On the strands that make up “slice of life” in our day, and what it means to be a fan in this time where it is the predominant standard of quality and popularity.
The story in the Welcome to the NHK! manga has now fully departed from that of the anime, and the bleakness is almost stifling. Still, it really gets some parts of human nature right: the infinite capacity for self-deception and the power of indiscipline.
Note: Over a year ago, I reviewed volume 1, volumes 2 and 3, and volume 4 of the NHK manga. Even longer ago, I reviewed the light novel where it all began. This is a long-delayed follow-up to all this.
Mike and Ray from AnimeDiet strongly recommended Welcome to NHK, so I watched it. And this was so interesting that I watched 24 episodes at once. And this chanson is wonderful! How wonderful the theme song of Welcome To NHK is! It’s definitely divine song. Anime-song is the most elegant art. It’s surprising that chanson becomes an anime-song. Anime is a composite culture, yes, just like Picasso swallowed African art into his art and made into cubism. Ahh, France, I want to go, I want to live there! France is the origin of café, salon, etc, which was the starting point of revolution! And the origin of French maids. And if there is a waitress with French maid costume on, then it will be Maid-café.
And this chanson’s best part is this into chorus. Singer’s voice, ah, God. Mysterious, ah, a girl’s voice is too cute. Very cute and fashionable. Girl’s voice is the best. Idol seiyuu’s voice is the best. There is no more wonderful than this. Having moe on voice is the best part of seiyuu-moe. What a wonderful harmony, melody, chord progression, and good tempo and a sense of rhythm, this sweet, whispering voice’s chorus, gentle, a little fashionable, ah, how can I express… Yes, very feminine, this feminine voice is embracing me with ecstasy! Feminine quality is the divine backbone! The best guna! This is the eternal feminine that Dr. Faust pursued. Yes, pursuit of it is moe.
Moe is exactly Brahma-atma-aikyam. Brahma is India’s principle of universe. The word “brahma” comes from the verb “bṛh” and it means “expand, grow.” Yes, it means “sprout, grow out, show omen,” and the Japanese verb, “moe-ru.” And the Greek word “nymph” originally meant “expand, sprout,” and it also meant “rosebud.” “Sprout” in Japanese is “moe-ru”, so yes, nymph is a moekko. That is pretty obvious in the ED of Kimi Ni Todoke. Kuronuma Sawako, voiced by divine seiyuu Noto Mamiko, is a moekko. And, Brahman is moe, Yes, rosebud is Brahman. According to Vaishnavism, Brahman grew out of a lotus flower from Vishnu’s naval. That proves that Brahman is moe. In short, personalized, deified moe, is Brahman, and that is the universe principle. Brahman is moe. Arche (principle of all). St. John called the Word “arche.” Tares said it was water. Pythagoras said it was number. And Gautama Siddhartha said it was dependent origination. And anime-otaku says it is moe! To the ancient Indians, Brahman is the arche, the same thing with anime-otaku moe is the arche to them. It’s the same. Brahma-atama-aikyam is moe-brahma-aikyam. And moe-atama-aikyam.
By the way, voice. By listening to idol-seikyuu’s voice we reach moe, and we attain the state of moe-atma-aikyam. Just by listening to voice. That is shravaka (voice hearer). We listen to the voice of jina and Buddha. Gautama Siddhartha said,
Listen to the voice coming out from my mouth, and learn the tranquility. (Sutta Nipata 1062)
Yes, learning tranquility, and tranquility is moe-atma-aikyam. So, Buddha is a moekko character, or seiyuu that puts spirit in the characters. Yes, in anime, moe and voice are one. By that, we attain tranquility, so moekko is tranquility-kei, that is iyashi-kei. And atman from brahma-atma-aikyam is translated to “soul” but the original meaning was “breath.” Puts breath and then animates, just like Adam started animating when God put his breath into him, anime characters get animated by voice. And, voice is made of breath, so voice and breath are one too. That is to say, unity between moe-character (Brahman) and breath (atman) causes moe. That is the state of brahma-atma-aikya. And by listen to the voice of moe characters, we as atman get united with moe characters. In Buddhism, someone got enlightenment by just listening to Buddha’s voice. That means Buddha is Brahman, and Brahman is moe character.
