One thing I love about Anime is the variety. There are so many different shows ranging from serious and dramatic to random and light-hearted. However, most of these shows do have some heart-wrenching moments and sometimes I just want to avoid that. I thought Chi’s Sweet Home would be the right series for just having fun, but my love for cats makes it tough for me when Chi gets into trouble. Clearly even three-minute episodes manage to get at me sometimes. I then thought Tora-Dora would be a fun series to just watch – but again, there are times where you just end up feeling bad for some of the characters when things just don’t work out for them. I was feeling a bit hopeless when I finally came across a relatively new series, Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time. It is perfect for those moments when I get home from work feeling mentally drained because it doesn’t have a plot. I am serious! No plot at all! And each episode is about eight minutes long so I don’t need to worry about my attention span running short. The show is non-linear so you can jump in at any point and start watching. Each episode is about a high-school boy named Seki-kun who goofs off at his desk when the teacher isn’t looking. Every day he has a new distraction to kill time. One episode he sets up an elaborate game of Dominos and in another he furiously shines his desk until he can see his reflection. Sitting next to him is a girl, Yokoi-san, who gets distracted by his antics and usually ends up imagining scenarios to the things Seki-kun is doing. It almost seems as if she spends more time watching him than she does paying attention in class!
I like this show because it reminds me a bit of my school days. In elementary school we had desks with a shelf underneath the writing surface and I used to keep little figures and other distractions under there. I was always looking down into my desk during class because I was actually playing with the things I had hidden in there. In later years, I ended up more like Yokoi-san because I would get mad at my peers for playing around and then I would get yelled at by the teacher for goofing off. As I mentioned, this show has no real story; it is about a boy who is the master of killing time as observed by his easily distracted classmate. What makes this show even more enjoyable are the nuances and references to tropes that reoccur throughout different anime shows. It is almost as if the creators are poking fun at Otaku culture in general. In this series you’ll find Gundam figures treated like Barbie dolls, traditional board games played with all new rules, and strange ways to play Dominos.
This show is based on a lot of comedic factors and may seem like it is trying ‘too hard’ for some people or may seem too generic for others. I think this show is quite original and speaks to the viewer. If you don’t know a clown who played around in school, this series may not be for you. However, I find it unlikely that anyone can truly say they find this show repulsive. Nothing is funnier than a class clown who is skilled enough to distract others while protecting himself from the teacher’s notice.