Welcome To The NHK Review

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Studio: Gonzo
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Psychological, Romance, Slice of Life
Release: S1 (2006)

If there’s a show that can be considered both depressing and motivating as reality can be, this is it. The story focuses on the lives of young adults in Tokyo, wherein the main theme encompasses around anime otakus, hikikomoris, and those who suffer from intense depression, loneliness and paranoia. “A common theme throughout the story deals with the hardships of life and how people must deal with them in their own way.

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Synopsis: Tatsuhiro Satou, a 22-year old college drop-out, has been living his life as a hikikomori and NEET (Not in employement, education or training)  for four years now. Although living alone in his apartment, he’s still financially dependent on his parents. He shuts himself from society and only goes out at night to buy food. Often over-imaginative and paranoid about conspiracies to a ridiculous degree, he believes that the Japanese TV group NHK really means “Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai / Japanese Hikikomori Association“: a conspiracy of a higher entity to create more NEETs and hikikomoris.

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Just when Satou is comfortably leading his reclusive lifestyle, unexpected yet inevitable events usually trigger back his paranoia and delusions. In one of those events though, he was able to meet a mysterious young girl named Misaki who claimed that she can help end his hikikomori ways, on the condition that he signs a contract where they agree to meet at the park every night for counseling. Why this girl would go to such extent to help a perverted loser…is for you to find out!

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One of the people that livens up Satou’s life and reduces his being reclusive is his kouhai (lower-classman) and neighbor Yamazaki, who is a hardcore anime otaku and computer games programmer. He tries to help his friend through confidence build-up by convincing him to be the scriptwriter in his galge (pretty girl game) thesis.

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Both nerds/losers in a certain way, they often ludicrously fantasize on building a world-scale company and topping Bill Gates after they release their “million-dollar” game. What’s ironic is that Yamazaki, who usually portrays signs of insecurities and resentment towards people, is the more stable among our main characters.

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With a nice soundtrack backing up the feel of each scene, the anime incorporates hopeless though familair scenarios dwelling on internet suicide (where people from an online forum would meet in real life and kill themselves together), addiction to online games, gal games and internet pornography, online romantic escapades, getting duped by a multi-level marketing scam (lol), parents cutting off your allowance and so on. The result is a unique mix of comic, emotional and inspirational digest that instigates upon a depressing reality. In other words, you better put this on your list if you haven’t yet! Welcome to the NHK!

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RATING: 8.6/10

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