Welcome To The NHK episodes 21-24

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Nope, this is, by far, the most ill-conceived cover for this series. It doesn’t even make sense for this series.

In case you couldn’t tell, I first saw this series in high school. After all, it sounds like a series made for angsty teenagers. Well, I saw it before a few, um, events occurred in my life. In short, I saw it in a state of mind more akin to “well, I think I’ll laugh at miserable people” than my current “I’m Sato” mindset. As such, my reaction has changed accordingly (I’m more sympathetic to the characters). That said, I chose to rewatch this series because I need something to take me out of my current self-loathing funk. I’m still in it, but this has helped.

The finale of this series has one of the series’ most cruel jokes in it. With Yamazaki leaving (side note: when he says he engaged at the end, doesn’t the girl in the picture look like the girl he had a crush on? I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed.) and Sato’s sempai married and pregnant, Sato’s only link to sanity or the outside world left is Misaki. That’s not good, since Misaki is also deteriorating mentally, going on a depressed stint that relies on co-dependency to save her. When Sato gets cold feet, however (STILL running from his love for her and feeling unworthy to save her), Sato loses that last link.

When I said that the other hikikimori’s fate was foreshadowing, I was being blatant. Sato’s allowance is cut off completely, his last hope for food fell through (it was too much of a hassle), and he hasn’t seen Misaki (who was feeding him) in a month. He finally leaves his house of his own and gets a job, which makes him begin to stabilize. And then Misaki is taken to the hospital because she fell in the shower. And then she goes to her hometown.

The series’s sense of humor, in the end, is making the characters completely miserable. Sato, who seemed to be improving, is broken down further than before in the series. What we are viewing is the most miserable mental breakdown in anime. Likewise, Misaki’s facade of being in control is torn down systematically. Her depression and co-dependent feelings finally overshadow her previous playfulness and sense of hope. The exposition about her given by her uncle (who is SATO’S LANDLORD!!) further breaks her down. Episode 22 is the destruction of Sato and episode 23 is spent doing the same to Misaki. Which leads up to…….

The show’s climax: Misaki’s suicide attempt (yes, this series has this twice).

For the first 23 episodes, this show has shown miserable people, dragged them as low as it felt like, and then let them exist on a weird collar that gives protection yet takes away any sense of joy or happiness that they’d have normally. Episode 24 attempts to finally bring the series’ primary conflict a resolution: the romance between Sato and Misaki (between all of the self-centered antics, you forget that this series is actually a romantic comedy (that is NOT A JOKE)). The whole series played out this plot by tiptoeing around it. Whenever it is brought up, it is usually the catalyst for Sato’s next mental breakdown. Here, however, it is an inescapable climax: the show’s crowning moment of inspiration.

It also has the best suicide joke ever.

When all is said and done about this series, what’s the takeaway? Well, things could always be worse. There is always someone worse than me. Basically, if I’m feeling self-loathing, remember that I can put others down in my mind. It’s not a big pick-me-up, but where the series succeeds is in celebrating the stupidity that people do when they feel like shit. Now Baccano!, on the other hand, needs to be seen by all because it’s just fun.

And now I leave you with a cover that actually does the series justice:

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Author: criticoffilm

Amateur film and anime critic, animation enthusiast, hopeful writer

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