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Welcome to the NHK

August 16, 2009


Welcome to Welcome to the NHK! (N・H・Kにようこそ!) No, we’re not entering anything related to the Japanese national broadcaster Nippon Housou Kyoukai. This, is the Nihon Hikikomori Kyoukai, although apparently by the end of the show the H is interchangeable but lets not go there.

The show follows the life of hikikomori (recluse and acute sufferer of social-withdraw and severe social anxiety) Tatsuhiro Satou. Laden with a few weightier topics, including pyramid schemes, drug abuse (only present in the anime for one character), conspiracy theories, suicide, and Comiket (okay listing that one here was a joke, laugh, I command you). With all of these themes NHK manages to be delightfully entertaining dark comedy. As all the characters have major psychological problems going on I’m tempted to compare it to Evangelion. Some have gone as far as comparing it to The Catcher in the Rye.

Character development is particularly enjoyable, maybe this is a factor of the depth of problems the characters have but nevertheless the characters do feel quite real for the length of the series.  A non-ideal world can really help sell on realism, maybe even a defining element of what makes a good slice of life anime. And plot clinchers were quite effective on me; and the ending of the series is full of quick twists and given the amount of dark comedy, its actually a little surprising, but I won’t ruin it for those who haven’t seen/read the series. 8/10.

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