Meet Tatsuhiro Sato, a 22 year old Hikkikomori. Hikkikomori is a syndrome in which the subject chooses to stay inside and has little to no social life and are also NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training). Sato believes that there is a conspiracy from the TV station - NHK that is creating mass amounts of Hikkikomori via airing addictive anime shows. Since he graduated from high school he has adopted his reclusive personality and has developed a sad and lonely existence in which he sleeps 16 hours a day, drinks cheap beer and watches more than his fair share of internet porn. However, when the beautiful Misaki approaches Sato with the intent to cure him of his Hikkikomori ways, he can't decide whether she can be trusted or whether she is just another agent of the nefarious NHK.
Determined to ditch his old habits and make a new start for himself, he decides to create a video game with his Otaku next door neighbor - Yamasaki. If he accomplishes this, he will no longer be labelled a useless Hikkikomori. However, the game just so happens to be a hentai game. So between game production, juggling his ever-changing feelings for Misaki and coping with his array of surreal and mindboggling hallucinations, Sato embarks on a crazy and life changing journey in the hopes of regaining some form of normality.
From the very first episode, Welcome to the NHK becomes a compulsive and addictive watch that has elements of comedy, romance and pure wierdness. With exception to the bizarre hallucinations on Sato's part and his sadistic and depraved imagination, NHK is actually a very realistic show with an important and powerful message behind it. Sato is character who has his fair share of problems at the start of series, but the series creates an imaginative and thought provoking story arc for this character which sees some interesting growth and characterisation. While the anime rendition of Welcome to the NHk is not as extreme as the manga, the series still blurs the line between comedy and bad taste; especially when Sato's depraved side sees him dowloading 120 GB of internet porn and photographing schoolgirls from provocative angles, while hiding in some bushes. However, despite this, Sato is a character that every male can relate to. While his antics are incredibly extreme and often OTT, he still comes across as likeable and relateable.
This region 1 release of welcome to the nhk contains virtually no special features except for some trailers. The 24 episodes on these 4 discs contain the option of whether to watch in english or Japanese with subtitles. Personally, I'd say the english dub is better due to the spectacular performances from Chris Patton (Sato) and Greg Ayres (Yamasaki). On top of all this, the studio Gonzo animation is top notch and looks simply gorgeous.
If you are looking for an original anime series that is hilarious, wierd, poignant and scarily realistic with an important message behind it, then Welcome to the NHK may be the one for you. However, I'd only really recommend this to hardened anime fans who have some knowledge about Japanese culture, but there is still something that anyone can relate to in this show. An well rounded and thoroughly entertaining series, Welcome to the NHK exceeds expectaions and has an equally fantastic and thought provoking finale. Watch welcome to the NHK, but prepare to be transformed into a Hikkikomori during the run of this brilliant and enticing show.