Posted by psgels on 24 December 2006 with categories: Anime Reviews


A hikkikomori, for those of you who don’t know, is someone who never comes out of his room. He doesn’t have a job, he doesn’t study. All he does is lie around in his room, too lazy to change anything about his life. NHK ni Youkoso is an anime about one of these hikkikomori, Satou. It follows how Satou meets a select number of people, and how these people affect his hikkikomorihood.

If I have to say so myself, NHK ni Youkoso has been a really great anime. Unfortunately, it doesn’t start out this way. First, we have twelve episodes of pain before this series turns worthwhile. These episodes were incredibly tedious to get through. They focus on otaku and their habits, Satou discovers porn and gets obsessed over it, and a lot of time is spent on making a hentai-game. It’s basically a fest of dirty guys drooling over figurines, with only a few good moments. These good moments kept me watching this series.

Then, at the end of the twelfth episode, this series suddenly takes a huge shift of focus and it actually turns out incredibly good. The following arcs all started to focus on the future of the different characters, seeing as all of them have their own problems. These arcs really were thought-provoking in their conclusion. Then the anime closes with a nice, though predictable ending.

When it comes to graphics and music, this anime manages to give no problems. Gonzo may have a lot of flaws, they do know their animation and music. The animation looks very good, and some interesting musical pieces have been put together for this series. Overall, this is a typical series which starts out horribly, though if you manage to get through the initial horror, you’ll get rewarded with an excellent second half.

8 Responses

  1. syaiful says:

    Hai tadi saya erkunjung ke BLOG anda

  2. AlexS says:

    I was checking your ranked anime list when I stumbled on a curious anomaly: 84% for NHK ni youkoso? There must be a specific reason for you to give such a low score to this anime. And indeed, the reason is clear: you hated what for me is the best part of this anime, the precise thing that should have put it in the 90% decile: the first 10 episodes.

    I don’t mean to discuss tastes, but the dismissive way in which you shoot down those first episodes (“It’s basically a fest of dirty guys drooling over figurines”) motivates me to give you my reading of them, for what is worth it.

    I have two main praises for the first 10 episodes:
    1) the authors chose a very difficult topic to base an anime on, and actually manage to reach their goal in an honest fashion: focus on a guy who is a loser and remains locked in his room. It’s an incredible challenge, and they basically pull it out without too much cheating. The story remains firmly focused on Satou, and he indeed mostly stays in his room. His rare outings are always well motivated, and remain true to character.

    2) more importantly, they build a very deep character to which the audience (at least me, but obviously not you) feels a lot of empathy. This is the most incredible challenge that they manage to pull out, despite obvious and non-obvious obstacles:
    – Satou is deeply flawed: he is weak willed, a coward, lazy, apathic, you name it. Very hard to get an audience to connect to this kind of person (nevertheless Satou also has qualities that make him very human, but that’s besides the point here).
    – even more problematic: Satou is a blocked character. He is a hikkikomori precisely because he is blocked and can’t evolve. This means NO CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT is possible, which shuts down the best way for an audience to build a bond with a character. The solution the authors found to this problem: replace character development by character deepening. And it works brilliantly:

    For ten episodes we get to know the different ways in which Satou is flawed, and how he got to be that way. Every other character (parents, senpai, Yamazaki, Mizaki) does a great job of showing the manners in which Satou thinks, reacts and fails. The attention to detail is breathless, and the dialog is rich and subtle, so that by the end of those episodes Satou is one of the most realistic characters I ever saw in an anime*: you know how he will react to something, but best of all you precisely understand why he behaves the way he does. Even better, because of that understanding you can connect his flaws to your own weaknesses, developing a strong bond. I was strongly rooting for Satou because his success was also a chance of redemption for the failings he symbolized in me, even though I knew failure was the most probable outcome for him.

    I think this anime has one of the most solid character buildup, and it’s nice to see that it totally dispenses with character development to achieve it. Nothing he lives, tries, gets addicted to, fails or flees ever manages to change him. What happens is that we get to know better his neurosis, paranoia, weaknesses, generosity, abuse, etc. I’m surprised that this totally flew by you, although usually you like a lot of character richness in anime. Maybe the fact that it was done without character development prevented you from appreciating it.

