“My Neighbor Seki: The Master of Killing Time” (“Tonari no Seki-kun”) manages to pack a lot of story into a brief amount of time (each episode is about eight minutes long) and it tells the story about this guy, Toshinari Seki, who spends his class time not learning anything, and doing other, non-academic, things as well. Because he is in the far back right desk (near the window, last row), the teacher never sees his elaborate games and ‘experiments’ he does, rather than him learning about history or math.
The young lady, Rumi Yokoi, is doing her best to study and learn, but Seki is so elaborate in what he is doing, she cannot help but get sucked into his schemes. She rarely participates, but she gets emotionally overwrought with the events on the desk next to her and neglects her class work as well.
This is one goofy show, and I had a lot of fun with it. You may be less interested in what he is doing and more how he is able to pull it off. This guy’s talents are wasted at school, but he can’t get anyone to notice his efforts. And the sub-story with the Gundam Family (Papa GFR, Mama GFR and Child GFR) takes on soap opera caliber involvement, not only with their personal tales, but how Rumi wonders what will happen to them in the bigger scheme of things.
We see them go through a school ‘day’, as they go from class to class, but with 21 episodes, it does cover more time than that. There is also an OVA and two specials that take place away from the school, but Seki does the same caliber of time-wasting there as in the class. Now, if all this nonsense was weird enough, another classmate, Sakurako Gotō, who sits further to Rumi’s right, wonders if perhaps that she and Seki are boy- and girlfriend, as to how they interact when art class shows up. She does not see Seki making his shogi tiles tales, or running his own post office for the class, but KNOWS there is something more intimate going on, as she reacts to Rumi’s reactions.
This is a very funny series and with everything out there, you could knock it out in an evening, but I am saying not to do that, as you want to revel in all these Rube Goldberg constructions that the oblivious teacher never seems to tumble to.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Really nice approaches)
Plot 8 (Fine execution of it)
Pacing 8 (Great use of balance in the time frame)
Effectiveness 8 (Solid payoffs)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 8 (Very, very clever)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Is that a driving test?