Watch Welcome to the N.H.K

Welcome to the N.H.K. is an anime, or Japanese animation, series that takes a look at how the pressures of a normal life can sometimes change the way a person thinks. For several years, twenty-two year old Sato Tatsuhiro has been living the life of a hikikomori, or a person who has withdrawn from any kind of social life and is gradually slipping toward self-inflicted confinement. Tatsuhiro himself can't remember why he began living a hikikomori life. However, he now believes that his problems stem from a conspiracy organization, called the Nippon Hikikomori Kyokai, or Japanese Hikikomori Association, hidden within the Nippon Hoso Kyokai, a public broadcasting system.

Sato's only outside connection is to a select few friends from high school. One of these friends is Kaoru Yamazaki, a young man obsessed with anime and games. He gets Tatsuhiro heavily involved in anime. He also asks Tatsuhiro to help him create a game. Kaoru has several quirks of his own, though, that usually end up complicating his goals in life.

In addition to his high school friends, Tatsuhiro also encounters a mysterious girl who claims she can change his life style. The girl, named Misaki, asks Tatsuhiro to meet her at a local park every evening. Tatsuhiro agrees and the two begin to talk about various subjects, including Tatsuhiro's conspiracy theories and his psychological issues.

As the series progresses, Tatsuhiro and Misaki form a close friendship. However, because neither of them is actually very good at expressing themselves, their true feelings towards each other are not easily revealed. As Tatsuhiro begins to experience more of the world around him, he begins to see himself and his friends, including Misaki, in a totally different way.

Gonzo
1 Season, 24 Episodes
July 9, 2006
Anime, Drama
8.3/10
Cast: Yutaka Koizumi, Yui Makino, Michael C. Pizzuto
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Welcome to the N.H.K Full Episode Guide

  • Tatsuhiro completes his chase to stop Misaki from committing suicide at the cliff where her mother killed herself years earlier. On the outlook of the cliff, in the snow, Misaki attempts suicide only to be stopped by Tatsuhiro.

  • Misaki comes up with a strange topic for their next lecture in the park: a quiz about "Famous Last Words", and later, she informs Tatsuhiro that there is to be a graduation exam the day after, regardless of the weather.

  • Tatsuhiro and Hitomi spend New Year's Eve together in Tokyo talking about their lives arm in arm, but unknowingly, they have been spotted by Misaki.

  • Tatsuhiro and Kaoru are ecstatic as they review the completed version of the True World eroge they created together. Their enthusiasm is, however, premature as the game's sales turn out to be quite poor. Kaoru departs for his hometown the following day.

  • Problems with Kaoru's father's health herald his return home to the farm where the family has planned his life through to his death. The game project will need to be sped up, as Kaoru will soon leave Tokyo for good.

  • The Mouse Road Corporation is found out and the leaders are arrested by the police, so when Megumi doesn't return home for a few days, her brother begins to go hungry.

  • Tatsuhiro meets up with Megumi Kobayashi, an old high school friend and his class representative. When he divulges to her that he's a recluse, she tells him she knows someone who can help cure his problem. She ends up whisking him off to an old dilapidated building where he finds himself listening to a sales pitch.

  • Misaki walks in to find a rather disheveled Tatsuhiro in a messy room, and realizes he has relapsed into his old, reclusive ways. Both Kaoru and Misaki attempt to free Tatsuhiro from his obsession.

  • After recovering from the offline meeting, the group ends up getting checked into a hot spring, courtesy of Jogasaki, who also contacts each person's family. Misaki and Tatsuhiro are still on bad terms until they meet for one more meeting. Will it be their last one?

  • The offline meeting turns out to be a suicide pact, and Tatsuhiro gets entangled in their scheme. Meanwhile, J?gasaki, Kaoru and Misaki are able to put together what is happening, and rush to save the group.

  • Tatsuhiro and Hitomi meet up with the other members of the Internet group and head off to a beach island. The dark and grim atmosphere of the group makes Tatsuhiro suspicious of their true intentions.

  • Hitomi's feelings of isolation lead her to join a mysterious Internet group, where she makes up stories about being abused by her lover. Meanwhile Tatsuhiro and Kaoru finish making the game for Natsucomi and prepare for the trip. However, a phone call from Hitomi to Tatsuhiro causes changes to the plan.

  • Tatsuhiro and Kaoru decide that Misaki is being purposefully mysterious and misleading. They stalk her in order to find out her real motives.

  • Kaoru is crushed when the girl he asks out for a fireworks festival turns him down and meanwhile, Tatsuhiro is tormented by his newfound feelings for Misaki, becoming so disturbed that he can't concentrate on writing a scenario.

  • Tatsuhiro desperately attempts to clean his dirty apartment before his mother arrives, and Misaki helps him. The two and Tatsuhiro's mother later have lunch in a Chinese restaurant.

  • Traumatized by his latest panic attack, Tatsuhiro refuses to leave his apartment. Under the guise of a summer flu, he gets Kaoru to buy him his daily necessities. Later, he is surprised by a phone call from his mother who tells him that she would like to visit him and discuss his future.

  • Hitomi and Tatsuhiro's pasts are explored briefly. Tatsuhiro finally admits to Misaki that he is a recluse, and signs the contract. They have their first counseling session, and Tatsuhiro embarrasses Misaki with Freudian symbolism.

  • Tatsuhiro, now a full-fledged otaku, is brought to Akihabara by Kaoru in hopes that it will inspire him to work, but he ends up going to maid cafes and spending all their money on otaku merchandise. By chance, Tatsuhiro bumps into his high school senior, Hitomi Kashiwa, and ends up having a drink with her.

  • Misaki tries to convince Tatsuhiro to sign a contract with her, whereby he will be obligated to listen to her as she tries to ease him out of his reclusive lifestyle. Later, Tatsuhiro discovers that his neighbor is actually his high school friend, Kaoru Yamazaki, who is studying a media course in creating games.

  • Satou Tatsuhiro's reclusive origins are explained - his anxieties lead him to believe that he is a victim of a conspiracy known as the NHK. When he meets a mysterious girl named Misaki Nakahara, she claims to be able to cure his hermitlike ways.

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