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  • Anime Review of Watamote (Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!)

     Watamote Anime Review

    Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! (Watamote)
    12 Episodes

    Aired from Jul 9, 2013 to Sep 24, 2013

    Square Enix

    Rated Pg-13

    For my anime review this time around, I’ll be doing an anime by the name of Watamote. There are many things that this anime did well, yet there we’re a few things that held me back from really enjoying it in the end. It was definitely a realistic show, which made it stand out from other anime in its genre, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good just because it’s realistic and unique. At times, this anime was quite cringe-worthy and hard to watch. I really did sympathize with the poor main character as I watched her fail time and time again. There were a few funny moments, but other times I wasn’t exactly sure if I should laugh or not. I wish that the humor wasn’t so blatantly dark during the show. At times, it was like watching a poor cat getting bullied. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good times, but this was quite grim at times. In the end, this anime frustrated me, as there wasn’t much progression from the first episode to the last. Tomoko, the main character, was just as sad and hopeless as she was in the beginning. Sure, I enjoyed watching her do things every episode, acting out her daily life, but I wished I did see some progression. This anime was fun to watch, regardless. There were some things that the show presented and did wonderfully, to make up for the bad qualities. Still, don’t go into this anime hoping for amazing character development or moments that will cheer up. Overall, I still had fun watching this show, after all. It was one of those shows that was fun to watch occasionally, but sort of gave you a sad feeling afterwards. Let me explain my thoughts more clearly on this anime to show you what I mean and get down to the details.

    Story of Watamote

    (5/10)

    The story of Watamote isn’t really all that great, since there is barely any story there at all. You have Tomoko every episode trying to get popular, but in the end fails in some sad and awkward way. The story can be quite depressing too, as it falls into this pattern for most of the time. I really wished that I could see some character progression and any kind of progression, but alas, Tomoko is pretty much the exact same person in the beginning, except for some new memories and experiences. In the beginning of the series, she really wants to be popular. In the end, she still wants to be popular. If she really wants to be popular that bad, she should gain some common sense and learn something new about forming relationships. Still, I actually enjoyed watching each episode. Even if there wasn’t that much going on in the overall plot, each episode is still amusing and managed to hold my attention. I’ll go a little more in depth to elaborate what went on each episode and more details on the actual “plot”.

    In the start of this anime, we are introduced to Tomoko. She is shows wasting her time away on miscellaneous things on her computer. The audience quickly learns how she is socially awkward and pretty hopeless when it comes to everyday conversation. Yet, her ultimate dream is to become popular. In the first episode alone, she easily fails her goal and ends up making a fool of herself. The first episode was funny in a slightly twisted way, but it also made my heart break for the poor girl. Her brother hates her, her parents don’t even know what to think of her, and she only has one friend, who moved away a while ago (luckily for Tomoko, they hang out every once in a while, but still….). She has a fairly miserable life. The things that she does to try to improve things, only end up causing her more misery and embarrassment. I liked the first episode quite a bit, as it showed some potential and seemed like an interesting idea to tinker with, instead of having another generic happy rom-com. That was when I hadn’t seen the other episodes to know that the show was basically kicking a poor bunny around, but the bunny never makes a drastic change to stop all the pain.

    Even without the progression happening, there were still some memorable moments in Watamote. There were times where she wasn’t totally helpless and actually slightly improved her situation in a way. Most of all, I liked seeing her weird way of doings things and pervertedness that reminded me of myself somewhat. There were some funny moments that weren’t too dark or brought poor Tomoko down. I really did like most of the episodes even though I usually felt really bad for the main character. There were some good moment sprinkled here and there. It definitely wasn’t all bad.

    Tomoko has to deal with many interesting and slightly amusing situations throughout the anime. There was an epispde where she tried to show off to her cousin, but ended up making her cousin feel sorry for Tomoko, instead of admiring her. One episode was focused around her pervertedness and having one of those really pleasant dreams if you catch my drift. As I stated before, most of these situations ended up badly for poor Tomoko, but some were kind of funny in a way. I especially liked the episode where she was hanging out with her friend, as everything felt more at ease and less twisted when she had her friend with her. It wasn’t so sad for Tomoko when she had somebody around who cared for her. There were some funny moments sprinkled here and there each episode for the most part. The most depressing episode was when she was trying to see fireworks with a friend, but the end result was a lot different from what she was expecting. There was definitely some high and lows in this anime.

    The ending was quite a let down and made me surprised that it was actually the last episode for this series. Nothing really has changed in her life, which was definitely sad and disappointing. Whether you’re reading a book, watching a movie, or watching an anime, you want things to change throughout the story. Sadly, for this anime the ending may as well been the first episode. It left me feeling frustrated and wanting a better closure for the series.

    For the story, I decided that this anime should get a 5 out of 10 for the category. There were some good moments, but the story felt unfocused generally and didn’t really show any development. I did laugh out loud at some parts, but for the most part it was just abusing poor Tomoko. I liked the idea of the story, but the anime didn’t present it very well.

    Characters of Watamote

    (6.5/10)

    The only real main character was Tomoko, but there were other characters that were involved in her life too. There were her family (duh), her old friend, and a couple people that she murmured a few words to. The other character weren’t the most amazing character ever. but they were alright. The side characters weren’t annoying or unlacking of at least a little bit of originality. I really disliked her brother. He was always mean to pathetic Tomoko, even when she was weeping and feeling really down. He was a huge jerk to her in general. Tomoko’s parents were alright, but not much is really revealed about them, except for them being standard semi-strict parents. I liked Tomoko’s friend pretty well, as she was pretty interesting and sort of brightened up the show. All the side characters were good; nothing special, but I want to focus on Tomoko, as she is really the focus of this show.

