English: Welcome to the N.H.K.
Published: Jun 24, 2004 to Jun 6, 2007
Serialization: Shounen Ace
Score: 8.331 (scored by 8754 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
Popular Tagscomedy drama parody psychological
Aug 14, 2008
Well, as it says on the synopsis, this manga follows the life of a hikikomori, who thinks an organization called NHK is targeting him. (oh really?!) xD
The main character actually posseses psychological problems, such as paranoia ,which leads him to believe his life is being controlled by NHK, and all the bad things that happens to him are their doing.
Suddenly, he meets a girl called Misaki who says he had been chosen to participate in her "project", and that she could help him have a normal life.
Just saying this the story sounds cute doesn't it?
Well, don't be fooled, because this manga isn't by any means cute nor lighthearted. Even thought on it's genres is written: Comedy and Romance, it's story and character relations are not gonna be like anything you have ever seen before. To describe it in one word I think: "bizarre" (or to use one that's not as strong) "unusual" would be the most suited.
It is a comedy though, since it does have humor, but the humor the author uses is extremely sarcastic and cynical that sometimes even made me feel a little bit uneasy.
Another strong point is the characters, their personalities and problems are so well-made and realistic that makes you think a real person could have the same problems and, many times, act the same way the characters did.(which was probably the author's intention (lol))
Well, if you want to read an amazing manga that is not cliche, this is a must.
Dec 30, 2010
Welcome to life! Get ready for the best and biggest journey you’ll ever have. Meet Satou Tatsuhiro. This guy will accompany you on your trip. Or actually, you will be accompanying him on his trip. Satou is 22 year old and is an amusing character with idiotic quirks. You’d probably want to know that Satou has shut himself in his room for the past three years and is rapidly approaching the fourth one. He lives in a one-room apartment; doing things completely on his own including cooking, watching TV and being lonely. He also likes playing erotic videogames and is doing drugs.
Would you still like to accompany Satou on his trip? It’s okay, you don’t have to. It’s understandable if you think that all those things he does is disgusting and not acceptable as a normal functioning human being. So let me ask this one important question: What IS normal?
Welcome to the NHK! centers around this one question. No doubt that you and everyone around you has wondered what is acceptable and normal in this world to do so that nobody will think you’re weird. That’s human nature. No one wants to come across as somebody weird that can’t function in society. No one wants to be at the mercy of others, constantly in need of help. But at the same time, we all need help. Even something petty and small like feeling lonely can’t be overcome by one single person and could turn into a vast problem.
Satou doesn’t understand that. So what he does is something that many people would do when it all gets too complicated: shut himself in. Physically and mentally. This is what this manga is all about. Either go with the flow and live your life by the rules of society, or be an outsider and do things your way. But the thing is for Satou, it’s not a choice, he’s forced to live alone in his apartment. Not because somebody told him to, even worse, he told himself he had to. He can’t live by the rules of society. Problems like not being able to talk normally to strangers arise when trying to get a job are seriously huge rocks in his life that hinders his way. He does not choose to be an outsider and live with all these problems he didn’t ask for. He wanted to have a normal life, with a normal job and normal people around him. And it didn’t happen. Getting something so normal, so plain that many people in this world have, is so unbelievable difficult for a shut-in like Satou. And now he’s stuck in his own apartment, getting addicted to it and is rotting away.
And then there comes an angel. A savior, somebody who cares about you and thoroughly believes that you deserve a normal life. You deserve those things that other people get to have. Her name is Nakahara Misaki. An 18 year old girl who’s strangely interested in oddballs like Satou. The two meet when she and her grandma knocked on his door to talk about religion. She knew something was going in there and she wanted to help by providing Satou counseling. But why? Why would a young female stranger help somebody who has shut himself away from society? The answer is as simple as getting a feeling of self-worth.
