Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Welcome to the NHK! Review


In short; I really enjoyed it!

I think what I liked the most was how it dealt with subject matter that was quite dark but always had a sense of humour about it which stopped it from being massively depressing to watch. Since there isn't really an over arching story to speak of, It allows the show to cover a variety of topics such as Hikikomoris, depression, suicide, addiction and religion. As I say, there is quite a bit of comedy here, and a lot of it works well, at least for me, but I also appreciated the fact the show clearly knew when to be serious when to use comedy so it never felt like any of the subjects were really being taken lightly despite the humour. Tonally, I think it reminded me a lot of Paranoia Agent. It isn't quite as dark as that, but it has this weird surrealistic feel at times with the main character occasionally hallucinating, which mainly serves as a look into the character's warped mental state, something Paranoia Agent also did a fair bit too. It all works very well and does a great job at balancing serious topics with some more light hearted moments.

Easily the best part of Welcome to the NHK though was its characters. Though sparse in numbers, all of the main and supporting cast feel like they have depth and they all develop throughout the course of the show. I can also guarantee you'll find at least one of the characters to be relatable in someway or, like me, find yourself relating to different aspects of different characters, which can really give you a connection to the characters and gets you invested in them. However, what makes the characters so great is that they're flawed. None of them are perfect, sometimes they can be selfish, rude, hypocritical, stupid, etc and not everything always works out for them that is just what makes them feel so real and why they are so relatable. Sometimes you'll watch an anime and everything, by the end, will have worked itself out perfectly and all the characters are nigh on infallible but here that just plain isn't the case and in that way it reflects real life. Things don't always work out and sometimes you don't always get where you want to be; that's just life and that is perfectly represented here.

I watched NHK dubbed and thought that the cast did a superb job. I did a bit of research and I can't say I really recognize any of the voice talent here and a lot of the actors don't appear to have had a ton more work outside of this anime which is a real shame as I think that it is definitely one of the better dubs I've heard.

The only real aspect that was a let down was the animation. I haven't seen many other Gonzo shows (the only other being the abysmal Blade and Soul) and I hear this level of animation from them was par for the course at the time but man, this show can just look ugly. People and objects lose a ton of detail even on medium close ups and there are times when characters look more like blobs or shapes that barely even look human. I'd say 75-80% of the animation looks fine but when it the animation turns to garbage it can really take you out of it.

I'd definitely recommend anyone and everyone to check this show out. It's hard to pin it to a genre, it's part Slice of Life, part Comedy, part Drama, part Romance, and it juggles all of these so well I think if you're a fan of any of those, you should watch this.

9/10

Original Publish Date: 15/3/16

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