I’d been putting off posting this for a while now, because I didn’t feel like I had enough to say. But then I thought “Wow, it’s been over a week since I’ve posted anything. I should probably publish something.” And wallah. Here we are. Why Tonari No Seki-kun is silly and creative. Initially, I hadn’t thought of writing this as a review, but since there was more bone than meat regarding the show’s value, I figured it to be the better approach this time. Also, if anyone has watched Tonari No Seki-kun and has something to say about it that they thought was an aspect the show executed well on, or at least introduced an interesting idea, let me know in the comments.
What made Tonari No Seki-kun silly and creative was that it presented familiar items and games to evoke the typical ideas that run through a person’s head at first glance of such things, only for Seki-kun to twist and turn them into something different and slightly novel. At its core, I felt that the show took to heart the relatable childhood inattentiveness and spontaneous artistic behaviour. Having Seki-kun ignore class and focus his energy and aptitude on his creative endeavours made the show fun and interesting, and Yokoi-san’s reactions to Seki-kun’s activities made it all the more comedic. The over the top earnestness from both characters made for some good laughs and refreshing breaks from longer running shows.
For instance, in the “Disaster Drill” episode where Seki-kun brings mecha-esque toy robots to school, they are treated in a deeply serious manner by Yokoi-san to the point where she takes them and creates a story around them studying at the end, as she scolds Seki-kun with a look at the end for disregarding them. And in the “Note Passing” episode, Seki-kun acts as a post office system to pass notes in class. Which I found to be a neat spin on the relatable experience at school, and quite amusing. Any episode between the first and episode fifteen, I liked. After that the show started to feel like it was losing its creative edge with ideas.
I never thought I’d be so engrossed in an episode about knitting until I watched episode nine, but anime finds a way to make me interested in things I otherwise wouldn’t bother a glimpse. Yokoi-san’s deep intrigue into Seki-kun knitting during class and trying to decipher what Seki-kun is knitting based on her background expertise with the subject was surprisingly entertaining and informative. Her infatuation with the knitted cactus and piercing gaze following Seki-kun’s destruction of it, along with Seki-kun’s fearful neglect of her was highly amusing.
Primarily, the show is inner monologue from Yokoi-san’s point of view, apart from two episodes where a girl sitting behind Yokoi-san and Seki-kun forms ideas about their relationship in her head. There is a quality to Gato-san’s misinterpretation that Yokoi-san and Seki-kun have an unrequited love one second and are dating the next that adds an extra welcome layer of comedy. Plus, it’s nice to see new characters being introduced. Some episodes I’d like to highlight are: “Domino”, “Shogi”, “Desk Polishing”, “Go”, “Eraser Stamp”, “Note Passing”, “Shogi 2”, “Disaster Drill”, “Knitting”, “Golf”, “Climbing”, “RC Car”, and “Pool”.
Overall, I enjoyed Tonari No Seki-kun, and felt that most of the episodes offered something I wouldn’t get from any other anime. From the start, the OP is visually inventive, clever and amusing in its own right. Seki-kun’s activities are very already shown to be fairly imaginative throughout, and fourth-wall breaking at the end of the opening. My favourite part about the entire show is the ED. It’s really catchy and the visuals of Seki-kun playing the ending’s music with school utensils further emphasizes the imaginative side of both the character and the show.
Not to oversell the show, it’s fun for the short bursts of enjoyment you get out of it. I’d give it a light recommendation, since I can’t imagine re-watching it myself. But if you’re looking for a quick fix of comedic sketches that incorporates a fair amount of ingenuity in a classroom environment, watch Tonari No Seki-kun.