Reviews: Welcometothe NHK

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Novel review - Welcome to the N.H.K., Tatsuhiko Takimoto
This time, art imitates life. Sato's naturalistically-structured commentary guides the reader through an entirely believable passage of screams - of ordinary absurdities and pitched indignation at the cowardice of everyone.

Takimoto's tale of unconcious psychology and strongly-held ideals is always thoughtful and often hilarious. An unsung masterpiece of fiction.

-Himeko Inaba
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A Slice of Life made from Dark Chocolate
Bitter, sweet, and really does what more series should do: make you care. Welcome to the NHK! does a wonderful job of making one care about the core characters. And in a way, you sometimes shouldn't. They're selfish, bitter, stupid, and sometimes even downright terrible people. But even so, they're not so much bad, but deeply flawed. They're real because while they sometimes are over the top, it's not hard to find a few characters you really relate to, or atleast understand. You don't take pleasure out of their pain. Satou and the gang may be sometimes dumb or mean, but really they make you want to reach into the screen and just give them a cookie and hug, something all these characters desperately need in their life.

Welcome to the NHK doesn't overstay it's welcome, and the message is on point. Don't be surprised if several moments make you tear up. It's a personal favorite series, and I highly recommend the anime and light novel. They're wonderful pieces of fiction that just feel real enough to make you care.

It's a conspiracy!

  • What I Hated
    • English dub has weird sound mixing
  • What I loved
    • Amazing dubs in both the Japanese and English
    • Excellent pacing in terms of drama, comedy, and romance
    • Beautiful soundtrack by the Pearl Brothers
    • Wonderful animation
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The anime
(Read the page for a synopsis.)

I wish there were more anime like Welcome To The NHK. Much Slice Of Life is intent on giving off an "it's all alright"-vibe throughout, which is good television in the same way cotton candy is a good meal. NHK critisizes, sympathizes and makes fun of people that don't know what to do with their lives. You'd expect to find these characters on the internet, rather than in your anime. It addresses a lot of things I think many people will relate to, whether it's being a nerd who can't get a girlfriend, believing your life isn't going to go anywhere, or feeling the reason you hardly go outside is because an evil television network is conspiring against you.

I didn't go through this anime quickly, though. You're not given many reasons to sympathize with the characters, I was quite far in before I grew to care about any of them and the Satou-Misaki relationship left me cold throughout most of the show's run. Luckily there is a lot more to the show than drama: It's criticism and messages are strong and when it's funny, it's hilarious. The humour is pitch black but still light enough to make your day. Settings don't get more mundane than they are in this show, but Satou's imagination is kind enough to supply talking fridges and moe-pudding. It doesn't use chibis (thank the lord) but uses the faces it has for expressions and the dialogue gets positively hammy when it needs to, especially in the dub. Seriously, this dub is awesome. It's only real flaw is that no one realized we sometimes need to read on screen text. I would also like to mention the first season has the best ending theme ever, both in lyrics and music, and I hope to one day discover what conspiracy decided the next season needed it replaced with sugar.

By the end of the show I did care for the characters and it's finale worked very well. The show hiccups sometimes, but in the end it is definitely worth a watch if you like realism and dark humour. People say it's grim, which it is, but there really is plenty of hope. The show's suicide success rate is very low!

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A dark horse managed to become one of my favorite anime series
When I first watched this anime, I was expecting wacky hijinx and some lighthearted poking-fun at otaku all the way through. What I got, however, was something more: a story of a few wayward souls trying to make their way in the world. There's moments of laughter, of course, but there's also some tears, drama, subtle yet biting satire of the dark side of Japanese society, and beauty.

Upon first viewing, I kind of thought the tone and pacing didn't quite work due to the sudden shifts in both, but the more I rewatched it (I've seen it three times now, third time dubbed) the more it managed to worm its way into my very top favorites of anime. There is a little Off Model animation, but it rarely if ever jars you out of the story. Overall, this story is highly recommended to anyone , although of course Your Mileage May Vary

The ADV dub, later finished by FU Nimation when ADV collapsed, is quite good. Chris Patton as Satou is hilariously wacko, Greg Ayres as Yamazaki gets a chance to chew the scenery, and Stephanie Wittels is refreshingly ordinary as Misaki, who could have easily been played too cutesy. Luci Christian does a fine acting job as Satou's sempai, but the somewhat high-pitched voice she uses just isn't right for the character. The actors manage to simultaneously be hilarious when the subject matter is funny while also treating the serious material with the respect it deserves. Near the end it seems they only have like two people voicing incidental characters, which kind of takes you out a bit, but other than that it's good.

Manga? Not as good. For the first few chapters, it's very similar to the anime, albeit darker, but when it gets to the stuff that the anime couldn't cover, it gets a little... confused. The pacing is very odd, the tone just gets darker and more bizarre, and the ending in the manga doesn't play at all. Unlike the anime, which leaves you with some faith in humanity reaffirmed, however marginally, the manga ends up being just depressing and confusing, which wouldn't be so bad, except it's also kind of stupid. Although there are some sublimely bizarre and hilarious moments in the manga that aren't in the anime, I would still recommend giving it a skip.
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A Fantastic Book/Manga/Anime
Welcome To The NHK is a fantastic anime, and manga, and book. All three forms of media are a little different, but they all follow Satou and Misaki's journey. Satou, a Hikikomori(A Shut-In who has kep himself cooped up in his room for years),he is a character who is likeable because he is so aware of his own problems, but is too afraid to try and really fix them. Yamazaki, who is a lonely Otaku, gains the Viewer/Reader's sympathy because of his friendship with Satou. Misaki is at first sort of mysterious, with the Viewer/Reader not knowing her exact motives for doing what she does.

The book came first, and it is quite different from either the Manga and Anime, but it is worth a read because it is where the story of Satou was born.

The Manga came second, and the plot of it actually covers more story than the Anime. It is an excellent series with good art and adds more to the story that the book created, such as fleshing out the character of Hitomi Kashiwa, Satou's Senpai who he is in Unrequited(for the most part) love with.

The Anime came last, and while it has some OffModel animation, it is still a great series and is well worth watching.
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