Tonari No Seki-kun

October 11, 2014

There are times in class when you just can’t seem to pay attention to the board. Maybe the teacher is such a boring person. Maybe the subject is very dry. Maybe the weather is too hot for you to give your concentration. Or maybe you just aren’t interested in it all. So what are you going to do to pass the time? Why, you do your own thing at your very own desk. I don’t know. Say, play cards, play your handheld console or maybe re-enact some epic crossover fight between your action figures of GI Joe VS X-Men VS Avengers VS Batman VS Transformers VS Ninja Turtles!

If you still have no idea how to pass the time by, then by all means you can refer to this wonderful little anime, Tonari No Seki-kun. This guy has no qualms in boldly ignoring the ongoing lesson in class and does whatever he likes just because the guy who sits in front of him is big enough to shield him from the teacher’s eyes. He is the master of killing time. Yeah. I guess this is the advantage of sitting right at the corner back. Nobody pays you any special attention. Except for his neighbour who is often distracted by the things he does. Annoyed but can’t take her eyes off what he does, eh? So do you see? Isn’t this little entertainment more interesting than the lesson in front? Let’s just hope she didn’t miss anything that will be on the test…

OVA Part A: Flag Topple
Toshinari Seki pours out sand from a pail onto his desk! He sticks a flag on top and neighbour Rumi Yokoi recognizes he is playing that flag topple game as he carefully removes the sand without toppling the mini flag. When the sand mountain gets brittle, he uses spray to moisturize and harden it. Then he whips out some sophisticated optical equipment like as though he is going to do some grand operation on the mountain. He carves it out until it is like a thin tower! Now he barricades it like as though it is some fine piece of art. The teacher calls him to solve a problem on the board. Since it is a very delicate situation and the slightest movement will destroy everything, he slowly gets up. Since he is taking too long, the teacher thinks he doesn’t know and calls Yokoi to do it. Startled, she immediately gets up and this causes the mountain to crumble. Oh no! Seki gives her that it’s-your-fault- death stare. Although afraid at first, she won’t be pressured and returns that death stare to him that it is his fault for not paying attention in class. He backs down and Yokoi feels she has grown a little stronger. Just a little.

OVA Part B: Cat
What is this? Seki taking out a cat from his bag?! This gives a whole new meaning to cat out of the bag? He is gentling petting it and Yokoi can’t help but fawn in delight. Cute, no? Before she knows it, he is petting another cat on his lap. So good that they’re giving out the purr of approval. Yokoi continues to heavily fawn over their cuteness but that soon turns into frustration and jealousy because she wants to touch them too. How come he gets to play with them all by himself? She tries to bait a cat by swinging her ruler but Seki’s foxtail did the trick to keep the cat in place. Not ready to give up yet, she takes out her fried shrimp but Seki is already feeding it fish. Yokoi feels so frustrated that she silently cries. Seki notices her and nudges if she wants it. Oh, how kind. Of course, yes please! Unfortunately… Seki continues petting both the cats while Yokoi gets the fish… Seki you idiot! That’s not what she wanted!!! The frustration continues…

Episode 1: Dominos
As usual, Seki is not paying attention in class. He whips out eraser after eraser from his bag. I think his entire bag is filled with them! His intention: To make a line of dominos! Yokoi’s advice to stop is of course fallen on deaf ears. He even puts the finger to the lips sign to her! Yokoi is too focused in watching him build his elaborate domino set so much so she didn’t realize the teacher called her. She gets up abruptly when she does and this startles Seki as he accidentally drops an eraser that starts the domino effect. Though, he manages to stop it. He gives Yokoi that it’s-your-fault stare! Seki has finally finished his domino piece. There is a large firework set that will go off at the end. Yokoi panics but Seki has already begun his domino. See how it falls… When it finally reaches the end, Yokoi fears the worst. Nothing happens… The fireworks are all in Seki’s head. Phew. After all that tension, she lies flat on her desk but the teacher thinks she is being lazy. She tries to point out it is Seki’s fault but he has already kept all his erasers and on his desk are books and appropriate learning materials. Eh? What the? Was she imagining things?

