Customer Reviews: Welcome to the NHK - The Complete Series
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on October 24, 2010
This anime reflects on the hardships of life based on the ones of original author Tatsuhiko Takimoto. The story revolves around the psychological and social challenges of Tatsuhiro Satou and other characters. These include lack of self-confidence, yearning for sympathy, poor social skills, love, and many other emotional pains. With all this, "Welcome to the N.H.K" maintains a very truthful and emotional approach to life especially with a relating author. The anime also shows how ordinary people have painful pasts and deficiencies "deep down inside" or in their lives. Such a presentation provides the acknowledgement and understanding that it is okay and not "creepy" to have issues. Certainly, the characters can lead different lives from a typical young person. Also, some of Satou's subconscious thoughts are illustrated strangely and outrageously wild. However, that keeps this anime constantly funny and embarrassing. Entering the N.H.K will provide audiences a touching but also wild look at life. It looks from someone else's hands and feet. You'll never know where you'll step.
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on November 27, 2010
Welcome to the NHK is one of the best anime that I have ever seen.

It is a 'realistic' anime set in the year of 2006 in Tokyo Japan. This series fell under the cracks of main stream anime audience, and maybe because it is series without suer-human ninjas or giant mecha. For really good reviews of this anime look under the Box Set edition dated for 2009 on anime. There are over a dozen reviews on Welcome to the NHK that you'll get a good perspective into the series. Each review in that thread is full of unique philosophical insight -- which shows the power of this series.

The series does start off somewhat slow and wired in nature. The story focuses on the depressive state of the main character, and someone who is mainstream might not get into the series right off the bat. That being said the anime progresses very nicely and the characters become fully developed towards the end. The relationships between all of the characters is what steals the show of the anime and serves as the backbone of series. There are no filer episodes in Welcome to the NHK as everything is continuous.

The soundtracks is above average and quiet endearing and I'd rate the animation above average as well.

Pick up Welcome to the NHK in either it's box set form or through this S.A.V.E package.

If you enjoy romance, if you enjoy character relationships and interactions, if you enjoy true creativity and solid writing in your shows then Welcome to the NHK is for you.

--Once again. See the reviews in the Box Set Edition (2009) to get a better idea of the series.
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on December 11, 2011
I was starting to get really confused during the first episode. I wasn't sure if i wanted to keep watching at first, and was afraid i wasted my money. However, i only paid 11 dollars for it and figured might as well keep watching. The more i watched the more i began to understand and more i started to enjoy the series. By the time i got to the 5th episode i was hooked and couldn't believe i almost stopped watching.

The story begins with the introduction of the main character Satou, who is a Hikikomori. Meaning that he secludes himself from the outside world. After his first encounter with Misaki, Satou decides to go search for a job. He decides to apply at this manga shop, where he runs into Misaki again and runs out of the shop. This is his first step into starting a new life. Misaki eventually starts a contract with Satou that is a promise to help him end his Hikikomori ways.

Along the way he also finds out that his neighbor who had been blasting annoying anime music, was actually an old high school classmate, who he had once saved from bullies. His name is Yamazaki.

With his new friend and old friends Satou struggles to find his way. Their is triumph and failures along the way and Satou must struggle through the emotional roller-coaster.

If you know what it is like to want to close yourself off to the outside world, you will understand what Satou is going through. I lost a lot of people in my life and went through a time of seclusion myself and so i came to understand the main character quite well. Which might be why i liked this anime so much.
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VINE VOICEon August 20, 2009
There are some anime properties that you really can't imagine working in any other medium. Sure anime is very closely related to its manga cousin but comics fail to deliver when things really get zany and personable. Welcome to the N-H-K is exactly one such property. It's so unique on so many levels that it's actually hard to believe it came out of the typically conservatively regarded Gonzo studios. But before we get ahead of ourselves here, let's take a look at the hard facts.

Originally released by ADV Films, Funimation has recently acquired the rights to the show and has wasted little time in getting a Complete Series release out to the public. Coming in at a total runtime of 600 minutes, Welcome to the N-H-K the Complete Series spans 4 discs and comes packaged as a pair of thin packs within a cardboard slipcase.

The show wears an appropriate TV MA (17+) rating, which is surprising should you base the show on the previews alone (a more accurate depiction of what's in store would be to check out the cover art and its foaming can of beer, pair of scantily clad women, and lead character looking slightly neurotic).

Language options are typical sub & dub meaning the option of original Japanese dialog track (stereo) or an English dub (5.1 Dolby Surround) and English subtitles available under either language choice.

Extras are limited to textless songs and a host of Funimation trailers.

I'll do my best to summarize the story without giving away any spoilers. The viewer is introduced to Sato, a college dropout who has just about had all he can take of society. So withdrawn from society is our hero that he locks himself up in his dreary apartment where his very grip on reality is becoming more and more twisted by the day.

His own delusions coupled to his lack of outside contact result in his becoming convinced that he is the subject of a vast conspiracy designed keep him under wraps by the secretive agency known as the N-H-K.

