Review of Welcome to the NHK! (2006)

Moving picture

After spending his high school days playing cards with a gloomy conspiracy theorist who grew up to pop a lot of antidepressants, a fairly smart young man enrolls in a Tokyo college, and quickly drops out. He spends the next four years doing nothing at all, having no energy, terrified of crowds, rarely leaving his tiny apartment, living off an allowance from his distant parents, acquiring no skills, no friends and no savings. As a depressed young recluse à la Rozen Maiden (2004), he feels as if everybody hates him for being good for nothing, and has become very adept at hiding even from himself.

One day this man realizes that the apartment next door now belongs to a temperamental geek he once tried to save from bullies, and he meets a strange girl who seems convinced she can cure him. In a quest to prove he’s normal, and then to change, he learns about bishōjo, suicide pacts, online games, pyramid schemes, self-loathing and love.

Drama. The level of humour is quite appropriate, as is the portrayal of escapism(s). What bothers me most is the character of Misaki. She is ultimately just a bishōjo herself, whereas Senpai and Iinchou are people.

moving picture Japanese production animation fiction series