Is Buddha the same with Brahman? Tenjo-tenge-yuiga-dokuson painting, Gautama was born from the lotus. Yes, it’s the same with Brahman born from the lotus flower. Yes, sprout from the lotus. Moe-deru from the lotus. So, Brahma-buddha-aikyam. So, anime otaku seiyuu fans are the moe people. And I reach moe by listeing to this chanson. Ahh, how cute. I imagine about Nakahara Misaki-chan (even hugging her dakimakura), reaching the state of this chanson, and immerse myself into moe. If there is a girl over this fish eye lens! Over this door! Isn’t there any girl like Misaki-chan in this real world? In this 3-D world? Please console me! How wonderful if I can have some tea with her at manga-café she’s working! And she says to me, “okaerinasai, goshujin-sama (welcome back, master)!” Gyahahahahaha!
This cruel world, 90% is consisted of suffering, brutal survival of fittest market fundamentalist world, the ideology that sees “market” is the arche, dominates this world. From the time of Jesus of Nazareth, market fundamentalism already ruled Jerusalem. That’s why Jesus acted and kicked out market from the temple. The temple controlled by market fundamentalism was rejecting the social weak. The temple was supposed to be a place to help them out. Yet, we otaku who live in modern society are marginalized by market fundamentalism with social darwinism. However, moe will be saving the wretched people like us. And moe anime has French influence. Yet, how does France think about anime? Segolene Royale, who appeared as the fighter for the social disadvantaged, once French presidential candidate of the Socialist Party, is attacking anime. Miyazaki Hayao is also negative on moe anime. We otakus are rejected by socialists. Socialism betrayed us. The offspring of Paris Commune has abandoned us. Well, socialism is just relocating the market from God’s hand to human hand. It’s not denying the market. Therefore, it’s rather strange to have expectation from it. Royale surely disappointed us. So, we only have moe.
What we need is a kind girl like Misaki-tan. Misaki-tan is Venus. When you hear “Misaki,” you imagine “Muroto Misaki,” where Kukai absorbed the morning star (venus) into his body. Misaki (cape) is associated with religious experience. Cape is an often-used symbolism in Welcome To NHK. So, becoming one with Misaki-tan is moe-atma-aikya. And chanson fits Misaki-tan very well. Yes, Misaki-tan and chanson become one! Martin Luther said, “Wein, weib, gesang (wine, women, and song)” but I don’t drink, well I’m alcohol intolerant, so Protestantism can’t save me. So, I say, “Anime, Lolita, chanson”! Or “anime, maid, chanson.” Anyway, moekko!
Ahh, chanson, how feminine, ah, how French…Japanese anime culture has been influenced by French culture a lot. Just like Van Gogh was into Japonisme in France. Yes, the most advanced artists were into ukiyo-e. And Louis Vuitton designs were created based on Japanese kamon. And, then, now France is influencing the modern Japan’s most advanced art, anime. France’s maid costume, and café, and French Lolita, yes, the recurrent themes in anime are imported from France.
Ah, I want to go to France. I’m tired of America. I thought the advent of Obama would change the world, but the cruel real world America will never change. Obama is not a 2-D person after all. This article criticizes that severely. Ah, loathe and leave American land. Happily pursue French land. The word “France” in Japanese is written “Buddha” in kanji. Buddha’s child is French girl. From country of rice to country of Buddha. Yes, country of Brahman. 2-D world is French like. Ah, southern France’s idyllic scene, and a girl from that region is my true moetical girl. Like Nora-chan from Spice And Wolf. Ah, Pastor. “Pastor” meant “shepherd” in old French. Shepherd bishojo is definitely idyllic, and Nora-chan looking after sheep in an idyllic scene is therapeutic to me. Idylllic bishojo is my therapy. Ah, I want to be sheep of Nora-chan. And I want her to take care of me! She seems very kind. Ahh, if I have moe on Nora-chan, I can sleep well at night. By counting “One sheep, two sheep,” I will imagine about Nora-chan, on laps of Nora-chan. And, I can sleep deeply. Deep sleep is the very state that moe and self would be one, moe-atma-aikyam, by hugging dakimakura of Nora-chan. That is moe!
Moreover, France is the original place of French Lolita, yes, Lolita’s homeland. Lolita, ahhh, Nabokov’s Lolita’s archetype is Annabel, a teenage girl from Cannes, famous for Cannes Film Festival, yes, a Cannes girl is the archetype. And that girl was the first love of Professor Humbert when he was a teenager, yet she died. Yes, that is very much like Beatrice from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Dante’s first love, Beatrice. Annabel’s archetype. And Professor Humbert moved to America after the war, and he discovered Lolita when he got a teaching job as a French literature professor in North Carolina. Yes, Lolita overlapped Annabel. And it is a bishojo version of Virgin Mary cult. Since Lolita was originally Mother Mary. Lolita’s real name is Dolores Haze. And Dolores is from Maria De Los Dolores (Mary of Sorrows). Yes, it’s one of the titles of the mother of Jesus of Nazareth. And Dolores means sorrow, and Via Dolorosa is the street Jesus walked carrying the cross. Dolores from Dolorosa. Jesus’ pain is Mary’s pain. In Spanish, pain is “dolor” and its plural from is Dolores. Therefore, it’s Mary of sorrows, which is Dolores, and Dolores’ pet name is Lora, and its diminutive form is Lolita! Yes, Mary worship came out in a different form during the 20s. And we can trace its origin to Southern France. Yes, moe’s clue is in France.
