Awesome Series: 15. Welcome to the NHK (Boys into Men! – Shonen Week!)

Now, before you say anything, Yes this is indeed shonen. Welcome to the NHK ran in Shonen ACE so it is a legitimate shonen series. Here at slapped together shonen week we don’t care what a show is like as long as it ran in a magazine aimed at boys in Japan. That said, even though Welcome to the NHK does not look like something that would be a shonen series. It really is ment for the kind of people, specificity Japanese people that all they do is think about manga, or games or how the 3D world does not live up to their 2D reality. Because this series, mostly in its early episodes is a harsh truth disguised as a comedy.

Welcome to the NHK is about a lot of different people with horrible problems that are effecting the main protagonist, who him self has a lot of personal problems. There is one single ray of hope from this one girl who wants to fix him who also has a lot of problems of her own. It can get pretty messed up the obsessions that rub off on him from other people. No spoilers here but I am pretty sure the only one that could be only kind of messed up and mostly funny would be when he gets addicted to MMORPGS.

I think it is one of the best series that represents the the kind of shut in or “hikikomori” culture that has be going on in japan. This is not really about “otaku” it involves them but I would not say the main character is “otaku” in the Japanese sense because he is not focused on just one thing. I think the series can be very, very funny but it is also quite dark epically in the manga version. Though I do have to congratulate studio Gonzo on making a pretty good show that does not 100% fall apart after the first hand full of episodes. I think if you are interested in this kind of thing you will get something out of Welcome to the NHK at the expense of poor poor Saito.

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Awesome Series: 14. Detective Conan (Boys into Men! – Shonen Week!)

(I had to use the English opening because I could not find a T.V. sized vershon of the Japanese. Oh well it is the very same song and video just in English.)

Detective Conan is something that much like One Piece it is super, mega popular in Japan. Though over here in the U.S. and Canada not too many people care about it, but I think people at least know about One Piece here even if they have not seen any of it. This is pretty sad because Detective Conan or “Case Closed” as it is know here is actually a pretty good show. When it would show on YTV here (a Canadian broadcast station that used to show anime on Fridays) I would always tune in to check out the new episode. Weather or not the mystery in the show is actually very good never really mattered to me it was just fun to watch.

I think some of the problems people have with Detective Conan that are not into it are things like: Its very sit-com-ie in how it is run and American anime fans don’t normally take well to things that are not one solid story. I think this could stend for a bit of “Japanophila” in the way that Detective Conan is kind of like an american animated sitcom that resets at the end of every episode and the view especially among younger fans is that they don’t want their cartoons to be anything like American ones. Honestly to me is pretty funny because the shows that are  most popular in Japan would have no chance here at all. Things like Dorimon, Sazae-San, Chibi Maruko Chan and of course Detective Conan. I understand that American fan culture  is very, very different from what normal Japanese people are watching on T.V and by extension are still very different from the way Japanese Otaku work. But that is a topic for another day.

There is also another problem with this in the way that  Detective Conan is a show meant for families and kids in Japan. Here there is no way a show like Conan could fly on T.V. with the kind of air play it gets in Japan the show is just to violent for kids T.V. standards here. Half of the market is cut off right there and put on top of that what we just talked about that most anime fans wont give it a chance. That is another fairly large market cut off. The only people you have left watching your show are people who already know about it and already like it. I think this is the toughest part of trying to sell Conan to en American audience, who is the audience? 

Detective Conan runs in Weekly Shonen Sunday and has been that way for almost 20 years now. Also at the time of me writing this has just passed its 666th episode which is a ludicrous amount of episodes. I am not sure what the show with the most amount of episodes in Japan is but Conan has to be up there. Right now here in North America we have about 130 episodes and a hand full of movies of the series to watch. I understand 100% why Funimation has not licensed any more Conan, I mean why would they? No one probably buys it (I my self am guilty of this but those Viridian collections look pretttttty good). The Japanese probably want an insane amount of money per episode because it is so popular there. It is a sad thing, but this can be changed! everyone, Detective Conan is awesome and also super cheep! There is no reason for anyone to at least not give a couple episodes of Detective Conan a chance. Who knows, you may just think that it is awesome.

Remember everyone, One truth prevails!