    Kuroki, Tomoko

    She was definitely an interesting character. There is no denying that. Her complex and weird personality made up for the sort of bland side characters. She was perverted, socially awkward, determined, and lazy. Tomoko was a realistic high school character. Still, it frustrated me when she seemed to lack common sense and such in some situations. It was really sad and pathetic at times for poor Tomoko. Although, she was also funny at times, which is definitely a good things for a character. I could relate to her in some ways, but was annoyed at the lack of character progression. That’s what really irked me in this series. Even with little to no development, Tomoko was a fun and weird character at times. She would come up with all these crazy ideas and experiment with them. Quite an oddball. If only she could learn to speak up! She could barely say goodbye to her teacher. At times I pitied her, at other times I thought she was quirky and funny. Well, at least she was fairly unique and not generic one bit.

    Sound of Watamote

    (7/10)

    The best part of the soundtrack was the opening and ending songs. The opening song stood out among the sea of opening I have seen and was also nice to listen to. The ending song was more standard, but still a great song to hear after finishing an episode. There were a couple of background songs that I enjoyed listening to, but other than that the Ost was nothing special. Good to go along with the anime, but didn’t stand out on its own. On a positive note, there was nothing that particularly bothered my in the anime soundtrack, but nothing really memorable. I actually enjoy the opening and ending enough to listen to them on their own from to time.

    The voice actors were pretty good as usual, but nothing really stood out for me. They all did their job very well, but nothing really worth mentioning to be honest. Tomoko’s voice actors was the best, as to be expected for she was the main character. Currently, there is no english dub, but I have heard that people are working on creating one. As usual, my recommendation is to simply stick with the Japanese one. They know how to to get the job done right.

    In Watamote, the background noise are pretty good. The producers weren’t lazy with detail or anything of that sort. Since Watamote is a comedy, there were some funny sound effects that added to the humor which was a nice addition. Overall, the sound was good.

    Art of Watamote

    (8.5/10)

    The art of Watamote was actually my favorite thing about the show. It was obvious that the animators spent a good deal of time and effort on the art. There were clevers scenes that were animated in a way to make the situation more funny or dramatic. There were plenty of cool effects that they threw in the show here and there to make it enjoyable to watch. The animation, character designs, and general quality of the art was great! It wasn’t perfect all the time, but some episodes the art was just so nice. The colors weren’t overly saturated (for the most part!) like some slice of life anime. Also, the animation for the opening was particularly good. It was all nicely done.

    Enjoyment:

    (6/10)

    My enjoyment for this series varied quite a bit throughout. In the first few episodes, I really enjoyed watching every second of it, but the enjoyment tapered off after that unfortunately. Still, the show was easily watchable for whatever reason. Even when I felt frustrated with the characters and the plot, I could still stomach another episode. The ending was one of my least favorite episodes of the series, but I still wasn’t too bored with watching it even then. Still, even without being bored, I couldn’t help but grimace every episode or two. There were some moments that just weren’t that great to watch. There were some funny moments, but most of the comedy for me was a miss. I had some fun with this anime, but there were a few lagging moments here and there.

    Final Notes and Overall Rating of Watamote

    (6/10)

     

    All in all, Watamote was an alright show. Sure, it had some flaws, but don’t get me wrong, there were some good moments in the show too. The character was pretty interesting and there were a few funny moments that made me chuckle. There were also some references to other things that made me laugh when I recognized them. Sometimes it was awkward, sometimes it was slightly painful, sometimes it was funny, but it was never that bad. All in all, it was fairly mediocre. At least there were a good opening and ending, along with clever artwork. I honestly didn’t hate the series; I just couldn’t love it either.

    If you’re looking for an amazing story full of developments and a happy tale, then definitely skip Watamote. If you just want to see a more realistic and twisted tale, along with a poor character where everything never goes her way, then you might enjoy this anime. But really, I don’t think you would want to watch this show. With little development anywhere, there really isn’t a reason to. It can be funny at times, but the not-so-funny moments overshine them. If you thinking about watching Watamote, check out Welcome to the NHK instead. If you have already watched that, look for some other anime then this one. It wasn’t awful, but Watamote certainly wasn’t good.

    ~TheDragonStar


  • Paprika (Anime) Review

    Paprika Anime Review

    Paprika

    Movie

    Aired Nov 25, 2006

    Madhouse

    Rated R

    Wow. After I finished watching this tripping and amazing anime movie, I was a little stunned. This was definitely one of those unique and spectacular movies that leave a mark on you for a while afterwards. I honestly didn’t even know what to think after seeing this movie. What the hell did I even watch? Did I even like the movie? After the effect died down, I realized I did quite enjoy the movie, even though it was confusing and weird most of the time. My memory began to piece what happened in the movie back together and I was starting to figure out what the whole thing was about. The story itself isn’t that convoluted or complex, but just odd and pretty fast-paced. The cool art style, interesting story, and different character all made watching this anime a blast. Paprika felt like some big and weird dream. This anime combined the lucidness of the dream world into reality itself. Sort of like your Japanese Inception anime in a way. All the weird mind trips in the movie gives you a stunned like feeling afterwards. Even the soundtrack contributes to that. This anime definitely does a good job of being surreal throughout. Paprika gave you a very interesting and unforgettable experience while you were watching it. It goes into the concepts of dream and reality. Most of all, it’s simply a fun, interesting, and different anime movie to watch. Kon, Satoshi did a lovely job of writing the story of this anime. He is well known for his works of blurring the concept of reality. Paprika will sure linger with me for a while to come. Time to get down to the details of this surreal movie.

    Story of Paprika

    (9/10)

    The story of Paprika can be a rather simple, yet complex story at that same time. A group of scientists have developed a dream machine that can record dreams for the patient to look back at them later. The use of this machine is for psychiatric therapy, even for the completely insane ones. They’re hoping that they’ll find some meaning of the subconscious and help them out. However, problems begin to arise with the dreams leaking out into the real world and there is a desperate scramble to find the person behind this dream terrorism. People who have used this dream machine start to lose track of reality and their brain enters a dream like state. In their eye’s they could be following a parade of colorful and odd animals, but in reality they are jumping out of a window. You could see how this would cause major problems for everybody, along with mass panic.