A girl of Orleans, Jeanne Of Arc is like that. Teenage fighter bishojo’s original. Jeanne was worshiped by Napoleon Bonaparte’s revolutionary government. Yes, exactly a symbol of revolution. And a symbol of France’s victory, Goddess of victory! In the period Jeanne lived Christianity was still new in France, so ancient goddess worship might still have remained. The people suffered from wars might have accepted what Miko-shaman-like girl said. That kind of practice and custom was still going on. In fact, Jeanne rose to action when she heard the voice. Yes, so she was also shravaka (voice-hearer)! And king, soldiers, and folks stood up by hearing Jeanne’s voice. Jeanne might have been a shaman. They become one with God which was the universal principle. Yes, French people become Jina (victor) by becoming shravaka. They heard voice and became jina, and the French people who heard Jeanne’s voice became jina also!
We otakus are looked down upon as losers. “Social loser, dreg of human” etc. Yet, we can be a winner by moe! By listening to the voice of moekko who is also Brahman and Buddha and becoming one with moekko, we can become a victor by achieving moe-atma-aikya. Because we are shravaka! And we ourselves become brahma and Buddha, becoming one with the arche, and reach tranquility! Yes, the moment we wake up as anime-taoku, we become shravaka, and by that we become arhat, and become the real victor. Therefore, moe is a path to victory!
That’s why I want to go to France as an opportunity. Loath and leave American land, happily puruse French land. Happily pursue Sanskrit land. Loathe and leave 3-D, happily pursue 2-D. Happily pursue moe land. In short, going to France is a path to victory.!
Anime Diet Presents: Best Kept Secret of Anime Diet’s archive, part 1.
Looking for previously unread articles? Then our 10+ hours of work combing through 147 pages to find these little gems is definitely worth every second! Enjoy these as our year-end gift to you!
Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei makes the argument that the hikikomori complex is an elaborate form of aversion. In fact, all the people portrayed in the show are slightly dysfunctional and avoid facing reality in certain ways, and it is this backdrop which forms an excellent basis for equating the two. The title character continually reacts to life by fantasizing about suicide, relentlessly genki girl Kakufa Fuura reacts to everything negative by reimagining it as something bizarrely and improbably “positive,” the counselor hates helping people and does not willingly give of herself despite her job as school counselor, and so on.
The show deals directly with hikikomori in episode two, wherein they visit the house of Komori Kiri, the shut-in. Like all names in Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, this is a play on words: Hikikomori is the Japanese term used to designate people who shut themselves in their rooms and avoid social contact. True to form, Komori is shown in her room watching anime, with tankobon and DVDs piled up all around her.
Because that is what she is so far–like Heath Ledger’s Joker, who knows what kind of background or upbringing she really has? Who knows how much is truth and is a lie? It turns out this is a fairly suitable theme for the entire volume, too.
Note: this is not a typical review of a manga. I am mainly writing my thoughts as to how this compares to the anime, which is one of my top 10 of all time–a key reason why I even started anime blogging.
With these volumes, the differences from the anime begin appearing–most of which put Misaki in a worse light than ever before. I ended volume 3 with the sense that she was, quite frankly, evil.
I’ve decided to try something different and new for me–I’m going to try to review a manga series. I might as well begin with a story that I’m very familiar with, seeing as I loved the anime and reviewed the light novel some time ago. Having already judged the story to be one of my favorites, this review will mainly be a contrast and comparison with the other media.
I wasn’t totally idle in my hospital stay! I managed to finish reading the Welcome to the NHK novel by Tatsuhiko Takimoto, published in the United States by Tokyopop. The anime version of this story was one of my favorites of 2006 and is in part responsible for the very existence of this website, and I was curious as how this novel, which predates both the manga and the anime, would fare in comparison. The contrasts and similarities are instructive.
