.).

Our guy, Satou brings Yamazaki(The otaku neighbor) into the little facade and asks him if they can make a game together.. and then... things kick off from there.

Animation-wise, GONZO did a overall good job in my opinion, but even though people say that GONZO occasionally has times where a episode presents mediocre animation quality, I didn't pay much attention.(And best of all, that's hardly any moments of "super-deformity".)

Audio-wise, the music fits the bill well, with a little bit of everything, from jazz and other stuff.
Other than the interesting, strangely upbeat opening theme and the more-fitting credit themes, the soundtrack isn't really that memorable, but it gets the job done... except for that anime theme that Yamazaki loves so much... you're bound to remember that.

The voice-acting was nicely done in this series, but it also has an arguably great English dub, that might rival FLCL and Cowboy Bebop's dubs(Not exactly, but it's a great dub and it has profanity too.) and no weak performances either, although Misaki's English voice actress has a bit... dull.
You'll obviously recognize Yamazaki's voice actor, if you've watched CLANNAD's dub... yep that's Sunohara..

Character-wise, NHK does a great job in the character development department... and actually this anime could work well in a sociology class(excluding the parts about galge games and other otaku stuff.)
Satou is a good protagonist at best, although he's a bit of a knucklehead at times(Like Hideki Motosuwa from Chobits.) and he's got his own flaws, so he's no "Mary Sue" either, as he find out and he's actually quite a humorous lead, like Hideki.
He's has a few moments where's a pervert,he gets caught up in a group of people who wish to commit suicide,he gets addicted to a MMORPG and gets caught up in a pyramid scheme.

Our boy is just like us(if you have a social anxiety disorder) and he's a character you could relate to, also.
Being socially awkward myself, I was able to relate to Satou on some levels.

Misaki is the female lead, of course and she's no ditz either. She's rather a bit serious, but a little bit of fruitcake at the time.
She strikes me as a stalker-type, since she knows a lot about Satou and that does happen to be true.
We also find out, that she's just as troubled as Satou, though.

Yamazaki isn't exactly a stereotypical otaku, as we soon find out later on, but unfortunately, he only gets the spotlight in a few episodes, so we don't get too much of a backstory.

But both Yamazaki and Misaki, at least try to help out Satou with his condition and around the end, when the spotlight starts to shine on Misaki, Satou truly shows that he cares about her, although during the whole show, a kind of romantic relationship develops.

As for the other characters that pop up, a few of them have have their moments in the spotlight.

Welcome to the NHK was a different anime, per say and I enjoyed it, as I learned something else about Japan and delved deeper into the culture of otaku.

It was a series that balanced both enjoyable comedy and serious drama about perfectly.
But, in a sense, the anime had a little filler, compared to what I'm seeing in the manga, but NHK actually transitions into it's three arcs just fine.(Internet suicide group,MMORPG arc and the pyramid scheme arc.)

NHK is also very realistic, for an anime.. no supernatural elements, no big-breasted bimbos or ditzes and it hits on it's own subject a bit rough.

One time in the MMORPG arc, the "Adult Fear" trope is used effectively, where Satou imagines if he continued his MMORPG addiction and he finds out that if he does so, he becomes a morbidly obese individual at 50, living with his parents and actually, that is very realistic for it's time, considering the controversy over MMORPGs like "World of Warcraft" and others.

Satou also has a pornography addiction(He was just doing "research" for the galge game project,he and Yamazaki were working on) early in the show and it reaches up to the point, where it clogs up his hard drive and he has to have Yamazaki fix it and then... Satou acts like a knucklehead and runs out to a nearby grade school and hides in the bushes to take pictures of young girls, which all leads up to a funny moment.

You'll be probably be busting a gut at when you see this moment in the anime.
Amid the drama, NHK does a great job in the comedic department too.

In the MMORPG arc, Satou's character in the game, meets a nekomimi and then "she" helps him out on his quest to start "RMT-ing"(Real Money Trading, which is actually illegal.) and then at one point Misaki tries to coax him away from the game, by cosplaying as a nekomimi...
But, then the big hilarious twist, well... I'll let you find out for yourself.. :yes:

Any other comedic moments, I won't spoil for you.

Interestingly, the anime tones this down too..
With the manga you're not missing much, other than lolita references and boobies with that "anime anatomy" effect.

Generally, most anime fans will enjoy this anime, although if you're looking for action, the most you'll see is in the first minutes of the first episode, however.. for those of you who like thought-provoking fiction.. you might enjoy this.

As a warning, since this is probably a forum aimed at a younger audience, "Welcome to the NHK" contains some mature content and deals with some adult issues.

Link to the original review I wrote
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Re: [Review]Welcome to the NHK

Post by MoonCookieChan on Wed May 09, 2012 7:54 pm

Nice review.
You really went into a lot of detail about this. I haven't actually heard of this anime or manga, but it sounds very interesting.
I actually prefer the anime drawing to the manga, but the manga drawing has some finer details.


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Re: [Review]Welcome to the NHK

Post by Naiwen on Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:56 pm

MoonCookieChan wrote:Nice review.
You really went into a lot of detail about this. I haven't actually heard of this anime or manga, but it sounds very interesting.
I actually prefer the anime drawing to the manga, but the manga drawing has some finer details.
Very detailed review, very useful too... I'll check it out after reading it.

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Re: [Review]Welcome to the NHK

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