Characters: Welcome to the N.H.K.

Tatsuhiro Satou

Voiced by: Yutaka Koizumi (JP), Chris Patton (EN)

  • Classical Anti-Hero: He is a highly reclusive and unstable NEET, yet he is ultimately a good-hearted person who wants to be a productive member of society, and most of his angst stems from feeling he is unable to lead a productive life.
  • Conspiracy Theorist / The Paranoiac: He believes that an evil secret organization called the NHK is plotting to keep him lonely and miserable forever.
    • Throughout the series, he experiences delusions and hallucinations that the NHK is out to get him. He even imagines talking household objects warning him about the NHK, or small blue alien creatures harassing him.
  • Covert Pervert: He has an extreme porn addiction, which he tries but fails to hide from his mom and Misaki.
  • Cosmic Plaything: While he lives in a painfully mundane world, he thinks he is the target of this type of cosmic conspiracy.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Has a lot of tissues in his room.
  • Fatal Flaw: Appears to have a very addictive personality, seeing how quickly and easily he becomes obsessed with internet porn or MMORPGs or whatever new thing he's discovering.
  • Hikikomori / NEET: These terms are repeatedly used in-universe to describe him, as he spends almost all of his time at home, and is an unemployed college dropout who freeloads from his parents' money. He slightly and slowly improves over time though.
    • While Satou isn't a Basement-Dweller due to living away from his parents, at least twice he has worried about the possibility of moving back to his family home.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Satou is so paranoid that other people may be mocking him, to the point that he shut himself away from society.
  • Loser Protagonist: He's a hikikomori who does nothing but stay in his house all day, has never attended college, has paralyzing anxiety issues, is a barely concealed pervert, and acts like a jerk on a fairly regular basis.
  • Meaningful Name: It's actually in the fact that it doesn't mean much. The surname Satou/Sato is so common in Japan that it is meant to represent the majority of Japanese society and what they struggle with. The English equivalent would be naming the main character Smith.
  • No Social Skills: Obviously, he is very socially withdrawn, and he has very few friends.
  • Otaku: He watches too much anime, but not nearly as much as Yamazaki.
  • Porn Stash: At one point, Satou downloads 120 gigabytes of porn.
  • Shrinking Violet: Why else would he be a hikikomori?
  • This Loser Is You: May as well be the entire premise of the show.
  • Trash of the Titans: Satou is a major slob and tends to leave his apartment littered with garbage. It gets even worse if he's gone on a spree of watching porn or playing video games.

Misaki Nakahara

Voiced by: Yui Makino (JP), Stephanie Wittels (EN)

  • Abusive Parent: In the novel and anime, it's revealed that Misaki was physically abused by her stepfather. The abuse ultimately caused her mother to commit suicide through falling off a cliff.
  • Agnosticism: Although Misaki attends church with her aunt and uncle, she expresses doubt about God's existence.
  • All Take and No Give: Partway through the series, Satou begins to fear and hallucinate that Misaki may be trying to trick him into becoming completely dependent on her. She is.
  • Break the Cutie
  • Broken Bird: She flinches noticeably when she presumes another character is going to strike her because of the fact that she was forced to live with her abusive stepfather who constantly beat her, and she also attempts suicide by throwing herself off the same cliff her mother did years before.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Misaki goes past it after Satou refuses to be in a relationship with her.
  • Deuteragonist: She's been a part of the story for as long as Satou himself, and the basic plot gets kicked off because of her project.
  • Driven to Suicide: Almost happens in the novel and anime.
  • Girl Next Door: Her innocence and rather plain beauty is, at first, an integral part of her relationship with Satou, combining this trope with Manic Pixie Dream Girl. However, both tropes become subverted when she is slowly revealed to exhibit nearly every symptom of a textbook case of Borderline Personality Disorder, including extreme self-esteem issues, self-harm, skewed social perspective, and an unhealthy (suicidally so) obsession with Satou.
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: Misaki spends most of the next-to-last episode talking to Satou about suicide notes, and particularly about one famous suicide note where the writer complimented his parents' cooking. She leaves a suicide note of that form on her bed ("The New Year's grated yams were delicious. So to everybody, goodbye."), which is Satou's cue to start looking for her.
  • Limited Wardrobe: She almost always wears the same sweater and miniskirt, even under freezing conditions.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Deconstructed, as she gloms onto the Satou because she needs to have the company of people she considers even more pathetic than herself.
  • Manipulative Bitch: In the manga.
  • Mixed Ancestry: At one point she claimed to have a French grandfather, which would make her a quarter European.
  • Nay-Theist: She believes that if He really does exist, then God is evil for creating such an awful world.
  • Nice Girl: However her kindness is repeatedly questioned by Satou, who suspects an ulterior motive. It turns out that Misaki intentionally befriended an even worse loser like Satou to make herself feel better by comparison.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Misaki somehow knows an awful lot about Satou, and she is very obsessed about making sure that he always attends her counseling every night. After he rejects her romantic advances, she attempts suicide.
  • Stepford Smiler
  • Weakness Turns Her On: A rather brutal example. Misaki selects Sato for her "project" of curing him from being a hikikomori, and the time they spend together eventually leads to there being quite a bit of romantic tension between the pair. It's later revealed that Misaki chose Sato, because she wanted to find someone who was even more "worthless" than she was and prove she could fix them because of her abusive stepfather telling her that she was a useless human being. As a broken recluse, Sato fit the bill.
  • Woman in White
  • Yandere: In the manga. She's much more innocent in the anime.

