Home > Reviews > Review: Welcome to the N.H.K.

Review: Welcome to the N.H.K.

Out of all the mangas I have read so far, this is perhaps the craziest one I have ever read.  The content is strictly for mature audience, and I wouldn’t recommend this to people with suicidal tendencies.  There’s a lot of black comedy in this manga, and at times, it can make you feel very depressing.  However, on the flip side, it can also motivate (scare tactic) lazy people to stop slacking off and do something useful with their lives.  This is another manga that finished back in 2008, but I still read this from time-to-time.  There is an anime version, which follows it closely in the beginning, but is somewhat watered-down in terms of mature and depressing content.  So some people may want to watch the anime instead, but to get the full experience, you have to read the manga.

General Info: Welcome to the N.H.K. – Wikipedia

Read at: MangaFox

Review:

The story revolves around Tatsuhiro Satō, a college dropout whose lost his purpose in life.  Japanese have a special term for people like that – NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).  He locks himself in his apartment and only leaves when he runs out of food.  He even resorts to using drugs to pass time, and he even started to have hallucinations that N.H.K., Japan’s television broadcasting station, is out to get him.  His life seems pretty hopeless until the arrival of Nakahara Misaki, who vowed to save him from his NEET life.  But Misaki also had a few problems of her own.  As the story unravels, more and more people enter Satō’s life, and it seems like every single person’s life is a mess.  Although the topic is serious, this manga is, in essense, a comedy, although it’s comedic style is not something everyone can appreciate.

NHK is a manga that talks about a number of social issues that normal people may encounter, and I think that’s what makes this manga so unique.  It’s true that many mangas try to teach people moral lessons.  Bartender is one; Sasakura is always helping people, and from their stories, we can learn a thing or two about life.  But often, these stories are sugar-coated; problems seem pretty easy to deal with, and the ending is usually too optimistic to be reality.  That’s not the case with NHK.  In many cases, the main characters are thrown so deep, it seems impossible for them to come back.  I won’t name any specifics, but they encounter some crazy situations.  At first, it seems like those scenarios are so far-fetched that it could not possibly happen in real life, but similar events DO happen.

This is a manga that can really make a person think, especially for the younger generation.  Video games, Internet, and television are the dominant types of entertainment that we have today.  The problem with these activities is that most can be done alone, and many people prefer to do them alone.  It’s not rocket science why more and more people are loners and lack the ability to socialize.  This is the core issue that this manga addresses, and I believe any loner who reads this manga will be shocked.  They may feel depressed at first, but I think it’s for the best.  They will realize that they can’t just do nothing all day, and become encouraged to change their lives.  I’m sure no one wants to end up like Satō.

I really liked how the manga ended as well.  Most loose ends were tied, and nothing is really left unanswered.  Timing is key as well.  The main characters have gone through a lot already, so that further “adventures” will just make it seem like the author is trying to milk for more money.  It was the right time for this manga to end, and it did.  Maybe it’s also because the manga is based on a light novel, so it has a good story progression.

The drawing is not that great; however, the style is a good fit for this type of manga.  The expressions are also lively, and it conveys the emotions very well.  It’s just that the drawings are a bit on the rough side, not as well polished as some other mangas.  The good thing about comedies is that it doesn’t need great art to be considered good.  (Learned that from Bakuman)

I don’t see any major flaws in this manga, but there are a few things I want to mention.  First, this manga is written for a niche audience.  I personally gave it a high-rating because of how out-of-the-box the topic is.  It’s a typical college student, comedy, romance (sort of) setting, but it wasn’t afraid to address serious issues.  Also, there are times when the story drifts out of place, like it went on too far of a tangent from the main story.

Audience:

Mature audience only.  Kids should stay away.  Not for the weak-hearted or the depressed.  I didn’t feel depressed after reading this manga, in fact, I felt pretty darn good about my own life. But I have a couple of friends who read the manga and was thoroughly depressed by it.  So read at your own risk.

Rate:

9 / 10 Story

7 / 10 Drawing

9 / 10 Presentation

8 / 10 Enjoyment

9 / 10 Overall

Categories: Reviews
  1. Stan
    October 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Looks cool…thanks for the intro – shall check it out! 😀

  2. October 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Wow… Feels risky…

    I’ll read it anyway! lol

  3. Garga
    October 26, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Ha, I was one of the people that was left depressed after reading it. Probably because I felt reflected in the story, to some degree thankfully =P
    I was having a bad time in my life when I didn’t have even one friend and I didn’t know how to comunicate with people. I can’t say that manga changed my life (Life changed me) and made me see I had to learn to be more social but it made me feel bad about how my life was going.
    Leaving the personal stuff aside. At first I truly enjoyed it, but afterward I felt it was just to depreseing. Like the characters were able to overcome their problems to then fall again in another pit. To me it was sad seeing them suffer so much. It reminded me of “Deep Love” except DL is much worse and truly bording on the sadistic. It’s not that I’m a sucker for happy-suggarcoated-flyingpinkunicorns endings but I don’t like seeing sad in that amount.
    Still, like you said. It wasn’t afraid to talk about dark issues and hard truths of society. There are other mangas that talked about that but none (that I know of) that used such black humor and that many subjects.
    By far not a bad manga but it isn’t and it will not be on my favorite list =P

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