English Title Translation: My Neighbour Seki (no official English title)
Watched in: Japanese
Genre: School Comedy
Length: 21 episodes (7 min. per ep.), 3 OVA
- Fun recall to hours of classroom boredom.
- Creative scenarios.
- Good humour.
- The girl grates one’s patience.
- Overdone script.
Tonari no Seki-kun brought a smile to my face as it recalled my middle school days – so thank you for recommending and requesting this review. I used to create courses for marbles on my desk – a sloped wooden monstrosity with a compartment underneath the lid, like this. I carved grooves in the desk (we could keep the one desk throughout the years) like a luge course, with a hole drilled at the end for the marble to fall through the lid. Things got elaborate with blue-tacked pencils and erasers. Or, if I wanted to get real crazy, the course would go up and down the desk, and I had to lift and drop the lid like a tilt table to get it to the end. Ah, those were the days.
As great as my class creations were, I had nothing on Seki. He creates golf courses, dominoes that end in fireworks, and even wars out of shogi pieces. Sitting next to him is our perspective character, Yokoi, who takes an eager interest and narrates Seki’s scenarios, despite telling him to stop messing around in class. In the end, his tomfoolery always seems to get her in trouble with the teacher.
Her narration is my only major problem with this anime. She overdoes it, telling us every little thing that happens in his scenarios, often aloud, which sounds forced. We get it girly! We can see what’s going on. It’s as if she explains the jokes when no one needed an explanation. The visual comedy alone shows the joke. Furthermore, the dialogue of sudden surprise that is good loses effectiveness when clouded by useless dialogue around it. She gets irritating. Perhaps she’s meant to be the irritating, nosy classmate we all once knew, but this isn’t the realistic type of irritating. On the other side, Seki doesn’t actually speak, but we know everything he’s trying to say. Less is more.
The creative scenarios vary in quality – some great, some average. My favourites were the shogi wars complete with betrayals, ambushes, court intrigue, and resurrections. The army general piece betrays the king piece from his own side and civil war breaks. I had plenty of laughs.
The short format is perfect. Nothing compels you to go from episode to episode, but it allows for enjoyment an episode at a time without padding. Tonari no Seki-kun is a cute anime made by a crew of perhaps a dozen people. Though it isn’t the best, I enjoyed it immensely.
Art – Medium
The art is on a budget and simple, good for the middle school setting. Lots of visual comedy.
Sound – Medium
The acting is fine, but the overdone script weakens the quality. Catchy ED.
Story – Medium
A schoolgirl observes (and sometimes participates with) the boy at the neighbouring desk as he creates elaborate scenarios out of everyday school items. An enjoyable series of shorts make for light anime viewing.
Overall Quality – Medium
Recommendation: Try it. Tonari no Seki-kun is an ideal show when in need of a pick-me-up, like a YouTube animation series. At 7 minutes an episode, it won’t take much.
Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)