Anime Review: Welcome to the N.H.K.
Reviewer: Olen Bjorgo
Tatsuhiro Sato is 22 years old, a college dropout, has been unemployed for four years, and is a social recluse known as a hikikomori. He is also the victim of a conspiracy under an organization called the NHK. Life for him was going nowhere until he was visited by an angel: a high school girl named Misaki Nakahara. Although Sato never met her before, she knew a lot about him, and chose him to be the subject of her project to cure him of his problems.
Let’s start with this one, shall we?
The animation is, for all intents and purposes, very good, but showcases some telltale signs of extreme corner cutting in some areas. This is to be expected from studio Gonzo, a studio founded by former Gainax members. Never straying away from anything too surreal most of the time, Welcome to the NHK is pleasing to look at with vivid coloration and clean movements. I say “most of the time” because sometimes objects may come to life and begin talking to Sato as they solidify his belief that he is the victim of a conspiracy that has caused his many shortcomings in life, or strange purple creatures will suddenly come about and start laughing at him. The transition from the real world to Sato’s warped mind creates a contrast in style that gives the viewer perspective to how Sato sees things.
The same way we do, it turns out.
The majority of music for this show can be best described as emotionally and mentally
appropriate. One of the first songs heard in the first episode is a very upbeat J-
Welcome to the NHK might only be twenty-
Right. The story. Definitely what’s distracting us. Story.
Since this is the first anime review for Last Level Press, I want to state right
now that all voice acting will focus on the English dub unless there isn’t one available
or the specific source I watch it from lacks an English dub. With that said, I feel
like Welcome to the NHK has a wonderful dub. Funimation regular Chris Patton (One
Piece, BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad) was a terrific choice for Sato and was able to
bring the right amounts of paranoia, denial, and intense emotion that was needed
for such a screwed up individual. Stephanie Wittels (xxxHolic, Air Gear) was also
a good choice for the quiet and kind, though manipulative, Misaki. Greg Ayres (Full
Metal Panic, Samurai 7) plays the otaku and game-
Welcome to the NHK is without a doubt a dramatic black comedy with themes of depression, suicide, social anxiety, and feelings of uselessness and inadequacy throughout. For me, there were times where I could understand Sato’s plight. Other times I laughed at his expense. And sometimes I pitied him and saw him as a detestable human. In spite of all the hardships people face there is a glimmer of hope that shows that things might work out if they strive for it, which is certainly a nice reminder to have these days. As you can expect this is not a show for kids but if this sounds like something up your alley I highly recommend it.
Atmosphere & Experience: 9
Or, if these images look a little too familiar too you, you just might
Learn a little something about yourself.
Yeah, I’m just gonna leave this here:
Director: Yusuke Yamamoto
Release Date (U.S.): Dec 16, 2008
Release Date (U.K.): N/A
Release Date (JP): Jul 9, 2006
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