• Tag Archives slice of life
  • Sora no Woto (Anime) Review

    Sora no Woto (Anime) Review

    Written by ononoki

    As I’m writing this review, I’m listening to the soundtrack for Sora no Woto. It’s been sitting in my music library since it came out, and not once have I grown tired of it. The same goes for the full show as well. I watched it shortly after it aired, realised it was a treasure, kept it and have since rewatched it many times. The often overlooked and sometimes underrated anime that is Sora no Woto, aired in 2010 and was the debut project of Anime no Chikara, a joint venture between Aniplex and TV Tokyo. Anime no Chikara’s purpose was to produce original anime (without any source material), which is really quite a difficult thing to pull off, and not done very often in the anime production world. Well, they pulled it off, with an excellent mix of writing, animation, music and an overall experience that will leave you like most of the cult following it’s attracted, wanting much more.

    Plot of Sora no Woto

    Sora no Woto follows the story of Kanata Sorami, a new bugler recruit in the army, who is stationed in a remote outpost town in the post-apocalyptic borderlands of Helvetia. She lives in a decaying world, where war has regressed humanity back to early 20th century standards, and has resulted in nations fighting for control as an inhospitable desert wasteland approaches. But for the majority of the show, the war takes a backseat, as we follow the everyday life of Kanata and her squad mates in the idyllic border town of Seize.

    Much of the show is a military SoL, that shows the girls interacting with each other, the locals, exploring the town and surrounding mountains, and generally has a light hearted mood about it. However, we are constantly surrounded by mystery and intrigue. What has happened to reduce the world to this decayed state? What is with the strange mix of languages, cultures and technology? What is the truth behind local stories of monsters and heroines, and where do the girls tie in to this? Some of the questions raised in the first episode remain unanswered, although there are plenty of hints and different points of views to consider. This is one of the things that gave the show so much replay value, the fact that you can go back and pick up on little things you’ve missed, and let the mystery either clear up, or get bigger.

    But not all of Sora no Woto is cheery SoL and charming mystery. At times we are reminded of the brutal reality of this world. Military duties, war orphans, PTSD and tragic pasts serve to take the shows calm demeanor, and turn it into one of deadly seriousness and depression. It is a show that gets you when your guard’s down, and personally, that made it so much more fulfilling and enjoyable for me. Those who go into this show expecting “cute girls doing cute things” or “k-on with guns” (which is probably the fault of the character designs) will be very surprised.

    Plot Rating : 9/10

    Characters of Sora no Woto

    I found the characters of Sora no Woto to be very charming. At first they seemed to be fairly plain, but as the series progressed they open up to us a lot, revealing unique and interesting stories and personalities, that may even bring us something new if we rewatch it. I watched a few minutes of it a second ago, and noticed something new about a character I had never noticed before. Sora no Woto keeps you interested in, and learning about, characters, and this is an important thing for any anime.

    I already discussed our main character Kanata in the Plot section above, so I’ll dive straight into the rest of the squad.

    M/Sgt. Rio Kazumiya:

    The second in command of the group, who teaches Kanata to play the bugle. Her no-nonsense, strict attitude most likely comes from her upbringing, which is the subject of some mystery at the start of the show. She is later revealed to play an extremely important role in the world.

    2nd Lt. Filicia Heideman:

    The leader of the group. A fairly relaxed and laid back member of the squad, despite her important position. Filicia is very kind and caring to the other girls, and almost assumes a motherly figure to them. However, she is haunted by the demons of her military past, which made for a very interesting side to the story.

    Pvt. Kureha Suminoya:

    The youngest member of the group, but probably also the one looking to prove herself the most (besides Kanata perhaps). She is a war orphan, whose father was once a well-known tank commander. She, like Rio, has a strict nature, but her childishness often comes out on top of that. She serves as a good reminder that despite the harsh reality of the world around them, these girls are simply that, just young girls trying to live normal day to day lives.

    Cpl. Noël Kannagi:

    One of the stranger members of the group. White haired, fragile looking, unsociable and seemingly emotionless, I wrote her off as “rei-clone” (Ayanami Rei from Evangelion) to begin with, but I was very wrong to do so. She eventually grows out of her quietness, thanks to Kanata. She, like Filicia, has a very dark past, one that prompts her emotions to come welling back later on in the series.

