Thoughts From NHK Ni YoukosoPosted: July 14, 2017
Just finished watching NHK Ni Youkoso last night.
I started watching it because of the overwhelmingly good reviews, and the fact it had to deal with some hikkikomori guy, which was at least somewhat relatable. I found it mildly enjoyable at times but overall dissatisfying. The anime was so well received, though, that I’m now trying to take concrete notes about what I thought about it and why I didn’t like it.
I say that, but the following points aren’t really about what I didn’t like. They’re just talking topics from the show.
[Edit] Right on this line, I’m actually almost done with writing and decided to come back here and state something. I hope a year from now, I come back and read this and cringe the shit out of myself. Here’s to me in 2017.
You think you’re intruding, they think you don’t care
Starting off with a small point. When you’re introverted, at times you can imagine asking someone for details about their life as an intrusion. And without mistake, that can sometimes be the case. But it’s also important not to make it a policy never to ask anyone about their lives. Showing an interest in other people’s lives, feigned or otherwise, is key to building relationships with people.
This is really clear when Yamazaki reveals to Satou that he will be called back to the farm, and starts off by saying Satou doesn’t really care about what’s going on with other people. There is a balance between indifference to other people and being rudely intrusive that everyone has to deal with.
It’s frustrating when Satou contributes so little when people dump their emotions on him. It hurts his ability to connect with them.
Things won’t happen as you would like
Life will rarely give you what you want as you want it. You can’t demand from the world, and from other people, to be as you want it. You can’t change people if they don’t want to change. Focus on yourself, the thing you can change. Find satisfaction in what you can do, don’t focus on what others can’t. Don’t think you deserve anything from anyone, and come back demanding it if they don’t give it to you, whether it be affection, appreciation, friendship, understanding, anything. It will be unseemly on top of being fruitless.
It’s easy to forget, other people have motives too
While it may be detrimental to exhibit too much cynicism, it’s also important to examine other people’s intentions when they act, without focusing on how it affects your own life.
Counting on outside validation is dangerous
It feels good when our value is appreciated by outside parties. It can also be easy to become dependent on the validation that provides. It’s also important to have your own sense of self appreciation, though. People won’t always see what you’re worth, and you won’t always be able to control that. If your happiness depends completely on that, you won’t be able to control your own life, because your value depends on other people’s opinions. As with anything, there’s a balance.
Security begets stagnation; Crisis promotes growth
No one improves in the show without going through some kind of trouble. Yamazaki, ‘Torotoro’, Hitomi, Satou, Misaki. Maybe more, I just don’t feel like thinking much. I doubt anyone would read this far, read the names, and not know already what crisis and growth they faced.
This is a situation I can definitely sympathize with strongly. When you feel you have everything, you won’t want to do anything. Although we strive to be satisfied with our lives, if we ever reach that point, complacency follows close behind. Being hungry seems painful, but when you become fat and full, it’s easy to lose track of things. I feel I stopped growing 2-3 years ago, and literally got a bit fat. Crisis came then, and I’m working on it now.
What I don’t like is that it took so long in the show to feel any progress from Satou. Had he not been cut off, I don’t have a reason to believe he wouldn’t have sat in his room for years afterwards. Making new friends, experiencing dramatic events, sharing close moments with people, none of those were enough to pull him out of his shell. It took the loss of income for him to really leave.
Although, as I’m writing this, it makes me think. I write it as if the ultimate goal was for him to get outside. As if simply being outside is such a feat. As if finally having a source of income validates our existence.
Satou had no friends, and never left his room. He was the lowest of low in society. A failure of a human.
Throughout the story, he makes friends. He feels affectionate, and receives affection. He struggles to find value in himself. He gets himself in trouble over and over again, and pulls through with the help of his friends. In the end, he’s still a failure of a human.
In the end, he gets out of his house every morning to direct traffic. He has friends, but they have their own lives now. Misaki seems him get out of his room daily, and remarks that Satou is cured. Because he has a job, she decides she is no longer needed. Is he a good person now? Is he normal now? Is that what it takes?
Being outside regularly, at the very least, does allow for more change to his situation than being holed up in his room.
It’s not what you need, it’s what you want
The most obvious denial of satisfaction is Satou’s refusal to return Misaki’s desperate attempts making a connection. We eventually learn Misaki doesn’t have a special reason to want to be connected to Satou specifically. She’s just yearning for validation, and needs someone she can expect to be helpless enough to need her. It’s not that she needs Satou to love her. She needs SOMEONE to love her.
Life is a pain
Misaki’s talks toward the end of the show are poignant. I don’t think she gets many opportunities to show her character with explicit words (although her actions say plenty), so it’s nice to hear what she’s thinking. She doesn’t tell Satou she’s struggling until later, and while it’s obvious she has issues Satou doesn’t seem to care.
