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NHK ni Youkoso 2

Humourous fun, this. Humourous fun with dead earless Cat in the Hat mascots.

We start off where Episode 1 left off, at the park. Misaki demands that Tatsuhiro join her project to return him to society, although he adamantly repeats that he is not a hikkomori. She hands him a contract to sign, firmly saying that this is his last chance to end his hikkomori ways. We also learn that she's not part of a cult, and that she lives near the park. The lady she was with when she first visited his apartment was her aunt, who she was merely accompanying on her rounds. She will wait for him every night there until he agrees to let her save him. (Seriously makes you wonder who's the nut here.)

Tatsuhiro is just pissed and horny at the same time, because he can't stop staring at her breasts or her thighs however pushy she gets about helping him. He does point out a signboard at the park warning against molesters, and asks if she's scared. Masaki asks him if he's a molester, to which he openly says no, so she tells him she has nothing to worry about it.

Back at the apartment, Tatsuhiro spends another day wasting away, masturbating, shadow-boxing, watching TV and eating ramen. Towards evening, his crazy neighbour is playing the purin girl song again, and he starts singing it to lyrics he's memorized. Realizing what he's doing, he gets up to kick at the wall.

He's still at his apartment past nine o'clock. Wondering Masaki is still at the park waiting for him. His imagination starts to go wild imagining molesters trying to rape her in the middle of the night, so Tatsuhiro ends up running to the park anyway. Once there, Masaki is simply petting a cat, and tells him he's an hour late. Tatsuhiro demands to know who she is, doing what she does, to which she replies that she's just a nice girl trying to save a hikikomori's life. (Right, she's really not a member of a cult.)

Tatsuhiro continues denying that he's a hikikomori. Masaki points out he admitted to being as such himself when she saw him that first time. She has been watching him, since she knows he comes to the park every Sunday to stare into space. And he's jobless. Tatsuhiro completely denies that part, claiming to work from home. The visit to the manga cafe was just a whim. He's completely off kilter now, pulling stuff out of his bum about being a "creator" and therefore a creative eccentric person who is just highly misunderstood. An IT specialist creating something to rival Bill Gates and Linus Torvalds. Masaki just tells him to remember the contract tomorrow.

Tatsuhiro is drinking in his apartment, being sullen. His neighbour's music is driving him nuts, as usual. Every time he gets this way, he hears the laughter of the dead earless Cat in the Hats. Tatsuhiro explains this as coming from a novel he once read about a man who turns out to be the last survivor on Earth, kept by aliens in his home as a hikkomori so he will never find out about the outside world. He likes to think that he is the man in question. The earless Cat in the Hats, therefore, are his visualizations of the alien. This time though, the music is unbearable, so Tatsuhiro does what he was never able to before -- go out and confront his neighbour. When the neighbour doesn't answer his door, he opens it, and finds the same young student he helped in high school, a guy called Yamazaki.

Flashback to his high school years. Tatsuhiro joined the Literature Club only because he was attracted to his pretty upperclassman. They would turn out to be the Club's only two members. Tatsuhiro spent his days there playing with cards and listening to the upperclassman's conspiracy theories. Until the day they met the younger student getting bullied, and Tatsuhiro went in to help him out. Although Tatsuhiro was badly beaten, the student, Yamazaki, was impressed.

Yamazaki, a hardcore anime otaku, thinks its nice his neighbour turned out to be Tatsuhiro, and apologizes for the music. He thinks Tatsuhiro must be a fourth-year university student by now, and Tatsuhiro is too ashamed to tell him otherwise. Yamazaki himself has applied at a vocational school. Tatsuhiro remembers that when he first came into the apartment, Yamazaki was actually crying, so he asks him if he's being bullied at the new school too. It seems that Yamazaki was upset because his classmates are all idiots who don't know the first thing about computer games (his vocational school is a game design school! W00t!). Tatsuhiro's cure for this is to get both of them drunk. They end up talking through the night.

In the morning, Tatsuhiro notices one of Yamazaki's Game Design textbooks, and asks him if he's a Game Creator. Remembering his conversation with Masaki about being a "creator", he borrows the book.

That night, he shows the book to Masaki and tells her he's a Game Creator, a graduate from that vocational school. She flips through it and asks him what Object-Oriented Programming is. (Made me laugh here -- I'm still trying to get past the entire coolness of game design school.) Tatsuhiro bypasses her whole question and tries to convince her he really a Game Creator. So Masaki asks him if he can show her his project. He tells her it's incomplete. She insists she wants to see his graduation project, at least. Interesting thing here -- throughout their conversation, the screen keeps flipping back to the signboard talking about molesters in the park. Tatsuhiro asks for a month to show her his project, since he's busy. Masaki gives him that month.

After Masaki runs off, Yamazaki suddenly pops out from behind the molester sign. Back at Yamazaki's apartment, he's not happy about Tatsuhiro's story. However, he wants to make the game with Tatsuhiro. Not just because he wants to help him impress the girl, but because he sincerely wants to help his friend recover from being a NEET. (Note: There's more cool in-show music at this point. Apart from the acoustic guitar bits, we now have a rockish track. And I do keep mistyping that as "in-game" music.)

Tatsuhiro is ecstatic. Yamazaki asks the question though, what kind of skills does Tatsuhiro actually have? He can't draw, compose music or programme. This leaves the game's writing. Tatsuhiro turns out to be pretty lazy about this, saying he hasn't written a story since middle school. Yamazaki pretty much threatens Tatsuhiro to develop a spine (and a script).

They may be underfunded, lacking staff, and woefully unskilled, but Yamazaki truly believes there is a bloody path ahead that leads to glory, a kind of game that can be made under these abysmal circumstances that may reap great profits. (Game creation! This is so immediately one of my favourite shows!) He also states very firmly that saying, "I want to quit," in the middle of the process is out of the question. Tatsuhiro gives Yamazaki his word. Just, well, one more question. What sort of game are they making?

An eroge.


(So at least we've now established where Gonzo will be dropping the goods in this gig...)


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