Like most mentally ill individuals, being a delusion-suffering recluse results in a twist of incredible fortune when a friendly, pretty, and just generally good hearted young lady named Misaki shows up one day out of the blue with intentions of getting old depressed Sato back into society.

The lead character pair ends up becoming a trio once the loud-music bumping neighbor of Sato's (and an old high-school pal, it turns out) joins the fray. In all this unlikely team makes it their mission to rehabilitate the ever-degenerating mental and social health of Sato through a sort of long and drawn out intervention.

Believe it or not, this is a comedy anime title despite what you may have figured after reading the summary. It's based on a novel, which although I haven't had the pleasure of reading personally, can't possibly capture the oddity and personality that the anime just relishes in around every corner.

The core of the show alternates between a cityscape reality and the hallucinations of Sato, which sometimes border on sexual fantasies. I should note that there is no real nudity involved in said scenarios, but rather provocative outfits and a bit of suggestive dialog. It is the language that earns this show a majority of its MA rating here in the US.

A lot of the show's charm stems from the age-old gag of presenting a fairly "out there" conspiracy theory that can never fully be dismissed by the viewer. The show's creative team does a great job painting a lead character who is clearly suffering from social dysfunction although there are moments along the way where you can't help but wonder if indeed some other forces (like a top-secret agency for example) aren't at play.

The biggest problem I had with the show is that it lacks consistency in nearly sense of the term. There are some genuinely funny moments but they are few and far between. There are some intriguing psychological undertones that slip away to cheap attempts at humor. There are some nice textures and visuals on occasion but more often than not you'll be looking at art that simply gets the job done. About the only aspect of this program that holds steady is the soundtrack, which includes some smooth melodies and catchy J-Pop numbers throughout.

The acting work is solid in both language options, with the Japanese dialog squeaking into the top-spot thanks to a female actor ensemble that feel almost custom tailored to the material.

In all, this is definitely not a show for everyone, nor is the silly/ goofy type of light-hearted romp that previews suggest. It's really a tragic tale if you allow yourself to look beyond the bright visuals and giddy personalities that make up the superficial. Pacing is nice and swift even if the show does struggle at times to firmly establish itself into a genre.
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on May 27, 2010
Gina from Haunted Flower reviews "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, and Ben Kingsley in this video game adaptation about a prince who finds a magical time altering dagger.

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on December 25, 2013
Run for the hills! This isn't Harem but looks like it. This isn't blood-soaked ninjas driving mechs either. "Welcome to the NHK" is a unique and hilariously depressing look at a sweeping epidemic of agoraphobic culture that's already here in the states, but is so solidified in Japan that it's coined a culture and an acronym, N.E.E.T. (No Employment, Education or Training).

While we have a thousand and one reasons to stay in our apartments and never leave, our main character has agoraphobia and doesn’t need those internet trinkets to help keep him indoors. Now he will be introduced. This show tracks his progress and pitfalls as he discovers all the new reasons to never see sunlight. Porn, World of Warcraft, Ponzi schemes, suicide cults, video game design, and laughing, purple conspiracies are just a fraction of the gauntlet our hero must face when deciding whether or not it’s worth opening the door and dealing with anyone.

This show also makes sure that any outsider who manages to break into his “Fortress of Solitude” (made of empty beer cans), also carries their own realistic baggage packed full of psychological flotsam.

NHK’s narrative can drag at times, but is oddly powerful. The comedy is nerve racking and the emotions are crushing at times. This show will blindside you with some heavy concepts and human suffering if you’re not careful and just expect him to quiver around girls all day.

This is a hard show to recommend; 26 EPISODES ABOUT A GUY NEVER LEAVING HIS APARTMENT. Insecure fan boys might not like the mirror it holds up. Many will find it outright boring. The conclusion at the end is anything but epic, but instead is highly realistic and sobering.

To speak of its production value; the animation is very smooth and well done. The music is catchy and fits perfectly with the shows tone. The dialogue is bipolar and shifts quickly between pensive comedic stabs and somberly charming ballads.

The fact that its’ on S.A.V.E. makes it a safer purchase. Take a chance on it, but know what you’re getting yourself into. “Welcome to the NHK” is hard to market, because it reminds adults of the child trapped inside, and reminds children of the adult waiting inevitably for them in the future.

Welcome to a truly admirable slice of life.
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on October 28, 2013
There is nothing in anime, film, or television that is quite like this show. I've searched far and wide for years, but nothing has ever captured my emotions this well. Welcome to the NHK is about a hikikimori (a shut in) who believes his life is surrounded by conspiracy. He has no job, lives off of his parents money, and is afraid to even step outside of his small apartment.

When a mysterious girl appears in his life and wants to help him get out of this lifestyle for no apparent reason, his time in limbo ends and he starts a journey of self-discovery. It's a fairly simple plot but it's portrayed so well. Even though I am not necessarily a shut in myself, I can easily relate to the characters as they deal with failures, social anxieties, and the feelings that everyone is looking down on them.

