Tatsuhiro Satou is a complete wreck: he dropped out of college and now spends most of his time in his apartment. He is also convinced that he has been wrapped up in a conspiracy that turned him into a hikikomori. Because of his reclusive status and crippling social anxieties, he is considered a hikikomori by those around him. One evening, he is approached by Misaki, a strange high school girl who offers to work to try to cure him. Satou accepts the girl’s terms, and soon is undergoing counseling sessions in a nearby park. Soon, Satou finds himself getting into trouble whenever he ventures outside his apartment.
“Welcome to the NHK” is another one of those series that I wouldn’t have expected myself to watch. Again, I have an overwhelming tendency to avoid things that aren’t necessarily slice of life, and this one has a more realistic setting I have a couple of friends who have seen it, and their discussion intrigued me. While the setting may be normal, the content and plot are definitely not. Watching it turned out to be quite a ride.
At first, the series kind of put me off. There is some explicit content that I was not too comfortable watching. Therefore, if you’re considering this series for a younger teen, I would not recommend getting it. I would say it would be appropriate for ages 18 and up. That being said, the explicit content did not detract from the story-line, and, honestly, I don’t think there’s really anything there would offend the less prudish members of the population. I did manage to get over it. The story deals with Satou and the other characters trying to overcome their own problems. In many cases–particularly Satou’s–they fail spectacularly, but the series still manages to end on a high note.
Even though I can’t say I admired any of the characters, I found them fascinating. About halfway through the series, I realized that I was talking to the characters on-screen. Although that might sound a bit odd, I think it’s a good indication of how invested I am in a series. Every character is clearly flawed, and it was really neat to watch them try to work through their problems. The portrayal of their struggles is very realistic, which I really liked. Hikikomoris are a very real cultural phenomenon in Japan, and it was interesting to watch them play this out. Less from a cultural standpoint, however, I liked watching the personal journeys of Satou and Misaki. It was interesting to see how their changes in their perception affected their actions. I thought that was a good take-away message. And that pretty much sums up my review.