30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2011
Hurray!! At last! Welcome to the N.H.K. is finally getting a UK release early next year!
I love this series! I watched it online earlier this year and enjoyed it very much. I also recently finished reading the light novel too, but out of the light novel, manga and anime - I think this is the best version to go for in my opinion!
Welcome to this strange and satirical dark comedy about a 22 year old college dropout - Sato Tatsuhiro - who suffers from being a hikikomori (the Japanese equivalent of a shut-in/recluse). What follows is a humorous tale about Sato trying to overcome his social problems, which leads to a number of misadventures and habits he can't seem to get out of. Some of them involve: sleeping 16 hours a day, being afraid to go outside, creating a hentai game with his next door neighbor, becoming an otaku (collecting anime/manga figures etc.), doing drugs, which adds to his paranoia and makes him hallucinate that his TV, radio and refrigerator are alive; downloading over 2 gigabytes of porn, accidentally joining an online suicide club, spending hours, days, and even weeks playing an RPG game...
From that description, it may sound like this series is only aimed at otaku fans and people who enjoy loads of fanservice. However, that is simply not the case... What the series does is it pokes fun at Japanese society/culture, whilst using those situations for great comedic effect and telling a very human tale of a young man's struggles in modern society. In many ways, the main character reminds me of me and my similar social problems...
According to Sato, all of his (and other people's) problems are the result of a conspiracy. A conspiracy set up by a shady organization, which is also responsible for turning people into hikikomoris, called the the N.H.K. (a Japanese TV broadcasting company similar to the BBC) As luck would have it, Sato's savior seems to be a young cute girl by the name of Misaki Nakahara who takes it upon herself to cure him of his hikikomori ways. Unbeknownst to Sato though, Misaki has her own ulterior motives and seems to know a lot about him than she lets on.
I also like the series' music too. From the intro song 'Puzzle', to the annoyingly catchy anime song that plays full blast by Sato's creepy and annoying next door neighbor - Puru Puru Pururin - to the bizarre but funny ending song - Odoru Akachan Ningen...
The series is about 24 episodes long and will spread out over 4 discs.
My main criticism would be that the animation is either average/good one minute, and then becomes weak and basic the next. I find it quite jarring...
Apart from that: Recommended!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2012
Despite coming out in 2006 on Japanese TV, I still felt some joy at getting it two days earlier than the projected nationwide release date.
The versions on the 4 disc set are decent, though the English subtitles in the Japanese audio lack a little of the punch and fluency I've seen when watching the show online. So, as with buying any Japanese film/show on dvd, the subtitles aren't ideal compared to what you can find online (or even what you understand it to be) but it really can't distract from the story of this black comedy.
It's a shedload cheaper getting this dvd set than trying to buy the original novel here on UK amazon, and if you don't fancy learning Japanese for the acclaimed book, or gradually accumulating the slightly more adult manga, go for it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2012
I'll sum this up by saying that this is an extremely well written anime that I should have watched years ago.
The protagonist of this is Sato Tatsuhiro, a twenty two year old NEET(Not in Education, Employment or Training) who also suffers from social withdrawal syndrome - commonly referred to in the show as a Hikikomori. A man who on his best day finds it difficult to walk out his own front door. A man who has rationalised this by blaming his issues on a shadowy organization, the N.H.K - Nihon Hikikomori Kyodai. An organisation that is behind a conspiracy to turn everyone into Hikikomori.
The plot follows his attempts,and failures, to break free of this condition and start living a normal and productive life. The catalyst for this change is a mysterious girl who offers to help Sato for an unknown reason.
And thus is born one of the funniest and thought provoking shows that I have watched in a very long time.
I want to point out that this show labels itself a Comedy-Drama. This comes directly from the back of the box and is an important distinction. While this show is very humorous, don't come into this expecting wall to wall jokes, nonsensical slapstick or shameless fan service. The comedy is of a satirical nature, finding the fun in the situations Sato finds himself in and playing them for maximum comic effect. The show also pokes fun at anime viewers and online gamers in particular. Having said this, the comedy it never alienates its audience and it never turns into outright mockery.
However this show also touches on some dark themes associated with the Hikikomori condition, up to and including suicide. Other darker themes include substance and physical abuse so please be aware if you are affected by these issues.
The show is intelligent and well written and doesn't fall into the trap of being overly "feel good" or having everything resolved at the end of the episode. The characters feel like real people experiencing real problems doing their best in a world that seems to throw out one problem after another - even if it is often done in a humorous way. There is progression, through the series life improves for Sato and the people around him but it never feels like the issues are being glossed over with a quick fix.