I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of recent anime have been about, or targeted directly to, otaku. Genshiken and Comic Party are about fandom; Haruhi Suzumiya and other “moesploitation” shows cater to otaku fetishes (even if it’s with a wink and a nod); the Densha Otoko phenomenon has even glamorized otaku for a moment in the general culture. Into this increasingly crowded field steps Welcome to the NHK, a show that introduces itself as a darkly comic variant of the first type of show, but only as a wedge to open up bigger, more universal issues. I came in expecting to laugh, perhaps in pity or contempt, at the patheticness of shut-in Satou and his mountains of porn and crumpled tissues. I ended up seeing a group of ordinary, lonely people struggling and often failing to make real connections. People who frequently give up entirely because that’s what lots of people do, but people I grew to care about enough that it hurt to see them fail, and for whom even a small triumph is a cause for minor celebration.
Continue reading Review: Welcome to the NHK!
Though the show comes to an end with the next episode, I still marvel over how far it has come since it started. Today I was rewatching the early episodes (1-6) and while the seeds of all that has happened in the show’s second half are clearly there, the emphasis on black humor and cynical social commentary seems a long way away from the straightforward, earnest, and heartfelt drama that it’s since become. This particular episode holds few surprises, really, for anyone who’s been following the show up to this point–the revelations about Misaki’s past and her subsequent actions, if anything, are almost mundane given the air of mystery that she herself and the show tried to surround her with. We almost expected something more spectacular or strange…though, of course, there is still one more episode to go, and so we may find out more yet.
But that isn’t really the point, is it? All I know is that I feel for these characters, in the midst of their failure and despair–and it’s rare, even in these post-Evangelion days, to see a major studio anime portray all of its main characters as such broken failures–or even their few successes. (Often, it seems, brought about by the threat of starvation!) And I don’t mean “feel” in terms of pity or condescension; this show cuts deeper to my nerdish self and its logical end than anything I’ve seen since Evangelion, because when I see the thought processes of Misaki and Satou I find them all too accurate to my own feelings in different situations. Like Evangelion, this show can be seen as a cautionary tale about the dangers of otakuism and social isolation. This one dispenses with the convoluted metaphors and allusions, though, and goes straight for the gut–and the heart.
I’m really hoping that we get a redemptive, but bittersweet ending: not just because it would be fitting for such a bittersweet show, or that it would be better storyteling, but because it seems that no other kind of redemption will suffice for these characters. A glib wrap-up would feel like a betrayal of their struggles and pain. So far, Gonzo has handled it remarkably well (though I haven’t read the manga; manga fans will probably disagree), and I’m really hoping they neither give us a neat Hollywood ending or the nihilistic wallow that I ultimately thought Saikano became.
Misaki and Satou are doing one of their last counseling sessions–and, having been badly hurt by seeing Satou leave a hotel with his former sempai, Misaki soldiers on remarkably well (on the surface). She quizzes Satou about famous last words of various celebrities, with mixed results. Satou is able to guess, importantly, the last words of a famous athlete who returned to his hometown and ate his favorite foods before committing suicide. Misaki seems pleased by his correct answers, and then announces that there will be a “graduation” test for the course. The test, of course, turns out to be more or less a date: they go out to see a movie, sit together on the train, and move through crowds. At their final meeting, she announces that he passes with “flying colors,” and–to Satou’s shock–presents him with another contract. This one stipulates that Satou must grow to like Misaki, and stay by her side forever, with a fine of 10 million yen. Satou rejects her proposal, denying that he is lonely and spurning her entreaties…only to be haunted by her parting accusation, that he is lying about not being lonely.
When he returns to his apartment, in the shadow of the giant Purin statue, he sees visions of the main characters (Yamazaki, Sempai, and others) admonishing him to admit that he is a failure. He is able to admit, too, that he is lonely. It does not, however, prevent him from beginning to starve, especially when his parents, Yamazaki, and Misaki, stop sending him money and food. This, at long last, spurs him to leave his apartment and find work as a traffic guide. He has, at long last, recovered from his hikkikomori ways–which Misaki observes, sadly, from her high window.
One day, as he comes home from work, Satou discovers an ambulance parked outside Misaki’s house. Misaki, apparently the victim of a bathtub accident, is being taken to the hospital. Concerned, Satou hitches a ride with her uncle–who turns out to be his landlord, thus making sense of how Misaki was able to know his personald data–who reveals her history with her suicidal mother and abusive stepfather. It turns out that she was only happy and cheerful after she met Satou. Moved, Satou and her uncle go to the hospital, only to find that Misaki is gone; she left behind a train schedule, however, and inside is a suicide note that parallels the one by the famous athelete. She intends to return to her hometown and jump off the same cliff that her mother did. In the final shot, we see her riding on the train, bandages on her wrists, revealing that her bathroom “accident” was really an attempt to slit her wrists.