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NHK ni Youkoso 4

"The girl who saved him from his hikkomori ways looked like an ordinary girl, but in reality, she was a goddess."

That's a terrible line.

"People who make galge must be really something."

Tatsuhiro discovers that people long to escape from reality. Galges are made for men who have no chance at real girls, for them to obtain the men who demean and look down upon geeky men.

"That two-timing bitch who ran away with the convenience store manager."
"That junior high school girl who toyed with my youth."
"In reality, there aren't any decent girls."
"That's why girls in galges must fulfill their every desire."

- Yamazaki, after violently destroying a pillow.

Dude has issues. Thus, Tatsuhiro must create girls who do not exist in the real world.

This was another fascinating episode, with more insights into the world of writing dating sims. About a quarter of it was spent with Yamazaki reciting the dating sim girl archetypes: the childhood friend, the maid (Tatsuhiro thinks of an obaa-san maid) and the robot (Tatsuhiro thinks of 1960s square robots -- "Weren't we creating a galge?"). As he writes his notes, Tatsuhiro realizes that Misaki, who is attracted to him for no reason, who approaches him with pure intentions and means no harm, is already the perfect dating sim girl.

Misaki is looking at her calendar, marking down the last 10 days before she meets Tatsuhiro. She thinks about him as she stares out into the night.

Tatsuhiro is running through a dating sim, undressing a girl called Apple. He thinks back upon the conversation he had with Hitomi from the last episode, picking up right after she asks him if he'd miss her when she died. Young Tatsuhiro can't understand what she's getting at. Hitomi seems really far away, worrying about them in the context of conspiracies going down to smallest atoms. In his darkened bedroom, Tatsuhiro is staring at his monitor and sees what looks like the post-coital scene of a galge. He thinks aloud that if the scene with Hitomi had been a game, he would've been able to replay it as many times as he liked.

As the deadline presses forward by another two days, Yamazaki is trying to beat reality out of Tatsuhiro's mind, as he feels its corrupting his perspective of thinking within the game. Tatsuhiro thinks it would be helpful to base the girls on real girls, and thinks it might help if he actually had real models to base them on. Yamazaki immediately gets the idea of taking Tatsuhiro to see "real models". The only problem is getting Tatsuhiro out of the house. Cue great rock track and Yamazaki being a completely nut as he bodily drags Tatsuhiro, who is clinging to his floor as the almighty hikkomori who hasn't left his home in three years. Yamazaki asks if Tatsuhiro would prefer it if he called the police, because food has gone missing from his home lately, including rare Okinawan soba noodles that were sent to him by a friend. There's a butt shot of Tatsuhiro showing said noodles as he says this, which Tatsuhiro is busy trying to kick off screen. One way or the other, Yamazaki manages to drag his friend outside.

Great scenery of suburban life occurs, gradually changing to that of Akihabara. Tatsuhiro is impressed with this "holy land". They end up at a maid cafe where the bowing bevy of cute girls in maid dresses steals his breath away. Yamazaki explains that maid cafes exist to give normal people a chance to experience having a maid, since real maids would simply be too expensive. While they're there, Yamazaki also suggests they do a survey of the market. The boys head to a popular doujin shop, where Tatsuhiro gets his first glimpse of doujinshi and the joys of seeing people you know from TV do nasty things to each other. (Yamazaki's expression as he eggs on Tatsuhiro to indulge is outright scary.) Yamazaki goes into even deeper orgasmic delight when he spots new PIrin-chan merchandise (the pudding girl from the pudding girl song, which helpfully starts playing to remind us of its frightful ways). The show is laden with educational terms for me at this point. I've know actually learnt that the Japanese word for a Dutch wife is a dakimakura, and thanks to the otaku equivalents of this product, I suppose it'll be burnt into my brain for a bit.

Tatsuhiro gets bored with Yamazaki's pudding girl fascination and starts exploring the store, passing normal soldier figurines and a gundam. He's surprised to see building scale models is still popular, and notes that the quality of the models has improved since his day. (He also picks up a box as he does so, and the gundam inside is an odd-looking blonde, large bossomed female shape with pink armour.) The pururin song is still playing, talking about inanely wanting to be in someone's arms instead of on the phone, fluffy like a marshmallow. Tatsuhiro bumps into someone and immediately apologizes, only to find himself face to face with a life size model of a game character called Mio. After avoiding her harsh price tag, Tatsuhiro finds a cabinet with a scale model of Misao, the first girl he chose in a game from the last episode who looked like Misaki. A random stranger passes by singing the pururin song as he leaves the store with lots of bags. Tatsuhiro drops to his knees and ties his shoelaces. He tries to look up the scale model's skirt. As he starts getting pervy thoughts, Yamazaki arrives with his pillow to comment that the series of scale models he's looking is known for its high quality. Tatsuhiro says he was just tying his shoelaces. Yamazaki responds that even the skirt of this model is removable.

Tatsuhiro is fascinated, but comes to his senses and says that he doesn't intend to buy this product. Yamazaki tells him gravely that the most important thing for a creator is to understand what the end user feels, and sometimes, it's necessary to follow the end users' actions to do that. Tatsuhiro purchases the model. He finds out it's the last one in the store, so Yamazaki now teaches him the first rule of thumb about visiting the holy land: if you see something you like, you should get it. After all, Tatsuhiro was probably fated to meet Misao today. (Yamazaki is so evil it's cool.)

Tatushiro goes on a spending spree and bonding trip with Yamazaki, with the two of them purchasing DVDs and doujinshi volumes. He asks Yamazaki how he manages to put food on the table after all those purchases, but Yamazaki simply states he would starve for PIrin-chan.

At another maid cafe, Yamazaki asserts his point: in order to make a legendary galge, they need to be passionate about what they do. Yamazaki believes that of late, products have been made to meet market demand without actual originality. (He illustrates his point by showing off three comics about characters that resemble the OS-tans, based on an OS called Mindows.) Tatsuhiro gets Yamazaki's plan: to build a game that follows convention, but also takes radical shifts in new directions at the same time. Tatsuhiro gets a revelation.

Their heroine will be a childhood friend and a classmate, a robot and a maid! An alien! A person who sustained injuries so serious on behalf of the protagonist, she took a year to heal up! A fox spirit from the future! (Hamp begins to cry...)

Yamazaki, similarly inspired, begins drawing the first picture of their new heroine.

Tatsuhiro rips it up in horror and kicks the table into his face.

Later, Tatsuhiro tells Yamazaki that the idea was pretty ridiculous. Yamazaki says he was only working on his cues, but Tatsuhiro was essentially pulling his leg. Since Yamazaki left something at the cafe, he runs back to get it, leaving Tatsuhiro alone to smoke. He watches the city around him, resulting in more beautiful animated scenery. The light effects here are subtle, but profound, to borrow an Iron Chef staple. It's a very thoughtful sketch of Tokyo for those of us wanting to see through the character's eyes. While looking for his lighter, Tatsuhiro finds the contract Misaki wrote for him. He also remembers Hitomi's worries. There is a rap on the window. Tatsuhiro turns. Behind the glass is his senpai, calling his name.

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