    There are many other minor characters in the show, most of whom serve to build the culture and lore of the world, but all are pieces of a puzzle that make up a great cast.

    Characters: 8/10

    Animation and Artwork of Sora no Woto

    The creators of Sora no Woto must have felt ambitious when designing it, and so they should since it was the first project of that studio. Not only is the plot and characterisation good, the artwork to go with it is good too. There are many scenes in the show I felt were “wallpaper worthy”, so I screenshotted them and displayed them on my desktop screen for weeks. Whether it be the country side, the old Spanish style town of Seize, dreary ruins of war and ages past, or even the characters themselves, in curious WW2 era military gear and clothing, Sora no Woto always provides something detailed and interesting to look at. The artwork depicting Seize, which was based on Cuenca (an ancient town in modern Spain), was especially worthy of mention.

    The animation quality itself was fairly good. The show is full of fluid movement and was pretty constant in its delivery. Unfortunately, the show only had a few moments that required the studio to really flex its animating muscles, but they performed well in those places, and I can’t think of any moments where the animation disappointed me either.

    One possible downside I must mention though, is the “tanks” used in the army. They are seen a few times throughout the show, and one is stationed at the girls outpost (the girls pilot it). I’m fairly sure these were the only use of CGI in the show, and generally I’m not a big fan of CGI in anime at all. However, Sora no Woto’s use of CGI was acceptable to me. The tanks generally looked pretty good, and moved well on screen. I would’ve preferred regular animation, but I don’t think the CGI ruined the show at all

    Animation and Artwork Rating: 7.5/10

    Sounds and Music of Sora no Woto:

    The very experienced Michiru Oshima was the composer for Sora no Woto, and he did an amazing job in my opinion. As I mentioned before, I very much enjoyed the soundtrack for this show. By itself, the mostly classical music is nice to listen to, but in the show it adds another level of mood and feeling. From its playful tunes, to its haunting and tense orchestral pieces, I find it hard to find an OST that matches the way this one adds to the experience.

    The super catchy, although not at all similar, OP and ED of the show were also something that I would look forward to whenever playing an episode, and would often find myself repeating them.

    The voice acting was fine, although not exactly stand out, and honestly I grew tired of some of the squeaky voices of the younger characters. But, it is a regular thing in the industry, and it suited the characters pretty well, so I found it forgivable.

    Sound and Music Rating: 8/10

    Conclusion:

    Sora no Woto is one of my favourites. It’s a favourite for many others too, and garnered a strong following for a while. Story, mood, music and good production value all came together to make a very enjoyable show, one that stays with you for a long time. It’s unfortunate that we don’t get to see the answers for many of the shows mysteries, but at least we get the awesome replay value that the show provides. It is one of a few anime that I have no problem rewatching over and over, and I would urge everyone to give it a shot too

    Overall Rating: 8/10


  • One Week Friends (Anime) Review

    One Week Friends Anime Review

     

    One Week Friends/Isshuukan Friends

    12 Episodes

    Aired from Apr 7, 2014 to Jun 23, 2014

    One Week Friends is one of the first slice of life anime that I watched. It helped me get into the genre and realize how much potential these types of shows can have. Even though not the best anime ever, it was still quite a heartwarming story full of friendship, a little romance, and kindness. Some people might look over this sweet gem, thinking it’s just another generic rom-com. I think people need to be more open, as was I, and they might find a story that will linger in their hearts for a while after. I’ll admit, this story isn’t the fast paced anime, nor does it have captivating action scenes, but it was still a great show nonetheless. I wasn’t too sure about this genre as a whole, as I usually stick to fantasy stories and shows, but this show confirmed I wasn’t wasting my time. I am thankful for that. This anime was a lot of fun to watch and see what would happen in the end. My only regret was that I should’ve waited for all the episodes to be out before watching the series. I couldn’t stand the waiting! The things happening each episode drew me in, making me curious to what would happen next to the characters. The art, characters, and story was all sort of… soothing in a way. This is one of those anime that is bittersweet at times, but in the end, the show will melt your heart. Welcome to my review of One Week Friends/Isshuukan Friends.

