After reading the first two volumes of the manga in preparation, and liking what I had read, I looked forward to “NHK ni Youkuso!” (Welcome to the NHK!) to entertain me with bits of dark humor. Bits such as Satou analyzing the difficulty in choking oneself and the annoying “purupururin” music from next door satisfied my hunger and I’m willing to partake of it more times in the future.
The talking appliances got a chuckle from me because it depicted Satou as being a sort of drug trip (the drug being anime, of course). I don’t particularly care for the blue pixie monkeys, though. Unfortunately they’re in the closing credits, which I will most likely skip over just to avoid seeing them despite the ending song having headbanging twinges. In contrast, the opening is a nice, slick blend of CG and handdrawn animation that ties into the song title “Puzzle”.
On the subject of cinematics, there was a “handheld camera” shot in the ending animation. I’m getting really tired seeing this technique in anime. Other instances that come to mind include Bleach’s third closing (“Happy People”) and FMA’s fourth opening (“Rewrite”). Why do I dislike it? Because it seems like the cameraman is a stalker. I watch visual works to experience good cinematography and framing, not a home movie. It probably costs even for the animators to emulate shaky camerawork than to just make an ending composed of pan-ups and pan-downs; I would prefer the latter. At least the CG hover to the door worked, even though it was slightly noticable.
I usually notice the music when I watch a show and I liked how the two insert songs complemented the action. The first had an acoustic guitar, slow drums, and a piano and matched Satou’s decision to move forward and seek employment. The second, which featured a harmonica and a slow strumming guitar, made more clear that Satou had the “failed to turn in a job application” blues. I hope they continue to have good scene-setting BGM on the level of Honey and Clover.
Finally, although it is a comedy, it also deals with a serious social problem. Perhaps this show will spur actual “hikkis” or their relatives to seek help and serve not only as entertainment but also as a means toward a better Japanese society. BTW, the NHK has a hikikomori support website based on its series of special reports in 2003.