You probably have had some days when you were at school, looking like this...
Bored out of your mind. Totally uninterested with what is being said in front of the class. Thinking there were dozens of ways you could actually spend your time better than sitting there, listening to a lecture of some old bastard?
Well, then you never had a neighbor like Seki Toshinari. Because if there's anything he's specialized in, it's killing his time spent in class. Whether he's playing around with Shogi or Transformers, being creative with domino's or even knitting (lol, wut?), or doing mundane things like polishing his desk, Seki will find a way to make his boring classes entertaining!
Let's go over this this series of short episodes!
V Reviews - My neighbor Seki: The Master of Killing Time
Tonari no Seki-kun (or My Neighbor Seki: The Master of Killing Time as it's sometimes known) is a gag manga created by Takuma Morishige and has been running on a monthly basis since 2010 in the seinen magazine "Monthly Comic Flapper".
Morishige has been active in the manga industry since 2006, but has only had "mild" successes until Seki. Most of his stories tend to wrap up in 1 or 2 volumes and are either horror or Slice of life series. This one is his first story he's able to upkeep for more than five years now. And it's still going (9 volumes as of August 2016, with a 10th probably not too far away form now).
And in 2014, the manga got released as a short anime by Shin-Ei Animation, a studio who is mostly known for kid-friendly shows like Shin-Shan, Doraemon and Ninja Hattori-kun. But recently, they are also releasing more seinen titles under their name, like Sweetness & Lightning, Trickster and thus also this My Neighbor Seki.
Also, due to the appeal, it also got turned into a short-lived TV drama (8 short episodes only).
FYI: If you want to read more on Mr. Morishige, you can follow him on twitter: @morisget
Rumi Yokoi has the bad luck that when she's in class, she has to sit next to Seki(-kun). Seki doesn't really say much (outside of a few Link-alike grunts). But what does make it bad for her is that he's constantly playing around with stuff and ends up distracting her from the class she's supposed to follow.
No matter what she does, each lesson he picks something different from his bag and starts playing with it. Whether it's Shogi, Transformer robots or miniature golf; he doesn't care about the lesson and just starts playing around.
And even if she tries to ignore him, he makes it REALLY hard to do so.
And it probably doesn't help that Yokoi herself has a vivid imagination. I mean, how does a simple play of Shogi turn into this...?
For the rest, the episodes are stand-alone. So you can watch any episode out of order and you won't miss a thing. In some episodes Seki gets away with everything, in others it's Yokoi who gets the final laugh. In the end, it is always entertaining to watch what Seki will pull out of his bag and how Yokoi will "counter" it.
Only two major characters here. The rest is "support" at best
|Rumi Yokoi: Main character of the show. She voices everything and has to sit through each of Seki's play-sessions. She tries to keep Seki away from playing and tries to get him to focus on studying... with not such great results. Instead, she's the one who is often distracted from the lessons due to Seki-kun. It doesn't help that she has quite an imagination as well.|
|Toshinari Seki (oh, that wordplay): The boy sitting next to Yokoi who just can't seem to get interested in school and just plays instead. You have to admit it, his imagination and creativity is top notch. And when he does put his effort behind something, there isn't much in the world that can stop him. Also, he can have a bit of a mean streak to him.|
On short anime the budget is automatically limited. The thing to look forward to is how a studio handles a limited budget!
In this case, the animators were asked to keep the "real" schoolworld as mundane and simple as possible, while putting extra effort in making the jokes "shine" as much as possible.
The end result is indeed that the main characters and background look lackluster and boring; as if the entire show was created in the early 2000s. But when fantasy goes haywire, you see the animation really come to life. Whether it's the domino race, Shogi becoming a little more realistic, or the dire climbing of Teddy on a mountain (of a man), the animation can take a turn for the magnificent and draw you in.
On sound levels, this show shines. While the random tracks are quite fitting to the mood (including the hilarious robot song), it's the Opening and Ending that are the most entertaining.
Both OP and ED use animation that uses Seki's playfullness to its maximum potential. This resulted in an OP and ED I didn't skip... not even once! Which is rare for me (I usually skip at least one of them).
Oh, and if the ED sounds awesome to "tick along" with with your fingers? There's one person you got to thank for that: master-level drummer/composer Akira Jimbo composed the ending theme "Set them free", and even did a promo video for it while showing his skills:
Oh, and on a side-note... Kudo's to voice actress Kana Hanazawa, since she had to voice almost every episode all by herself (outside of a handful of supporting characters who don't even appear every episode). This because Seki doesn't talk.
Personal opinion and enjoyment
I liked this anime from the get-go, but quickly ran into its major flaw... It's kind of a one-trick pony. Every episode is a gag surrounding Seki playing with something and distracting or annoying his neighbor Yokoi. If you try to binge-watch this, you will definitely get bored of it in the long run. So if anything, this is one of those shows that are better enjoyed when watching in smaller bursts.
Overall I give this a 7.5/10.
Is it the greatest anime ever created? No... definitely not.
BUT! Is it something to watch during/after a boring day at school? Absolutely, YES!
This is one of those shows that you will enjoy even more if you go to school, because almost every single prank that Seki pulls or every single thing he plays with is something we all secretly wanted to do in school as well. And watching him act it out is just very, very enjoyable to watch.
No need to search for subs (you're gonna have a hard time doing that), you can actually watch it for free at Crunchyroll. If you have ten minutes to spare on a day, go watch one of these episodes. http://www.crunchyroll.com/tonari-no-seki-kun-the-master-of-killing-time/videos
That's it for me now.
Until next time, V out.