>Although this is really volume three of the series which I am reviewing, “Welcome to the NHK!” is worthy of plenty of praise. Shown in the CSULB anime club, it is one of the most dramatic and hilarious series about the otaku culture of Japan, the anime and manga lovers of contemporary Japan.
In particular, “Welcome to the NHK!” focuses on the hikikomori culture, the disturbing trend of young unemployed people in Japan who are disillusioned by the working world. Japanese workers tends to frown on these depressed individuals. Based on this anime, the new otaku culture only breeds more of these secluded individuals who are afraid of the outside world.
In a short summary of the past two DVDs, the anime focuses on Satou, a twenty-something-year-old hikikomori who is convinced by a young teenage girl named Misaki to take her hikikomori rehabilitation course. On the side, Satou has been working with his friend to produce an ero-game, a dating simulation which rewards the male character with sexual scenes and pictures. He is hoping to prove that he will escape his hikikomori life with this new occupation.
In this DVD, Misaki takes Satou out to see a fireworks show. She’s been getting closer to Satou lately, but Satou is getting awfully nervous about the sexual tension. He leaves Misaki to drive with his high school friend, Kashiwa, on an off-site trip with friends she made online. However, this isn’t an ordinary trip–this is a trip where everyone will kill themselves on a deserted island.
So far, the series has gone pretty steady, but volume three is the start of the suicide club string of episodes, an incredible haunting section of the anime. Although Satou and Misaki’s relationship has become closer, by the next DVD, their love will almost completely fall apart in a heavily emotional scene. I like the series. However, the next DVD may become a little overdone and a little too long for its own good. After all, the original novel didn’t even include this off-site suicide meeting.
However, I’d have to admit that all the characters are still drawn pretty well. Satou may be the most psychologically distressed lead character in all the anime I’ve ever seen (aside from Shinji in “Evangelion”). And Misaki is still one of the anime gals I desperately want to marry. I still have to decide between Misaki or Yomiko Readman from “Read or Die”.
Stay tuned. I still haven’t seen the end of “Welcome to the NHK!”, so I’ll be looking forward to the ending.
Images courtesy of parttimeotaku.files.wordpress.com, concretebadger.net and animeshows.org