    Also, I think your charges that the show is “a fest of dirty guys drooling over figurines” completely misses the mark, the same way this anime is not a suicide/MMORPGs addiction/pyramidal schemes apology. To start with, Satou is not an otaku, Yamakazi is one, and this series is great at making this subtle distinction. Satou is an expert escapist (going so far as getting insane in the process), and buying figurines/playing erogames is just one of the many ways he tries to escape. In reality, Satou lacks drive to be passionate about anything, and even fails at being an Otaku! His otaku endeavors performed under Yamazaki patronage are just excuses to expose the cracks in his personality. I mean, it would have changed nothing if Satou’s neighbor was not an Otaku but a Shogi player, at least as far as Satou is concerned. Of course Otaku anime fetishism and porn were chosen as topics, simply because they symbolize mental decay in our society, a opposed to shogi. It would take a lot more obsession of shogi or chess to call someone a cripple than is necessary to be devalued in the case of anime obsessions.
    Second, I found that considering the subject matter, NHK is actually a very sober anime. You won’t find random panty shots or fan service in this anime. Sure, Satou collects porn, you see some shots of it, and he sometimes has erotic fantasies, but that’s part of his escapist activities and such instances are well supported by plot. You won’t find random fan service when Misaki or senpai are actually there.

    For me the series actually became much less interesting (but still good) when the focus went away from Satou and the following story arcs followed. Senpai’s story arc (episodes 11-14) is excellent, and like you say the questions broached are interesting and thought provoking, but we never again have such deep and intimate contact with a character like the one developed for Satou. In this sense, interest only piked up again for me during the final episodes which makes it almost the opposite of your appreciation.

    Finally, I think your appraisal of the music is a bit lazy. Honestly, I have rarely seen such an efficient use of music as in this anime. Not to say that the tunes are incredible on their own (I wouldn’t listen them by themselves), but their adequacy to the anime and use for dramatic effect is just great:
    – the opening music is an energetic J-pop piece which gives a good idea of the shining world of pop, manga and anime that Satou escapes into. An illusion that is disproved by the animation that accompanies the music, but it works so well precisely because the tune is an excellent example of what it evokes.
    – the final J-punk-rock is also energetic but so much more desperate, and perfectly illustrates the worms that are eating Satou’s brain into insanity.
    – the pururi song is one of the most efficient tunes I ever saw in an anime: its sugary coated addictiveness and repetition quickly get horridly annoying, so that you hate it with a passion, just as it was intended. I think it’s hard to remain indifferent to it.
    – the moody pieces that sometimes play during the anime are imo extremely effective and conveying the sadness and melancholy of Satou, an intelligent and sensitive guy, fully aware of his condition, ashamed of it, but still incapable of turning around the dead end he put himself in. I think they fully convey the bittersweet tragedy of his life, while never falling into cheese.

    To wrap up, although tastes are personal, I think that your review does not give an accurate description of the strengths of this anime. Of course for me it’s hard to be objective, since NHK is obviously in my top ten anime list. Actually, it would be easy to raise it to the top spot: just collapse the anime into the first ten episodes plus the ending: i.e. make a 12-13 episode anime just focused on Satou.

    * The other character I can think of that approaches this level of realism is Reki in Haibane Renmei. Still, we are very far from Satou depth.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Oh boy, this was long ago. It’s definitely not a review I’m proud of, and I’m certain that it would have looked very differently if I watched it today.

    Basically at the time I wrote it, I had this nasty habit of hating everything that even had to do with moe with passion. I didn’t care whether the porn and galge-plotlines made sense or not, they didn’t belong to this series in my opinion, and that’s pretty much why I wrote such negative comments about that first half… -_-

    I have to agree: your points are valid and make sense. I still think that the second half of the series was more enjoyable than the first one, but looking back it did exactly what it needed to do: building Satou into an excellent character.

  4. AlexS says:

    “at the time I wrote it, I had this nasty habit of hating everything that even had to do with moe with passion.”

