NHK Ni Youkoso

April 28, 2007

Have you ever wondered or felt why certain things don’t go as the way it should? Especially those where it involves certain procedures. Maybe it’s because you’re not smart enough. Or is it because there’s a conspiracy surround it all. You must be a paranoid person to think that everyone has something up against you. Well, it’s something like that in NHK Ni Youkoso or AKA Welcome To NHK.
But whatever conspiracies from the government or the media body isn’t the case here in this 24 episode series. This is more like a psychological thriller and drama mix it with some elements of comedy and a little teensy weensy bit of ecchi. Ecchi? Don’t worry, it isn’t serious. But there are.
So the main protagonist is the 21 year old Tatsuhiro Satou who is a hikikomori (a Japanese term for a recluse) because he thinks that there is a conspiracy against him. As explained in the first episode, he’s strongly into his 3rd year and running as a hikikomori and also a NEET (Not currently engaged in Employment, Education or Training). Yeah, he just stay locked up in his room day and night all year round. So his apartment is a pig sty. Messy and unkempt.
How did he come to be like this? Something like hearing voices in his head and because of this, he quit college 3 years and all cut connections with the outside world. Also he had a bad experience then like how he tried to save a fellow student from being bullied but ends up getting beaten up real bad. No doubt that bully victim was grateful, I guess this was too much for Satou. Perhaps he wanted to impress his sempai, Hitomi Kashiwa, the president of the 2 member literature club (guess who is the other member) who also believed that there’s a conspiracy going on in this world. Didn’t turn out too well for him.
Uh-huh, so you’ll see his wild imaginations of the conspiracies against him. And throughout the series, you’ll see him having some analysis over things, psycho-ing himself with all that negative stuffs that might happen and such. You’ll also think that he’s a crazy guy when you see his furniture and appliances start talking back to him and trying to convince him about the conspiracies against him. Plus, the conspiracy is represented by some odd looking monkeys with odd sounding laughters which reminds me of those in Dr Seuss’s children story books. Furthermore, he thinks that the TV broadcasting organization NHK (Nippon Housou Kyoukai) is actually an abbreviation for Nippon Hikikomori Kyoukai (Japanese Recluse Organization) and is also part of the conspiracy thing.
But Satou isn’t having the time of his life as a hikikomori. Yeah, his neighbour is blasting away some magical girl song all day all night like some marathon. Purupurupuru rin… Purupurupuru rin… It really gets to you. Soon the door bell rings and Satou at first thinks of not answering it. But he thought that it’s the electricity man and doesn’t want his power to be cut, so he has no choice but to answer it. He saw a cute girl, Misaki Nakahara, who’s rather shock to see Satou’s condition as well. But Misaki’s aunt bumps in and hands over some info pertaining to hikikomori. Of course Satou freaks out because he hasn’t contacted anybody for a long time and wonders if this woman knows anything about him.
After they’ve left and the ‘meeting’ with Misaki, this prompts Satou to clean himself up a bit and decides to go look for a part time job. That’s a big step for a hikikomori. He walks by a manga cafe and thinks he should apply for one here. To his horror, he saw Misaki at the counter there. Fate? Because he was nervous, he went on lying about bikes instead of applying for the job and soon heads back home, accidentally dropping his letter there.
Back home, more of those ecchi imaginations and Misaki as a nun…?! But the doorbell rings and Satou saw Misaki through the peephole much to his surprise. By the time he opens the door, she’s gone. But she leaves a letter saying that he’s been selected for a project and tells him to meet her at the nearby park at 9pm tonight. Later that night, Satou’s at the park with his usual pessimistic analyzing of things when Misaki shows up. It seems she knows Satou is suffering from hikikomori and tells him that she can help him recover from it.
So what is Misaki’s cure for Satou? Throughout the entire series, it wasn’t so much of what Misaki’s cure is, but rather Satou’s misadventures with the other characters and how he came to realize it all. At first it all seemed so simple. I mean, it’s like a one on one tutor/counselling class at night at the park with Misaki lecturing to Satou certain points here and there from her notebook. Satou of course, he’s like he has to listen all this. Not that I really understand what she says, though. I thought there was gonna be some twist to this tutor thing, like perhaps a prelude to something much bigger. But in the end, if you think about it, Misaki’s cure is actually just her notes and lecture to Satou! Nothing more than that. But that’s not the important thing throughout the series.
