As many of our readers are struggling with this time of the year, for them especially, I would like to talk about a very atypical anime that takes the slight edge, that we all develop around this time, off of school. So, what is this “time” that I keep referring to? Why, #finalsweek, of course!
While we dread the #finalsweek and the numerous tests, papers, lab reports and presentations that we have to battle, let's try remembering the fun things school offered us!
Tonari no Seki-kun
Tonari no Seki-kun (or My Neighbor Seki) is a jovial little creation that puts a new twist on school. This anime is very different than what is typically the “Television Anime” style. The main character Rumi Yokoi is a relatively normal, serious schoolgirl who sits next to an apathetic looking boy, who is known only by his last name, Seki. Seki-kun (kun is an honorific used for men in Japan) is not your typical schoolboy. His most distinguishing quality is his love for small games and his ability to keep himself entertained through any and every class using those games. Now many school children like to play games from all kinds of genres – video games, computer games, board games, made-up games and what not...but not our Seki-kun.
Here is a sneak-peak of the anime's cover. The description, actually, is very accurate. While the creativity in Seki spins out worlds of involved games and ever lasting fun, poor Yokoi is forever worried although, she finds herself constantly drawn into Seki's antics and throroughly enjoying the stories he spins!
Seki-kun likes games that are innovative and creative. He is the kind who creates games out of everyday school things, like erasers or the arrangement of the desk. And poor Yokoi is always frustrated due to his actions. She likes to keep her head in class and Seki's actions only serve to break her concentration and more often than not she finds herself thoroughly invested in the games, so far so as to go rooting for a certain team in one particularly violent game of Shogi.
Yokoi's favorite and Seki's ultimate playmates are a Robot Family which reappears in a few episodes. (The Robot Family also has it's own theme song!)
Official Promo Video
The episodes are only seven minutes long, which is a third of a typical Television Anime episode, but do not be deceived or discouraged by that. Those seven minutes are full of fun and ingenious moments. The opening and ending themes are catchy as well (and from personal experience, I can tell you that they remain in your head for a long time!
The entire anime is voiced only by Yokoi as she runs along with Seki's stories and peppers that with her reactions and emotions. She is quite entertaining herself. Add to that the eccentricity of this whole idea and Voila! You have a fun piece to take study breaks during your no-sleep-#finalsweek.
While this anime has very little actual “content” - it is a good exercise in thinking about deeper subjects like allowing the creativity of a child to emerge and empathizing with that creativity instead of just following a rigid curriculum throughout life. Even small things like this have the gift of beautiful thinking.
So, my dear readers, remember that while the exams and stress are upon us and we feel that these few weeks will never end, there is always Seki-kun to cheer us up!