Welcome To The N.H.K is an anime adaptation of the book series of the same name. The series was inspired by the creators life as a hikikomori and being a parasite neet living off royalties from his works. The series focuses on the day to day life of Tatsuhiro Sato, an unemployed college drop out living off his parents’ allowance. His apartment is a mess and anytime he thinks of stepping out, he retreats back to refuge of his room. Sato has been a kikikomori for about four years and is very paranoid and has an extreme case of anxiety and it borders on schizophrenia due to his social isolation. He believes that a group called N.H.K. is responsible for the state of his life and if there are enough hikikomoris, they can take over the world. N.H.K. is a very powerful real life tv broadcasting network and runs a website in support of hikikomoris.
(PURU PURU PURU!)
In the manga Tatsuhiro is a drug addict but this is absent in the anime. The series explores a variety of underground cultures in Japan from otaku, lolicon and conspiracy theories. The lolicon themes are downplayed in the anime.
Tatsuhiro meets a strange girl Misaki Nakahara who convinces him that she could cure him. Misaki would council Tatsuhiro daily and get him to change his lifestyle. However, Tatsuhiro is more trusting of his friend KaoruYamazaki.
(Your average redditor who spends all day circlejerking)
Tatsuhiro next door neighbor and former classmate Karou Yamazaki coaxes him to work with him in developing a visual novel. Tatsuhiro even takes a media class to learn anime and game development but it didn’t go well because of his social anxiety and paranoia, he believed the teacher and the classmates were mocking his ideas but it was actually the polar opposite.
(I found this on Danny Choo's blog and even a complete otaku and ultimate slacker wouldn't leave that big of a mess.)
Tatsuhiro gets easily addicted onto things for example instead of developing the visual novel with Karou, Tatsuhiro gets preoccupied easily with visual novels because in his mind he thinks it the girl actually falling in love with him. Another big aspect of the series is its focus on suicide.
(This is actually really similar to the work office i have at home while writing reviews actually)
The art was done by the same artist who did Serial Experiments Lain and its as lifeless and dull as expected. Its use of fanservice is actually related to Otaku culture and its intense interest in 2d girls. The animation was complimented well by the artstyle. The comedic moments were excellent and never felt forced or fell flat. The musical score was also very good.
(Still working on building my collection to match Kaoru's own)
The ending was bittersweet as Karou has to move back to his family’s farm as his father was ailing. However, the main cast do have happy endings. Karou finds someone he intends to be with and Tatsuhiro decides to reapply to college.
(I'm really looking forward to making my own gaming room to be like a video store from Japan someday)
Overall this was a very interesting character study of the unique struggles of the hikkimori phenomena in Japan.
It gets 5 out of 5 stars.
Mental illness in Japan is a really taboo topic and it’s a big issue that should be front and centre as Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. So god willng Japan starts to someday work on fixing its mental healthcare system so they can curb the suicide rates and also other related mental health issues like depression.