So like in episode 2, Satou’s life takes a turn for the worse (or better if you look at it in the very long run) when Misaki tries to persuade him to sign some contract between them. Of course Satou denies he’s a hikikomori and refuses to sign the contract. This is the first series of lies that will lead Satou from one thing to another. See, how bug a little lie can get. Satou’s lying continues when he even try to further deny that he’s a hikikomori by saying that he works from home and is a game creator. But the cool and patient Misaki doesn’t really believe him and asks him to bring the contract tomorrow.
Satou’s panicking of what to do back at home when he got fed up of his neighbour’s loud blasting song and barges in there to tell him off. To his surprise, Satou recognizes him as Kaoru Yamazaki, that school bully victim he saved years ago. Yamazaki too recognizes him and is happy to see him. So some catching up like how we find out Yamazaki’s an otaku bishoujo freak and is currently studying in some course to make pc games. Uh-huh, Yamazaki’s room is filled with posters, figurines, CDs and mangas right to the brim. After all that chat, Satou has an idea to make Misaki believe that he’s a game creator.
The next night, he ‘borrows’ some Game Product Introduction book and badly explains some terms. Though Misaki still doesn’t believe him, she asks him to show the product of his work. Oh oh. Satou’s now in a new mess. But he covers up by saying that it’s currently in progress and would be finish next month. Misaki agrees. Later, Yamazaki’s mad to find out all of this from Satou. But he’s not going to create a game for him, instead he’s asking him to help him make an eroge (erotic games) or galge (erotic girl games) together and asks him to write scenarios for it since he has no programming background. Now this is another find mess he’s gotten into.
So episode 3 sees how Satou got ‘addicted’ to porn. Yeah, that guy has no clue what to do and was suggested by Yamazaki to look up for some material references on the internet. He spend so much time playing hentai games and collecting porn pics that he hasn’t even started work on his scenario yet. Yeah, 120GB worth of porn pics!!! Satou even tries to take photos of high school girls because thinks he looks like an ugly pathetic filthy pervert. And to his horror, when he’s hiding behind some bushes and snapping away, Misaki was standing behind him! Oh the misconception and humiliation. But even with all the misunderstood perverted stuffs (like he managed to snap a pic of a girl’s undies when the wind blew her skirt up), Misaki still calmly thinks that Satou’s perfect for her project.
And in episode 4, Satou’s getting lazy in completing his scenario so with some little threatening from Yamazaki, he has no choice but to continue. Also, Yamazaki decides to bring Satou to several places to let him experience this anime thing like to a maid cafe and a doujinshi shop. It must be an eye opener for Satou. And that Yamazaki’s infatuated in buying all those Pururin stuffs. Also, Satou bumped into Kashiwa earlier on and they both had some catching up chat over a drink. Finally, Satou gets some inspiration and weird ideas by coming up with a character who’s a childhood friend, next door neighbour, maid, robot, ghost, alien and a reincarnation of a fox and some other outrageous scenarios, which Yamazaki got excited about and draws as it as Satou speaks. But since it look horrible, Satou refuses to come up with a scenario for her. Yeah, your all-in-one girl for a galge.
Besides some flashback and talk between Satou and Kashiwa in episode 5, Satou finally admits to Misaki that he’s a hikikomori and signs the contract. So the counselling starts tomorrow and if either fails to keep to the contract, a fine of 1 million Yen on the defaulter. I guess, Satou has no choice because he has no money like that too. And in episode 6, Satou becomes ‘jealous’ when he finds out from Misaki that Yamazaki may have a girlfriend and may be lying to him about his geek appearance and all that. So Satou decides to ‘visit’ the college where Yamazaki studies. Unfortunately, he accidentally got enrolled in one of the classes but pressed the panic button when he mistook the teacher’s laugh at his proposal as a mockery as Satou ran out of the classroom screaming conspiracy. Later, he saw Yamazaki talking casually with his supposed girlfriend, Nanako, and thinks that Yamazaki has been hiding things from him all this while when he soon finds out that Nanako said to her girlfriends that there is no way that such an otaku geek could become her boyfriend. Plus, Nanko’s in love with somebody else. Satou felt bad and later relates the whole thing to Yamazaki back at home. And when Satou informs Misaki about this, it seems that it was part of Misaki’s ‘experiment’ to use him and confirm her queries about it, much to Satou’s dismay. But if you look at it in a way, hasn’t Satou improved a little of his situation as a hikikomori as Misaki said. Yeah, he went out to public places without fear. More like jealousy at first.
