'Misaki Nakahara (中原岬)' is a main character in the anime, manga and novel of Welcome to the N.H.K series.
Misaki is an eccentric highschool girl who decides to help Tatsuhiro Satou with escaping from his hikikomori lifestyle. She lives in a mansion that has a clear view of Satou's apartment. In order to better help Satou, she successfully persuades him to meet her for nightly lectures. Despite taking on the role of mentor towards Satou, she herself also has a significantly warped world view which impedes her social interactions.
On the outside, Misaki seems to be a joyful and spirited girl around those she is comfortable with (albeit somewhat odd). However, she is convinced that everyone around her dies or has something generally bad happen to them. In an effort to remove this self imposed stigma, she decides to help Satou with his severe social anxiety.
Around other students of her age that she does not share a relationship with, she is seen as diffident and difficult to interact socially, often faltering or lying to escape from the moment, and to justify her own self-worth. As the story progresses, she starts to develop feelings of sorts for Satou, made apparent (in the anime) when she shouted that she needed Satou as he was about to jump off a cliff, going to his apartment everyday to make him lunch, and going as far as to attempt suicide when he seems to turn away from her.
Her personality greatly differs between manga and anime. In the manga, she is seen as sadistic and even manipulative, often times enjoying making a fool out of Satou. In the anime, she is more innocent and well behaved. Also, in the manga, it is proven that she is a very jealous type, going to lengths to punish Satou psychologically when he engages with Hitomi romantically.
In the anime and the manga, she is portrayed as someone who is interested in psychology and assisting others. In the anime, this is shown during her counseling sessions with Satou, where she tries to apply psychoanalysis. In the manga, it is recognized when she reveals her aspirations to be a counsellor, and turns the tables on Akira Jougasaki by keenly diagnosing and attempting to help him.
She is also somewhat compulsive. As seen when she hurriedly and suddenly runs off to somewhere to try to solve whatever problems Satou faces, coming up with strange methods of treatment for Satou, and even coming up with a "love contract".
Misaki is an 18-year old girl going onto 19,  and considered very attractive. She has short dark brown hair and brown eyes, and usually wears a yellow shirt with black sleeves and a blue jeans skirt. In the manga, she is also often seen wearing a a jacket with a scarf, a schoolgirl outfit, or pea coat with epaulets. It can be assumed that she is of above-average female height, as she is only a few inches shorter than both Tatsuhiro Satou and Kaoru Yamazaki.
The story regarding her immediate family differs depending on the source of media. In the anime, her father died right after she was born, and her mother remarried sometime after. Her stepfather was a drunkard and would often beat his family. Misaki's mother was no longer able to cope and committed suicide on the Ishihama Promontory. Misaki stayed with her stepfather till her 3rd year of middle school. It was hinted by her uncle that Misaki continued to be physically harmed by her stepfather. This was also made apparent by her cowering in fear when Satou acted like he was about to hit her, showing a flashback of her stepfather beating her. However, in the manga and light novel, while these details were mentioned, it was confirmed that they were a lie she made up to punish Satou for growing too close to Hitomi. In these stories, her parents are both alive and well, while the woman she tours around with is her mother and not her aunt. Her father is a rich business owner, and her mother works at a checkout market. It was not directly revealed what happened to her father, but Misaki hinted that everyone around her either dies or has bad luck fall upon them, like what happened to her mother and father. After middle school, she stayed with her uncle and aunt during high-school studies in Tokyo.
It is revealed in Chapter 24 of the manga that she had originally dropped out of high school, because she tried taking on too much at once, and eventually lost touch with the ones around her. She eventually enrolls in school again as a means of achieving university,
Meaning of the name "Misaki"
The word "Misaki" (岬) means "promontory" in Japanese. Her first father named her after the Ishihama Promontory, which existed near the house that her first father built. Ironically, this is the promontory by which many people have willingly cast away their lives by means of jumping. Notable attempts of suicide were made by Misaki's mother, Tatsuhiro and Misaki.
Anime, Manga and LN Differences
The largest difference between the manga and the anime is on the basis of Misaki Nakahara's childhood. In both, Misaki tells Tatsuhiro Satou that her father was an abusive alcoholic, her mother comitted suicide as a result, and the woman who she did missionary work with was her Aunt. In the anime, these facts remain true, and they effect many of her subconscious actions, motives, and even provide foundation for many of the events. For example, there are vague recollections of her mother's suicide in front of her eyes on Ishihama Promontory. This drove the location of her attempt in Episode 24 to commit suicide.
However, in the manga, she admits to Satou that she fabricated the entire story to make him feel bad, as a form of revenge. Little is known about her father, however, the woman she does missionary work with she refers to as "Mom", which suggests that she is alive and well.
In both the manga and the Light Novel, there is much more emphasis placed on the fact that Misaki uses Satou to justify her own sense of self-worth. In fact, she will go to the point of manipulating him in many cases, and uses her advantage over his desperate nature to turn Satou into a slave, whether for his own good or for her desires. In the anime, she is seen as much more attached and gentle with Satou. In fact, this shallow nature of her personality made it so that her backstory and personal life became irrelevant in the anime, while the manga and LN put much more emphasis on her life, as well as Yamazaki's. These changes are presumably to make her more palatable to a general audience, as Satou when given the rules for how to make a gal game heroine reflects how well those rules seem to fit Misaki.
|Tatsuhiro Satou • Misaki Nakahara • Kaoru Yamazaki • Hitomi Kashiwa|
|Megumi Kobayashi • Akira Jougasaki • Yuuichi Kobayashi • N.H.K. Agents • Shizue Satou • Makoto Minegishi • Nanako Hidorikawa • Yuu Kusano|