Welcome to the N.H.K., Volume 1

by Tatsuhiko Takimoto, Kendi Oiwa | Graphic Novels |
ISBN: 1598166786 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 2/1/2013
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, February 01, 2013
I watched the anime adaptation of the original novel recently and enjoyed it very much, and have been picking up manga volumes as I find them. I got this slightly-battered softcover from Better World Books.

The story's about Satou, a 20-something hikikomori - someone who's chosen to isolate himself from the world, spending most of his time alone in his apartment playing video games and avoiding Real Life as best he can. But it has a way of sneaking in, in the form of a young woman who shows up at his door as part of a missionary team - and who then takes him up as a personal project, with the goal of curing his hikikomori tendencies.

He also meets his new next-door neighbor, who turns out to be Yamazaki, an old school friend, who's addicted to online sex-games and porn. A match made in... heaven? Anyway, for the first time in years, Satou has a friend - two, if you count "project girl" Misaki, though her attitude towards him seems more like that of a scientist.

The storyline blends very real-world concerns about social stigma, emotional issues, and potentially serious mental problems - Satou does have hallucinations about the conspiracy he believes is keeping him from leading a useful life - with some funny and charming elements, such as the influences (for good or ill) that people can have on each other. Satou's first introduction to internet porn is amusing, but also cautionary - the scenes of an unshaven and unshowered Satou after an online binge are pretty gross. (Yamazaki introduced him to this because the two of them were hoping to create a hentai computer game themselves. Yamazaki's very much concerned with creating a viable product, though, and is increasingly impatient with Satou's easily-distracted nature.)

The mix of hikikomori traits and otaku traits make for some interesting scenes, including a hilarious one in which the newly-indoctrinated Satou comes up with the perfect character for their game, mixing every single girl-game trope he can think of. And some of Misaki's attempts to use psychology on Satou are amusing themselves - she's clearly not as well-read on the subject as she thinks she is, and Satou has some fun with imagery when she wants to know what he dreams about.

I like the way the story mixes real-world concerns with some fairly offbeat storylines, making the characters sympathetic and infuriating at the same time - well, Satou and Misaki can be both; Yamazaki is the most level-headed of the main cast by far, even with his fetish for nubile cartoon girls, so I never find him annoying, but he pesters the heck out of Satou.

The bonus material includes more detail about another of Satou's erotic-game proposals, plus a section of notes on terms and cultural references.

Other volumes I have:

Volume 3
Volume 4

[I selected the anime after seeing its TV Tropes page; lots of entertaining info, but do beware of spoilers.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, July 06, 2017

Released 1 yr ago (7/6/2017 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

I'm putting this book in the manga/graphic novel bookbox, which will be on its way to its next stop soon. Enjoy!

*** Released for the 2017 TV Series release challenge. ***

Journal Entry 3 by spacedog at Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Thursday, September 28, 2017
taking from manga bookbox

Journal Entry 4 by spacedog at Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Friday, May 11, 2018
read this today. this is definitely not your average manga. it's offbeat and strange, and the protagonist is by every metric a loser, although there are hints in this first volume that the manga is going to show his slow path towards redemption. maybe? it's refreshingly unique, but i'm not sure i'm particularly interested in spending more time with this character (although i'm guessing the next volumes incorporate a bit more plot).

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