Because of that, in episode 7, Satou fakes he has a flu and refuses to leave his home. But he got a call from his mom saying that she’ll come visit him and discuss about his future. So another big lie from Satou. He tells her that he has a big job and has a fiancee. Of course his mom wants to come down and see it all still. Big trouble. And to cover it all up, he asks Yamazaki’s help to create the fake company he’s working at and Misaki later volunteers to be his girlfriend. So Satou and Misaki had an ‘experimental date’ as Satou finds out a little more about Misaki so that he could know certain things about her when his mom asks. But he has trouble remembering (so do I) that her grandpa is French and all that. Much to Satou’s dismay, it seems Misaki knows a lot about him even though he never tells her like his phone number. Hmm…
Thus in episode 8, Satou’s mom, Shizue, comes and the big act begins. Later, Satou and Misaki brings Shizue to some Chinese restaurant and we find out a little about Satou’s childhood background. Even Misaki still try to convince that she’s Satou’s girlfriend, Shizue knows that everything is fake from the start because of Satou’s obvious nervous and irritated attitude accompanied with that guilty look. Seems he never change. Yeah, because Satou’s always causing mischief when he was young and getting scolded, he tries to shift the blame to someone else and find an excuse for himself. Bad boy. But I guess it can’t be help. Satou eventually admits all this but Shizue just told Misaki to take care of his son and might as well go on a real date since they’re here. And you know the inevitable, while the 2 are walking at some lover’s park, Misaki trips, falls into Satou’s arms, ahem ahem, embarrassed and blushing. Before you know it, they’re like gonna kiss when Satou’s handphone rings and spoils the mood and everyone around is annoyed. It seems it’s from Yamazaki and he’s furious that he waited at home and wasted an entire day for pretending to be Satou’s employee if Shizue ever calls the ‘company’. But it never happened. Satou apologizes and promises to make up for him.
So Satou’s tormented on his feelings towards Misaki in episode 9 so much so he can’t concentrate on writing the scenario. By the way, the female protagonist of the galge that Satou models after, Rei, looks so much like Misaki. Yeah, he can’t get her out of his head, literally. Meanwhile, Yamazaki asks Nanako to watch the fireworks with him but turns him down saying she has an audition. This prompts a crushed Yamazaki to remember something similar that happened to him when he was young. Only thing was instead of that girl visiting her grandpa, Yamazaki caught her with another boy who beat him up. Devastated and not wanting history to repeat itself, Yamazaki then drags Satou into this ‘problem’ by proclaiming that all women are their enemies. Thus, Yamazaki’s suspicious of Misaki and thinks that she may be trapping Satou. But Yamazaki’s view of women changed when Nanako calls him to say that her audition’s cancelled and they could go watch the fireworks together. So fast change. And Satou too watched the fireworks with Misaki, who looks ‘different’ and cute in her yukata.
Thus, in episode 10, Satou and Yamazaki decides to find out more about the mysterious Misaki by following her back to her home from the manga cafe where she works. To their surprise, she lives in a huge mansion on the hilltop. And what’s even shocking that the mansion overlooks the park where Satou has his counselling and has even a clear view shot of Satou’s apartment! Satou’s thinking that the reason why Misaki knows a lot about him was because she may be spying and observing him all along. Just then, Misaki came out and follows her aunt and a bunch of other people to some building. Since he got sick of it, Satou decides to go home. His hatred of Misaki’s betrayal must be burning. Because later that night, he showed up late at the counselling and angrily tells her that he’s quitting the session and doesn’t want to see her face anymore before running off.