Episode 2: Shogi
Seki brings shogi pieces this time. He even drew the board on his table! His tapping is loud but the others don’t give a damn. But he isn’t going to play ordinary shogi. This is Yokoi’s vivid and dramatic interpretation of the drama Seki is playing using the pieces. The gold general betrays and kills the king to take over his throne (the king’s piece is broken in half). The army turns against him but Seki presses some buttons on his table to unleash trapdoors! How the heck did he modify his desk???!!! Because of that, the rest of the army fear him and return to their position. The enemy has surrounded them and the fake king flees to leave his army to fend for themselves. The original king returns to save the day but his piece further cracks. Yokoi is sure enjoying this dramatic piece, huh? Because the baddie returns to taunt the fallen king, Yokoi won’t tolerate anymore of this and shoots her eraser to the baddie to make the piece fly out of the window. Score! But now she risks Seki’s it’s-your-fault stare.

Episode 3: Desk Polishing
Yokoi notices Seki polishing his desk. Then he takes out all the cleaning and professional tools! He’s serious! He starts scrapping that the shavings get stuck on the guy in front (he didn’t even notice). Then he polishes real hard so much so it becomes so shiny and could reflect the sun! Now that his is done, he wants to polish Yokoi’s desk! No way! Leave it alone! Not even a 500 Yen bribe will make her give in. As time passes, because he keeps sighing and sighing, Yokoi felt pity and decides to give her pencil board for him to polish. Happy Seki starts his work with lots of passion like as though he has been given a reason to live. Her pencil board is so smooth and shiny. Yokoi is most impressed that she can see her reflection like a mirror. Suddenly the static electricity goes up to her hair and they start standing! Now that’s what you call a hair raising story! Haha! I thought she would turn into some Super Saiyan… Oh, Seki too got the same effect.

Episode 4: Go
Seki starts playing Go on his desk. Yokoi thinks she can concentrate in class since she doesn’t know much about the rules of Go. However she notices him making a story and character from the pieces! Black bear and white bunny?! She sees him make them fight together in some anything-goes match. She is torn between focusing on in class and seeing this dumb play. So much so she doodled the match in her notebook. Just when she think she cannot make out the messy pieces anymore, Seki combines both characters into one! But there is another fight coming up from the same character of inverse colour. His shadow? Yokoi is so engrossed in watching the developments (even painting the shadow character as the bad guy) that didn’t realize the teacher was calling her. He reprimands her for fooling around but she points out it is Seki’s fault. His desk is clean. But wait. She has proof. She shows him the doodle she draw. Hang on a second… Doesn’t it make her the one who is fooling around?

Episode 5: Eraser Stamp
At the science lab, Yokoi notices Seki carving his eraser with a chisel to make a personal stamp. Then she notices Seki trying to hide his stuff from Akiyasu Uzawa, the guy who is sitting next to him. Yokoi concludes Seki is very wary around this carefree guy and fears him more than the teachers. And this could be her lucky day because this will keep Seki in line and she can concentrate on her class. Soon, Seki continues his carving so much so his eraser now looks like a real stamp. Bored Uzawa takes a look into Seki’s pencil box and then uses the stamp pad to stamp Seki’s fingerprints. He then gets bored of it. WTF?! After that Seki takes out another eraser. Yokoi thinks he is going to carve another stamp but it turns out this is a stamp holder in the guise of an eraser! She is amazed by his ingenuity as Seki admires his achievement. The teacher tells his students to take the notes as it will be on the test. He is going to clear everything on the blackboard. Yokoi and Uzawa scramble to write it all. Uzawa messes up and realizes he forgot his own eraser. He takes it from Seki’s hand but when he starts rubbing, it breaks! Uzawa doesn’t even care why it is fragile and continues writing. Now you know the true fear of Uzawa? First time defeat for Seki? But definitely Yokoi continues her losing streak since she didn’t manage to copy the notes…