    I understand that very well… Ironically I have a much lower tolerance for moe than you (I could never watch Clannad or Air because of that, and the first season of Rozen Maiden was the only anime I could finish with so much moe inside), but in this case the NHK characters are not moe themselves (most are not even teenagers, and their looks reflect that), but indeed Satou and Yamakazi have a moe fixation.

    I also have these kinds of mental blocks. I can’t stand mecha in anime, which is a problem considering I like SF. The only anime with mecha I could finish was Escaflowne, which I watched because you recommended it: it was great, but I needed a bottle of oxygen to survive the mecha parts ^^)

    • DIEH says:

      Hi Alexs!

      Can you recomend me some anime series like Welcome to NHK (something dark, acid humor and realist)?

      The recents series don’t like me, but maybe you know some good series to watch. Thanks

      Dieh

    • DIEH says:

      Hi Alexs!

      Can you recomend me some anime series like Welcome to NHK (something dark, acid humor and realist)?

      The recents series don’t like me, but maybe you know some good series to watch. Thanks.

  5. ManuOtaku says:

    I know iam late to the party here, but yesterday i finish watching this series, and i agree with AlexS comment, they are very spot on, looking back if someone would told me that i will like a series about a guy who is shut down in his room i will say no way, because a like action animes (samurai,mecha,ninja, etc), but boy how i do like this anime, is in my top ten for sure considering that i have amase quite a large collection.

    Finally i will ask if you can review again the series with very different mindset so you can recommend this awasome series

  6. lHyDrAl says:

    Man, this was such a good anime, haven’t seen one this good in a long while. Was well worth my time, gave me a bunch of good laughs and was an enjoyable ride throughout most of the story. Anyone know which scene Norio Matsumoto did on the last episode?

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 10:18 PM)
    Brits abroad were getting a good deal out of being in the EU though in terms of welfare.
    Leaving is just going to make trading more expensive too.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 10:17 PM)
    It will be interesting to see this develop and if the sterling will recover/will Britain actually get along on its own.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 10:16 PM)
    I know I heard that America was re-thinking when it came to how they’d trade with Britain.
    The effect the Brexit has had on the Sterling apparently now makes it cheaper for me to order from the UK.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 10:10 PM)
    @K-off: I’m suspect at France ever leaving (or Frexit as people are calling that possibility), that idea is mainly being hyped by the national front, who while have influence/increasing influence will never be influential enough.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:46 PM)
    the influx of muslims that appear to threaten the liberal society (particularly homosexuals) of Britain and as a result I don’t want to call those concerned about it simply “racists.” It’s a legitimate concern that’s been taken over by racial hysteria, although at the end of the day it’s not worth everything else that comes with leaving the EU.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:41 PM)
    @Kaiser My knowledge of UK politics is relatively shabby, so I can’t speak for everything surrounding David Cameron and Article 50 as far as that’s concerned. But as for immigration, as much as I disagree, I do get the grievances people who voted “out” have for the EU’s immigration policy, namely
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:39 PM)
    Come to think of it, I started using Kaiser as an online alias after hearing the word in a history class when I was 13, Kaiser also happened to be the name given to one of Sigma’s forms in one of the megaman X games which I was really into at the time, there was an old sega game called Ristar where in the Japanese version the villain was called Kaiser.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:36 PM)
    @K-off: As in people were actually voting to leave as a protest, rather than thinking/wanting britain to leave.
    Theres also been a hate campaign going on since the fallout now off Poles being beaten up.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:34 PM)
    @K-off: I hope/assume that you have been following the Brexit thing? Kind of wanted to hear you talk about it.
    Alot of the voting came down to peoples ignorance, racism/anti-immigration agenda, old fashioned nationalists, alot of panic voting too. People are bringing up the breakup of the UK again, I’ve heard theres people who want to re-do the referendum and regret voting Britain out/that they voted to out Britain thinking that wouldn’t happen.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:34 PM)
    @Kaiser And I assumed yours was a reference to Mori’s manga.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - 13 1