Satou’s misadventures takes another turn in episodes 11-13. Besides Misaki wondering what went wrong with her counselling and Yamazaki thinking that they should only make a trial version of their game for the Natsucomi, we see Kashiwa, who’s working as a public servant, under stress. Yeah, she’s got a lecturing from her employer about just looking pretty. To make things worse, Kashiwa’s boyfriend, Jougasaki, has to put off their date because he’s got an important job. This causes Kashiwa to be depressed and be dependant on drugs. Kashiwa later calls Satou for a drink. The usual flashback and chat. Kashiwa really looking very depressed and down. As they both relate each other’s miseries, Kashiwa hands Satou some forms of the ‘Offline Meeting’ and says this is the only way out for all the conspiracies. Satou decides to follow Kashiwa, whether to heaven or hell (be careful of what you say). Yeah, he has a crush on her too and it goes way back to when they’re students but he never confessed. He follows her into her car. Misaki saw what’s going on from the hilltop but is too far to stop them.
To cut things short, the Offline Meeting is actually a suicidal meeting! Satou’s a little disappointed to find out that he’s not going to spend time alone with his sempai but there’re 3 other fellas who’s part of this meeting tagging along as well. Nomura, some failed doctor, Kusano, a kid who seems to be playing with his handheld game most of the time, and an elderly guy Minegishi, who owns a boat which took them all to a desolated island. Everybody here’s so lifeless and lethargic like as though it’s their last day on Earth. Why it is. Satou doesn’t realize what’s going on still as he tries to strike up a conversation with the rest but they seem uninterested and so ‘dead’. He realizes it all later that the gang came to this island to die and ‘enjoy’ their last day on Earth. Satou’s horrified but it’s too late to back out now. He can’t. Everytime he tries to make it seem to ‘delay’ their suicide, they have some sort of excuse. And that Satou ruined a perfect chance when he panics and pours all the boat fuel on the campfire. *Smack*. We also here their sad story why they decide to kill themselves. Meanwhile Misaki finds Yamazaki and relates the entire story to him when their conversation is overheard by Jougasaki.
So the trio that night with Jougasaki manage to rent a boat and head for the island. Better hurry because those people are going to jump off a cliff. Satou’s really worrying as he still tries to delay as they’re walking slowly towards to cliff top. A lot of that ‘no hope’ kinda talk. Finally, it’s time to jump! Is Satou’s gonna do it too? He’s really hesitating and reluctant. It’s really gloomy. Just as they’re about to jump, Kashiwa heard her fiancee calling her name. Looks like the trio arrived in time. And he manage to talk to them and bring them to their senses. Jougasaki even told Kashiwa that he wants to marry her. Kashiwa breaks down in joy. The words that she longed to hear.
Then this is the sad-funny part. When Satou realized that Kashiwa never really had feelings for him all this while, he now decides to kill himself. Then Misaki I think decides to play some reverse psychology or what by saying "You’re the first person that I’ve ever met who’s worse than the garbage of the person I am. A hikky lower than a stray dog. So please Satou, don’t die. I need you". Woah! Isn’t that just mocking him and those are just crocodile tears? But it seems Misaki’s emotions and feelings are true as she breaks down. Even Yamazaki told him that losers like them aren’t fit for such a dramatic death and his death would only be in vain. Just as Satou is about to walk away from the edge, he slips. But luckily the others manage to catch hold of him. Satou screams. I wonder is that scream a relief or disappointment. Well, at least nobody died.
So in the aftermath episode 14, Satou and Misaki at the beach when Satou is still angry at her and raises his fists. Unexpectedly, Misaki cringes and cowers in fear and shivering with her head under her protecting arms. Satou doesn’t know what it means but cools down and walks away. We also see them ‘recuperating’ from last night’s incident at some inn. Of course, the family members of the other trio were mad at them for doing such a crazy thing but if you look at it, they’re actually concerned and worried for them. Thus, each of them decided to use their capabilities to help solve and work out each of their problems. Well, at least a little hope there to carry on living. Before they left, Kusano told Satou about some online fantasy game, Ultimate Fantasy, whereby one could play and make money from it using RMT (real money trading) to trade the in-game money into real currency, which is perfect for Satou’s hikikomori state.
Later, Satou receives a letter from Misaki to meet her. And because Satou tried to kill himself, Yamazaki blames him for the Natsucomi failure. However, Satou’s thinking about the letter. And when he meets Misaki that night, she intends to fine him 1 million Yen but since she too had lied, she forgives him and they’re both even. Though Satou agrees to come back to the counselling, that night he receives a shocking phone call from his mom. What’s so shocking? His mom decides to cut his allowance because his dad’s ill. And the disgusting part was, I thought Satou’s horrified facial expression was towards his dad’s condition. But then later on, he’s actually horrified that it’s because he won’t be getting his usual allowance! What the?! What an ungrateful idiot! You deserve it.
