Episode 1 - "Welcome to the Project!"
"Satou waiting in the park"



English Name

"Welcome to the Project!"

Japanese Name

"Purojekuto ni Yōkoso!" (プロジェクトにようこそ!)

Manga equivalent

Chapter 1

Run Time

20 minutes

First Aired

July 9, 2006

Next episode

Welcome to the Creator!

Besides, I've known about you for a long time. I've come to rescue you.

Misaki Nakahara

Welcome to the Project! (プロジェクトにようこそ!, "Purojekuto ni Yōkoso!") is the first episode of the Welcome to the N.H.K anime.


The episode starts out with Tatsuhiro Satou in an eerie dream state. He believes that he's become involved in a large scale conspiracy, and spends the dream fighting off personified versions of his anxieties. Briefly, an image of Misaki Nakahara holding a parasol flashes by, which foreshadows his initial meeting of the character.

He is awoken by the clangor of his next-door neighbor's annoying music. On the verge of breaking, he tries to force himself outside, so he can complain to his neighbor about the music. However, he is haunted by distorted memories of his past where he believed he was being harassed and tormented by the students on his former college campus. These memories forced him to withdraw from his original plan.

Tatsuhiro lies on his couch, once again thinking deeply about the conspiracies that "control" his life and "force" him into being hikikomori. He recalls vivid memories of Hitomi Kashiwa, aka Senpai, relaying all of the conspiracies that exist in the world. Over time, he becomes increasingly more sucked into the illusion that everything revolving around him is a conspiracy.

Back in the real world, he's concluded that he too has fallen into one huge conspiracy. In this hallucination he has, the objects around him wake up, congratulating him for discovering the conspiracy. [1]

He "realizes" that Japan's major broadcasting station, the N.H.K., are the major conspirators behind his misfortune. Since the N.H.K. mass-produces anime, and viewers of anime tend to be reclusive social outcasts, the organization succeeds in turning Japan's population into hikikomori.

Tatsuhiro hears the doorbell ringing, and suspects it's the light bill collector, threatening his electricity. He rushes to the door, only to find a pairing of religious solicitors, Misaki and her aunt, arrive at the door. The informational pamphlet explains the recent epidemic of the increasing population of NEETs in Japan.[2] Tatsuhiro falters under the pressure of not having any social interaction skills, and falls under the assumption that the lady already knows that he is a NEET. He starts shouting at the lady, and puts up a horrible defense for himself which ultimately scares the lady away. Misaki falls behind as she stares at Tatsuhiro directly in the eyes, and gives him a half-smile.

Tatsuhiro decides to search for a part-time job to discredit the lady's assumption, and impress Misaki as well. He applies at a manga café, and to his astonishment, he finds Misaki working at the front desk. He stops short of asking her for an application and collapses under the embarrassment. He diverts the topic of discussion to motorcycles and then absconds the café.

Misaki drops off a letter at Tatsuhiro's house, stating that he has been chosen for her project, and asking him to meet him at the park. Tatsuhiro believes it's a trap, but tells himself that he was already planning on going to the park to relax, and so he meets her there. Misaki asks him why he ran away earlier, and if it's because he is hikikomori like she expects. She tells him that she's known about him for a long time and has come to rescue him from being a hikikomori.

Footnotes Edit

  1. In the anime, it is never directly revealed how Tatsuhiro falls into deep hallucinogenic states. However, in Volume 1 of the manga, Tatsuhiro achieves these hallucinations by snorting a powerful "legal" drug which takes him away from the real world.
  2. A NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) is a foreign term to describe people between 15 and 34 who are not attending or searching for education or employment. This word is has many similarities too, but is not identical to, hikikomori.