Insights on NHK ni Youkoso – 05

I didn’t love NHK ni Youkoso! at all. I liked it a lot though, as it had a poignant take on hikkikomori, but I didn’t even think I’d finish the series. That all changed with ep5, however. Other than H&C II episodes, it was among the best anime episodes I’ve seen in a while. (It’s been obvious – I’m a romantic.)

It all started when Satou, as he waited for Yamazaki, heard a bump in the window. It was his sempai. His mind thought about the conspiracies he and his sempai always talked about in the room of the literature club, them playing cards and drinking tea. It was just another day of cards and tea, but there would be something different: starting the day after that, she would be gone. And, as noted by incisive viewers, the kettle’s top jumping off from the steam was a very well-done metaphor of what occurred. It may not have been sex per se; it may have been only a kiss of affection, but the silent pain of parting pervades the whole scene and exists throughout the first half of the episode. It was a kiss of what might have been, an affection that was unconsummated.

It then fast forwarded to the present, where because of the paralysis of the characters (so well integrated by James Joyce in his Dubliners) brought them to more denigrated states: one became a hikkikomori and the other was depressed. Shallow banter tried to make up the void in their hearts and yet it could never wholly cover it up. It wasn’t really unrequited love; it was a love unrealized. It’s quite a pain to see Satou remember exactly the time of their parting. It may not have meant much to the casual viewer, but it implies him thinking a lot about his sempai, which was proven by the previous episodes. They were also totally honest with one another regarding their secrets, which connoted a bond even deeper than topical friendship. To remember the quirks of a character, even after much time has past supports this. They knew each other completely.

This was culminated with Hitomi’s part of the dialogue when she made the viewers realize that they were a company of introverts in a world of their own, but despite everything being there, they never did realize to what extent one meant for the other. It was even made sadder because she reminisced that if they did build a healthy relationship they wouldn’t have had to be like this. (This was another great scene where although she spoke only of Satou’s being a hikkikomori, as she spoke about him, images of her psychostabilizing drugs came into view.

‘We should have been properly dating back then,’ hurt like a hammer hitting me on the head. It was so pathos-evoking. One can always dream of what might have been.

I don’t believe that love conquers all; I do, however, believe that it could do so with a lot of things. It’s great to see Satou realize that his life has value and that he tries to do something with it. (Yes, I do notice that I repeat realize every once in a while, but this show has totally been about it: realization.) What’s made that sweeter is that it was done for the sake of love. Clearly, Hitomi accepts Satou whole-heartedly: you wouldn’t even imply wanting to date let alone stating it blatantly to a guy you don’t even want to have a relationship with, yet she did and did so blatantly. Of course you don’t get out of being a hikkikomori in just a snap (and I stand corrected for implying so in other posts of mine), but if you do try to do so that’s good enough, and this has been the first time (as I see it) that Satou really strives to escape from what he has become.

I wouldn’t mind with the show having some comedic scenes; I certainly don’t mind the subpar animation if by the end of it we’d see a changed Satou, and hopefully a changed Hitomi. I personally loved the dynamism and the subtleties of the relationship between Satou and Hitomi and wish for a confirmation between the two parties to happen as a culmination for both of the characters’ turning away from their lifestyles.

(I haven’t read the manga, but it seems Misaki’s doing this because of an inferiority complex. It is evident that Satou knows more than her despite him being a college dropout so it seems that she’s trying to extirpate the ways of Satou to also sate her desires. This is a series of quirks and depravities; however, if it had more episodes like this one I definitely wouldn’t mind. I just bar ep4 out of my mind, as if it didn’t exist.)

9 Responses to “Insights on NHK ni Youkoso – 05”

  1. helspectre Says:

    ehh.. you’re right NHK is full of fucking idiots trying to make a breakthrough. Thankfully, its done in a very comedic manner, so the impact is cushioned. =)

  2. Ronin Says:

    NHK really did justice to the darker side of otakuism, as it showcased dysfunctional people relying on each other, directly or indirectly, for their personal self-growth — as a person.

  3. Truth-kun Says:

    I love Ep05. Especially the part where Hitomi’s remark about Cellular phones that “it could be bought in any convinence store, but still people can’t communicate with each other” or something to that extent. (I apologize for my frail memory since I watched Ep05 4 days ago).

    The foreshadowed “acceptance” of Satou by Hitomi might be the key on why Satou wanted to change his ways. It’s a start of something, and it will be interesting to see what that something is. 😀

    NHK ni Youkoso tackles a lot of social deprivaties, not only for the Otakus and the Hikikomoris , but the social outcasts in general. I’ve read some of the manga, and in the future episodes, there will be a time where these different types of social outcasts would be introduced. 🙂

    It is just too bad though, that Gonzo really animated NHK badly >_

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    Do you all pay the viewer’s fee to the NHK?

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