Japanese Title: NHK ni Youkoso!
Similar: Princess Jellyfish
Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei
Watched in: Japanese & English
Genre: Psychological Comedy Romance Drama
Length: 24 episodes
- Immediately hilarious.
- Good use of psychology to deepen characters.
- Solid acting.
- Some unsatisfactory thread endings.
- Art could do with work.
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“What’s wrong with running from reality if it sucks!?” I’m sure each of us has had moments where we wished to shut off reality, at least for a short time. Well, Satou took the opportunity to escape reality over three years ago and hasn’t come out since. He now lives as a hikikomori/NEET (if he ever says otherwise, don’t believe him).
This NEET supposes everything wrong in his life, from his fear of getting a job to allergy to responsibility, stems from a conspiracy by the Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai (Japanese Hikikomori Association) to create more hikikomori. In fact, the NHK invented anime as a means to keep otaku glued to the TV, which is indoors, thus creating more hikikomori. How has no one realised this before!? Or so he tells me. His neighbour blasts the theme song to the latest anime sensation nonstop every day.
The mental block represented by the NHK conspiracy is a great metaphor for those in life struggling to reach full potential. Welcome to the NHK taps into many relatable problems through excellent use of humour.
One day, a nosy missionary on a holy quest to weed NEETs out of society leads Satou to meet a pretty girl, who takes an interest in him. Misaki works at a local manga café and offers him a job, helping him escape the NEET lifestyle dubbed “her project.” However, he has to sign a contract first with a 100k yen termination fee. Rather than say no to the contract, he keeps making up more and more elaborate lies about how he isn’t a NEET – hilarious segments. He goes so far to prove he isn’t a loser that he even teams up with friend his Yamazaki to make a video game. Or, he could just say no.
Since he has no skills and there’s just two of them on the project, the only game they can make is an erotic visual novel (eroge). I lost it at this part. The research for the eroge is hilarious. Creepy, no doubt, but this anime knows what it takes to make an eroge for adoring fans and describes it to us in detail. This is not a show for kids. Really not for kids.
Later on, the story brings in other hilarious subplots such as a pyramid scheme and cybering a girl in an MMO. The subplots don’t always end satisfactorily, however. The eroge game development in particular concludes on a rather dud note, which is a shame after how well it starts.
NHK is not all comedy. As I mentioned earlier, it understands psychological problems, particularly in regards to a fear of reality. Satou is so paranoid that he can’t believe a girl would be interested in him. She must have ulterior motives.
The further the story progresses, the more serious it becomes until the final few episodes have but a drop of humour. While the drama side is strong, I am not particularly fond of this shift. It bothers me when a story presents itself as a comedy but ends with little comedy in sight. NHK should have had a better balance. Focus on the heavier elements, by all means, yet keep some humour going. Great writers manage this without one side undermining the other.
Nonetheless, Welcome to the NHK is a great anime. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the similar Princess Jellyfish (oh no, a Stylish!), but any who enjoy one will enjoy the other.
Art – Low
Has some weird imagery, but largely average on an artistic sense. Some episodes get downright bad in technical quality.
Sound – High
Good acting in both languages. Weird as tripping balls ED.
Story – High
A NEET, who believes everything wrong in his life is part of some conspiracy, has his world shaken when a girl decides to cure him of the NEET lifestyle. Funny and psychological.
Overall Quality – High
Recommendation: Try it. Welcome to the NHK is weird, yes, but the right sort of weird to bring much humour and a touch of heart to your life.
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Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)
5 thoughts on “Welcome to the NHK – Anime Review”
I didn’t actually mind the art style (although admittedly art style has little bearing on how I view a series) – I certainly prefer it to those of say, Clannad and a lot of squeaky clean, overly bright anime today. The realistic facial proportions and eyes of Satou also impressed me.
And yes, some of the subplots did end a little weak, but overall that flaw wasn’t enough to stop this being one of my all-time favorite anime series.
I loved the shift from comedy to a more serious, gut-punching drama. I personally related to the second half a lot more to the first, which is why I prefer the second half. Also, have you seen BoJack Horseman? Considering that you reviewed Rick & Morty on this site and loved it (naturally), I wonder what you’d make of BoJack. It’s similar in ways to NHK, but different in others. I myself prefer BoJack to R&M and maybe NHK. 🙂
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I’ve been wanting to watch Bojack for a while now, but the problem with a show not being anime is that I can’t prioritise it over anime – though I will do a review for Bojack when I get to it. Soon.