Misaki is not different from Satou, only that she thoroughly realizes her problem and does something about it, albeit in a dubious manner. She helps Satou simply because she wants to help herself. Her feelings of defeat, hatred and resentment all flushes down through Satou and she regains new strength. In a way, she’s using Satou to make herself feel better. But is that normal? Satou is already in a position where he can’t go lower much further so any help is appreciated. And if it means that the other party gets to feel better, it’s a nice bonus. The action is what matters, not the thought behind it. Or is it?
The series makes you wonder about Misaki’s actions. It makes you realize that she’s just another human being with problems and trying to solve them. The interaction between Satou and Misaki is truly remarkable. Satou is the kind of character which you can easily relate to. Because his problems are so common, although in a less extreme form with most people, you can put yourself easily in his shoes and understand what he’s going through. This puts you at a position of a judge. You’re perceiving Misaki’s actions through Satou’s eyes while formulating your own opinion about it in your head. The manga does not tell you directly what is wrong or right, you simply see things through Satou’s eyes. And because the writer of the manga created Satou in a way that he’s in a low position and as such does not give you a solid opinion of his own, you are free to interpret the story in your own way.
Too bad that the story itself is not so special. Great characters create great stories. But in this case, it is not the case. Do not expect a manga about the psychological problems of a person shutting himself away from society. That is simply not it. All the characters are open, some are funny and some are sad but never does it take you to the depths of the human mind. The story is almost that of a slice of life series. There is no common thread through the story, events just happen because they happen. There is no goal where the characters work towards and therefore marks when the series is supposed to end. There are simply just some characters with problems and things occur. Not too deep and definitely not too shallow. It’s just that the story does not impress overall. You’re waiting to see the characters, to see how they will develop and how they will interact with each other. And therefore, you’re seeking an unfolding story to act as a playground for those things. It’s almost as if the events in the manga happen at random without the will of the writer, maybe it’s intentional but it’s probably not.
Welcome to the NHK! is a manga like none other. It’s classified as a romance series combined with some humor. If it were to have a label that’s just right for this manga, it would be ‘’fun psychological problems’’. It will never talk about the deep aspects of human psychological problems of shutting yourself away from society, but it does talk about what those problems do with you on a global scale. And with humor, something very important to note. The characters will make you instantly fall in love with them. Satou is just the nice guy next door with some problems and Misaki is not necessarily a complex characters but does make you think about her actions. And those two ultimately mix together amazingly well in a manga with an okay story and solid art.
They say desperate times ask for desperate measures. Those times may not come often, but when they do, they show which choices truly matter. read more
Jan 18, 2009
This is one of those stories that never ceases to amaze you, taking into context the situations that the protagonist seems to find himself in. I must stress though that some might not be able to fully appreciate this manga, some might not even get it - although, ironically I do, which speaks volumes about me I guess. It's nothing too deep, or hard to understand - it just takes a while for it to sink in. This is very character orientated, which is something that the reader needs to be conscious about when reading it. The art is very well done throughout, as well as the character development. You really start to feel for some of the characters and what they are coping with.
The one thing that bugs me about this manga is the ending - its too abrupt for my linking and slightly inconclusive. However, it's such a small flaw to point out. Its still an enjoyable manga to read.
Jan 19, 2009
Volume eight was by far the most disappointing volume in the entire series. It all seemed so pointless and, in comparison to the earlier volumes, it was far less entertaining. There was lots of chatter included yet I never really cared about what was being said, or even followed a lot of it. The story just never went anywhere in the final volume, instead going around in circles as Misaki pushed forward with her love contract, Satou went along with it because he had nothing else and Yamazaki rambled incomprehensibly about starting a revolution. All I saw was the difficult to follow conversations of not-so-sane people that were put in to extend the story to 40 chapters.