    Story of One Week Friends

    (7.5/10) 

    The story starts off with the male lead —Hase— chasing after this girl named Fujimiya. He’s always wanted to talk to her, but she doesn’t seem to want to have any relations with anybody at the school. Some perceive her as rude and cold, while others think she’s simply weird and sort of crazy. Hase wants to reach out to her and perhaps comfort her. She runs away from him at first, but Fujimiya eventually feels comfortable to have lunch with him. Still, there’s something holding her back from becoming close friends with Hase. You see, Fujimiya has this condition. Her condition erases her memory of her friends every week. Soon, Hase finds out about her condition that she is vexed by. He is not dissuaded. Instead, he is even more determined to become her friend. Even if it only ever lasts for a week.

    Now, it’s really easy to go into spoilers with this anime, but I’ll do my best to avoid them. Hase begins to regularly eat lunch on the rooftop with Fujimiya.  They also hang after school at places like the crepe shop, a karaoke place, and eventually at each other’s houses. I love how this anime really digs deep into the concept of friendship. What makes a good friend? What is friendship? As their friendship progresses and digresses, you really get to see those things explored in more detail. Also, everything isn’t totally hopeless with Fujimiya’s memory condition. Hase suggests that she keeps a diary to record the events that happened every week. At times, she forgot to record things, but altogether, this improves the situation greatly. Her memory also seems to get better as the anime continues. She begins to remember small details; like how Hase likes his eggs cooked. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s still progress.

    Hase and Fujimiya do get into fights along the way. At times, Fujimiya forgets everything about Hase, leading to some conflict and problems. Hase has to start the whole thing over at the point. Luckily, certain things can spark her memories of him, so things aren’t totally hopeless. In the story, you’ll find the cause of her memory issues and what her life has been like. Also, throughout the story you’ll probably wonder if their is going to be romance between Hase and Fujimiya. I can’t say much without giving everything away, but when I was done with the story and all; I wasn’t disappointed. I loved how all the characters slowly bonded together in the story. It was a sweet and honestly really heartwarming at times.

    Along the way, another character with problems gets introduced. Her name is Saki Yamagishi. She is clumsy, forgettable, and is pretty dependent on other people. This anime shows the mutual relationship between two friends to help each other out. Saki befriends Hase’s friend Kiryuu. Nothing much happens between the two, except for helping other and watching out for each other. Saki used to be bullied a few years back, but now has friends to stand up for her. The new character changes up the story a little bit, adding new conflicts and friendships. The band of friends study together, and get even closer to each other. Saki added some humor and silliness to the show, along with new ideas about friendship. This show really shows how a good friend can truly change your life.

    The story took some interesting twists along the way. Each episode kept you interested for what was going to be coming up ahead. That’s why it was so difficult to watch one episode a week. There always seemed to be a little bit of a cliffhanger every episode to keep you going. You would never know what was coming around the corner. Would love blossom? How would everything end up in the end? The story created a good amount of suspense. Not too much, but just right.

    From tests to gossip, the events that occurred during the anime were fairly standard things you would see in a slice of life drama. My favorite episode was when they went to see fireworks on the beach during summer break. After all their work they had to do at school, it was nice for them to take a break. This episode is one of my favorites because of how beautiful the fireworks are, the chemistry between Hase and Fujimiya, and the comedic moments in between. It felt like it all came together really nicely. Most episodes were done well, but this one deserves a special mention.

    The ending, I have to admit, may have not been the best. I don’t obsess over the endings too much, as it’s the journey that matters, not the destination. Still, I look at the ending as a chance for a bad anime to redeem itself or a good anime to become a masterpiece. The ending did wrap everything up, but perhaps not in the best way. Don’t get me wrong; it was heartwarming and sweet, all that good stuff, but I ultimately didn’t like how all the relationships were settled. How much you’ll enjoy the ending will depend on how you feel about the characters. I can’t say much else besides that without giving everything away. All and all, it did what it needed to do, but didn’t make the anime wrap up spectacularly.