Because of that in episodes 15-16, Satou decides to try the online RPG game Kusano suggested. In short, Satou became addicted and obsessed with it as he becomes skilful. So much so he didn’t do anything on his galge scenario, much to Yamazaki’s ire, nor did he attend his counselling. Yeah, it’s like as though he wants to live in this world. Probably that’s because he met and forms a party with another player, a catgirl named Mia, and the 2 go on adventuring, slaying monsters and collecting stuffs. He also met some mysterious little Monchichi-like creature giving him some ‘advice’ during the game. Satou really enjoys her company and looks forward to go adventuring with her and doesn’t give a damn about anything else. As the days pass by, Satou looks like a filthy unkempt loser! And his room is full of garbage bags. Even when Misaki tried to help him overcome his addiction by dressing up as a catgirl, Satou scolds her not to make fun of Mia. That @$$hole.
But all that and Satou’s fantasy world comes crashing down when Mia told him she wants to meet him and is coming over to his place now. To Satou’s horror, Mia is actually Yamazaki! OOOUUCCHHH!!! Yamazaki’s pretty cool telling him the facts of reality like how it all isn’t as easy as it looks. Satou freaks out and tells Yamazaki to get out of his room as he cries. He must be confused and upset. Yeah, it’s probably all a conspiracy buddy. Didn’t think of that, did ya. While Satou’s thinking of what to do next, he receives a phone call. No, not from his mom, but his ex-class rep, Megumi Kobayashi. She tells him that she has a surprise for him and wants him to meet her. Satou soon leaves just when Misaki arrives but to find nobody in.
So episodes 17-19 basically how Satou gets ‘conned’ by Kobayashi into a pyramid selling scheme! Yeah, Kobayashi claims she has a cure for Satou’s hikikomori. Before you know it, she takes him to some dilapidated house, supposedly some marketing company called Mouse Road, and some old fart starts preaching the good about his product and how it saves him. All those people there must be real gullible. Of course Satou knows that this is a bloody pyramid scheme and tries to back out but Kobayashi relates her sad story like how she can’t find a decent job after college and got tricked into doing some waitress job but that company closed down before she could receive any payment, leaving her in a lurch. Because Satou felt pity, he bought a few of those boxes from her. Yeah, her acting’s pretty good.
When Yamazaki and Misaki knew about this, they try to help Satou to return the products to get Satou out of debt too and call of the deal. They met at a restaurant but Kobayashi manage to change the subject and brainwash them into buying more of the products. She must a real good salesperson/conman or those 3 must be real dumb. I think it’s the latter. When Misaki later realized that they’ve been duped again, they decided to go to her house and return the products. Kobayashi’s reluctant to let them in until they threaten to call the police. While Satou’s signing the contract to get his refund, they heard some stomping from above. The 3 curiously went upstairs as Kobayashi tries to stop them. The moment they open the door, some guy at the pc freaks out runs and hides under the chair and at the same time scolds Kobayashi that he has told her countless times not to let anyone in. Satou and Yamazaki realized is that Monchichi guy in the RPG world. Well, it must be really shocking for Satou to see a hikikomori worse than him, huh?
So that sad story Kobayashi told earlier on had some truth in it. Her dad passed away and her bro just locked himself away playing his pc games. Thus she has no choice but to work like a dog. Soon Satou had some talk with her bro to make him realize things. Pretty ironic for his situation, huh? However, he’s just afraid of breaking the pattern or try something new. Satou and the rest then left the house. So things are back to normal with Satou and Yamazaki trying to complete their game when they saw on tv the Mouse Road company has been busted, its leaders arrested along with its members which includes Kobayashi. Because of that, her brother is starving back at home and no one answers when he calls out. With no alternative and hungry, he panics and crawls out to a nearby ramen shop begging to work for food. Once Kobayashi is released, she comes home to find him but isn’t there. We then see him doing some ramen delivery. See, a man can change. Kobayashi then thinks of going back to college. This is quite a heart warming episode. And I like the funny part where Misaki accidentally spilled some soup on Satou pants and proceeds to wipe it. And when Yamazaki comes in and saw the scenario, you know what lah. Hehehe.