While I'm still covering the negatives, I'll also say that I wasn't best pleased with how the original story was changed in order for NHK to become an eight volume manga. There were lots of small (but important) changes that were made in the manga version, some of which seemed to have been made as the manga was on-going, an example of which being how Satou first said he wasn't a virgin (in the novel and anime he slept with his senpai whilst still at school) and then later said he was. The most bothersome change was how, in the manga, Misaki only lied about having a bad childhood - it made her difficult to like character into an even more hard to like character. Too many changes were made in order to extend the length of a fairly short story.
On the flipside, I liked the first two chapters of volume seven a lot. The events that took place in those chapters never occurred in either the novel or anime, and they were only able to work so well because Satou was still a virgin in the manga. Kashiwa's easily my favourite character in NHK, and the so near yet so far romance between Satou and her is the most emotional part of the NHK story for me, so a few chapters that gave the pair more time together were very welcome additions. It was nice to see Satou confess his feelings in this version of the story...even if he later went back on what he said because he didn't have what it would've took for him to take his relationship with her onto the next level.
I don't like how open ended every aspect of the NHK story is, but I've always found the relationship between Satou and his senpai (Kashiwa) to be touching. I actually came close to crying during episode 14 of the anime simply because Satou let her go. The reader/viewer fully understands why Satou doesn't do what his heart tells him to with her, but it's always hard to watch when you know the two could've been happy together. If only Satou had had the balls to put his arm around her when she was crying way back when he wasn't a recluse and she wasn't a married woman - his future might have turned out slightly happier. What makes the whole thing even more agonizing is the fact that Satou is a better match for her than her the guy she ended up marrying...
Anyway, to sum it up, my thoughts are that, although still very good, the manga version of the story is the weakest of the three versions of the NHK story. It has some nice additions to the story but the majority of the new content doesn't actually add anything. We didn't need to see Satou spend time at his parents, coming up with masturbation plans whilst he was supposed to be finding work, and we also didn't need to see Satou spend some time wondering around homeless. The novel was a bit too short, the anime got the length just right and the manga dragged on for too long. I don't feel bad about spending over £40 on the manga but I do feel I should've spent the money on buying the anime instead. read more
Jul 29, 2008
We see topics like lolicon, maid cafes, suicides, ero games, etc. and blended with the more "common" plot elements like drugs, sex, perseverance, finding one's self, love and many more. What's more striking is that it does reflect society so much that you can't help but sympathize with the characters. It doesn't matter how exaggerated their stereotypes are, you will still feel their pains and their joys.
Like most epic novels, each chapter feels like just a snippet of the characters' daily lives, but when you actually finish the series, you'll realize that each chapter plays is essential for the whole story. You can't just leave something out and feel that the story would still be the same.
I may just be struck with the story because I can actually relate to Satou(albeit his case is a real exaggeration of mine) but I do believe this story can shake the foundations of one's views or even just provide a new perspective to life. I did. Some parts really made me want to just stand up and go forth and shine.
I really recommend any manga or anime or game fan to read this(of course with precautions on the M rating as this has some adult content) read more
Apr 19, 2013
Welcome to the N.H.K. centers around the life of an unemployed and socially withdrawn young man named Satou Tatsuhiro – a hikikomori. A hiki-what? For those of you who don’t know, a hikikomori is a NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) who is afraid to go forth in the society and is not able to interact with people. Now one day, Satou meets a mysterious young girl named Misaki who claims that she can cure him of his social withdrawn syndrome and make him a normal person. They both enter into a contract whereby they meet every night at a park and Misaki carries out her “project” to cure Satou. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Yes, the plot is attractive but that’s it. The execution is bland, over stretched and senseless. First off, the story is directionless and things happen without reason. There are countless unnecessary plot lines that start off absurdly and end up inconclusively. For instance, in the last volume, Yamazaki starts rambling something about a “revolution”. I don’t know where the heck did it come from but he continuously urges that he has to start a revolution. Then he goes out with Satou and Misaki, plants some flowers and that’s it. We never hear of his revolution again. Now who in the world can figure out a connection between these two things? I must have missed something, you might say. Maybe. And if I did, I can say it for sure that most of you will be missing a whole lot of things throughout the manga.
