Welcome to the NHK – episode 1

August 15, 2006 on 10:24 pm | In Welcome to the NHK | 1 Comment

“Welcome to the Project”

I cannot believe that I watched this, a television program with a guy fantasising about a girl dressed as a nun masturbating, on the train. Sitting next to my mother. Who had down her reading to see what I was watching. She then proceeded to watch the rest of the episode with me, and the whole situation rang to me of this (absolutely NSFW ever).

After my battle with mortification was over, I got to reflect on this episode: it’s actually the pretty interesting tale of a hikikomori who wants to make good. I’ve heard that the humour goes down as the anime cannot maintain the preversion level of the manga, but it’s intriguing enough that I don’t care about that.

Satou Tatsushiro is a NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) hikikomori. He has avoided leaving his apartment for three years and is tormented each day by neighbour playing the OP from a magic girl show called “Pururin”.
To Satou the world smacks of conspiracy. His very hikikomori nature is a result of that conspiracy. One day a woman knocks on his door, promoting a complimentary pamphlet about the looming hikikomori threat. Struck by the terror that people will recognise him as a NEET, Satou heads out into the world to get a job. He is picked up by Misaki, who runs a project to free hikikomori from the bonds of their condition, and to destroy the NHK: the Japanese Hikikomori Society!

Actually, I don’t know if the conspiracy is real or just paranoid fantasy. Who can ever really be sure of that? For all I know, this site is being monitored by a corporation that aims to cost me my job and my education by implicating me in a giant loli smuggling ring. I’d better hide the Nabokov I’ve got next to my bed …

In all seriousness, this is pretty danged good, getting the facts of the paranoid hermits down pat. Or at least, getting what I would imagine to be a paranoid hermit down without seeming to resort to sickening stereotyping. Yes, Satou is not a cool fellow, and yes, he is silly. Yet he is endearing. I really don’t know how to approach the character, because I feel that everything that I’m saying about him is going to turn out to be a filthy, filthy lie.

I can’t tell you just yet exactly how Welcome to the NHK will go because I think I’m expecting something different to many other people. I’m expecting a series that deals with an important social phenomenon in an interesting fashion (ala Rozen Maiden). Maybe I’ll have my life ruined, maybe you’ll next see me on the cleverly named Dragon Quest island of Purgatory, hanging out with the later to be inexplicably alive high priest Rolo.

Give me some time: I’ll probably cover the next few eps in one hit because I’m not being particularly constructive over here.

1 Comment

  1. Looks like you dropped this anime. I think you could reconsider it, although it’s not perfect, and has some pacing issues, it still has some shining moments (middle episodes and final ones).

    Comment by stakh — December 30, 2007 #

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