…It’s awesome. Nuff said. 🙂
What you have to keep in mind before picking this series up is that it’s extremely formulaic and short. With only 7 minutes per episode and a setting that’s mostly restricted to two desks, the comedy follows a very basic pattern throughout. Yokoi sees her eccentric neighbor Seki goof off with some form of board game or school utensil and slowly gets dragged into his antics despite trying to pay attention in class. It never strays from this formula and it’s the only source of comedy the show has to offer.
However, the way they utilize this simple formula is nothing more than comedic genius. Part of why this formula works is the simple fact that anything can happen, and anything is more interesting than the school lecture. While many times they use game pieces or toys, other times they use whatever they can find for creative purposes. And rather than try emphasizing the mundane to grab attention, they turn the mundane into something fascinating. Where else can I see shogi pieces being used to re-enact historical drama, rebuilding an eraser into a named stamp, or regulating class notes via miniature post office?
But what hooked me into the show more than the hijinks were these two leads. Seki doesn’t say a single word, yet he portrays every aspect of a likeable troll purely through his actions. Yokoi may start out as a curious bystander, but she quickly comes to marvel at his creative mind while playing off his personality through her own mischief. The chemistry between these two not only meshes with the comedy, but their friendship becomes flat-out adorable. Seki has his moments when he genuinely wants to impress Yokoi, and she acts like his girlfriend without even noticing it. It’s certainly not taken romantically, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they started making out in the future.
When I first heard this was out, I brushed it aside simply because these shorts haven’t appealed to me before(F#CK Inferno Cop and Teekyuu). However, this was that weekly dose of excellent humor that kept me hopeful for two seasons of anime. With creative use of school items and two characters I desperately want to be a couple, Tonari no Seki-kun is that rare gem of an anime I don’t want people to miss.