The Winter 2014 Anime Preview Guide
Tonari no Seki-kun
Review: In this short, a conscientious girl finds herself the sole witness to the masterful exploits of the world's finest squanderer of school time, the titular Seki-kun in the next seat over. In this episode Seki sets up an elaborate run of rubber-eraser dominoes—complete with teeter-totter and domino zipline—which prompts his neighbor, straight-laced Rumi, to fret, getting her in trouble with the teacher while Seki miraculously gets off scot-free. Seki's project is amusingly epic, but it's easy to see the show suffering from diminishing returns down the road. That Rumi, the good student, gets swatted for trying to rein in Seki while the show celebrates his self-absorption also doesn't reflect well on the series.
Tonari no Seki-kun is available streaming at Crunchyroll.
Rating: 3 (of 5)
Review: Just about everyone has probably come up with creative ways to kill time during a boring class at some point or another in their academic careers, which makes the content of this roughly eight minute long short easy to relate to. The gimmick here is very simple: a girl sits in the back of the class by Seki, a boy whose whole goal appears to be to construct outlandish ways to goof off without the teacher noticing, and observes what he does. The plan seems to be to focus on one stunt per episode, and the first one up is using erasers, a ruler, pencils, and other mostly-common school items to set up a rather elaborate domino arrangement. Speaking as a classroom teacher, any teacher would have to be half-blind or utterly incompetent not to notice something like that going on, but that is, of course, part of the joke. The technical merits are surprisingly good for a short and the scheme in this episode (including the dirty looks Seki gives the girl when she almost prematurely knocks over his set-up) is actually somewhat funny, so this one could have some promise as a light diversion. It has a clever little closer, too.
Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Seki-kun, the kid who sits next to Yokoi in the back of the classroom, is a master of killing time. Every time she looks over, he's doing something weird. In this episode, he's building a massive domino sculpture out of erasers that he keeps pulling from his bag, to say nothing of a rocket. But the teacher never seems to notice what Seki-kun is up to, instead getting Yokoi in trouble when she tries to stop the delinquent student from his distractions.
Hopefully this show will keep escalating Seki's gags, because otherwise this will get old fast. When you add in the less than stellar animation, coloring, and character designs, along with Kana Hanazawa's very shrill performance as Yokoi, make this not as fun as it could have been. That Seki is annoyed with Yokoi for distracting him is a nice touch, but for the most part, this is seven minutes of thinking, “That's kind of funny,” rather than laughing out loud.
Tonari no Seki-Kun is available streaming on Crunchyroll.
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