Although it’s not nearly the “best” series airing at the moment, I often watch Welcome to the NHK! as soon as it’s downloaded. I have the first 6 episodes of Bokura Ga Ita stocked up, another four of Legend of the Galactic Heroes and even the most recent Honey & Clover- but it seems (whether I like it or not) NHK! comes first. It’s not that I find it easy to watch – it’s actually the opposite, Satou scares me. His deluded fantasies, wild pipe dreams and attempts to cover up his “NEET” life style are morbidly close to the bone. Many people move through life like him; escaping reality by depending on impossible dreams, only to wake up 10 years later and wonder what the hell happened. I hope Satou snaps out of it by the end; no, I’m not talking about him and Misaki getting it together or some Hollywood bullshit like that, however he must (or I hope that he will) at least turn the corner.
Episode 7 was totally about characterisation, and it’s all brought on by his mum; she is set to visit Tokyo and in usual style, Satou lies through his teeth to cover up the Hikikomori situation. The saddest thing about this scene is that his mum buys it all, about him having a girlfriend and everything; it puts her mind at rest, knowing her son is “normal” now. Satou’s despair after the call “Don’t be so happy” (more like relieved) says it all.
The rest was fairly cute fun; Misaki ends up playing as Satou’s girlfriend and they go on a pretend date that raises just as much questions about Misaki’s situation. Who is she? Is Misaki -or the Misaki being seen by Satou- even real? Notice how she isn’t clocked by Yamazaki when she enters his room, and how we only ever see her talking to Satou. It’s worrying and distressing to think she could well be a figment of his imagination. Obviously that would explain why she knows Satou’s phone number (and all the rest) – but for his sake, I hope she is real. And for my sake, I hope I haven’t just guessed the big plot twist of NHK!