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Welcome to the NHK, Vol. 1: 1st Conspiracy

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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(Oct 02, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Meet Satou Tatsuhiro, a 22 year-old man who thinks everything around him is wrapped up in some sort of conspiracy. It's not long before Satou's conspiracies turn into one big theory? That a secret organization known as the N.H.K. is out to fill the world with reclusive adolescents like himself, also known as hikikomori. Now they've upped the ante by using media to turn unsuspecting viewers into otaku, and Satou becomes determined to stop the N.H.K. There's only one problem - he's too frightened to even go outdoors!


Like the popular live-action film Densha Otoko ("Train Man"), the off-beat animated comedy Welcome to the NHK (2006) hinges on a chance encounter between an attractive girl and socially inept nerd. Twenty-two-year-old Tatsuhiro Sato is a hikikomori: one of the increasing number of young people who have withdrawn from the world. He's dropped out of college and barricaded himself in his grubby apartment. When Sato meets pretty Misaki Nakahara, she declares that rehabilitating him is her new project, and asks him to sign a contract to that effect. Sato pretends that he's a game designer who spends hours working at home, but Misaki asks to see one of his games. In desperation, Sato decides to create one with his neighbor, aspiring designer Kaoru Yamazaki. But Sato doesn't know any more about games than he does about anything else. Yamazaki introduces him to the world of "girl games" in a spoof of otaku culture even more outrageous than Genshiken. Voice actor Chris Patton somehow makes Sato an endearing doofus, and the result is an odd but funny series. (Rated TV MA, suitable for ages 15 and older: minor violence, profanity, risqué humor, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Animated, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Section 23
  • DVD Release Date: October 2, 2007
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UP87ZU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,714 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

First, I want to say that I highly recommend this anime to people suffering from Agoraphobia and Social Anxiety for many years, without any hope in sight. Watching "Welcome to NHK" will not necessarily "cure" you, but it might "open your eyes" in many different ways and push you to recovery.

I'm not going to tell you in detail what the story is about - other reviewers done a great job here already. I will give you a different perspective.

I'm not sure if I can find the right words for this review, but I'm going to do my best... You see I am a Hikikomori, and my life is very similar to Satou's life. The story is so accurate, it's scary... I too, dropped out of college because of my hikikomori ways. I am also stuck at home living off my parents income. (not by choice) I was also sucked into the world of online games and paranoia which really damaged me.

Each character represents different people that were or currently are a part of my life. Satou - Me. Yamazaki - my friends... Senpai - The girls that tortured my soul, and continue to torture it... Misaki Chan - a "metaphor/representation" for my hope?

The anime has shown me the many dark and silly sides of myself and my life from a different perspective. It made me laugh.. It almost made me cry.. It made me see, (once again) what is wrong with me, and what I must do to put an end to all this. I think this anime is a masterpiece, and I wish I could write a "Thank You Letter" to those that created both the script and the art. (I don't even know who to write to)

PS: The only "issue" I have with this anime is the ending. I was expecting a very different ending. (those who saw it might understand what I mean). On the other hand, this ending is unique in it's own way, and perfect just the way it is.
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Welcome to the NHK has become quite the phenomenon. Springing from the original novel and then a manga series (both available from Tokyopop) it has also been released as an anime (produced by Gonzo and licensed by ADV). The English language version features veteran voice talents including Chris Patton as Satou, Greg Ayers as a fantastic Yamazaki (no offense, Mr. Patton) and Monica Rial (as numerous support characters).

The gist of the story is that Satou, a hikikomori (socially inept shut-in) in an attempt to impress a girl who exposes her knowledge of his condition to him and offers her help in curing him, conspires with his neighbor and former classmate to make an erotic video game. He is paranoid and delusional and comes to believe that an evil organization has made him this pathetic excuse for a human being (the NHK, which is actually a major TV network in Japan). It is both funny and strange and has laugh-out-loud moments, moments where you scratch your head, as well as moments in which you sympathize genuinely with Satou's plight.

The first three episodes of the anime stick to the novel storyline pretty closely (including the talking refrigerator, et al). The only omissions are the drug use which spurn Satou's delusional hallucinations (a fact that make these fantasies in the anime a little harder to swallow) and the dulling down of the loli-con (lolita fetish) references. In the novel, Yamazaki is a crazy woman-hating loli-con freak who tricks Satou into becoming one himself for a short while. The scene where Satou drags Yamazaki to take photographs is supposed to be his way of showing Yamazaki how wrong his obsession with loli-con is, but the girls seem older and the specific reference to loli-con seems to have been turned into a general perversion issue.
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22 year old Satou is a NEET, and a hikkikomori. He never leaves the house. He just sits around drinking beer, smoking, and watching TV. On top of all this he is also delusional. He convinces himself that a group called the NHK (Nihon Hikkikomori Kyoukai) is out to get him and turn the entire country into NEETs. One day a pretty high school girl named Misaki visits him and offers to give him counseling to cure his hikkikomori condition. The 2 become closer and begin to rely on each other. As their relationship strengthens Satou is able to venture out and do things on his own. Lot's of drama and comedy ensue.

This anime is completely different from anything I've ever seen. It dark and methodical vibe are complemented by the main characters hilarious paranoia and perverted imagination. The production is top notch. Animation and music are all very good. It also stars 2 of my favorite voice actors, Chris Patton and Luci Christian. Given Satou's perverted imagination, this anime isn't for young viewers. But if you're older and want to laugh a lot and want to see a interesting romantic comedy then this anime will probably make you very happy.
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This is probably the most cathartic animation, outside of more fringe otaku favorites Genshiken and Azumanga Daioh, that you will be able to purchase in the United States.

From the start the Welcome to the NHK (from here on refered to NHK) sets itself up as a unique experience. Unlike most forms of entertainment NHK does not follow the typical "Greek Hero" model. We are presented with a weak, powerless, and most importantly, useless member of society. This man, Satou Tatsuhiro, lives only for himself. He ostracizes himself from society over a fear of the unpredictable. He is unkept, uncool, and generally, is someone you just want to grab by the choler and slap around. He, in essence, humility.

But this is also what makes him endearing. He is the type of person you love to hate. Everyone has been in a situation where they felt powerless, where they felt that the world was crushing them down. You look at this pitiful man and see yourself in him. His struggle is your struggle. If he can find validity for his life, then anyone can.

NHK is a welcome change from the standard harem, school life, romance comedies that have become such a mainstream endeavor. Characters speak with a natural tone, character changes are slow and methodical (don't expect major shifts in character behavior), and the humor is black and sophisticated.

It is rare that a show can produce such sympathy for its leading cast, and you owe it to yourself to give NHK at least a rental.
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