Hey Kaushik here with another anime review. This week it’s Tonari no Seki-kun, or My Neighbor Seki. It’s a little bit different from the normal shows I review, as it’s a series of 7 to 10 minute shorts instead of full 22 minute episodes, but that detracts nothing from the over all quality of the show. Tonari no Seki-kun, or Seki-kun for short, is a pure comedy series that aired from January to May 2014, and is based off the manga of the same name. For the long and short of my thoughts on this show, well, it’s great. But for a more detailed review let’s keep going~
Seki-kun is a pure comedy series. There’s no other content to it, really, other than the jokes. No slice of life segments, no drama, no nothing. A lot of recent comedy series aren’t like this, so it’s somewhat refreshing to see. Being confined to such short episode lengths works out really well for a series like this actually. The jokes are kept fresh and somewhat self-contained, so things don’t get too stale over the course of the episode. There are some running gags through the series, but they are mostly kept to a minimum. This kind of pacing really serves a series like this well and keeps the comedy solid.
The format for these episodes are actually really simple. There’s two main characters, Yokoi Rumi, and Seki Toshinari. Yokoi is Seki’s classmate, and sits next to him in the back of the class. She’s generally a serious-minded student who just wants to pay attention in class. Unfortunately, Seki is quite the opposite: he is a master of killing time, and often brings ridiculous and ludicrous bundles of objects to the class in order to have a little fun.
Gags for episodes include creating an animation, making a chess battle set, and all sorts of playing with toys. Some of the things Seki is capable of doing is actually quite impressive and often I find myself enjoying the things he does just by how cool it looks, rather than the comedic value it offers to the show. Each episode involves a new gag by Seki, while Yokoi offers her thoughts and either tries to get Seki to pay attention in class, or gets herself wrapped up in whatever Seki is doing that day.
One interesting feature of this show is how little spoken dialogue there is. Yokoi is the main character, and the show is mostly populated by her thoughts as she remarks on what Seki is doing in class. So while there’s a lot of body language conversation between the two, it’s kind of odd how there’s no spoken words between them. In fact, Seki doesn’t really ever talk in the entire show. He does laugh one or two times, but that’s the extent of his dialogue. That ends up doing a lot for the comedy in this show, as a lot of it doesn’t really have to do with wordplay or saying dumb things. Instead most of it is conveyed through actions, which can be more interesting and definitely grabs the attention better.
I enjoyed how the character designs were handled for this show. Everything is quite simply done, and it reflects the source material very well. While it stays simple, it still looks great and conveys the jokes in the show very well, since it’s more of a visual style of comedy to begin with. This is is also true for the art in general for the show. The animation style is similarly good, and conveys all the material of the show very well.
I’m not a huge fan of the opening theme of the show, “Meiwaku Spectacle” by Hanazawa Kana (who also voices the main character, Yokoi). It’s a difficult to follow song that moves in a lot of directions. However, I really loved the ending theme for Tonari no Seki-kun. It’s called “Set them Free” by Akira Jimbo, and is a really stylish and classy song. It’s funny since I’d say between the two, the opening theme fits the show a lot better, but the disconnect between the ending theme and the content of the show is so stark, and the ending theme itself is so great in general, that I just fell in love with it. Another cute little thing to notice is the fact that both the ending and opening themes’ animations are yet another gag by Seki.
-Great comedy, necessary for a pure comedy show
-Good main characters, interesting relationship between the two
-…I’ve got nothing
Animation Director: Yuji Mutoh
Original Character design: Masae Otake
Music: Akifumi Tada
Original creator: Takuma Morishige (manga)
Original run: January 5, 2014 – May 25, 2014
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