Episode 6: Disaster Drill
There is going to be a practice for a disaster drill today. But Seki doesn’t give a damn and is playing with his robot toy. Mini Optimus Prime? Heck he even has time to play house for the robot family! When the drill starts and everyone gets under the table, Seki is seen to be so uninterested, slacking off. Worse, the robot family is the one taking the drill seriously! Even during the evacuation, the robot family is the one being serious but Seki is just chatting with his friend. So much so Yokoi develops an admiration for the robots. At the assembly, Seki is laughing so hard with his friend, he accidentally kicks the robot family. This makes Yokoi mad. When he starts looking around, he finds them in Yokoi’s possession. She gives back that death stare that the robots do not belong to him! Back in class, Yokoi continues to give the robots a nice family treatment for the rest of the class. It wasn’t till the end of the school day that she realized she wasted a great deal of time on this…

Episode 7: Note Passing
Yokoi notices the class passing around little notes. Seki is doing it too but he has a bunch of them! And he is stamping them! Yokoi gets one from her friend Tomoka Hashino. Seems Seki is acting like the post office. Give him a note and he’ll stamp on it and pass it around. Since her friend is waiting for her reply, Yokoi thinks of using this chance to tell Seki off by writing a letter that he should pay attention in class. However he rejects her letter because it is not folded in standard regulation size! You got to be kidding me! And after she does, she is made to fill out a form specifying its delivery method! By the time she is done, the ‘post office’ is closed! Is there a conspiracy to not receive her mail? Of course those who can’t make it can deposit in the mail at the back of the class. Yeah. There is a real mailbox there. Yokoi stretches to deliver her mail without getting up. Although she manages to do so, her chair topples. She manages to go undetected by sitting on air. At the end of the day, Yokoi is pissed that Seki didn’t even empty the mailbox and went straight home. If all else fails, she goes to put a letter directly into his shoe box. Little did she know, a classmate saw this and a strange rumour soon starts circulating…

Episode 8: Shogi Part 2
Noticing Seki has brought his shogi pieces again, she thinks this time nothing will surprise and will be able to pay attention to class. Big mistake. Because this time all the army is against a single pawn! Then he added a new piece called princess and Yokoi thinks this is just like some foreign movie of a forbidden love between a soldier and the princess. She is so excited to know what is going to happen next that she can’t miss a single move! Unfortunately the single pawn gets mowed down by the army and beaten up badly. The pawn and princess turn into husband and wife. With the power of love, the husband counter attacks the army. Yokoi is so rooting for them but the turn of events when the wife is taken hostage and the husband being unable to do anything gets beaten up. She can’t take anymore of this when she notices a piece by her feet. It is the gold general and beneath it is his true identity as a father. Could it be the brainwashed father of the pawn? Yokoi is going to shoot the father back as reinforcement but Seki blocks it with his textbook wall! The teacher calls Seki to read the next line. Yokoi revels in this chance because it means he has to pick up the textbook. However Seki has made a wall of shogi pieces. She shoots through and tumbles the wall. A happy ending for the reunited family! But now they are left to scramble to find the page they’re supposed to be reading.

Episode 9: Needlework
Seki knitting in class? Yokoi is impressed but not so because knitting is her forte and can be considered a master. She has knitted so much and her work almost perfection that people think they are not knitted. As she observes him knitting, she criticizes and comments on his techniques and equipment used. She analyzes the thing he is making and the effect it would turn out and she is pretty confident the end product won’t be as good because if he is making a stuffed animal toy with those afghan stitches, he will fail miserably. In the end, it turns out to be a cactus. But something about it that Yokoi can’t take her eyes off it. Then it hits her. The toughness but yet gentle skin and texture that breathes life into it. She admits defeat and feels sorry for taking him for a beginner. She wants to cuddle it but this freaks Seki out as he untangles every fibre down to nothing! Evidence destroyed! Yokoi is so mad that she gives that death stare to make it back! But Seki pretends to pick up his book while trying to ignore Yokoi’s constant pressures. Maybe he was paralyzed by her scary looks…

