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Manga Review

Welcome To The NHK Vol. 1: Manga Review

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I sorta stopped watching the NHK Ni Youkoso anime a while back. I think I should probably start up again, considering the anime is finished… That didn’t keep me from reading the first volume of Welcome To The NHK: the manga! The manga is rated 18+, so it must be more entertaining than the anime, right?

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Story:
Satou Tatsuhiro is a hikikomori. After dropping out of college, he’s locked himself in his house and refuses to be a part of society. He lives off of the income of his parents and has no job. He pretty much drinks and does drugs all day, some of which allow him to speak to his appliances!

He believes that the NHK, the Nippon Housou Kyoukai or the Japan Broadcasting Company, is behind an elaborate conspiracy that forces normal people to become hikikomori. He calls it the Nippon Hikikomori Kyoukai!

One day, a pair of missionaries visits Satou. He gets super defensive (probably due to the drugs) when they give him a pamphlet about hikikomorism. One of the missionaries is super cute, though. Misaki decides that Satou is perfect for her “project.” She tells Satou that she can cure him of his hikikomori status with her special program.

What follows is a series of misadventures for Satou. There’s the time he gets addicted to lolicon porn and tries snapping pictures for himself, or the time he breaks into the video game class and has a panic attack, or the time he totally wrecks the maid cafe… In the next volume, he has to convince his mom that he’s got a girlfriend and a job!

Analysis:
I actually ended up liking the manga version of NHK better than the anime version. Things just make more sense in the context of Satou doing serious amounts of drugs. The manga also seems to go by considerably faster than the anime version. The first five chapters of the manga line up with about the first 7 episodes of the anime.

While none of the characters are really likable, it is pretty funny to see the situations that they get themselves into. Like I wrote before, the manga is a lot more explicit when it comes to describing exactly what Satou is doing that’s so reprehensible. One thing I couldn’t distinguish though, is when Satou was looking at real life porn as opposed to manga porn, since everything is drawn in manga style…

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Character Designs and Art:
I really like the character designs in Welcome to the NHK. Satou’s face is continuously changing from normal to super unshaven whenever he’s in the middle of a crisis. I also think Misaki is cuter in the manga, for some reason.

The quality of the art is also really good. The artist makes really good use of shading and shadows. The panels flow really well which makes for a pretty easy read.

The Actual Book:
The actual book is of fairly good quality. There’s a few color inserts at the beginning, then the rest of the book is in black and white. Since the story has so many otaku references, it was nice to have a giant glossary in the back. A lot of those terms escaped even me…

Conclusion:
I recall hearing about Welcome To The NHK the anime being compared to the manga a lot when it first came out. Apparently people were right when they said the manga was better. I might end up quitting on the anime and reading the manga to get my NHK fix. It’s a lot more compressed and less censored at least.

Many thanks to Tokyopop for supplying me with a review copy of Welcome To The NHK Vol. 1.

9 replies on “Welcome To The NHK Vol. 1: Manga Review”

The NHK manga has a lot more plot twists, is much darker and kinda sick sometimes (in various ways).
A very good manga – highly recommandable.

I haven’t read the manga yet. I’ve only watched the anime, and in in my opinion I would have like the manga in the first place. I wanted to read the first volume, but by the time I got it, its was alerady the 17th episode, so I didn’t bother reading it…

Yeah, I’m still undecided on watching the anime or reading the manga. The manga seems to be better. Does the anime end with any real conclusion?

I actually really liked the anime. It’s probably not as concise as the manga but I still thought they got their point across. I would watch it again, plus the music was really good as well. Both opening and ending themes appealed to me.

A really great post on NHK the light novel which both the manga and the anime were based can be found at The Fools Progress Blog http://textfiend.net/zerohero/index.php/2007/01/09/welcome-to-the-narrative/ He does a great job of summarizing each chapter of the novel which is not available in English. I’m a big fan of both the manga which I read first and the anime, but Zero has quite the NHK collection pictures of his NHK manga, novel and figures are included in the post. It’s interesting to see what the original author thought, versus the mangaka and anime director.

i wonder if the manga will stop at the point where the anime ended, or will it actually continue on from that point

to be honest, im satisfied with the anime’s ending, the story has reached its climax, i don’t think it’s a good idea to continue the story further after that. (it’s basically a happy ending with everything solved)

Unless the manga version will lead to a different story, otherwise, im happy with how the anime has ended.

I seriously dont get it….. I’ve read all 5 volumes released till now by tokyopop and seen the anime and I think the anime totally beats the manga (except for the art). I mean, the manga doesn’t represent as well as the anime the life of a hikkikomori, the time they spend isolated and stuff. And scenes that are pretty serious in the anime suddenly are comic(?!) in the manga. what’s up with that?! It disapointed me a little…. and they only start to show real drama in volume 4.(i’m a drama/horror lover so…)
Nevertheless I am a total maniac for Welcome to the NHK and will follow the manga till the end (thank you tokyopop!)

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