    Two people that use this dream machine are focused on throughout this anime. There names are Paprika and Konakawa. Paprika is the dream world version of this brilliant scientist name Chibo. Paprika is basically her alter-ego. Chibo is usually calm, collected, and sort of a introvert in the real world. However, Paprika is energetic, talkative, and basically the polar opposite of Chibo. Paprika tries to help Konakawa with his problems throughout this movie. I like how this anime looks into our dreams, what they could mean, and maybe find your true self in them. Eventually, Konakawa finds the meaning behind his strange and seemingly unconnected dreams, thus helping him solve problems in his life that he needed to work out.

    There are several arguments about who the dream terrorist could possibly be. It’s a big mystery, and it seems that they will have enter the dreams to find the truth behind this chaos. A lot of things happen during this movie, but I don’t want to give spoilers, so I’ll do my best to sum it up. Paprika and Konakawa continue to work together in their dream world, despite the warning concerning the dream device. At one point, Chibo actually gets caught up in one of these dream illusion things, but manages to escape. Paprika gets in serious trouble, the dream terrorist does more wide-scale things to reality, and more chaos/craziness/general trippiness happens. I love everything that went on in the anime pretty much. It was all very fascinating and I think contained many metaphors and analogies to our lives.

    Now, the ending to this anime was actually the ending that it deserved. I was afraid that it would pull off some stupid and crappy ending that doesn’t even make any sense at all. But, no, the ending was a perfect ending for this anime. It had an epic action scene, some deep moments, and wrapped up the story well. I couldn’t wish for a better ending to the movie. The ending made me smile, sit back, and realize how much I loved this anime.

    This story always kept me attention, making wonder what was going to happen next. There were not that many twists at all, but the action and the plot still kept me drawn in at all times. I felt that the characters kept the plot moving forward too. There wasn’t one moment where Paprika ever felt slow or dragged on. In fact, it was quite the opposite. One of my only few and minor complaints is that the story seemed a little rushed at times. I felt that the movie would’ve been better off if it had been split into two parts. At times, there was just a lot going on. If it had been split into two parts, there would’ve been a lot more time for character development, less rushed plot, and a little more enjoyable overall. Otherwise the story was amazing and great. This is just a minor, minor, minor complaint, by the way.

    I often hear this story compared to Inception. Now, I think it’s fine if you compare this movie to the movie, but if you say Paprika or Inception copied off on another, that’s stupid. It’s hard to find a truly original work in this world. Everything is bound to feel sort of similar after a while. It’s only a matter of statistics and how many people there are in the world. I guess you could say that Paprika is sort of Japanese Inception, but please don’t say one copied off another. That just annoys me.

    All the events that happened in this story all seemed chaotic in a way (similar to a dream), yet connected each other in some way to form an interesting and captivating story. That’s what I love about Paprika. It takes the craziness of dreams and makes a fairly comprehensible story. This movie had fun being creative and used the power of animation to draw all these beautiful, cool, and spectacular scenes. It was quite amazing to just sit back and look at the beauty of it all. This movie even went into some deep concepts of reality and dreams. Paprika had an amazing story that didn’t fail to entertain and surprise me.

    Putting it all together, I think Parika deserves a 9 out of 10 for the story score. Maybe a little rushed and convoluted at times, but still amazing. Had fun with the movie, along with exploring a human’s subconscious mind. Paprika kept me enthralled with its action and wondering what could possibly happen next. Just a story that is enjoyable all around.

    Characters of Paprika

    (9/10)

    The characters are odd in a way. This movie doesn’t get you too attached to the characters, but I do realize that they are excellent characters. Their minds are explored throughout this anime. I enjoyed seeing how each character would react to all the events that were happening around them and how their secrets would be explored. Thankfully, none of them were annoying or excessively stupid. I especially enjoyed seeing the comparisons between Paprika and Chiba. It shows how a  person can truly be and feel different deep down inside. I felt like the characters were developed well in the short time that they did have to explore the character. You could see all the different sides to each of them. The characters weren’t made to be likeable to the whole audience. I think they were simply unique, but deep in their own way. I wish that the movie could’ve been longer to learn more about all their pasts. Overall, the characters in Paprika were great.

    Chiba, Atsuko

    Chiba is an intelligent and clever woman. She is also the head of the creators of the dream machine. Together, she and Konakawa use the dream device in secret, as it’s not supposed to be used on anybody quite yet. Most of the time, she is reserved and always appears to be thinking hard about something. It can be really difficult to understand her. Chiba doesn’t really like to crack jokes that often or goof around, especially when there is work to be done. Needless to say, she is also a focused and hard worker. I admire her for being so determined all the time. It’s nice to see a character that won’t give up easily. She likes to follow the law, but in the end, she’ll do what she thinks is right. Sometimes she doesn’t think of what the consequences could be. If she does screw up somewhere along the way, she’ll do her very best to fix whatever probably is at hand. Chiba is cool and collected most of the time, but isn’t totally emotionless like Sasuke. I thought she was an interesting and fleshed character for the movie.

    Paprika

    Paprika is Chiba’s alter-ego. It was shocking to see how different they were. Paprika is bubbly, open, talkative, and likes to mess around a little. Basically, they’re two different people. Paprika appears whenever she’s in a dream. I honestly liked Paprika better than Chiba. Chiba always seemed way too stiff, while Paprika was free spirited and just willing to roll with whatever life threw at her. She is quirky in a lot of ways. It’s hard for me to describe her character, as you would need to watch the movie to understand her. I thought she was a unique and fun addition to the show. It really was fascinating to see the difference between Chibi and Paprika. People can feel really different in their soul, I suppose. The movie explored the character of Parika very well in my opinion. She was as well developed as Chiba.