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 13

When I heard about this arc being hard to watch I readied myself for a number of things. I was prepared to see Subaru die gruesomely, to see him tortured and broken. However while I was ready to see him get destroyed by others; I didn’t expect him to be the architect of his own […]

Kiznaiver - 12 1

Kiznaiver Review – 60/100

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort […]

Kiznaiver - 12 2

Kiznaiver -12

This was certainly pure narrative confusion at it’s zenith and in that regard I don’t mean that the events depicted were hard to understand but rather a general confusion on what mood it wants to go out on. In this episode we had comedic, drama and climatic showdown all hastily weaved together to try and […]

Bungou Stray Dogs 12c

Bungou Stray Dogs – 12 (end)

And we get to the end of Bungou Stray Dogs, but this last episode doesn’t offer any conclusive ending, instead feel more like a set up episode for the next season. This last episode functions like a typically Bungou Stray Dogs’ episode; there are many good things to say about it, mainly the technical triumphs […]

Joker Game - 12 2

Joker Game Review – 50/100

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on […]

3

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – 10

After the Horobi’s laser light show and having Biba-sama completely dominate the narrative with his super cool looking henchmen, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is back on track although it’s on different rails for here on out. Imprisoned by the Hunters and being caught in the middle of the impending final conflict between the Shogun and Biba, […]

mayoiga 07b

Mayoiga Review – 78/100

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years. On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life […]

Joker Game - 12 2

Joker Game – 12

Upon finishing yet another rather uneventful episode of Joker Game, I began to wonder just what this series had planned for its finale. “How best to top off a rather mediocre series such as this?” I thought to myself. However when looking over general consensus over the episode I found out that I seen the […]

Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - 12 4

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 12

This looks to be the weakest episode of Re:Zero to date which does seem to be a trend when it comes to the arcs of the series. When looking over these twelve episodes I have come to find that the weakest episodes of the series are the first episode of an arc which does make […]

Latest Reviews

Kiznaiver - 12 1

Kiznaiver Review – 60/100

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort […]

Joker Game - 12 2

Joker Game Review – 50/100

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on […]

mayoiga 07b

Mayoiga Review – 78/100

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years. On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life […]

akTwkhF

Stella Glow Game Review-60/100

I really should be getting Grand Kingdom or waiting for Mirage Sessions. My review of Stella Glow is way past relevancy being nearly 8 months late, but I finally completed this and it wouldn’t hurt to briefly wrap up my thoughts about the game created by the now-defunct Imageepoch. I somehow managed to get through Lord of […]

rs33

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir Game Review – 87/100

Oh my. This game was just utterly, utterly incredible when it came out, so despite disliking the usual remasters (ahem, Valkyria Chronicles), I was pretty stoked when I learned I’d be able to play this again on better hardware. It came out really late into the PS2’s lifetime in 2007, so at the time, I […]

romance of 3 kingdoms

Chinese Animation Guide – Part 4: Chinese Traditional Animated shows

Welcome to the last part of our Chinese animated guide. This part will cover Chinese traditional art style, for me personally this is the most enjoyable group. The first thing you might notice in these shows are they were in different format ratio, lean more towards the Academy ratio format. I always find their traditional art […]

20160513001913_1

Lucid9: Inciting Incident Video Game Review – 85/100

It’s not often I pick a game up without prior knowledge. I abhor the act of pre-ordering and at least do a google search on the title to get a general idea of it’s overall quality. Gone are the day you walk into a game store and buy something purely on a whim or the […]

The Totem Warrior

Chinese Animation Guide – Part 3: Haoliners inputs

This part we explore one Chinese animation studio’s works. I choose Haoliners partly because they are independent studio, and their works are not hard to find. Just established in 2013, Haoliners is an indie studio but gathered more reputation in the last few years in their homeland. My experience with them through those titles below […]

Cover

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress OST Review

This will be the first time in my anime blogging career that I have ever done one of these anime OST review. It should be known that I have a complete bias for Hiroyuki Sawano as he has become one of the biggest composer for anime in recent years in some of my favorite anime […]