This is a very cute and fun little show that runs only seven minutes per episode, but it feels pretty much the perfect length and makes sure to use every second to it’s full potential. The show is very simple and focuses only on two characters, Seki – the creative one who never pays attention in class, and Yokoi – a girl who can’t help but be distracted from class to focus on whatever Seki is doing each day and is essentially the ‘straight-man’ of the two, always pointing out issues manzai-style in monologue while not realizing she’s becoming so engrossed in it.
My favorite thing has to be when Yokoi (voiced by the wonderful HanaKana) gets really drawn into Seki’s antics and catches herself (which results in a cute shocked face every time). Much of the episode she’ll end up ignoring the class to watch, but finally at points she’ll end up getting pulled so far in she ends up going along with what he wants without thinking or getting in trouble for disrupting the class. Another thing I really love are the opening and ending, which really get across the show’s entire idea very well and in a cute manner. In both you see her getting caught up in his stuff, the very last part of the opening being a personal favorite bit.
As for Seki, the crazy shit he does is really entertaining – but it’s also very original and creative. This is one of the rare times I feel like I’m seeing situations I can’t name another anime that’s done it before, and it makes it all the more fun to watch because you ALSO get drawn into what he’s doing along with Yokoi. One day he’ll make a Rube Goldberg machine out of erasers, the next he’ll use Shogi pieces to make a whole story of political intrigue and war.
Yet, every time no matter what Seki is doing, you’re left wondering which of the two is really the most imaginative. While Seki-kun may be the one actively setting up these things and controlling them, Yokoi is always the one most into them and seeing it all as an extremely vivid story in her head or worried about the result (for example, worrying that a firework would go off, while even Seki knows better). Not only that, as the show progresses she starts going from observer to getting herself involved and trying to turn the story in the direction she wants due to how emotionally connected she becomes with it in some cases. For example, a ‘family’ of robots she ends up stealing from Seki because he accidentally kicks them.
The current opening and ending also take advantage of Seki’s creativity and Yokoi’s instincts of getting caught up in them as I mentioned earlier, especially the latter part of the OP and the entire ED wherein she gets so into the music he’s making she can’t help but start dancing happily before realizing what she’s doing and leaving.
With some recent events involving a note Yokoi put in Seki’s shoe locker (a complaint) and a girl mistaking it for a love letter, as well as how great these two are in situations together, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a little bit of them coupling up some day hinted at as the show progresses. Not to mention, the manga seems to have enough jokes now and then that hint at it as well – though I’m not reading the manga I saw this while looking for a nice top image.
There’s not much to say given there’s only been, including the OP and ED times, not even one full hour of the show out, but I wanted to make sure to post something about this aside just a review after it ends (it’s 21 episodes, so that’s a bit away).
I recommend it highly at this point due to the incredible amount of creativity to be found in it, HanaKana’s wonderful acting (as usual), the relaxing and soft art style, and the fact it’s short and easy to watch yet so full of great content. Sometimes the simplest shows are the best – and that truly applies with Tonari no Seki-kun. If anything were too different and tried to be more complex, it would lose that massive amount of charm that it brings to the table and serves as the perfect way to get across the intricate and very compelling bits of fun each and every episode. They found the perfect level of simplicity to accompany the most imaginative story possible.