    Konakawa, Toshimi

    He is my favorite character out of the four. His backstory, secrets, and personality are explored throughout the movie. It was fun to get to know him more and more as the story progressed. He can be quite at times, but loud and emotional at other times. Paprika was helping him figure out the meaning behind his dreams, which I found was a fascinating topic to delve deep into. Do our dreams actually reveal what’s bothering us? Or are they just random? The story definitely presented the first opinion strongly. His character changed throughout the story as he learned more and more about himself through the dreams. He was just an interesting character all around. I greatly enjoyed having him in the movie.

    Tokita, Kosaku

    He’s the geeky and fairly awkward type. As you can tell from the picture, he’s fat. Tokita always feels insecure throughout the movie, but Chiba helps him with it. He’s a nice guy most of the time, but can still be reckless and obnoxious. He was also working on the dream device with Chiba and her crew. He’s also clearly anxious and uncomfortable at times, especially when the dream device goes haywire. I wish there could’ve been a little more to him, but he was still a cool guy. He thinks a lot like Chiba does. He’s a hard worker most of the time. He has a tendency to freak out when things go wrong, but that’s understandable. He was my least favorite character, but still a thought out one.

    Sound of Paprika

    (9/10)

    I actually really enjoyed listening to the background music of Paprika. Some songs were just so memorable and pleasant to listen to. I especially enjoyed listening to Shizuku Ippai no Kioku, even though I’ll admit it sounded a lot better when the movies was playing with it. All the songs that were played during the movie all felt quirky and different, much like Paprika herself. At times, I play a few of these songs as background music. All the songs were wonderful. My only complaint is that there should’ve been more.

    The voice actors were awesome. All of them sounded very much in character. They all put lots of effort into their voice acting and they never let me down once. My favorite ones was the voice actor for Paprika and the voice actor for Konakawa. They were both so good. I really don’t like the English voice actors for this one. They all sounded so flat. Only one or two sounded okay. Please watch the Japanese dub. It’s so much better.

    Other sounds in Paprika were good too. It brought you into the environment and they weren’t lazy with the sound. The sounds of the dreams were well illustrated too. Combine with the songs, it worked quite fine. Good job on the sound overall, especially the songs.

    Art of Paprika

    (9/10)

    The art of Paprika was great along with everything else about this movie. I loved the amazing and fluid animation; especially during the parade scenes. It was just so magnificent. It wasn’t the most amazing artwork ever, but it was still spectacular and breath taking at times. I think that the animators really took their time animating some scenes. There were some situations where everything was extremely chaotic, but the art made it so you could still understand what was going on while at the same times being beautiful. I never felt that the art was clumsy or cluttered, which was really pleasant to watch. It also stayed consistent throughout. Nice shading, colors, and style. The art was always stylized, smooth, and looked nice. Overall, great artwork that didn’t seem too artificial.

    Enjoyment:

    (9/10)

    I loved watching this movie the whole time. I didn’t feel bored at any moment of the show, which was great. It was one of those movies that kept you captivated throughout. When there wasn’t some action going on, the movie would still entertain you with the interesting characters and the intrigue behind the plot line. Everything just made this show so fun. It always had this quirky feel behind it. I especially enjoyed the moments where the explored the inner workings of their dreams. That was always fascinating and kept my attention, wondering what would pop up in the dream next. I actually wished the movie was a little longer to explore more things and maybe have some more character development. That would only make it even more entertaining. The ending was also a really exciting piece to the film, but I won’t spoil that for you. This movie did a good job of being creative and lots of fun to watch.

    Final Notes and Overall Rating of Paprika

    (9/10)

    Paprika was a great movie to watch and enjoy. The interesting and fun story, elegant art style, and deep characters made the movie a solid one for sure. If you haven’t watch Inception before this, you’ll be even more blown away by Paprika. I wish the movie was a bit longer to explore some of its themes and characters more deeply, but that is the only real fault I could see with this movie. I had an excellent time watching this and I’m sure if you decided to pick it up, you will too. It may be confusing at first, which may make you annoyed and disappointed, but it eventually makes perfect sense in the end. This movie isn’t the best anime movie in existence, but it sure does a good job still. For anybody who liked this movie, I recommend more of Satoshi’s works, as he does a brilliant job of making you question what reality truly is. And that is always an interesting topic to explore.

    All in all, Paprika was a solid 9 out of 10 for everything. I really does everything quite well, which is rare for an anime to be this balanced all across the board. The character Paprika brought something to make this movie stand out from Inception. This movie is a lot of fun to experience and see where it will take you. Everything is done amazingly well and it makes a great movie to watch on a rainy day. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a good day.

    ~TheDragonStar


  • Welcome to the NHK! (Anime) Review

    Welcome to the NHK! Anime Review

    Some spoilers ahead!

    Welcome to the NHK!

    24 Episodes

    Aired from Jul 10, 2006 to Dec 18, 2006

    Gonzo

    Rated R (According to MyAnimeList)

     

    Welcome to the NHK! has gotten quite a lot of attention since its airing date: 2006. This anime well deserves that attention too. I came into the anime not really knowing what to expect. From the synopsis I read, it sounded like a unique and sort of twisted anime. Would it be presented well? Or would it just be some sort of train wreck? A character that thinks everything is an conspiracy? What’s that going to be like? I have heard positive things about this anime before, so I wasn’t totally shooting in the dark. Let me tell you, I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Great characters, a pretty well-crafted plot, and a pleasing soundtrack to go along with it all. Throughout the anime, you also get to see some dark humor, which is pretty rare for an anime. A fairly unique anime that was done well. The issues and lives of NEETs (Not in education, employment, or in any sort of training) is presented well, along with the lives of a Hikikomori  (Japanese for a person who cuts themselves off from society and people. A social phobia of sorts.) The characters and their troubles felt heartfelt and realistic. On a side note, I have heard that there are differences between the anime and manga. For example, in the anime, Satou (the male lead) goes a little crazy simply by being cooped up in his apartment for a long time. In the manga, he is shown doing drugs and that is the reason for his craziness. I don’t really get bothered by this too much, as I never read the manga, but I could see a loyal manga reader getting annoyed. I love this anime a lot, but I do realize it has a few flaws. Let’s get started on the craziness that is Welcome to the NHK!