On the bright side, what I liked the most about Welcome to the N.H.K. was its humor. There will come many scenes where Satou will create a situation of embarrassment for himself in front of other people and you’ll laugh your head off. The art complements these scenes with screwed-up faces of Satou – all sweaty with eyes and mouth wide open, sometimes completely rotten with cheeks and eyes sunken in. I still remember the scene where Misaki was about to kiss Satou but he became so nervous and stressed-out that his eyes shrunk and his face turned black, just like a zombie’s. Misaki quietly turned away. Unfortunately, comedy became scarce in the later volumes and was replaced by romance. It would not have been a problem if, as I said earlier, the story were not so illogical. Moreover, there was no chemistry between any of the characters. Because of this, many scenes which were supposed to be serious and emotional just went over my head.
Coming to the art, I must say that it was surprisingly good. The characters were just fine and the background was very well detailed. There were few and clean strokes, just what was required.
Besides manga, Welcome to the N.H.K. spanned two other art forms – a one volume light novel which started it all and a 24 episode anime. I’d read the novel before reading the manga, so a little bit of comparison is inevitable. The manga followed the novel closely in the beginning but ended on a completely different note. The novel was short and compact but the manga was over-stretched. The humor element was more in the manga than in the novel. One of the main theme of the novel was of a conspiracy. The protagonist Satou believed that the broadcasting company N.H.K. was in a conspiracy to create hikikomories and otakus by airing anime. But in the idea is not given much weight in the manga. Overall, I think the novel was a little bit better than the manga.
For me, Welcome to the N.H.K. was a mixed bag of good humor and some memorable characters but at the cost of a very crappy story. Read it at your own risk. Which reminds me to warn you of the mature nature of the manga. It revolver around a lot of urban subcultures like lolicon, internet suicides, drugs and erotic games and thus is not suitable for younger audiences.
Jul 30, 2010
Welcome to NHK in my opinion is among the "untouchable" series in an age I dub the generation of fantastic hypocrites.
It's not that manga has never been experimental or fantastic nor am I saying many of the fans of this series are dumb.
If anything I think it's the reverse. We've come to the point where intellectual laziness is so... on the surface that we now have a culture that's "smart" enough to belittle the moral cliches of underdog stories, harem, fighters shouting out their moves...things that were once isolated to Western anti-manga critics who couldn't appreciate the quirks of such romanticized storytelling.
You'd think this would be a good thing but the down side of this is that the very same intellectual otaku community can be forgiving if not apologists for these kinds of...I wouldn't say poorly presented because it does entertain...so I'd call it more of a inaccurate pseudo-social commentary going overboard.
Maybe it's because of my ignorance of the Japanese culture and the Japanese language but since I perceive myself as a hikikomori... things like the way a woman falls under the lap of this protagonist is just as bad in my opinion as the fantastic elements of portraying hikikomories as being totally in the dark in a cave-like room.
It's not so much that this has no realistic connection to how Hikikomories live but that there is a sense of "wrongly demystifying" the whole turmoil of a Hikikomories' life. But again, I'm mostly basing this from my own experiences and thoughts.
That said, it's really hard to go against this type of series which is why I claim it to be untouchable...especially from someone who isn't equipped with the communication ability to cement the cons of this series.
Still, I think even if there is someone with the right tools, it's going to be hard because it's about a series where you "excuse" the flaws and praise the... social clues the series gives you even if the clues themselves are mostly hollow and makes the character cheap.
The easiest example of this is the whole inclusion of the love interest in the first place. Even if you take away the fact that it's about a hikikomori and treat it as merely a manga character...you could easily see the shades of Mary Sue super qualities in the characters.
Without going into spoiler territory, the series just can't carry itself as being character oriented despite what one reviewer said. Instead, it relies on bizarre illusions, a cheap non-descriptive "conspiracy" to create a sort of equally cheap "passing the buck" atrribute in the protagonist, a character that has almost no difficulty in gaining talents and finally a character that for the most part is a Hikikomori "because" the plot asks him to.
