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Tatsuhiro Satou

Voiced by: Yutaka Koizumi (JP), Chris Patton (EN)
A 22-year old college dropout, currently a NEET living by himself, financially sustained by the money sent by his parents.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It's never stated what exactly is wrong with him, however he does suffer from delusions, paranoia, and severe social anxiety.
  • Broken Pedestal: Yamazaki actually looked up to him for protecting him in high school, and continues to do so for a long time when they reconnect. It's only after Satou's repeated failures to be a reliable partner and friend that he begins to lose his patience.
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  • Character Development: An interesting case in that he frequently regresses back to his old ways after making breakthroughs in becoming more sociable. In the end, it is only after he is cut off from his parents' money and forced to get a job that his development finally sticks, though he's still clearly presented as having a long way to go.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Freudian Excuse: Played with. While Hitomi is responsible for sowing the seed of conspiracies into his head, as well as many of his hangups with women and other people in general, Satou gradually learns that blaming her only reinforces his problems and accepts that he's just as at fault for his problems.
  • Geek Physiques: He's noticeably gaunt and skinny, and is noted to go several days without eating when particularly stressed out.
  • Hidden Depths: The few times he bothers to do it, he proves himself to be a talented writer.
  • 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.
  • Informed Attribute: For a Hikikomori, he sure gets out a lot (once the plot starts moving).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Generally callous and introverted, though not an altogether terrible person.
  • Large Ham: Though only when in the company of close friends or his own thoughts.
  • The Load: He is the biggest reason the galgame he and Yamazaki make is such a failure.
  • 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, flunked out of college after one semester, 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.
  • Mr. Imagination: He spends so little time outside of his apartment that a large chunk of the series takes place in his imagination.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: Averted. Hitomi taking his virginity on the last day of high school is a major point of anxiety for him.
  • 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.
  • The Paragon: A weird example, but Satou manages to singlehandidly pull several people out from beyond the Despair Event Horizon, generally through sheer earnestness.
  • Porn Stash: At one point, Satou downloads 120 gigabytes of porn.
  • Shrinking Violet: Why else would he be a hikikomori?
  • The Slacker: Beyond his crippling social anxiety, Satou is also quite lazy and is shown to have been an apathetic student during high school flashbacks. This ends up causing several problems when he and Yamazaki begin working on a galgame, as he continues to put off doing his share of the work.
  • 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.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Let us count the ways... being taken away to a deserted to end his life along with suicide pact members by the senpai he thought he had feelings for, realizing that the girl he thought was helping him was secretly spying on him and actually viewed him as the lowest form of human life, being tricked by his neighbor into falling for a persona on an MMORPG and getting involved with a pyramid scheme... if it wasn't for his anxiety, Sato would have most likely been a nihilistic terrorist or criminal at the very least.

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.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: In the anime and original books, Misaki's backstory is legit. In the manga she lied about having abusive parents.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Manga version of Misaki is a bit on the trollish side.
  • 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.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Pretty heavily suggested to have Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Ambiguous Innocence: Satou is constantly debating whether she has more sinister motivations behind her kind actions towards him. In the end we learn that he was right to suspect her but that she was not intentionally trying to be malicious.
  • 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.
  • False Friend: Satou becomes suspicious that she is only interacting with him in order to manipulate him almost immediately after they become fully acquainted. He's right, but their relationship appears to take a healthier turn by the end of the series.
  • Foreshadow: During one of Misaki's early therapy sessions, she advises Satou that an easy way for him to communicate with others is to internally look down on others in order to make himself feel superior. Quite the early hint to her true nature.
  • 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.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: A Deconstructed Trope; early on Misaki volunteers to be Satou's therapist in order to break him out of his hikikomori habits. But then her true motives reveals that she looks down on Satou and is trying to make him codependent on her in order to feel better about herself.
  • 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 Satou, who she perceived as an even bigger loser than herself, to feel better by comparison.
  • Secretly Selfish: Misaki's true motive for wanting to help Satou was in order to better cope with her own self-loathing.
  • 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: Misaki's Manic Pixie Dream Girl shtick turns out to be an act.
  • Weakness Turns Her On: A rather brutal example. Misaki selects Satou 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, Satou 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)