    Story of Welcome to the NHK!

    (7/10)

    Welcome to the NHK!

    Welcome to the NHK! is quite an enjoyable one, but looking at it critically, it does have some flaws. At times, the story can feel a bit mashed together and can take a few unrealistic turns. Other then that, I really loved the story. The interesting topics that were covered like depression, Otaku, NEETs, and Hikikomori really made this anime unique. I felt like this anime showed the audience the darker side of life. Perhaps in a way, a more realistic one too. I really wish that more anime would attempt this type of story, as it was quite an interesting one. I loved seeing how everything would resolve and what the characters would do to face their problems, if they even did at all. For the review, I’m not going to go into major spoiler territory, but there might be some minor ones along the way. Now, let’s look at the story more in depth.

    The story starts off with introducing Satou, the Hikikomori and NEET. He is lying on his bed in his small apartment. Right off the bat, you can tell that he is a depressed and somber guy. There is an annoying anime theme song playing next door and he wants the noise to stop. The problem is he hasn’t gone out of his house and talked to somebody in years; other than going to the convenience store to get some food or cigarettes. He lays there pathetically and starts to hallucinate these weird pastry things with eyes. After they disappear, he begins to think that he is part of a giant conspiracy by the NHK. Their plan is to create addicting anime, and the addicting anime will create more and more Otaku, which will earn them lots of money. Satou confirms this conspiracy by talking with his fridge… so you can see it’s all in his head. Still, all this conspiracy stuff lingers and infects his mind. The reason he would even being to think this in the first place was because of this girl in college. She was his “Senpai” and they always hung our after school together. She constantly talked about conspiracies, which planted  some paranoid ideas deep in the dark corners of his mind.

    Also, sometime in the first episode, the anime shows how he got to be a Hikikomori and a NEET. It began when he was walking down the street to another day of college. He felt relaxed and at ease at first, but then he slowly felt like everybody was watching him; judging him with an evil grin. Satou thought everybody was whispering about him and how disgraceful he was. He trembled and simply couldn’t take it anymore. Satou dashed back home, wanting to get away from it all. Since that day, he has barely has come out of his house.

    Now, a young girl and her grandmother come to the house and knock on the door. He is sent into a little bit of a panic, wondering how he’ll possibly be able to communicate with another human being. After all, he hasn’t done so in a long, long, time. He rushes to the door and attempts to communicate with them normally. Needless to say, that doesn’t go that well. The girl who takes to him is very beautiful in Satou’s eyes, so that doesn’t help either. They talk about the rising population NEETs, which makes Satou even more nervous. He shakily takes their documents, but of course denies that he would possibly be a NEET, even when they never accused him. He closes the door without saying goodbye. After a few seconds, he peeks through the door and sees the girl again. She’s stunning. They lock eyes for a second, but then she is called by her grandmother to get going. Satou closes the door again, and looks over the papers, eventually deciding to try to get a job at the manga cafe. He wants to turn his life around.

    Satou shaves himself, gets dressed up, and has his resumé in hand. As he walks to the manga place, he repeats over and over under his breath, “I’ve heard you guys are hiring” When he actually makes it to the café, he fails horribly, as the same girl he saw yesterday was there. As soon as he sees her, his plans fall into tiny pieces. He mumbles something to her and then quickly runs out of the door. He hadn’t noticed that he had dropped his résumé on the ground. Later, the girl drops his resumé through an opening on his door. There is also a note on the back of it. The note talks about how he should meet up with her and she will try to help him out of his Hikikomori condition. He would have to sign a contract. She wants him to meet her at the park in the evening and discuss the contract and his therapy.

    Satou, at first, is convinced he won’t come to the meeting. He eventually decides to do come anyhow, as he would have probably went to the park around this time, even without Misaki (the girl), asking him to. They meet up and she tells Satou he need help. He starts to deny everything, wanting to impress this lady. He tells her that he does have a job as a video game developer. She wants proof of this, thus beginning the crazy ride with Misaki and Satou.

    When he gets back to his apartment, he decides to man up and talk to his neighbor next door, whom is playing an annoying anime theme song everyday. He busts down the door and discovers that the person who is playing the annoying music is his high school friend; Yamazaki. Coincidentally, he has been going to a video game school for a while now and is learning how to make games. Since Satou has no experience whatsoever in the video game making department, they eventually pair up and begin to make a hentai game. Yes, a hentai game. They decided it would be an easy game to make without that much experience. I think this is a good time to let you know that this anime can be quite perverted at times, but only to really add effect to the story. I didn’t feel as if it was fanservice at all. After all, what is a 22 year old man going to do alone in his apartment this whole time?

    Anyhow, more chaos, dark humor, and difficulty arises. After a while, Satou finally gives into Misaki and admits he is a Hikikomori. He signs the contract; agreeing to meet up with her in the evening every once in a while for their therapy session. Many interesting things happen to the characters. From suicide pacts to MMORPG addictions, this anime always keeps you entertained. Now, you may ask, if the story is so great and amusing, why only a 7 out of 10? Well, I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but there are a few unrealistic twist and everything seems to piece together a little too nicely. At times, the way Satou acts in certain situations makes me a tad bit frustrated. But, other than those things, the story was a great story.

    Finally, the ending sort of annoyed me. Sure, it was a nice ending, but the way it all unfolded just seemed ridiculous. At least the ending was sort of satisfying. I only wish it had something more to it and unfolded a bit better. Oh well, a 7 out of 10 gives this anime justice.