Anyway, her pie graph of life was something I’m sure anyone can accept. For most people, I think life generally feels like a chore at best. You live off the few happy moments that God bestows you, while you toil away for the opportunity to see them. Everyone has their own struggles regardless of their place.
Don’t remember the actual line but that’s cute.
My opinion? Of course, personally I don’t feel the need to assign blame to all the bad things that happen to a single person. There’s no higher reason for anything. There is no answer to ‘why do bad things happen to good people.’ Just live as you please, and if you want out, die. Human imagination is really a beautiful thing. There’s so many concepts, beliefs, reasons we’ve invented.
There are two sides of what I think as far as reasons to live:
1/2 I am what’s wrong with the world. I don’t feel the need to improve humanity as a whole. I am not contributing to society in a way that will improve other’s lives in a meaningful way, and I am OK with that. I benefit from the labor of people who did feel this need, and I am OK with not being a part of that. The world would be a better place had less people who think as I do existed.
2/2 Whether you improve other’s lives or not, in the end, there’s no greater meaning. The only thing a human being should want to accomplish is to act in a way that those chemicals in your head behave harmoniously (be happy). It wasn’t by design that we have an impulse to cooperate, to feel love, to feel satisfaction from altruism. Humanity has simply been culled by process of elimination to favor individuals who are governed by these mechanisms. We construct a society that benefits this way of thinking.
What does all that babble mean? I’m rambling, really. This whole shitpost is just rambling. I became a little lost for a moment.
But I think what I’m trying to say is, if you’re feeling like you should be doing more, if you feel dissatisfied with yourself, that’s OK. Improve as much as you want. Realize those feelings of dissatisfaction are internal, and that just because someone expects more of you doesn’t mean you need to adopt those feelings.
As to people that have bad things constantly happen to them, I can offer no comforting thought. In the godless, meaningless world I’m imagining, there can’t be, unfortunately… which is regrettable. I can at least offer the view that there isn’t an invisible demon tormenting you. The world just happens to be awful to people. Thankfully, society has evolved to make some people find happiness in helping the chronically and otherwise unfortunate. Find them, is the best I can say.
The thing about this show was that I never saw any real happy points. That may be how it is in life, but I watched a show to escape, not to remind myself how much I think Monday blows. Yes, I’m someone who needs a happy ending. If Misaki died at the end, I wouldn’t even be writing about this at all. I’d just forget all about this and regret having spent nights watching this.
I still don’t like any of this
I think the main thing that ended up souring the whole show for me was how cold Satou treated Misaki throughout the entire thing. He rejected her offhandedly, repeatedly, and was OK with accepting her help but not OK with entertaining her struggle to be noticed.
Another thing I didn’t like was the pacing. It felt as if Satou just languished around for 24 episodes until finally he was forced to search for work.
What the fuck was that scene at the cliff? It reminded me of Stein’s Gate, with the evil shadow organization talk. After being shrewd enough to catch Misaki before she kills herself, he babbles about the NHK (inviting Misaki to accept that her problems aren’t because she’s a bad person, nor that she deserves it). A little weird, but that’s what I expect. Then, he goes to jump off the cliff himself??????
Really struggling to make sense out of that. On the surface, it seems he imagines a physical NHK he can attack for both his and Misaki’s sake. He resolves to make a suicide attack. His run to the cliff and him actually leaping off makes it hard to think it’s an act prompting Misaki to act, and makes it rather seem like he is actually insane. He tried to kill himself out of frustration for his situation and how badly Misaki has fared in the world? It just doesn’t feel at all realistic.
For me, fictional stories can be as unrealistic as they want in terms of environment, situation, technology, etc. But if human characters behave in a way that is completely unrelatable, I can’t enjoy it. Why would he kill himself there? I understand he may have become very emotional. However, there is no line of thinking I can attach to this that isn’t ‘he went completely insane and actually thought he held a bomb, actually thought he saw the manifestation of ‘NHK’, the source of all problems, and actually thought he could erase it by jumping into it with his bomb-phone.’ If he did go insane, why right then? It took Misaki trying to kill herself for her to register as another human being in his mind. He faced Hitomi’s desire for suicide before. Satou shows way too little appreciation for Misaki for me to understand him going insane right there.
Is it just so he can have a dramatic death to show he isn’t a loser anymore? Or that it’s unreasonable to expect something dramatic to happen at the end? Thanks, but I don’t need something that abstract in my anime.
This isn’t the only time I couldn’t relate to Satou, but it was a major point.
I just finished this series so I didn’t have a chance to look at any other viewers’ analysis. Maybe that will help. But, I think if I don’t appreciate something until after I learn more about it, it just wasn’t for me. It’s OK if I like something, then after searching more about it I like it even more. I did not like watching NHK Ni Youkoso to begin with, though.
It’s not NOTHING
It’s nice to think about the human condition and think about the problems presented here reflected in my own life. I’ll give it that much. If I wanted to think about these things though, I feel I would have been better off getting drunk and talking about it in real life.