Kaoru Yamazaki

Voiced by: Daisuke Sakaguchi (JP), Greg Ayres (EN)

  • Covert Pervert: Like Sato, he is also a big consumer of porn. In fact the two guys spend the whole series trying to create an erotic video game.
  • He-Man Woman Hater / Straw Misogynist: While he does have a history of bad luck when it comes to romance, he thinks that all women are to blame for it. However he forgets to be sexist whenever he's being friendly to a girl he likes.
  • Jerkass: At his worst, he's very easily irritated.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: As he has no experience of women beyond anime, he fails to see the problem with drawing a character who is a sickly, injured, ghost robot schoolgirl maid — indeed, he thinks the character would be an appropriate, attractive heroine for an H-Game.
  • No Indoor Voice: Especially when he's excited or angered.
  • No Social Skills: A little better than Satou, but not by much.
  • Otaku: He has tons of anime and gal game merchandise in his room. In the anime, he even has a Pururin body pillow and life-sized doll, which he later hands over to Satou.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Has these sometimes. It usually happens in dramatic moments or moments when he is serious.
  • Straight Man: To Satou. While both of them are nerds who have No Social Skills, Yamazaki is slightly more functional, as he is more willing to go outside, and he attends a vocational school.
    • This is best shown in one episode where he has to snap Satou out of his addiction to the Ultimate Fantasy MMORPG.
  • Tritagonist: He's Heterosexual Life-Partners with Satou, he's been in the story almost as long as Satou and Misaki, and he ends up central to various subplots.

Hitomi Kashiwa

Voiced by: Sanae Kobayashi (JP), Luci Christian (EN)

  • Broken Bird: She appears to be successful despite her constant ravings about conspiracies. However, in the middle of the series, it is shown she is a bit of an outcast at work and unhappy in her relationship, even to the point that she joins a suicide pact and seems intent on jumping off a cliff over the ocean, until her boyfriend asks her to marry him, thus saving her.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: She convinced Satou that a global conspiracy is responsible for all of the world's problems. "It's a conspiracy" is practically her Catch Phrase.
  • Driven to Suicide: She takes along an unwitting Satou to join an Internet suicide pact, where they plan to jump off a high cliff on a remote island, until Hitomi's boyfriend intervenes and proposes to her.

Megumi Kobayashi

Voiced by: Risa Hayamizu (JP), Monica Rial (EN)

  • Con Woman: After getting entangled in a pyramid scheme, her job is to recruit more suckers to join them.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She invites Satou to sign up for the Mouse Road pyramid scheme. Misaki and Yamazaki also later get tricked into joining.
  • Promotion to Parent: Without even being orphaned, she pretty much acts like a surrogate mom to her brother, a hikikomori man child who is even more isolated than Satou.