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Welcome to the NHK! Volume 1

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.

After reading Volume 1, it’s obvious that the anime was mainly following the lead of the manga rather than the novel. The novel is missing the entire subplot of Satou’s mother coming to visit, and him needing to pretend to have both a job and a girlfriend. Volume 1 ends just as that story arc is getting underway. I considered that plot to be the turning point in the series, the point where the show began to transition into serious drama, so I’m looking forward to continuing the manga series and seeing whether the anime was more or less adapting it straight. This first volume is almost identical storywise to the animated counterpart.

Kowai, not kawaii

The humor is just as exaggerated–in fact, it’s more extreme than in the anime. We never saw Satou snorting coke, or looking specifically at loli porn, in the relatively time anime. The infamous sketch of the perfect moe female character is truly a sight to behold here, as hideous as it was really intended to be. The surrealism is de-emphasized this time around, though that doesn’t necessarily make things smoother: one of the big problems I have with this manga version is that the transitions between scenes is often rough, making the pacing seem abrupt. A good example is the transition here, between when Satou learns that he will be making an eroge with Yamazaki and his fantasy of getting arrested for child porn after having downloaded many gigs’ worth of it. A later page explains that this was happening a week later; I think it would have been better told linearly.

It may be that I had become accustomed to the way the anime transitioned between scenes, with the aid of music and moving visuals. Still, the effect was often jarring. I also found some of the small text to be extremely difficult to read, thoguh I suspect it may have been just as small in the original Japanese. (Can anyone confirm?) A lot of the cleverer comments and jokes are contained in the small text, too. I also enjoyed the extra at the end of the volume which typed out Satou’s failed eroge proposal, something which was vaguely described in the anime but is fully fleshed out here. The final section describing “erotic scenes” is particularly funny.

Overall, this is the same Welcome to the NHK! that I connected with in 2006, the show that helped push me into founding this website. (Note the very first review here, especially its date. Heck, I was doing summaries back then because I thought that’s what animebloggers were supposed to do. It was also the subject of my very first series review.) It’s still dark otaku satire at its finest, and seeing the immediate roots of the show is going to be an interesting exercise. I have volumes 2-4 on order, so look for them to come in the next several days.

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