Reading through the both hilarious and painfully relatable at times manga Welcome to NHK has some interesting scenes. And while the series is ripe to pick from many uncomfortably real and all-too funny moments, there is one in particular I’d like to highlight, as I consider it an especially amusing set of scenes.
The chain of events leading up to what I’ll get to in a second started with Hitomi Kashiwa and Tatsuhiro Satou’s desire to help her regain smile again. He noticed something was off about her and wanted to do something about it, and in a string of misconstrued exchanges between one another, Satou ends up on an island where everyone is depressed and planning to commit suicide. Thus, once this realization sets in we get this:
Not too long after each person on the island reaches an epiphany that they don’t actually want to die and realize they have things to live for, and just when Satou’s about to confess something to convince Kashiwa out of her own depressed suicidal state, she gets a phone call about her marriage being accepted, instantly turns around and feels happy, and Satou is left crushed. So much so that a remarkable reversal in his state of mind occurs, going from the one who was anxious and afraid of dying to the only one set on doing it now.
What ensues is a dark and frighteningly hysterical back-and-forth between Satou and the others, with them desperately trying to convince him out of suicide and him having a snappy response that shuts down their pleas. Their reactions to his admittance of living such a pathetic life as a drain on society leaves them shocked and defeated in their attempts to persuade him out of his grave frame of mind.
By the end, we are left with a complete reversal of the situation – having gone from a hilarious and heavy misunderstanding to an even more comically sobering development – and an interesting series of events to take in, as we have just seen a whole group of people go from one extreme psychology to another in a matter of moments.
You may enjoy it as an academic exercise should you wish to pick apart the (un)makings of these characters, but I don’t have much to say (as I am still reading the manga) beyond being entertained and being able to relate to the characters and their complex issues. I just thought it was something worth noting, even just on the basis of them switching roles naturally being presented in such a fascinating way.