  • Bishōnen: Compared to the sunken-faced Satou, Yamazaki is drawn to be relatively boyishly handsome. It helps emphasize the fact that, while an otaku, he is not a hikikomori.
  • Bittersweet Ending: He never fulfills his dreams of becoming a game developer and is forced to return to his family's farm, but is shown to have hit it off with his arranged fiance and generally seems to be content with the direction his life is going in.
  • Covert Pervert: Like Satou, he is also a big consumer of porn. In fact the two guys spend the whole series trying to create an erotic video game.
  • Determinator: Absolutely refuses to abandon his galgame. Turns out it's the only thing keeping him from going back home.
  • Extreme Doormat / Hair-Trigger Temper: Begins the series as the former, putting up with Satou's jerkish behavior through impossible circumstances, but steadily becomes the latter over time, blowing up at Satou at the slightest provocation due to a mix of Satou's repeated failings and his own personal problems.
  • Fanboy: He has an obsession with a Magical Girl character known as Pururin, to the point where he is almost constantly watching her show and his apartment is covered wall-to-wall with merchandise of her.
  • Farm Boy: Though we learn this very late. He left his life in the country to go to college in the city.
  • 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.
  • Hero of Another Story: His conflicts are alluded to several times, but Satou is too caught up in his own problems to pay ay attention to them. When Satou (and the audience) finally learns the whole story, it's too late and he's forced back home.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: He is the only person Satou has a normal, moderately healthy relationship with and the two spend plenty of time together.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: He's significantly more socially stable than Satou and also pretty much the only reason their galgame goes anywhere at all.
  • Hypocrite: Likely Hypocritical Humor, but still. One of the arguments he uses for why 3D women are the worse is that before the Westernization of Japan most couples were put in Arranged Marriages and that the concept of romance is just a product of Western capitalism gone rampant. This, coming from the guy that owns a ton of anime merchandise, which is more or less the only way of showing your love for those kinds of characters.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Very easily irritated and can rant about his hatred of nearly everything for hours, but is actually a fairly loyal and selfless person.
  • 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. The story makes a point of showing, awkward as he may be, he is not a hikikomori, and attends college and attempts to socialize during his time away from Satou.
  • Only Friend:
    • While Satou also interacts with Misaki fairly regularly, he is highly suspicious of her motives and is generally even more anxious and paranoid than usual when spending time with her. In comparison, he has no problem being his true Large Ham self around Yamazaki and never has any doubts about his relationship with him. This is driven home when Yamazaki moves away near the end of the series, and Satou realizes just how much he relied on him as his only form of healthy social interaction.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum, Yamazaki's Hair-Trigger Temper has led to him having a hard time getting along with his classmates. It's also heavily implied that it was Yamazaki was the one who instigated that fight he was losing in middle school, that Satou ultimately saved him from. So it becomes apparent that Satou is Yamazaki's Only Friend in return because he's the only one willing to put up with Yamazaki's abrasiveness.
  • 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.
  • Put on a Bus: Moves back home right before the final few episodes, though Satou does speak with him a handful of times over the phone afterwards.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Has these sometimes. It usually happens in dramatic moments or moments when he is serious.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: He ultimately fails to achieve his goals because of Satou's unreliability, and is forced to move back home to take over his family farm as a result. Satou is understandably guilt-ridden when he finds out.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: A justified example. Initially incredibly patient and supportive of Satou but gets increasingly more annoyed and irritable as Satou continues to let him down. Over time we learn that there is more to blame for his behavior than Satou.
  • 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)

  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Fits this to a tee.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: She and her boyfriend come across as very detached from each other during most of their early scenes, but his frantic attempt to stop her from committing suicide and her ensuing reaction prove that they do love each other. When Satou next sees her, they're engaged.
  • Big Bad: In an abstract way. She introduced Satou to conspiracies, left him despairing and confused after high school and later attempts to get him to join a suicide pact, but we quickly learn after she finally appears that she is her own person with her own problems, and a major part of her status as Big Bad was Satou's own demonization of her.
  • 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 Catchphrase.
  • 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.
  • The Ghost: Doesn't appear until around the middle of the series, though Satou constantly thinks and talks about her from the beginning.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The most strikingly attractive female character. Satou has multiple fantasies with her naked in them.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: During high school she was fascinated with dark conspiracies. It is because of her rantings that Satou is as paranoid as he is today.
  • The One That Got Away: Satou continues to regret not going any further with her long after graduation.
  • The Stoic: Incredibly composed and hard to read.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: She is partially responsible to Satou's current state of being, though Satou learns to accept that he himself is equally to blame.

Megumi Kobayashi

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

  • Break the Haughty: Megumi was a very dedicated class representative in high school, to the point where she used to arrogantly used to give orders to others. Sato called her out on this, saying that it was wrong of her to force her viewpoint onto others. Four or five years later, Megumi is now a college dropout and had to go through embarassing jobs that sometimes didn't pay her in order to take care of herself and her brother after their father died.
  • 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.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Though she briefly appeared in a flashback, we only learn about her the moment she's introduced, which is quite late in the series. Somewhat justified in that Satou didn't really know her at all in high school beyond being aware of her.

Yuuichi Kobayashi

Megumi's older hikkikomori brother who spends all day playing video games.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: In the manga, he becomes a bishounen and re-enrolls into law school the moment he stops being a hikkikomori.

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