Episode 10: Golf
Art class is the only time that Sakurako Gotou is able to be near Yokoi. She sits behind her and wonders if they can become friends. Yokoi notices Seki playing golf today. There are holes in the old table… Gotou misinterprets Yokoi’s intense look is that she is in love with Seki. There was that rumour… Seki is going to putt the ball into a hole on Yokoi’s side. Gotou gets flustered misinterpreting their ‘stare’ at each other. When the student in front passes back notes to Yokoi, she accidentally hits away the ball. This causes Seki to sulk so she apologizes. From Gotou’s view, she couldn’t understand why they are already fighting. Could it be they can communicate without talking? More misinterpretation when she thinks they are already living together and doing adult stuffs. Seki wants Yokoi to put up a golf flag but Gotou sees it as some adult yes or no flag. Since the golf ball is missing, the duo look under to find it. Gotou thinks they are kissing underneath the table in the middle of class! During recess, Gotou talks to Yokoi and mentions she saw what she did with Seki and doesn’t think it is appropriate. Yokoi agrees with her and is glad somebody else understands. We know Yokoi means a different thing but can you guess what Gotou is thinking when Yokoi mentions about Seki who is always like that but she can’t help being drawn into him. And then it keeps escalating… Nevertheless Gotou will support her and Yokoi is glad to hear that. She won’t give up and thinks they can become good friends. But this makes Gotou feel they are more distant than before.

Episode 11: Mountain Climbing
Seki takes out a cute little bear and Yokoi is excited to watch him play this cute little thing. But what is this tense atmosphere she is feeling? Wait a minute. There is another bear climbing up the back of the person in front of Seki, Takahiro Maeda. It is slowly climbing up as Seki is pulling its strings via clipper he clipped on his collar. Yokoi is terrified Maeda will notice but also feels the nerve wrecking bear adventure as he gets stuck at the collar, the violent shaking of Maeda when he uses his eraser and when he almost discovered it as he scratches his neck. The little one finally makes it to the summit and Yokoi is squealing in victory. However another violent shake causes the bear to be flung out the window. Luckily Seki pulls it back up with the string. He wants to hook the clipper on Maeda again but he turns back and gives that death stare causing Seki to back off and pretend he is sleeping. She smirks that this is what he gets for taking his games too far. Serves him right. However Maeda also gives her this stare! It’s like it’s her fault too for being an accomplice! Cower in fear! When everything seems to return to normal, Seki is going to try again. Does he ever learn? But there won’t be another mountain climbing achievement since Maeda continues to keep watch on his back. With that death stare…

Episode 12: Remote Control Car
Seki brings his mini remote control car but Yokoi is surprised that he is studying! Upon closer look, he is studying the traffic laws! He passes! Does he need it to operate the car? Anyway he sets up a complete set of a driving school. He controls the car to turn the corners and bends. At the slope, the car flips over. He becomes depressed and keeps everything. Next day, he continues with this game. But Yokoi notices his fingers covered with band aid. Did he undergo some intense training last night? This time he is successful and reaches the finish line. As reward, he gives himself a driver’s licence. It’s fake of course. Since he is punching his hand in the air, the teacher thinks he wants to solve a problem on the blackboard. Seki hints to Yokoi to give him an answer but she’s not helping. He tries to bribe her with a driver’s licence. She thinks it’s cool but this means she must take the test too. Forget it then. Seki panics. You’re on your own…

Episode 13: Pool
The students are going to learn about life saving but as usual, Seki is fooling around. His robots are the ones who are taking CPR seriously! The class has some free time at the end so the teacher allows them to use the pool. Seki goes to play with his friends and abandons his robots. Yokoi is pissed and takes them to somewhere less visible. Hmm… A mini pool and deck chairs? When she goes off to swim, Uzawa picks up a robot and throws it into the pool. Panicking Yokoi wants to go save it but Maeda’s butterfly stroke causes a huge tsunami (at least for the little robot). Then she sees it hanging on to Gotou’s hair. By the time she reaches there, it is already gone. Because Seki already took it and returned to play with it. When time is up and everyone has to leave, Yokoi is still it the pool desperately looking for the robot. It’s not there… Everyone thinks she is still a child at heart.

Episode 14: Lunch
Yokoi is impressed with Seki’s cute octopus shape wieners. But… He eats them violently!!! In fact, his entire lunch is just octopus wieners. She intends to ignore him or it will ruin her lunch but can she? She is horrified to see him stabbing the octopuses like a sheesh kebab and devouring them! He is like a Titan! Attack On Octopus Wieners?! Then there is an octopus warrior looking strong. Is he going to fight back? Too bad he got eaten just like any other wiener. When Seki chokes, Yokoi puts up that evil grin and feels he deserves it for toying with lives. Her friends find it creepy like as though she is an evil person trying to plan something. How can she explain Seki is the evil one? Then she sees him not finishing his lunch. Could it mean the wieners are spared? Happy Yokoi face. Her friends are finding her expression odd. But nope. Seki gives them to his friends! Total annihilation! Now she is crying. Her friends just couldn’t understand… To add salt to injury, Seki takes out another container containing… Cute rabbit apples for desserts! Stop! NO MORE DEATHS!!!