I felt that the series is ‘killing off’ certain characters one by one. First it was Kashiwa, then Kobayashi, and now Yamazaki in episode 20. His dad’s sick and hospitalized and Yamazaki’s family wants him to go back and take over their farm business. Thus he has to quit college too. So those 2 guys spend their last nights together. Also before he leaves, Yamazaki decides to confess to Nanako about his otaku geek life. With Satou filming behind the curtains, to Yamazaki’s shock, Nanako seems to like him for his straightforwardness. What the? I thought she liked somebody else. Since Yamazaki’s going back, he doesn’t want to start anything with her and makes fun of her. Nanako felt infuriated and punches him before running away! Sometimes I don’t know how this people think.
So in episode 21, the duo manage to finish their game but their sales at Fuyucomi was a failure. Yeah, only sold 5 copies. Soon Yamazaki packs his bags and leaves for the train station. Well, that’s it from him. It’s Satou and Misaki now. And Misaki told him during that night’s counselling that there’ll be a test to see if he has learned anything. But the test involves hanging around in a crowded area. At the crowded area, Satou is panicking and his mind is going wild. Because of that he lost sight of Misaki and frantically searches for her, only to bump into Kashiwa. Hey, haven’t seen her for a while.
Satou and Kashiwa catch up on lost times in episode 22. Does Satou still have a crush on her? I mean those visits to the love hotel and Kashiwa getting all nude for him. Good thing that’s just his imagination. We also find out that Kashiwa’s gonna be a mom soon. Misaki manages to find Satou but in Kashiwa’s company saying farewell to her at the train station and spies on them. And I think Misaki’s rather jealous as she’s acting very cold towards Satou after that and lots of spacing out. She’s thinking that Satou may not need her anymore. And something about God and defeating Him. My perception of Misaki changed a little when she said something at the end of the episode "I’ve got Satou in my palms. Satou is my prisoner…". Woah. Misaki’s true colours are surfacing.
The penultimate episode 23 gets a little grim with Misaki quizzing Satou phrases of famous people and something about going back to one’s birthplace to die. Gasp! Misaki tells him his final exam is tomorrow whereby if he passes, he’ll graduate. Satou asks why, Misaki replies that she’s going far away. Gasp! Am I thinking what it is? But that exam seems like a date. So Satou graduates, gets a certificate, signs it and it says something like he’ll be with her for the rest of his life…?! It seems like a ‘forced love contract’ to me. Satou asks what’s it suppose to mean when Misaki says hasn’t he fallen for her since he’s lonely and that she’s all he’s got. Satou denies it all which causes Misaki to yell back that he’s a liar and that she’s lonely and he’s all she’s got before running away. Oh my.
Back at Satou’s apartment he’s seeing visions of Kashiwa, Yamazaki and Kobayashi asking him to give in to Misaki. Soon the events that follow like Satou’s dad seriously ill so his allowance is completely stopped, and Yamazaki too stopped sending food over to him from his farm, prompts a starving Satou to go look for a job. Yeah, no Misaki to come over all this while to bring him food too. Just like in Kobayashi’s brother’s case, Satou finally got a job as a traffic controller.
Then one night while walking home, he saw an ambulance heading towards Misaki’s mansion. There he saw Misaki being carried away on a stretcher. What’s happening? The next day he bumps into the mansion’s caretaker, supposedly Misaki’s uncle, and he explained things to Satou as he drives and bring him to the hospital where Misaki is. It seems that Misaki’s mom committed suicide when Misaki’s young by falling off some cliff. Thing is, Misaki saw that whole incident. Why did she do it? Misaki’s abusive step-dad use to hit her and her mom. Her mom couldn’t take the abuse anymore and killed herself. No wonder Misaki cowers in fear when Satou raises his fist. Plus, she dropped out of school and is living with her uncle and aunt at the mansion to save her from her abusive step dad. Satou must’ve realized it all now as things fell into place. And to think that his hikikomori condition was bad, Misaki’s even worse and she even kept quite and not make a fuss about it. Yeah, he’s been taking his hikikomori condition for granted and even admitted that being one is a luxury. See, one should not complain because there are others which are much more worse off than you.