The shining star of this show is the development of Sato himself. Sato is a underdog that you cannot help but root for, despite the disasters that blow up in his face. It helps that Sato is a character in his twenties and not another of the teen protagonists that have become almost too popular these days. He possesses his share of vices and he's not overly suave or brave or lecherous. He's avoids these common stereotypes and emerges as a more well rounded character because of it. His transformation from Hikikomori to a (semi)functioning member of society feels real and not forced in the slightest. His relationships with the others around him grow in a believable way as he is drawn out of his shell and into the world around him. The show features some of the best dialogue I've heard in quite a while and will have you in stitches.
The supporting cast is no less developed. These include, Nakahara Misaki, the innocent young girl who seemingly wants to help Sato simply because he needs help and Yamazaki Kaoru, former high school kohai, current next door neighbour and Sato's best friend within the show - not to mention he's a MAJOR anime Otaku and ero-game enthusiast. They have their own desires, vices, motivations and challenges to overcome in the show and as characters feel no less real than Sato.
Animation is impressive, as expected from a Gonzo production, and does an excellent job building the world of Welcome to the NHK.
Music was well done. I wasn't a fan of the opening theme song but the in-episode music and ending them were quite catchy and enjoyable to listen to.
After listening to one episode of the dub I found it very distracting and switched to the Japanese language audio with sub-titles. Your mileage may vary here as I'm not really a fan of dubs in general.
To wrap up this review I just want to say that I liked this show so much, I watched the whole thing in one sitting. I'd say down to watch the first disk at seven pm and was immediately hooked. I finished watching at three thirty am. Needless to say it I did not have a fun time at work the next day.
If your after a show with robust characters, great development, engaging plot, genuine drama and enough humour to shake a stick at then I recommend "Welcome to the N.H.K".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2013
Welcome to the N.H.K. (NHK ni Youkoso!) is one of my favorite anime series, it's hilarious and has a great plot (one you can probably relate to).
Satou Tatsuhiro, 22 years old, thinks that everything that happens around him is a conspiracy. He even figured out who is behind it all: The NHK, an evil secret company. In reality, he is nothing more than a NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training), desperately in need of a cure from that "disease". He wants to break out from the curse, but going out and getting a job is frightening enough for him. That is until he gets selected for a "project"; it is a plan to help hikikomori like him in facing the reality of this world.
The only downside to the anime is the ending, it's different from the manga. Also some of the more controversial themes (drugs, sexual delusions etc) are tamed for the anime, but that isn't really an issue.
All in all it is enjoyable from start to finish, a must.
on 19 January 2014
Initially I thought the first few episodes were too dull and too slow - but they had something (probably fantastic observation with no shortage of humour) that made me want to continue. Something of this quality was surely going somewhere. And I'm glad I persevered because it did. The story picks up.
In fact, if you have the stamina to watch them, the first few episodes are important. Probably pretty realistically they portray the life experience and mind set of the notorious Japanese social phenomenon of the Hikikomori (young people obsessed with fantasy and fiction who follow a reclusive lifestyle). BUT DON'T RUN A MILE. This is good storytelling - not crude social commentary. The characters have their own lives and are not just representations to explore a social problem.
The first few episodes set out the life of a Hikikomori - by non- Hikikomori standards a bleak, hopeless world of vainglorious fantasy, dysfunction and defeat. Then the story introduces a ray of light into this dark and dreadful world - and you have been set up to fully appreciate what is happening.
This anime made it into my highest category of "Try Not To Watch Too Often" - because I get traumatised when a good anime ends. I still have withdrawal symptoms from Clannad, Requiem, Fruits Baskets, Ouran, Lucky Star and Haruhi (to name but too many).
Right to the end the plot has several major twists and unexpected revelations and yet what could be high drama is always an intense domestic rather than dramatic situation - and the more powerful for being so. It gets stronger as it progresses.
The ending is (no spoilers) entirely satisfactory and meaningful for an anime - so little chance of sequel. A shame because I would like more in the same vein.
This is one of those long, involved and deeply memorable animes about relationships that make you realise that people - even deeply flawed, inadequate and infuriating people - can be deeply moving.
on 29 June 2012
I've been an anime fan for about fifteen years now, going back to my school days and the old Manga Entertainment Video cassettes.
Times have changed but I still make a point to check out the new releases and add to my ever-growing collection. Rarely have I come across a series as entertaining, thought-provoking and yes, occasionally sobering as Welcome to the NHK. Its probably one of - if not the only - contemporary anime series I own, dealing as it does with the real world and real social anxieties - a far cry from the fantastical settings, improbable powers and flamboyant characters often associated with the genre.