    In conclusion, I give One Week Friends an 7.5 out of 10 for the story category. The pacing was a tad bit slow at times, the dialogue seemed sort of funny in a couple scenes, and the ending wasn’t everything I hoped it to be. Otherwise, this show did great in this department. The creators used not that original of an idea, but still made something quite entertaining out of it all. If they had changed the ending a little bit, I would have loved this show a ton more, but alas, it wasn’t to be. The story did a great job exploring the in and outs of friendship, along with having suspenseful drama and some nice comedy occasionally. No fan service either! A story that was pleasant and not bad at all.

    Characters of One Week Friends

    (8/10)

    The characters were one of the things that did give a lot of lively energy to the anime, but weren’t the amazing characters to ever exist. They were still good and all, but not the best. Not everything can be spectacular everywhere. I especially liked the bonding between all the characters, showing how important friendship was to each of them. The determination of Hase really showed how far people are willing to go for somebody they like or love strongly This definitely pulled a couple heartstrings from time to time. I also loved and valued the variety of personalities there were coming from all the characters. None of them ever seemed like copies or just slightly tweaked from another character. Additionally, the chemistry between the characters was also great to see. The way certain characters could bond together so perfectly was touching and sweet. Sometimes I felt a couple of the characters were a little bland. I also occasionally got frustrated when something was blatantly obvious, but the main character acted oblivious. Otherwise, I enjoyed the charming crew of characters.

    Fujimiya, Kaori

    My heart always ached for her throughout the series. It must be tough to have your memories of your friendships be erased every Monday. She’s lucky to develop such good friends who support her along the way. For the longest time, she was too afraid to get close to anybody; knowing she would simply forget them after a week. People thought of her as cold and anti-social. Hase changed all of this. Fujimiya quickly realized how things could work out even with her condition. Friends no longer seemed far out of her reach. I think she’s a pretty neat female character, as she is kind-hearted, sweet, helpful, and a sincerely nice person. I wish there were more people like her in the real world. I loved all the moments that Hase and Fujimiya shared together. It was quite touching at times. Through hardship, she grows and grows to be a stronger character. By the end of the series, she seems more independent and strong, but holds her friendships quite closely. I think she’s the character that changed the most throughout the series. You really do notice the difference between her character at the start and how she is in the end. She’s my favorite and most interesting character for this anime.

    Hase, Yuuki

    He is the kind of person that doesn’t stop trying to achieve a goal, no matter how hopeless it may seem. He does whatever it takes to help Fujimiya and become her friend. Week after week, he tries again and again. He tries all sort of things to help with Fujimiya’s unfortunate condition. The one thing he doesn’t try is giving up. He’s the kind of friend who will always look after your back; the one who you can trust no matter what. He did seem sort of bland or a tad bit boring at time, but overall he didn’t dissapoint me. Even after the rumors start, involving Hase and Fujimiya, he isn’t dissuaded one bit. He doesn’t care what other people think of him. That’s he kind of personality that I really like to see in an anime of any kind. Hase didn’t change that much throughout the series, but that didn’t matter to much to me. Not every character needs to change. I think he makes a good match for Fujimiya, as he is soft like her, along with them having good chemistry with each other.

    Yamagishi, Saki

    Yamagishi is such a clumsy and forgetful person that she really does need friends to help her out, otherwise she’ll be bewildered 90% of the time. People have made fun of her in the past, but now that is just faint memories. Her friends will stand up for he and stand by her side until the end of time. I always thought she was a nice character to lighten up the mood from time to time. A couple chuckles are to be had when she makes some minor, silly, cute, mistake. I honestly wished she was in the show earlier, so I could experience more of her adorableness. I also wish the anime would give the viewers more information about Yamagishi. I felt like she could have used a little more fleshing out. She was an interesting addition to the show and kept things moving along, even if she might crash into things doing so. A likable and cute character to have.