It's really complicated to explain without pointing to each scenario specifically but this is the thing. Even in an average quality harem series, there tends to be a character study in between each scenario. Welcome to NHK for the most part replaces this with "time skips" and then immediately after that provides a sort of "eye dazzling" iconic image. (An example of this would be the getting caught naked in front of the computer pic that you might have seen in some imageboards or forums)
In many ways, these scenarios might seem like a good way to present the problems with humor but it doesn't. If you really look at most of the comments on this series, the fans don't really gain anything insightful to say except that they feel there's analogues of this series to their problem...which as controversial as this is, is like saying Christianity gave you the key to solving your problems even though you joined mostly for the community rather than the doctrine and instead of following the teachings of the Bible...you follow the teachings of the priests.
It's more feel good but...where is the substance? Where is this highly praised representation of social issues? There's mostly none.
Or rather, it's not about the series not giving anything to the social issues it addresses but that it mostly gives off a vague Barnum effect rather than any stand on the issues except the shallowest ways of addressing such issues.
Then again, these type of series are almost like a Hollywood film...a reviewer for example would mention Tyler Durden of Fight Club which is equally a shallow movie about a shallow subject that gives enough "Barnum effect" that it's fans think it provides some in-depth social commentary even if they as fans aren't really able to show that they have grown as a person or they have better understood their problems because of this series.
It's not easy justifying this though. In fact I keep going around and around on this point in a loop because I don't know how to pinpoint the con to one effective and efficient example.
Another analogy I thought of is akin to one character in the basketball anime Slam Dunk doing a between the legs dunk...it's fantastic if it happened...but the soul of what made Slam Dunk "inspirational basketball" would be lost in favor of "eye dazzling" if that happened even though each character has their "Genius" skills in the series.
It all goes back to this issue of fantastic hypocrites.
I'm not saying I'm immune to this and certainly in the past there has been fantastic elements to manga and anime series that I've looked past on (i.e. the liberties DragonBall took of the character Son Goku) but...it's the issue of "ridiculousness".
It's one way if one is merely anti-ridiculous or pro-ridiculous or even a shade of grey on both. It's another if we live in a generation where this attitude is wide spread to the point that these types of series are praised highly.
It's a case of extreme "ridiculous apologetic-ness" on one end (the shallowest and clearest examples again being things like Naruto being an orange ninja with a lame cloning power that he uses as offense rather than stealth or even in Hollywood analogues of people excusing the new Karate Kid despite the name being used to hump on a series and the protagonist using Kung Fu) to a separate case of "ridiculous praising" (i.e. there are many fans of this series that can say with a straight face that this series portrays the issues accurately minus there being a love interest falling in one's lap without realizing that if you took away the girl most of the events of this series won't happen the way it happened at all)
In the end though, I'm not really sharing this review to convince the reader to avoid this series. I think the premise of these type of stories begs them to be checked out regardless of their quality. Rather I post this as a sort of warning to those who find this series in anyway special. A warning in the sense of looking beyond the surface quality or the surface feeling this series gives out. That said, I would have hoped I could have been a whole lot better at communicating which areas one should not settle and be wary of praising but like I said, I'm not the best equipped at presenting the criticisms of this series but in a site where there are only positive reviews, it almost feels like a duty to share a negative one to balance out the perspective on this series but more than that, I hope this bad review could inspire someone to write a "better" bad review here and everywhere else where the balance is off just so we don't lose ourselves in the effect of "Manga becoming Air".
