Welcome to the NHK
“What the fuck is this shit?!?” – Sato
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Psychological
Sometimes as an Otaku, you begin to tire of watching anime. You don’t want to watch anything new because you feel nothing can keep you invested like the previous anime you just watched before. That was my current predicament before starting welcome to the NHK. My good long time friend recommended it to me and said there was an episode that would interest me in the show. I gave my simple yeah yeah response as I added NHK to my Netflix’s que. Honestly, I never planned on watching it. I was too busy watching Arrow and other live action shows to give NHK the light of day. Then, one day after finishing the last episode of Arrow season 3, I saw NHK staring at me in my Que.
Bored with nothing better to do, I laid down in my bed as I pressed episode one on my tablet’s screen. At first, I was really turned off by NHK. The animation clearly wasn’t its strong suit and you can see that’s evident watching it all the way through. It seems like Gonzo didn’t have a big enough budget to cover animation as you will find throughout the anime clear laziness in some scenes. With an average animation style along with reduced quality at points, many visual anime viewers will be immediately turned off by the show. I was about to quit watching it until it had happened. The episode my friend told me to look out for was the episode that was going to make it or break it for me. If you did not know, I am currently an indie developer working on a game. I could relate to this anime because the main character sato also wanted to be a game developer and while our reasons for wanting to become developers are different, our dreams were exactly the same. When I say exactly, I mean like so perfect of a match its starts to creep you out.
With that episode I stayed invested and over time, I had finally finished it. So what exactly is Welcome to the NHK? Basically, the story begins by introducing you to Tatsuhiro Sato, a 22 year old guy who dropped out of college and is currently a psychological phenomenon known as a “hikikomori”. Basically, he lives as a zombie going through life hiding away in his small apartment refusing to socialize. As the story progresses he meets a mysterious girl, Misaki, and she recruits Sato for her “project”. This project is later to be found as a program to “cure” Sato of being a hikikomori. NHK takes the viewer on a long journey of the psychosocial aspect of life. The thing that makes this anime so damn amazing is its reliability. Almost anyone can sit down and watch this show and say “god that’s me” or “that’s exactly how I feel”.
Welcome to the NHK is without a doubt one of the most down to earth anime I have ever watched. There was no perfect character or plot convenience. One thing a lot of anime fall short on is logic. You scratch your head or face palm yourself as you can not understand a certain character’s actions or thoughts. NHK for the most part doesn’t do this. At some points you will be confused and feel paranoid as you watch but, this isn’t a flaw of NHK, it actually is the secret of why this anime is so damn awesome. It puts you in the shoes of Sato. You begin to feed into his paranoia and at some points believe that the NHK do exist. This goes back into the reliability of the anime. The plot, characters, and twists express many themes that teenagers and young adults go through. Themes like love, success, failure, and suicide. Yes that’s right, suicide. A topic that is hardly ever brought up in many shows.
Watching NHK is like staring into a mirror. It’s not that good ol “slice of life”. It is more of a smack from reality. At times you will laugh, others you’ll sadly smile as you begin to see yourself in one of the characters. The fear of growing up, getting a job, your dreams, your parent’s expectations, looking for purpose, friendship, betrayal, it’s all there. Those days you lay in your bed and wished all your problems would just go away. That day you stared at a wall thinking dark thoughts. There is no God. There is no such thing as happiness. There is only depression, despair, loneliness, and manipulation of one another. You look around and feel like everyone else has it way easier than you. You wish that you could trade places with any of them. The truth is, you never see the other side. People hardly ever reveal their dark hidden selves. Those fears, those anxieties, their N.H.K. This anime will open your eyes to that truth. It’s all a damn conspiracy. We are all under attack. Welcome to the N.H.K.
btw, the dub is awesome