Anime: Tonari no Seki-Kun: The Master of Killing Time (Complete Collection)
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Retail Price: $49.98
If you are looking to enjoy a slice-of-life anime series with an overall lighthearted and carefree demeanor, the anime Tonari no Seki-Kun: The Master of Killing Time is most likely the perfect series for you! In the anime, it focuses on the mini-adventures that take place during class hours when two students detach themselves from their surroundings. Initially, we are introduced to Yokoi, a young girl and serious student who has a strong desire to learn from her teacher’s various lessons. Unfortunately (but not really) for Yokoi-san, someone she views as a major distraction makes it hard to invest in her education. The young man named Seki (Seki-kun) conducts his own random activities that make it impossible not to find interest in what he’ll do next.
Seki is always finding a way to entertain himself in the back of the classroom, whether it entails creating a game of his own or creating something new and original on a whim. Of course his creativity has no schedule, so he isn’t afraid to make the most of his school hours (who can say that they haven’t channeled a little bit of Seki at one point in life?) To Yokoi’s dismay, she’s always the only one to notice his quirkyness - as if he doesn’t exist to the others surrounding them. To make things funnier, Yokoi can find herself so laser-focused that she is actually the one to get in trouble during the in class activities. Although she knows she could get into trouble or is missing out on school subjects, Yokoi becomes more invested in what he’ll do next with each passing episode of the anime series Tonari no Seki-Kun.
The tone of the anime stays at a constant heightened state of comedy, never straying from what the creators set out to do. Tonari no Seki-Kun is spaced out in a 21 episode series, but the episodes themselves only run for roughly less than 10 minutes. The short runtime is a perfect decision, giving it a better chance to blend with the short bursts of creativity that Seki exhibits. Since the anime thrives on brief story segments, there isn’t enough time to grow tired of the episodic nature that works so well as a selling point for new viewers. The series easily finds new and vastly amusing subjects for the short snippets between the two characters of Tonari no Seki-Kun without recycling other series’ comedy. The regular glances that are shared with Seki and Yokoi, in unison with his impressive craftsmanship creates a balance for the multiple comedic dynamics in the anime.
Because of the limited runtime and humorous approach, it doesn’t take a heavy focus at character development per say, but it feels plausible that enjoying characters in the rare moments is an actual asset to the Tonari no Seki-Kun anime. The diversely different characteristics and personality types between Seki and Yokoi make them the perfect two to focus on without drawing a major romantic inclusion. With that being said, the two could be viewed as a potentially sweet pairing, but the anime decides to stay as light as possible. Despite their deviations from each other, neither character seems to be annoying or extreme and feels like a fortuitous relationship that enhances the unique quality. Whether it’s in the middle of a elaborate domino setup, an extreme note passing mailroom or the most intricate game of shogi, you can witness the strengths of the imaginative anime series.
The animation is very subtle and perfect for the tonal tendencies of Tonari no Seki-Kun. Yokoi for example, is artistically depicted as your average school-girl, uniform and all, but has a distinguishable head of white hair as her most unforgettable animation attribute. Seki can most likely be seen making his focused and wacky expressions that make him the artistic standout of Tonari no Seki-Kun. The opening and closing themes of the anime series actually take up a decent chunk of the short runtime, but if you enjoy it as much as myself and others - you won’t mind the catchy songs on repeat. In all honesty, Tonari no Seki-Kun truly raises the bar for slice-of-life anime, finding the perfect technique to tell jovial stories in the right allotted time. I highly recommend you give the series a chance, it definitely wouldn’t take you very long to become interested! Tonari no Seki-Kun: The Master of Killing Time (aka My Neighbor Seki) is currently available for purchase on DVD and Blu-ray now, so make sure you check it out!
Overall Score: 8/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
Seki and Yokoi are a strong pair of characters to play off of for a fun-centric anime series.
Both the Japanese and English dubs of Tonari no Seki-Kun are well done, so fans of both will be pleased.
Even though I would enjoy longer episodes, there was something appealing about the contained humor that Tonari no Seki-Kun provided.