    Characters of Welcome to the NHK!

    (9.5/10)

    This was one of the show’s major strong points. I think that this anime was meant to be a more character driven than a plot driven anime. The characters all acted very life-like and never ceased to amaze me. I feel connected to Satou in a way (don’t get the wrong idea), as that was how realistic he felt to me. You could always find a way to relate to a few of the characters in Welcome to the NHK. Even the side characters were magnificently crafted. You would see how each individual character would deal or not deal with their struggles. Character development happened a lot in the story; you would Satou progress and digress throughout the plot. The other characters progress right along with Satou. Satou is definitely not the only person with problems. It shows the darker side of humanity nature and the harsh reality people have to deal with. Some people want to simply find somebody lower than them to make themselves feel better. I think every human always wants somebody below them; even if that lower person is somebody they know hardly anything about or even if they have some feelings for them. The anime also shows that people may have problems you may never even know about. Many themes about human nature are introduced in Welcome to the NHK. These characters are so realistic and I simply love every one of them for their each flaws and personality. Great presentation of the characters. Definitely amazing and well-crafted characters.

    Satou, Tasuhiro

    Welcome to the NHK!

    Satou is one of my favorite main characters of all time. In anime you don’t usually see depressed and hopeless people, but Satou is an exception. He’s a pretty sad sack. Misaki is the girl who decides to help Satou out of his Hikikomori state, even if she isn’t the best person ever. In the anime, Satou goes through many phases. From extreme video game addiction to actually walking around a town, Satou’s Hikikomori state varies a lot. It’s quite interesting to see how he develops through the show. Will Satou ever get a life? I also enjoyed his broody and melancholy demeanor. He is also paranoid and on the conspiracy train. Satou thinks everything is to be blamed on the NHK. Pretty interesting ideas, huh? How often do you see a character like that? Satou’s quirks and fears from his Hikikomori state was unique and fun to see how it would play out. His personality brought a lot to this show. I felt like Satou definitely stood out from most main characters, as they are usually the major hero of the story, while Satou is basically a sad loser. Even depressed as he his, he has happy moments and joyful moments in the show. I felt like his personality had depth to it and wasn’t just your usual male main character personality. Satou’s life brings a bunch of dark humor to the show and shines life on the people who are not heroes.

    Nakahara, Misaki

    Welcome to the NHK!

    Misaki is an absorbing character. The way she acts, talks, and does things is all sort of intriguing. At the beginning of the anime, you might think her of as a well-put together individual, but throughout the story you slowly find there is more to her than what meets the eyes. Her character shows that there might be a lot more to a person that you may never know about. People are not just simply good or bad, there is much more behind them. There are reasons the way they act the way they do. Misaki acts rudely at times, but she is simply a flawed person like everybody else is. That doesn’t mean that’s all she is. She does want to help people, even when she may look down on those people, she still wants to make their lives better. I don’t want to reveal to much more about her, but she is a complex person and you find out many things about her along the way. I liked her at time, but at other times she seemed extremely mean-spirited. Overall, she’s a compelling and fascinating character.

    Yamazaki, Kaoru

    Welcome to the NHK!

    Yamazaki is Satou’s next door neighbor and high school friend. He got bullied in school for being a geek and having glasses. That’s when Satou offered a helping hand. Their relationship grew a little more after that, but they never became best of buddies, so they never stayed in touch after high school. Coincidentally, Satou and Yamazaki moved next door to each other unknowingly. Yamazaki always played annoying songs from anime until Satou finally decided to knock on his door and talk to him. They then teamed up and became greater friends than ever before. Yamazaki is an otaku who loves anime. He goes to a video game school where he is still made fun of. He also has some girl trouble along the way. Yamazaki never knows if he can really trust her or not. I think Yamazaki was probably my least favorite character in the show, as he was annoying at times and sort of slow to catch on. Still, he was a well thought out character and had an entertaining personality. Quite a geeky person. He was a good character to have in the show.

    Sound of Welcome to the NHK!

    (8/10)

    The sounds of Welcome to the NHK were pleasing to the ears. I enjoyed the first opening to this show a great deal, but I didn’t enjoy the ending songs as quite as much. Also, the second opening song for Welcome to the NHK was simply a remixed version of the first one. I thought the original version was a whole lot better than the remixed version. The first ending song was a very quirky one. I haven’t heard any other ending song even slightly close to it. For me, it seemed that the first ending song represented all of Satou’s craziness in his mind, which he sure does have a lot of. The background music to this anime was usually quite melancholy, which definitely fits the mood of the show. There were some happy songs spread throughout the show to lighten the mood a little. I enjoyed most of the songs and I sometime listen to the OST from time to time.

    The voice acting in the Japanese and English dubs were both amazing. If you have been following my reviews, you’ll know I usually prefer the Japanese voices, but for this one, either one will do fine. For once, an anime show that has a good dub that doesn’t make me want to pound my head against a wall. You could really hear the weariness in Satou’s voice in the Japanese version, but that could just be my opinion. In all their voices, you could hear their emotions and soul radiate from it. Some moments made my heart break a little because of how well the voices were. Great voice acting.

    The environment noise in Welcome to the NHK was fairly standard; nothing special. It got the job done. There was some good details in the major events in the anime, but other than that, nothing spectacular. The sound didn’t fully immerse you in the anime, but it was still fine.

    Art of Welcome to the NHK!

    (5/10)

     Welcome to the NHK!

    Well, the art was sadly pretty crappy at times. One scene would be animated very nicely; with details of the characters and pleasant shading. Then, the next scene would have the character be blobs of color. It was horrible to transition from a nice piece of art to a kindergarten’s drawing. My guess would be that the animator’s may have gotten lazy or ran out of money so they had to cut some corners. I wish everything was better animated overall; even the scenes that were animated good. It was honestly distracting and sort of frustrating when the art goes to crap.

