Friday, November 22, 2013

Anime review: Welcome to the N.H.K.


I expected so much of this show. I think maybe too much. I'm sorry to all the fans out there; I didn't really like it. Still, it portrays anxiety in an interesting way, and although I'm not particularly fond of this anime, I did have some sort of revelation while watching, and dare I say I learned something from it.


Satou Tatsuhiro is a 22 year old university drop-out, and a hikkikomori: he shut himself in his room and dares not go outside. He seems to have extremely high social anxiety, and he believes the "N.H.K." is conspiring to make him miserable. But then one day he meets Misaki-chan and his old friend Yamazaki, and he slowly begins to grow out of his hikkikomori ways.



Given that this anime is 24 episodes, the story is slow paced. But the slow pace is also very necessary. While watching it may seem like nothing is happening and the story isn't going anywhere, but when you're at the end you realise how far each character has gotten. Satou-kun struggles with his issues, trying to fix them but not really, and slowly but surely they are getting somewhere.
There is also some good use of foreshadowing here.
The ending proves to be paramount, it is vital for the overall impression of the show. It presents a perfectly understandable solution for the entire problem that the show has been carrying for the first 22 episodes, and in my opinion they could just have cut to the chase and put it at the beginning instead. But alas, then we would have no NHK to discuss. To be fair, the inner journey that Satou-kun adventures is important, and perhaps even helpful to him, but I'll get back to that.


Characters are, what can I say, well done. They have personality and not that stereotypical which proves to be a good thing here. There is of course our king nerd Satou-kun who is the most paranoid otaku I have seen. His indecisiveness and lack of spine is quite annoying at times, and sometimes I swear he shows some severe signs of schizophrenia. However he goes through an amazing amount of development, and this is what brings the story forward.
Misaki-chan is tolerable, but I do not know who she is or what she wants. The information we get about her is fairly little, and only in the last couple of episodes do we learn something, which make it seem as if the whole point of the plot was to reveal her backstory. I don't dislike her, she's alright, I guess. I just wish I knew her a little better.
The side-kick otaku and eroge-lover Yamazaki is my favourite character in the show. He's funny. He's cute. He's a good friend. He struggles with his own issues at school and I couldn't help but relate a little to him. Other than that he's pretty nuts tho.

My dear Yamazaki. Let's built a 2D universe together.
The soundtrack I found is quite enjoyable. The animation was, well, not a masterpiece of any sorts, but I also don't think that was the point here. For a 2006 show, it's quite ordinary, but I believe that's suppose to highlight other parts like the character personalities and music instead (as opposed to e.g. Haruhi). At least it's not bad. Not at all, just, ordinary.

However, I did have a hard time investing my own feelings into this show. Although I could highly sympathise with many of the characters, I was put off by the huge mess Satou-kun always got himself into. A lot of this did not make any sense to me, and therefore I couldn't enjoy it. There were a few funny moments in there though (thank you Yamazaki) and I did not hate it.

Pros:
- Relatable themes for young otakus to relate to.
- Well made characters and character development.
- Good soundtrack.
Cons:
- Slow pace.
- Information about the characters not distributed in an appropriate pace.
- Lack of story development.

Overall 6/10. It was fine, and on that note I will recommend it to huge nerds who like romance//drama/comedy, seeing as it is so massively popular among fans across the world.



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