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Welcome to the NHK: 1st Conspiracy

Directed by Yusuke Yamamoto

Written by Satoru Nishizono

Starring dependins on language track

Produced by Scott McClennen

Not Rated

100 minutes

***

…ohhhh boy.

The Japanese have completely freaking lost it this time. I know I’ve said that literally dozens of times previously, but this time, I think they’ve finally gone off the bridge. There’s a big sign hanging from Tokyo Tower, and it reads “The whole country is out to lunch. Today’s special: Crackers, Nuts, and Bananas!”

How do I know? Because this time around, they’ve created a new anime that’s all about anime fans, commonly called “otaku.” Otaku are to Japanese society what, for example, Wolverine fanbois are to ours. And in this case, a secret underground network launched to pander to those otaku is pumping out hours upon hours of high-quality anime programming every day. Why, you may ask? Good ratings? Choice commercial advertising timeslots to yield billions of dollars?

No sir! Nothing so mundane. In this case, the network is brought to us by the NHK—the Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai. Or the Japanese Social-Withdrawal Association, for those of you what don’t habla. Apparently, it’s a network designed to keep otakus off the streets—in a self-referential state called “hikikomori”—and out of the gene pool, which, judging by some otakus I’ve seen, is not a terrible idea. Think about that—all those assholes you see running around conventions smelling for all the world like a septic tank burst in a skunk farm doing absolutely nothing but hanging around the house all day watching catgirl / schoolgirl hybrids in non-stop gratuituous panty shots.

Though the conspiracy of the NHK has reached one young man, Sato—at his very lowest point he meets a girl named Misako, who claims to know how to “cure” Sato’s hikikomori “disease.” She offers him a contract with a hefty termination fee—one hundred thousand yen—and then, we’re off to the races. With Misako convinced she’s got the cure, and Sato out to prove her wrong by creating a top-selling pornographic video game in a month, the missteps and accusations fly fast and furious.

This DVD only has the first four episodes, you understand. So it’s not much to say that the whole thing is inconclusive. It’s four episodes out of who knows how many, so it’s not as though we’re going to get a lot of satisfaction here. But it’s good enough—there’s no doubt of that. It’s solidly done for what little there is here.

That’s the one thing that sucks about anime DVDs. There’s only a few episodes on each disc, and who knows how many more there’ll be until the series is concluded? Or when we’ll see them? It’s not exactly a recipe for long-term satisfaction, you know.

All in all, “Welcome to the NHK: 1st Conspiracy” is good, for what there is of it. Lacking in long-term satisfaction, but great in the short run, it will definitely be worth a rental.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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