There are points when the show has its ups and downs, especially when it comes to the quality of the animation, but I've always found the situations entertaining in a way that makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time. It's a really great balance and something that is sometimes pretty difficult to find in the world of anime.

I would recommend this to anyone who has ever felt intense feelings of loneliness or depression. I guarentee it will hit straight to home. It did for me, and even helped inspire me to get out of a rut that I've been in for years. It is imperfect, it has many flaws, but it is unique in such a way that it is likely my favorite anime series of all time.

Watch it! If you don't, I'll just assume you're a part of the conspiracy...
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on May 14, 2013
Not really, but this does somewhat resemble my life: the hopeless nerd who's afraid to go outside. Can be kind of sad at moments though, but I mostly just sat there nodding my head in agreement. "This is how life is for us."
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on February 27, 2011
This is a series I have wanted to watch for a long time. Another that was featured in NEO magazine a couple of years back but as always the UK release of anime lags behind the American releases. I always try and wait for a box set and seeing the SAVE edition I just had to treat myself.

The series eases you into the daily life of a shut-in, socially inept, waster of a young man who had just turned 22. He's been out of college and out of work for four years. Now I am 22 myself and just finished college myself so for the last few months I've been feeling a bit like a hikkikomori myself. It makes me rethink my life that it needs to go beyond helping out the family business or bantering around with the people in the boys club/karate dojo.

The series is a little disturbing at times in how extreme it can take things, how a lonely, depressed guy things and especially when he is "comfortable" in his own little bubble (for example living day-by-day on instant foods, porn, games, dodgy anime music). It also portrays a little bit of the psychotic and paranoia. You find yourself rooting for Sato (the protagonist) despite all that and his journey into a "normal" life through the help of a girl who has taken pity on him and provides him with counseling and daily goals.

I watched it in the Japanese dub with English subtitles. I would consider a rewatch in English though since one of the other reviews mentioned it. But since the hikkikomori problem is probably more common in Japan and its otaku culture I think watching the series in Japanese is ok too. This series touches on some themes from the series "Chobits" by CLAMP... the personal computer/ persocom. The longing for company... the sex (apparatus/tools/dolls/imagery)... and the remedial classes/NEET (neither in education, employment nor training).

If you are an anime/game/Japan nerd, give this series a go. You won't be disappointed.
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on April 11, 2014
(Reader note: my review is based on the Japanese dialog version, not the English dub.)
I'm glad I stuck it out with this series, because initially, I was put off by the craziness and the anthropomorphic animation in the first episode. But it gets better as it progresses, and by episode 5, you'll be hooked.
This is a largely negative world view story, but the situations that many viewers will find personally identifiable will have you yelling "YES!! I've BEEN there!" whether it's the multilevel marketing scheme where you demonstrated detergents by dissolving them in glasses of water (yup, did that forty years ago), or the struggle to write video games, or the problems of just coming out of your apartment after adjusting to a lifestyle of being alone for too long, it's all in there. Anyone who's had a dysfunctional past will immediately identify with the main character, Tatsuhiro Sato.
One of the strong appealing characters in this series is Misaki Nakahara, the "girl next door", who one day, happens upon Sato's apartment while doing door to door visits with her aunt's religious group. She is largely a mysterious character for most of the show's run, but in the last few episodes we learn of her unfortunate and dysfunctional past, making her one of the more tragic characters whom we feel sympathy for.
Sato is constantly scheming with Kaoru Yamazaki, an underclassman whom he knew from school, and the source of annoying "Puru Puru Pururin" theme music that seems to constantly play on his computer in the apartment next door. Kaoru convinces Sato to help him write and produce computer video games, called "Gal Games" to appeal to the "hentai" anime fans in the marketplace. He's scheming, always coming up with ideas to "make it big" and Sato gets suckered into it all because he wants to convince Misaki that he's up to something productive and that he'll make a good living at it one day.
Another notable character from Sato's past is Hitomi Kashiwa. She was his upper classman in high school and a fellow conspiracy theorist. Her attitude is somewhat dark and malevolent, because of her deep immersion in conspiracy beliefs, and probably influenced Sato into becoming the somewhat negative person he was throughout this series. She makes recurring appearances from time to time and is a fascinating personality.
As the episodes progress, a series of interesting circumstances arise and often, they are situations that could be a chapter out of the lives of any person who has tried many ways to make a living.
The conclusion isn't nearly as satisfying as I'd have liked, but there are hints that things will go in a better direction. Still, I would have liked to see Sato have more trust in Misaki.
This is a series which I will watch again in the future. It's certainly one to make you think about aspects of life that we don't frequently give much thought to. While I'm not crazy about the animation, most of the character designs or the music, the do work well together and this is more of a story about ideas. If you love a drama that relates to events in your past and stimulates thought about what is our purpose in life, you may find this series enjoyable. It was a series I wanted to hate, but came to love.
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