Welcome to the NHK! – 14 to 15 – MMORPGs destroy lives… mmmk?

The relentless waves of depression continue unabated with these two episodes as Satou (hardly recovered from his suicidal exploits) stupidly falls foul to the life sucking world of MMORPGs. These highly addictive and never ending online games are undoubtedly one of the major forces behind what is becoming a worldwide epidemic of hikkimori, but what if, like Satou, you’re a hikkimori before even signing in? You already have no work and no responsibilities – so there is no reason for a break, you can just play the game all day and all night without a worry in the world.
The end of episode 15 was a harrowing and unhinged sight. Satou’s suicide attempts felt like melodramatic entertainment, as if he was looking for (and found) a reason to survive, but now he appears to be a lost cause, detached from reality and convinced he has somehow improved his life style. MMORPG’s offer a gradual yet hollow sense of achievement, making it seem as if going up a few power levels was worth the weeks of effort.
Like most entertainment mediums, MMORPG’s are an easy escape from reality, but where movies usually finish after 2 hours; these games can essentially run forever. For an amusing but ultimately just as depressing satire of MMORPGs, take a look at South Park episode 147.
Satou is lucky to have Misaki and even Yamazaki checking up on him. In reality a cute girl does not knock on the door of a hikkimori. Then again perhaps their concerned interference is harming his progress. If Satou is ever going to change, he has to want to do it. No matter how much Yamazaki bugs him about their gal-game or Misaki lectures him about recovering, Satou has to hit rock bottom to decide how he wants to live. Misaki, Yamazaki and even his parents are dragging him on, allowing him to quietly trudge through life, when all he needs is a bit of tough love.

3 replies on “Welcome to the NHK! – 14 to 15 – MMORPGs destroy lives… mmmk?”

"In reality a cute girl does not knock on the door of a hikkimori."
So true.
"All he needs is a bit of tough love."
Ridiculously true (and something that most people aren’t willing to do).
From the preview for the next episode, I’m guessing that Sato’s going to get a major wake-up call from his new online "friend." She (he?) seems a bit fishy to begin with, and I’m almost positive that s/he will end up trashing whatever little ego Sato’s built up by gaining levels.
I am definitely looking forward to seeing the resultant galge, and even moreso the process Sato undergoes to get to its completion. As of now the only thing that I’m afraid that NHK will do is end abruptly (like some manga-based anime tend to do). Other than that, it’s fully satisfied my deepest otaku urgings, even moreso than Genshiken, and let me live the crazy shut-up life vicariously through its characters.

"As of now the only thing that I’m afraid that NHK will do is end abruptly (like some manga-based anime tend to do)."
I find it hard to imagine how it will end, other than the eventual rehabilitation of Satou. I would like to leave the series with him just about to start a job, or go out with Misaki. I think that would be a fair, if somewhat predictable end. It will be too depressing if it just stops with him like he is now.

I can’t help but think that the series will carry on as it is for a while yet – how far has the manga got so far? They’ve covered a few social issues in the first half of the anime, and will probably go through some more otaku/NEET-related themes before wrapping the whole thing up. Unfortunately I’m more interested in what happens between Satou and his friends than the parodies of RPGs and dating sims, so quite a few jokes in ep 15 went over my head.
There is definitely something strange about Mia though – I think she’ll be the one to shatter his dreams of being an RPG master before long!

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