12 Days of Christmas 2014 #03 – Welcome to the NHK and Facing Reality

WelcomeToTheNHK04

Welcome to the NHK is a special anime. It follows the university dropout Satou as he is forced to face the reality of having become a hikikomori – a shut-in. With neither job nor employment, Satou is living off his parents’ allowance and is slowly growing more out of touch with reality by each day. Author Tatsuhiko Takimoto has himself gone through (is going through?) a period of being a hikikomori and it shows, while being difficult to put into words as my knowledge of this type of social anxiety disorder is limited at best.

What appeals to me is not necessarily the story itself, but rather its characters. They are flawed and do not always make the correct choices; in fact, there are times when I am actually slightly frustrated at them. “Why are you doing THAT?!”, I often found myself thinking while also realizing how attached I had grown.

The choices made almost seem comical to a degree, but they are all the more real in Satou’s warped mind. It feels as if they were created by someone not only having experienced similar things, but also by a person who has gained perspective. This perspective allows for punches in the gut – without being too cynical – and still being able to present the harsh reality many suffer from in a thoughtful manner.

As said earlier, it is incredibly difficult to put what makes me like Welcome to the NHK into words. All I know is that it is a fascinating story that completely absorbed me in the span of a few days, only wishing for every character’s well-being. It is often painful to watch and is not a happy experience, but it is no doubt a memorable one I will remember for a long time.

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9 thoughts on “12 Days of Christmas 2014 #03 – Welcome to the NHK and Facing Reality

  1. miharusshi says:

    I never got past episode 6 😦 . I should watch it again from the beginning.

  2. Anth says:

    Glad you wrote about this. Never heard of it, but added to my need-to-watch list since his problem sounds very similar to mine.

  3. animecommentary says:

    Maybe it’s the paranoiac dilemma Satou experiences as a hikikomori – he concocts this conspiracy there, centered on a TV network, that nominally creates and perpetuates the hikikomori lifestyle (along with blaming it for his own difficulties in entering society), but ultimately he rediscovers the joys of living when he meets Misaki. Such a story shows hope amidst tragic circumstances – no matter how you feel, or what life you lead, there’s always someone who understands you and is willing to stay by your side.

  4. joshuatacal says:

    I’m really glad someone would write about this anime. I’ve watched it some years back and I am still crazy about it (Don’t know if I should be worried about that). Its really a one of a kind anime that has its characters experience real world problems. And the best part is that they don’t just magically make it out of those problems with a new lesson learned, the characters of welcome to the NHK struggle to handle their problems and oftentimes fail at it, which adds more to the realism of the series.

    • Marow says:

      I also like how they struggle with their problems. Even what could be called “solutions” obviously isn’t healthy in the long run, a detail I quite appreciate.

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