The hero - or perhaps anti-hero, depending on your perspective - is Sato, a college drop-out who has become a hikikomori, or 'shut-in', unable to go outside for fear of uncertainty and the people all around him. Contrary to what one might except from a young man unable to leave his apartment, he finds himself in a variety of situations which are often quite humourous. Although the events that befall him are dealt with in a light-hearted, often satirical way, there is nevertheless a serious undercurrent to it all that one cannot help but be aware of, especially evidenced in the suicide pact and finale episodes.
In these, we see the full, devastating toll of loneliness and alienation in an increasingly detached world. Not a fictional world, not an 'anime' world; OUR world. Despite the story being fictional and animated besides, I can easily imagine someone like Sato living alone in a high-rise flat somewhere and its this sense of realism that makes the show so damn good.
The series not only explores elements of Japanese culture not present in the West, such as maid cafes, but also concepts that definitely are, such as the presence of professional con artists, pyramid schemes and MMOs, the latter here presented as a kind of 'proxy life' in which Sato is finally able to behave as a regular human being - and all the while the viewer is aware of how false his reality truly is.
The episodes complement each other well and the finale is as satisfying as the rest of the series. Honestly, some of the anime in my collection I would not watch again because they range from mediocre to terrible but this one deserves repeat business.
The English dub is also very good, which is always a plus. With Chris Patton, Greg Ayres and Luci Christian all chipping in, I felt like I was listening to a Full Metal Panic reunion ^^
(In a good way; I like those guys and that series)
In conclusion, this series is quite simply magnificent and deserves to be watched, not only as a comedy but as a surprisingly sharp social satire as well.
on 6 September 2009
I had a somewhat mistaken idea about this before watching it.
The manga is apparently a lot raunchier than the anime, and the advertising and cover art for the DVDs give a rather misleading impression of the contents.
I'd also seen the series described as "surreal"; that's true in a way, but the action all takes place in our real world.
The very next thing I should say is that I was very impressed by this series. In fact it's a sort of dark romantic comedy; the "surreal" part comes from the very disturbed mental state of the protagonist (and not just him, either.)
If you've seen the "documentary" bits of "Otaku no Video" you'll recognise the world of these characters straight off; but what makes this so good is that weird and broken as they are they don't forfeit our sympathy, and you'll find yourself rooting for poor Sato to get it together, to get the girl ... somehow.
If you like Satoshi Kon's work (especially Perfect Blue or Paranoia Agent), you'll probably like this. It's not as self assured and masterly as his stuff, but that leaves a lot of room for it to be very good indeed.
I liked the ending a lot. Very believable psychologically - these are damaged people, and there are no overnight miracle cures ... but ...
on 8 May 2014
This anime follows the struggles of Tatsuhiro Sato, a paranoid 22 year old loner, suffering a condition the Japanese call "Hikikomori" (shut in syndrome,) as he tries to overcome his situation, and re-engage with society. He becomes convinced of a plot by the "Nihon Hikikomori Kyookai" to create a world full of "Hikikomori", able only to buy, and consume product.
Offered help by a mysterious young girl, Misaki Nakahara, he will try to get his life back on track, but are her motives as pure as they seem ? After all, nothing is straight forward when you're in the grip of the NHK.
The first half of this anime,contains most of the comedy elements, and has a more lighthearted feel. The second half seems to take on a darker tone, and deals with some quite serious issues, leading to a poignant, and emotional climax.
Not an escapist fantasy, but more a slice of life style anime. The 24 episodes allow some great plot twists, comedic elements, highs, lows and some quite dark moments. All are handled in a non judgemental, and always entertaining fashion.
With a pleasing animation style, and enjoyable music, (great intro track from Round Table feat Nino) I am happy to have this in my anime collection.
on 20 August 2013
This is the best non-action based anime i ever watched (it probably has some light action), as it is a slice of life type of anime. There are plenty of reviews that outline the plot, and you can pretty much read it online, as i hate spoilers i won't go into dept. But have to say this anime is as good as Great teacher onizuka (GTO), both animes have so much comedy filled in them, but they obviously vary in plot as they are based on two different environments, what i loved about this anime was the conspiracy part, i really think thats one big thing that makes this anime really stand out and was very important to hold the plot line together... its also has a unique but rememberable opening and closing theme
But i just wished they made a season 2, or better yet had an another season or a bunch of OVA's which looked at the protagonist early years, as it would have really fitted with the story pretty well, but unfortunately only mainstream anime have that privilege...im looking at you shana.. but yeh I just had to buy this collection, as i don't think it will ever get a blu-ray release... (unfortunately).