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QUOTES ABOUT LOVE : Welcome to the NHK (ExtraMana Archives)

QUOTES ABOUT LOVE


extramana:

‘Welcome to the NHK’ is an anime focused around hikikimori disease. To those who don’t know a Hikikomori is someone who never leaves there house or apartment, in the West we would see this as something like agoraphobia, or social dysfunction. With such a weighty subject you’d think this anime would be truly deep, perhaps even to the point of analysing the complex nature of Japanese society as an insight to the rest of the World so that we could finally comprehend why someone might spend their entire lives indoors. Sadly the anime falls short on this. The main protagonist Tatsuhiro Satou is a 20 something college drop-out hikikimori. His soon to be friend Karou Yamazki is a video game programmer, otaku and dakimakura owner. That’s as much as the plot I can delve into without giving anything away. The general feel of this anime is that of unrest, the comedy is very dark and the protagonists all lead deeply troubled lives even if they are all middle class young adults with potentially burgeoning careers or relationships. 

The writing for Satou is what ultimately unhinges this anime, in one moment he is a hopeless case barely able to feed himself, in another he is out strolling on a beach or shopping, the state of his condition is entirely relative to what interesting scenarios the writers conjure up. Additionally the main female protagonists; Misaki Nakahara and Hitomi Kashiwa although given weighty issues such as depression, drug addiction, and schizophrenia, they somehow remain 2 dimensional with back stories that either don’t make us care for their plight or sympathise with them, which we are supposed too. The music in this anime however is fantastic. From the opening song which is full of false optimism that contrasts perfectly with the dark subject matter, to the heart wrenching quieter more reflective songs that play during the Satou’s lowest moments. It’s a shame that the writing doesn’t have the depth or nuances of its highly compelling soundtrack. 

Usually when watching an anime I would choose the original Japanese undubbed version over the dubbed. Not because I’m some kind of hardcore anime fan but because dubbed anime tends to have at least one character that has a headache inducing sugary sweet take on a character. However when it comes to ‘Welcome to the NHK’ the dubbed version features solid performances except for Satou he comes off as a little too suave.  Welcome to the NHK (Opening)   Welcome to the NHK OST – Hitori no Tame no Lullaby The art style is another huge plus for this anime, there is a lot of very careful detailing from discarded tissues and computer screen monitors to the moody lighting inside Satou’s apartment. Most of the time the art direction is excellent, however more so toward the end of the anime we get frames that are clearly under detailed when compared to certain others. Overall it still looks great but a little bit more consistency would have gone a long way.

The narrative arc of this anime is rather uneven it almost feels as if we are being given two stories, one is an exploration of why the protagonists are as screwed up as they are and the consequences of their lifestyle. The second being a more traditional adventure narrative, with new escapades and amusing schemes for the characters to become embroiled in. For this reason there can be a somewhat jarring transition every 6 episodes or so. This also leads to the conclusion not only being wholly unsatisfying but it also ends up feeling flimsy and tacked on in order to have some sense of completion that really doesn’t seem natural at all. Sometimes hilarious, often frustrating this anime is worth a watch because in it’s better moments there are some truly compelling character interactions even if it all falls apart by the end.

Circa 2014.

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