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A thousand ways to do nothing. Review of Tonari no Seki-kun

Tonari no Seki-kun


With spring time just around the corner and everyone entirely ready for this snow to be done, Baltimorian face the question of what to do as it gets warmer. Why not go see Uncle Kracker and ask him? March 13th at the Baltimore Sound Stage, Uncle Kracker will be heating up the stage. Tickets are on sale now but there’s still some chance to win some from stations like 106.5FM and Rachel Logan. But hey, while you’re inside, you might as well peep the anime of the week. This week, we’re covering Tonari no Seki-kun: the Master of Killing Time.

Yokoi (left) and Seki (right) as seen in the manga
Takuma Morishige

Tonari no Seki is an increasingly anime based off a manga. Featured now on, the series involves a school life of a boy and a girl. Specifically, while the teacher isn’t looking, Toshinari Seki is busy tinkering away and playing games. Rumi Yokoi on the other hand is trying to pay attention but ultimately gets dragged into Seki-kun’s flow in a hilarious way. That’s basically the premise of the show, though it’s a bit more than that. Like the anime Pupa, it has a really short run time, which led to a bit of skepticism about whether it was worth watching. However, unlike Pupa, the episodes are completely stand alone. There’s a complete plot and it’s not spoofed or in the habit of leaving the viewer with a few overly emphasized images that look like it was cut out of a manga. Each episode has about a total of a seven minute runtime. The actual runtime is about five minutes long.

There are only two central characters going through some of the craziest desktop adventures. The first is poor Yokoi who always get pulled into trouble. And of course Seki himself has the most magical skills including the ability to keep rebuilding his desk despite what insane things he does to it. Voiceless as he is, Seki’s antics somehow go completely unnoticed by the rest of the class. That is except for the one episode where he played postman for the rest of the class and passed notes around. The pacing of the story within the five minutes is what really makes the series so addictive, as well as the chemistry between the two characters.. The comedy isn’t forced. It’s fairly mild and light hearted and it will be interesting to see how it’s interpreted outside the classroom which can only be fathomed to be season two.

If nothing else, Tonari no Seki definitely has a very traditional feel to it, at least as anime go. The art style is truly vintage. It’s an anime and/or manga that anyone could get into. And if nothing else the opening and ending song are catchy. “Set Them Free,” by Akira Jimbo shows off the Japanese’s amazing swing jazz stylings. Unfortunately, the opening song, “Meiwaku Spectacle" by Kana Hanazawa, isn’t as catchy but is a fair enough lead into the series. All in all, Tonari no Seki deserves a watch through at least once, and that’s not something to say about even the best anime. But as is the flow, you’ll either love it or you’ll really hate. Either way, give it a shot and find out for yourself. And as always, keep laughing, keep reading, watching and smiling.