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?
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!
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…
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…
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.