Master of killing time.
Seki Toshinari (Shimono Hiro) doesn’t like to pay attention during class. Instead, he spends his time on a variety of distractions, such as building a Rube Goldberg-class domino maze on top of his desk, complete with s-curves, multi-level crossings, and a cable car. The only person who seems to notice these various oddities is his classmate Yokoi Rumi (Hanazawa Kana), who often ends up getting in trouble with the teacher when she is distracted by Seki’s creations.
I wasn’t planning on writing individual episode reviews of Tonari no Seki-kun, because, quite frankly, there isn’t much to write about. Episode one is an eight-minute affair, containing one skit, that plays out in a fairly straight-forward fashion. Trying to do some sort of in-depth analysis of this show would simply be superfluous.
So why am I writing this? Well, I really like this show. A premature declaration, given that it is only one episode into its run, perhaps, but what an episode. In eight minutes, Tonari no Seki-kun’s first episode managed to do what many full-length anime first episodes fail to accomplish with three times the runtime. Namely, it has left me wanting more of the same.
Voiced by the brilliant Hanazawa Kana, our protagonist, Yokoi, serves as a perfect example of a comedic “straight man“, reacting to the crazy antics of Seki-kun. It is a comedic relationship that is simple, yet effective. The antic in question during the first episode was Seki-kun’s elaborate domino maze, complete with what seemed to be an explosive finale.
Fortunately for Yokoi, Seki-kun does have some limits, limits that include not setting off a firework in the middle of history class (speaking of which, if you pay attention to the top subs during the episode, you get a short lesson on the Nanboku-chō period). Unfortunately for Yokoi, by playing the role of the straight man, she often ends up attracting unwanted attention to herself.
As aforementioned, this single skit lasts the whole eight minutes or so of the show. Often, anime “shorts” feel a bit too short – they leave you wishing that there was more to them – but that is not the case with Tonari no Seki-kun. By going with a runtime that is much less than the usual anime episode (around 23 minutes), but around twice as long as the usual anime short, the producers of Tonari no Seki-kun seem to have found a length that is just perfect for their series.
Basically, if you like fun, situational comedy (reminiscent of some of the best Nichijou skits), definitely check out Tonari no Seki-kun. For what it is, this anime has started off in an excellent manner. As the saying goes, “To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short”. This show commits neither sin.
Episode Rating: 9/10 – Pretty much perfect, for what sort of show it is.
- The OP (wherein Seki-kun storyboards, works on character design, and then animates the anime itself) is great, and the ED is fantastic.
- A surprisingly great, hyperbolic soundtrack.
- HanaKana is great, as usual.
- There is a voice actor cast for Seki-kun, but I can’t imagine him being a very vocal character.
- The 8-minute length seems perfect for this sort of anime. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is imitated in the future.
- The animation quality isn’t outstanding, but it is completely serviceable, and quite good when it needs to be good.