    Kiryuu, Shougo

    Kiryuu is Hase’s close friend. Most girls in the school actually have a crush on him, but he seems too “scary” to talk too. Although cold, he will still help out a friend in need. At times, I really wish he would open up more, as hardly anything is revealed about his past or feelings. He is quite a stoic character indeed. It seems in the show, most conflicts are actually created by him, but maybe that’s just me. He annoyed me during some parts of the show, but whenever he interacted with Yamagishi, that made up for it. Hase and Kiryuu do get in a couple fights over Fujimiya from to time, as Kiryuu is always suspicious of everything. He is curious why she never interacts with the other students and tries to make friends. That’s how her secret gets revealed to him. Maybe he should’ve just left her alone, and never got involved in the whole thing. Critically, he a fairly good and developed character, but personally, I really didn’t like him. He always seemed to mess up everything. Oh while. At least he wasn’t a Gary Stue and actually added something to this anime.

    Sound of One Week Friends

    (7.5/10)

     

    The sound was an alright addition to the anime. My favorite song from the entire show was the opening theme. It was so sweet and seemed to set the tone for each episode. I really, really, liked how well the artwork and sound went together with the opening. I knew as soon as I saw the opening, that this would at least be a decent series. Not the one of the greatest openings of all time, like Steins;Gate, but still really soothing and spectacular in its own way. The ending was okay, but I would only listen to it occasionally. The rest of the songs were nice during each episode, but all in all, were sort of forgettable. I wouldn’t listen to the music by itself, except for the opening, but it had a good synergy with anime most of the time, never really having an annoying or irritating song.

    The voice actors, as always, did their job better than they ever needed to. I think Fujimiya’s voice actor was the best out of all them. She really stressed her emotions and everything seemed to flow naturally from her character. Kudos to Amamiya, Sora for the excellent job. The other voice actors were great, but she was the one who really stood out for me. At the time of this review, there has been no English dub for One Week Friends. The Japanese one will probably triumph the dub, if there is one to be released for this show, which I highly doubt.

    In One Week Friends, the noises that are in the environment are done okay. To be honest, I don’t really remember that much about how well the show did the noise, but I just remember it was simply fine. It was good most times, but lacking detail at other times. Still a good job, as far as I can remember.

    Art of One Week Friends

    (8.5/10)

    The art style of One Week Friends was unique, soothing, and was beautiful overall. The art was different from the usual over-saturated art of modern anime, but not too lacking in detail. The lighting was done magnificently and the backgrounds right along with it. The animation was also smoothly done, which is always nice. I wish there could’ve been some more detail in some scenes and have the colors be dimmed a tad bit, then it would’ve been perfect. I felt the colors were too optimistic for the show, but it was a slice of life show after all. All in all, I thought the animation fit the show wonderfully. I also didn’t notice any drops in the animation quality over the course of the show, which made everything blend together nicely. Great animation, especially for the opening.

    Enjoyment of One Week Friends

    (8/10)

    As I said before, this was one of the anime that brought me into the slice of life genre, so I enjoyed this show a great deal. This show really opened my eyes to how enjoyable these types of shows could be. I enjoyed watching every episode, even though I was watching it around the time it aired, so I had to wait a painful week. With a couple twists here and there, I really wanted to keep going and see what would happen with all of their friendships. The characters, the importance of friends, and lovely artstyle were the things that had me enjoy it a great deal. Also, the story was also interesting, even though it used the classic amnesia plot. I simply enjoyed seeing the characters interact with each other. This anime did its job of keeping me entertained.

    Overall Notes and Final Rating:

    (8/10)

    If you are new to the slice of life genre, and are wanting a heartfelt, sweet, and sincere anime about friendship, then this show is definitely for you. It will keep you entertained, and delight you with the different personalities of the characters. This isn’t the best slice of life show, but it definitely is a great one. One Week Friends is an more of an upbeat show, so if you want a darker one, go watch Welcome to the NHK. This show strongests point is its unique style of artwork and the interesting characters. The weakest point would have to be perhaps the ending or the story in general. It might even be a little cheesy at times, I admit. From what I experienced, the good qualities overwhelm the bad ones. That’s always a positive sign.

    Since it’s only twelve episodes, it’s a great show to marathon whenever you have the time. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about friendship. With no fanservice, this show can take itself seriously and stand out a tiny bit from other shows. I enjoyed the humor in this show too. Even not the most humorous anime, it did have its moments. With all that being said, I say this anime is a solid 8 out of 10. A great anime to watch and see how the characters will react to everything. It’s a fun watch, but don’t be expecting anything too new or a masterpiece of sorts. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

    ~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