Thursday, October 25, 2007

Welcome to the NHK Volume 1

Overall Rating: B
Synopsis: It's difficult to summarize "Welcome to the NHK". Written by Tatsuhiko Takimoto with art by Kendi Oiwa, the series follows Tatsuhiro Satō, a 22-year-old hikikomori (a shut in) who has no job. His only source of income is his parents giving him money. He is also a massive pervert. In the first volume, he learns that Kaoru Yamazaki, a fellow otaku from the same High School, is living next door (and playing anime soundtracks loudly). Tatsuhiro also meets Misaki Nakahara, a mysterious young woman who claims to be part of a group that helps hikikomori. Tatsuhiro and Kaoru decide to develop a porn video game, and hijinks ensue.

I kept running across Welcome to the NHK in stores and considered buying the first volume. Then Amazon started recommending I buy it. I don't know if it was the fact that I kept running in to the title, or whether the concept eventually convinced me to give it a try, or what, but I recently decided to take the plunge and read volume 1.

Having finished it, I'm still not sure what to think. The story teeters between Tatsuhiro being an endearing otaku and an outright pervert. He develops a disturbing lolita complex, that gets so bad he goes to take upskirt photos of school girls as they leave school. It's hard to root for a guy that's so disturbed, but I found myself hoping he would pull out of the tail-spin and get his life together.

I will say this, the book made me laugh and cringe, sometimes at the same time. I will probably flip through the second volume to see if it's worth following the series.

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