(Source of "Manga as Air" is found in the book Manga: 60 years of Japanese Comics since it seems neither Google or DuckDuckGo is showing an easy reference behind the meaning of that quote) read more
Dec 16, 2011
Welcome to the NHK (NHK for short) is one of the best cathartic manga ever created and it even retains a large portion of realism about it. It was also never turned into a slutty cashcow despite its fame and success. This is the story of a bunch of mentally unstable characters who try to find a solution to their problems. Most of those solutions though end up being nothing but an excuse to escape reality or even life in general. Which is exactly what makes this show so good; it is all a big pile of messed up people trying to solve their problems the wrong way. And what makes it even greater is how all these problems are based in real life and not in some fictional universe. Drugs, eroges, pyramid scams, suicide groups, all these are existing issues in modern Japan, which is heavy on NEETs and hikikomoris. Reading this manga is like learning of the problems many face in Japan or by extension in the modern world altogether.
Another thing that is sooo good in this show is how all these issues are not used in a superficial way, just as shallow colorization. For example, another show named Kamisama Memo-chu has a NEET hikikomori loli detective (lol?) in it. There is also Boku Wa Tomotachi which is about anti-social people trying to make friends. The premise in those shows is used as nothing more but a shallow excuse to sell to male NEETs and hikikomoris. There is also Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei which has a hikikomori character in it and everyone practically represents a mental disorder, yet everybody there is just a non-evolving comical caricature with no real depth. I like that show a lot for its social criticism but I like NHK more for having an on-going plot and character immersion on top of all that.
Speaking of the characters, they are all interesting for the aforementioned reason; trying to find a solution to their issues, usually in a wrong way. You see the full course of what actual people involved in these shady business go through and how they are eventually destroyed or saved by them. In fact the mangaka was deeply involved in all that too at a time and this show is his way of telling how he felt first hand, including ways to get saved by them and move on with your life. So you see how everybody is not only based on real life issues portrayed by someone who ACTUALLY was part of the same problem, you also see how they gradually are affected and find catharsis in the end.
This makes the whole thing a very personal work, art imitating life, as well as the artist expressing himself instead of going for shallow fan catering crap (as most do). I respect that and I like it a lot. Having real life issues also makes it very easy for the viewer to sympathize with the cast or even identify with their problems, especially if he is somewhat involved himself in a similar way. I understand that eventually the characters are dealing with the issues in a rather light manner and get over them easy, as well as admitting the lead hero is NOT really a hikikomori since he is leaving his home and talks with other people instead of running away all the time. Ok, the realism part only goes up to a point, yet it is still a hundred times closer to the real thing than Kamisama Memo-chu or Boku Wa Tomotach. The show approached these issues a lot closer than anyone else and for that it stands as the best in this specific topic. Until some other show appears to get even closer, I consider NHK to be the king of this particular hill.
Beyond all that, the artwork values are fine too for this sort of show. The protagonist has these dilutions that make home appliances to talk about some conspiracy, a thing that makes his line of thought more understandable. The problems the characters face are also presented in a rather realistic manner and you see how people deep in trouble acting all crazy, which again makes the artwork to be part of the story and not some unrelated trippy imagery, purely for style rather than substance.
So there you have it, a manga that does things right. It has a very interesting topic, based on real life, it has development in its issues, it has characters relevant to those issues, it has trippy artwork at times, interesting dialogues, it is cathartic, it is a personal work, and it is not fan catering. It is the recipe of success.
Now go read this manga, love it, and be very wary of your eroge collection or your fridge will suddenly say you have been targeted for termination by the Men In Black. read more
Sep 6, 2010
The characters are well thought out and you genuinely grow to care for them even with all their flaws. I know most people would compare this to Palahniuk’s (writer of Fight Club) work, but I beg to differ. Whereas Palahniuk romanticizes the underworld and outcasts, this does the complete opposite. Most of the humor is found at the expense of the characters and their sad, absurd situations.
The story tends to drag every once in a while, but the characters and overall story get you through those couple of moments.
This would be difficult for me to recommend, because I would think only people of a certain niche would enjoy this. If you are planning on reading this you must have a dark sense of humor. Overall I enjoyed this it was a lot of fun to read.