    Nothing much else to say about the art. There wasn’t really any noteworthy scenes or beautiful things that I noticed. Well, I guess it sort of fits the general mood of Welcome to the NHK.

    Enjoyment of Welcome to the NHK!

    (9/10)

     Welcome to the NHK!

    Man, I enjoyed the hell out of this show. Despite its few minor flaws here and there, along with the artwork taking a dive occasionally, it was still a really fun show to marathon through. I enjoyed almost every episode that was thrown at me. The character interaction and the interesting problems that arose, made you want to watch one episode after another. At first, I was a tad bit reluctant, but once the show got going, I couldn’t stop myself. Whenever the show felt too dark, the creators added some dark humor to make you chuckle. I especially enjoyed this show because of my love for Satou. With his crazy and quirky personality, I couldn’t drop the show for a second. I wanted to see what he would do next. This anime seemed compelling in every way: with the characters, plot twists, and the craziness of it all. I definitely didn’t regret starting this show.

     

    Overall Rating and Final Notes of Welcome to the NHK!

    (8/10)

     Welcome to the NHK!

    Welcome to the NHK was a crazy ride that I won’t forget anytime soon. I don’t think any anime will replace the special spot Welcome to the NHK has in my heart. The troubled characters, the dark and pretty realistic story, and the morbid humor makes this anime quite an enjoyable one. I really wish that more anime would attempt the kinds of things that this show did. Not everything in life is full of butterflies, rainbows, and kittens. This anime shows how life can be really tough to some people and sometimes you will hit rock bottom. Hopefully not very often. Conspiracies in this show is a good reminder for people to not get too wrapped up in them, or you may find yourselves talking to a fridge. This show does the themes of depression and the harsh reality of life well. That’s the main reason why I enjoyed this show so much. It serves as a wake up call for some; that you need to get off your butts and do something once in a while. Anime isn’t everything in life.

    I think this one of the few times where my overall rating is going to be lower than my enjoyment rating, as my personal enjoyment usually adds up to how good the anime is overall. But, alas, this is an exception. I did enjoy this show a great deal, but this show can’t be rated a 9 out of 10 when put all together. The few flaws that the story had and the dips that the artwork took, lowered the score a little bit. 8 out of 10 is still a really good score, don’t forget, but Welcome to the NHK isn’t a masterpiece. I recommend this show to anybody who would enjoy a realistic show and wants something different. Who knows, this show might end up being your Misaki in life.

    ~TheDragonStar

     


  • The Pet Girl of Sakurasou (Anime) Review

    The Pet Girl of Sakurasou Anime Review

    24 Episodes

    Aired from Oct 9, 2012 to Mar 26, 2013

    Rated PG-13

    Sentai Filmworks

    ~~~~A few minor spoilers ahead~~~~

    The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    Hello everybody! This is going to be my first review on this site. Sorry in advance for any mistakes, as I’m still a newbie at this. Today I’m going to be reviewing the anime called “The Pet Girl of Sakurasou” or “Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo”. A realistic romance comedy about an autistic girl, a normal boy that wants to do more with his life and the other freaky students that live in the Sakurasou dorms. I greatly enjoyed watching every single episode. I even shed a few tears in the last couple episodes. Let me tell you what makes this so entertaining to watch.

    Story of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    (8/10)

     

    The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

     

    The story for The Pet Girl of Sakurasou isn’t the most amazing one, nor the most clever one, but it still enthralls you and never ceases to amuses you. The basic plot of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is there is a boy named Sorata Kanda who moves into the Sakurasou dorms. These dorms are for the children that are troubled. The reason why Sorata ended up there is he had been keeping pet cats in his old dorms, which was against their rules. In the beginning of the series, he is desperately looking for a home for the cats, so he could move back to the regular dorms. Over the course of the anime, he learns to love Sakurasou and its crazy inhabitants. A new girl moves into the dorms. Her name is Mashiro. Sorata is forced to take care of her, as she obviously doesn’t know how. It was never specifically said that she was autistic, but she sure acts like it, particularly like she has Asbergers. The relationship between Sorata and Mashiro is similar to a master and a pet, hence the name of this show. There is a few plot twists along the way, but I don’t want to give any major spoilers. You’ll just have to see for yourself.

    At the beginning, this show looks like your standard crappy ecchi anime. After the first couple episodes, it gets a whole ton better. There is still some fan service sprinkled throughout, but really only for comedic purposes and didn’t feel too out of place when it did happen. The pacing is a good pace throughout, with the first few episodes introducing all the characters. Mashiro is of course introduced early on, in a suggestive and awkward way. Even though it was funny, it was still fan service nonetheless. It seemed to me as if the first few episodes were for the producers to get all their sexual energy out and move into the real juicy plot, the substance of the whole thing, instead of flimsy fan service. There was a little more throughout, but just to add to the humor and silliness of a situation.

    As the story progressed, you begin to feel a connection form between you and the characters. They each have their own personal roadblock in life, their romances, feeling, dreams, etc. The characters become more and more amazing as the story goes along. You see how the show compares sheer talent and hard work combined with determination. Can the untalented, less skilled, ever catch up the geniuses in life? Why is life so unfair? Will all your hard work and never giving up actually pay off? Was it all for nothing? Questions like these add a bunch of conflict to the story, along with making it very enjoyable altogether.

    I hear the term “forced drama” get thrown around a lot when I hear people talking about this anime. To me, it all felt very real. The characters and the hardships they went through never seemed forced. I’ll admit it was odd that Mashiro didn’t even know how to dress herself; that she should have some parent to teach her that, but it was a comedy show after all. The love triangle wasn’t handled the best but it definitely was still amazing and not forced. The anime handled the drama incredibly well, but at the same time keeping a light hearted tone underneath it all.