At the hospital, they find Misaki’s missing but a note on her bed. With the way things were written on it, Satou to his horror thinks Misaki’s gonna go back to her hometown to die! Oh no! He frantically tries to get on the next train to catch her and even withdraws all his money to do whatever he can. Now at least it’s his turn to do some good. Hurry Satou, hurry! My heart sank when I watched this last scene. Is Misaki gonna be okay?
The final episode 24 has Satou finally arriving at the cliff where Misaki is supposedly gonna kill herself, just like her mom. According to the taxi driver, that cliff also attracted many suiciders though some cautionary works has been done to prevent further suicides. Satou finds Misaki sitting there and some emotional talk like how Misaki felt nobody needed her hence the reason she started this hikikomori project. Satou tries to convince her not to kill herself by saying he still needs her and even loves her! Desperate. Yeah, I understand. But Misaki still went ahead and jump only Satou manage to catch her and pull her to safety.
Then Satou uses his wild imagination to defeat the ‘final boss’ of NHK. Yeah, some poltergeist thing which reminded me of those in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Even Misaki’s seeing it. Satou tells Misaki about NHK and its conspiracies and says it’s all his fault for making Misaki wanting to kill herself and that he’s gonna sacrifice himself by destroying the final boss as he charges towards the cliff. He jumps off, Misaki’s watching in horror. Luckily, there’s a safety net just below the cliff, which means Satou’s still alive. As Satou climbs back up, an emotional Misaki slaps him and says that he shouldn’t do such a thing either. Once everything cools down, Misaki tells more about herself when she was young like how she use to live in the house nearby here and how she her real dad named her after the cape/cliff there. Yup, that’s what Misaki means in Japanese.
In the end, Satou moves out of his old apartment and into a slightly better looking one while continuing his traffic controlling job. He has also started to go back to college and Misaki attending high school. Ironically, Satou now becomes her tutor too. We also see Yamazaki quite happy with his farm life and currently engaged to a girl which look so much like Nanako. Also, Kashiwa gives birth to a healthy baby boy and is doing well. Finally, Misaki gives Satou another contract which she calls Nihon Hitojichi Koukankai (Japanese Hostage Exchange Meeting) whereby if one dies, the other will die as well. So it’s a way to keep them both alive. Though Satou doesn’t know how long it’ll all last, but at least he’s taking things in a positive step gradually and signs the contract. And finally Misaki says "Welcome to NHK".
Overall, I’m quite please with how everything turns out in the end. A good ending nevertheless and they tie up many things pretty nicely. I also like how they weave all the other characters and the plot into the series. Though I’m not sure if Satou’s really cured of his hikikomori, but I’m glad he made lots of progress during the series and is a better person now. And with Misaki by his side, what else more does he need. Nice character development from the main and side characters of the series. You could learn a lot from them.
So one of the important thing about all this is the true enemy within us. Yeah, it’s all in our mind. Also we should be happy and grateful with what we have and not complain so much. Though the drawing, art and animation seems pretty okay but at times, you’ll notice a drop in quality. But it isn’t that bad. I like the Satou and Misaki’s voice acting played by Yutaka Koizumi and Yui Makino respectively. It gives a ‘fitting’ feeling to their character roles. There may be a little nude scenes and dark scenes (scenes at night or dark places, that is. So you may have to strain your eye to see some details), but it isn’t anything serious.
One of the unique thing about this show is that each of the title of the series has ‘~ Ni Youkoso’ meaning ‘Welcome to ~’. Plus, the episode titles are shown at the end of the episode rather than in the beginning. If you’re a fan of insert songs, there are quite a in the series. Though some of them sound like some shaggy coarse roadside hermit singing. Just kidding. That’s at least what I thought when I first heard them.
The opening credits has that little psychedelic view and reminded me like it was from those flower power 70’s scene. The first ending theme, Odoru Akachan Ningen, is a really wild song. Yes, really really wild and weird. The singer’s screaming some whatever words and making weird monkey noises. The second ending, Modokashii Sekai No Ue De, sung by Yui Makino, is much better and I prefer this one.
In a nutshell, this series is for everyone. Yeah, I’d recommend it. Suitable from drama lovers to extreme recluse cases to otaku geeks to losers too. Plus, with cutie Misaki, it’s an all-in-one package. What?! Misaki a cutie. Well, if you ask me. Yeah… Oh no! It’s the end of my long-winded blog. IT’S A CONSPIRACY!!!

%d bloggers like this: