Welcome to the N-H-K: The Complete Series

Welcome to the N-H-K

On DVD: 
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Running Time: 
600 Minutes

Get ready for a strange trip as we delve into what exactly Welcome to the NHK is and why you should see it. Well first off the series is taken from the Tatsuhiko Takimoto novel which he would later turn into a manga series. The story revolves around Tatsuhiro Satō, a hikikomori (basically someone who has withdrawn from society to live a reclusive life), and a young girl,  Misaki Nakahara who makes it her goal to bring him out of seclusion so that he can live a normal life. Along with Misaki Satō finds out the noisy neighbor, Kaoru Yamazaki, next door is an old school friend who has lived next door for four years without either knowing it. While Satō does in fact want to break his hikikimori ways he is also, aside from being a recluse, extremely paranoid and lives in fear that a secret corporation that reaches across the globe to make sure he remains a recluse, the NHK, is after him. While the series is a comedy it does have its dark parts and deep down at its core it’s a brilliant theme that puts many of societies isms on the table and scrutinizes them.

From an anime  fan boy perspective Welcome to the NHK is both brilliant yet unsatisfying. Satō is an obsessive compulsive addict and in his adventure to find a cure for his paranoia and whatever else ails him at the time the anime is all over the map. You’ve got almost Hentai rated scenario’s, fantasy RPG elements, moments of romance, revelations of all sorts. The series makes sure that you have a broad perspective on whatever scenario you find yourself in with the cast but as time passes things tend to get a little repetitive. It can be argued that this particular anime goes out of its way to portray life within Japanese subcultures as well as gives a peek from the outside as well and what it all comes down to is this is really just a harsh story about life and like in life you just have to come to the realization that what you had hoped for in the end is not always what your going to get if at all. Aside from my meager disappointment I did watch the entire series in marathon fashion waiting for some gigantic revelation. I really enjoyed the animation style and how it never really stuck to one type as well as the way the series flowed fluidly between Satō’s issues inviting in fresh characters and new locations. I had a lot of laughs, felt disturbed when the effect was called for, and walked away feeling glad I finally got to see this anime in its entirety. Can’t say to much about the bonus features though as you only get textless songs, clean openings and closings, and a handful of trailers. Glad there was a 5.1 soundtrack and two sets of English subs. All together way worth the purchase but be careful with your expectations. Enjoy. 


AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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