    The story ended and wrapped extremely well. I don’t want to give it away, but the all the feelings of love, goodbyes, determination and bravery, friendship, was all portrayed amazingly. A couple tears ran down my cheek as the series came to a close. As always, I hated to see an excellent series end.

    Characters of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    (9/10)
     The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    Sorata Kanda:

    Sorata, as I said before, is the main character of the story. He is friendly guy who always want to help everybody. That trait shows a lot in the series, starting off with him refusing to get rid of his pet cats that he adopted. He does his best to stay sane at Sakurasou among all the wacky residents. Sorata has to help Mashiro everyday: getting her dressed, buying her things, and making sure she doesn’t screw up too badly. He even tries to teach her how to cook. For the most part, he is a calm dude. He eventually finds a deep well of determination within him to achieve something huge, to stop being like everybody else. Sorata has his ups and his downs, really showing how he acts in tough situations. At the beginning of the series he wants to escape Sakurasou, but the dorms and the people eventually grow on him. I liked Sorata a lot, as he seemed to have more personality than other male leads. (Cough, cough, Kirito.)

     The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    Shiina Mashiro:

    This girl moves in at the beginning of the series. She is an astounding artist who moved to Japan to draw manga. Mashiro has a hard time understanding people’s feeling and common every day sense. For that reason, somebody needs to supervise her most of the time. In this anime, most of the humor revolves around her and her cluelessness, making hilarious situations. Underneath her emotionless outside appearance, she really does care for people, even though she finds it hard to understand why they do what they do. Mashiro loves to draw manga and is very devoted. She is quirky, funny, weird, and a very interesting character.

     The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    Nanami Aoyama:

    Nanami decided to move into Sakurasou after Sorata left the normal dorms to live there. She has a huge crush on Sorata and wants to keep him to herself. She is always trying to do everything by herself, wanting to be the strongest person she can be. A few times in the anime, she even collapsed from exhaustion. Nanami doesn’t like to admit it when she needs help. Besides being a hard worker, she is also a sweet and generally a kind person. I liked how she was a tough and determined character.

     The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    Misaki Kamiigusa:

    Ah, where to begin with this crazy character. I can say with absolute certainty that she was the funniest and strangest character in the show. She also has an unusually vivid and creative imagination. At times, she can be quite perverted, especially around Jin or Sorata. She works on making on her very own anime to publish to the world. Misaki simply likes to mess around and have some fun with her life. It seems that she has an infinite supply of energy. For the most part, she is a highly optimistic person, cheering everybody up around her, making sure they never give up. Misaki made this show unique with all her craziness.

     The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    Jin Mitaka:

    He is a playboy who has broken girl’s hearts in the past. Jin has a hard time deciding who he truly loves and which person is meant for him. He is a fairly average guy, but a little smarter and hardworking than the rest. He also is friends with Sorata and the other residents of Sakurasou. Jin can be flirty or serious.

     The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    Ryuunosuke Akasaka:

    Last but not least, Ryuunosuke or “Dragon.” He is the most mysterious character in the show. A lot of the time, he just stays in his room, developing software and video games. He developed an AI called “Maid-Chan” to answer emails and help him out. He doesn’t even like to attend class; thinking he is above all that. He also doesn’t like to come near girls. Ryuunosuke finds females “untrustworthy”. For whatever reason though, he has hair like a girls. Don’t ask me why. He is extremely intelligent and because of that, can be arrogant.

    Sound of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    (9/10)

     

    http://youtu.be/RWqJZ_150h8

    http://youtu.be/zL6lJ3cP6kw

     

    I loved the first opening the Pet Girl of Saurasou had. I felt like it fitted the show very well. The ending songs and the second opening were also well done. During the episodes, the background music was also very pleasant and suiting. Great soundtracks overall, and definitely a nice addition to the anime.

    The voice actors sounded excellent as well. As of today’s date, there has been no dubbed version yet. Not that you would want one anyway, due to the excellent jobs that the Japanese voice actors did. Lots of effort and emotion was put into each characters voice.

    Art of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    (10/10)

     The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    I absolutely adored the art. Art is highly subjective, as any creative medium is, but to me, the art of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou was spectacular. I loved all the bright colors and shading. I think the artists were creative with their art style. All the animation seemed fluid and I didn’t notice too many scenes where a lot of people are just standing still. All the character deigns seemed well though out and suitable for their individual personality. Take Misaki for example. You can tell she is a total crazy and fun person just be looking at her. With Jin, he looks sly and flirty.

    I can safely conclude that this animation is top notch. With vivid lighting and color, this anime can be a total eye candy at times. Awesome animation a lot like Angel Beats.

    Enjoyment of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    (9/10)

     The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    I loved watching every single episode of this anime. The Pet Girl of Sakurasou never ceased to make me smile and uplift my spirit. All the drama made the show unpredictable, unlike other rom-com anime shows that are so generic. I didn’t feel bored one bit. As the story progressed, I became more and more attached to the characters, their problems and relationships. A very enjoyable watch in my book.

    Overall rating/final notes of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    (9/10)

     The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

    The comedy in The Pet Girl of Sakurasou was done well and didn’t seem forced. Thankfully, they didn’t throw in any comedy moments with super serious and dramatic moments. That would be a mess. But, no, this anime was put together well.

    A great slice of life anime for once. I felt like this show handled fan service well, just using it here and there to make some scenes hilarious. I felt like it was more creative with the characters and the plot, instead of using generic story lines, with cringe worthy cliches. I would recommend The Pet Girl of Sakurasou to anybody who enjoys a good school anime, and also fine with brief nudity and a little swearing. I give this hilarious anime a 9 out of 10 in total. Give it a watch, don’t jump to conclusion just because of the first couple of episodes, and I’m sure you’ll have a good laugh.

    Have a good day everybody!

    ~TheDragonStar