Reviews

Dec 5, 2017
PowerUpOrDie (All reviews)
STORY

NHK is a story centering around various social dysfunctions and anxieties and how people cope with them. It handles these issues with surprising delicacy, walking a narrow line between fanboy pandering ("This is totally OK behavior!") and knee-jerk condemnation ("You must be a freak!"), trying to get to the heart of why a person might go to unhealthy extremes of behavior.

To get an idea of the show's writing, in an early episode Sato and Misaki are having a conversation where Misaki implies she thinks Sato has no clue of who Sigmund Freud was, so he trolls her by playing dumb and asking her to psychoanalyze a dream loaded with extremely sexual Freudian imagery- she blushes and quickly switches to discussing Carl Jung instead. The script isn't always operating at such an abstract intellectual level, but it does display how NHK can be a bit smarter than the average anime.

ART & SOUND

GONZO did a poor job of quality control on this one, the characters don't stay consistently on-model. It's almost so consistently inconsistent that you begin to not notice. Backgrounds are decent and animation is OK, but I can't say the art in NHK is a textbook example of aging gracefully.
Sound is pretty good. The English voice acting isn't perfect across the board, but the major characters are well done. The highlight of the music is the first ED "Baby Human" which is set to a demented Japanese rock song paired with wacky animation.

CHARACTERS

If I had to sum the cast up with one line, it would be "We're all a bit of a mess". Every character has their own set of personal problems to deal with: Sato's an extreme recluse, Yamazaki is a often a spaz, Hitomi is emotionally fragile, Misaki has... well that's spoiler territory but there's more to her past than she lets on. As much as the show doesn't compromise on the fact that there are things about these people that are unhealthy and need to change, NHK still treats them like people, not runaways from a freak show. That respect makes it easier to deal with when the show starts dealing with some heavy issues that might hit a little close to home.

OVERALL

I knew about this show by reputation before I watched it. I can see that reputation is well deserved.