Episode 15: Paper Sumo
Yokoi is absent with a cold. This means Gotou will take her place in observing Seki’s quirkiness. For a change? She thinks Seki is gloomy when he takes out a paper sumo set and starts playing. Could it be that Seki and Yokoi are in some fight to be doing this in the middle of class? Seki puts bandages on his sumo and Gotou fears the worse that their fight is so bad that Seki resorted to playing childish games to fill his heart’s void. And the bandages represent his wounded heart. Each opponent the sumo faces is getting ridiculously colossal so Gotou believes he is beating himself up over it. But the more she watches, the more confused and the more she couldn’t understand. Frustrating, huh? She feels the anxiety in needing to do something to help them when she accidentally kicks the stool in front. This causes it to hit the table and rumble to sumo set. Seki thinks it is the ghost of Yokoi who did it! She must be cursing him from home! He feels scared but in Gotou’s eyes, she sees a passionate look. He puts away the set and she thinks he is back to his senses. Love prevails! The next day, Yokoi is back and she is healthier than ever. Gotou is so happy that they have made up and Seki must be feeling at peace now. Yeah. He’s sleeping…

Episode 16: Shogi VS Chess
Shogi again? But this time he has lined up western chess too. Because they are in the audio visual room and watching a video, Yokoi thinks the darkness means he can’t play well. However she notices the shogi pieces being dropped off the desk and the chess pieces cornering them. Why aren’t they fighting back? Is it because the chess pieces are black? Can’t see in the dark. Yokoi can’t stand his dirty way of fighting and is going to use her eraser to intercept. But it’s too dark for her to aim. She gets frustrated that at this rate they will be wiped out. Then she gets an idea. Before Seki is to take out the king, he notices a piece on his table. Didn’t he take it out earlier? No matter. Take it out again. The more he takes out, the more pieces he notices come back. Actually it is Yokoi picking them up and throwing them back. Seki gets scared that the pieces are haunted like zombies and quickly puts them away and starts chanting his prayer lines. Yokoi claims victory and this is the punishment he’ll get for playing dirty. The best part is he doesn’t know she is behind this. As she is about to get back to her seat, she realizes her skirt pinned down by his chair. Trapped! Nobody will help you in the dark…

Episode 17: Fukuwarai
Seki is wearing a blindfold. He is playing fukuwarai (a Japanese version of Mr Potato Head). He arranges the face in a funny way (because he can’t see) so much so Yokoi chuckles and attracts the class’ attention. Once everything passes, she takes a look again and sees him perfectly assembling his fukuwarai. That good, huh? Since he has got a lot of parts, he makes a family of it. Yokoi watches this family’s child grow up via several important occasions but can’t help notice that they are drifting apart. Could it be that they are not getting along well? With the kid now like a delinquent, Yokoi doesn’t want to see a broken family and is going to do something to help. She rolls up her textbook and hopes of blowing them close together again. But right at that exact moment, Seki moves his hand into place and he felt this very cold chilling wind blowing. He takes off his blindfold and in the midst of being freaked out over what he has just felt. Was it a ghost? Yokoi is glad that the family is together again. What a happy ending.

Episode 18: Card Trick
The teacher doesn’t have enough notes. This means some of them have to link their tables together and share. Oh God… Yokoi and Seki… Pray… However Yokoi thinks with their tables linked, he is unable to pull out his toys as usual. She smirks at his helplessness. She might have laughed too soon because he pulls out a pack of cards from his pencil box! Behold! Seki the magician! He is obsessed in trying to impress his tricks to her. What’s with the deal with the ace of diamond? Yokoi tries her best not to react and ignore Seki’s tricks because if she doesn’t, it is a sign that he will be impressed. Since Seki continues to bug her and the card is even there when she turns the notes, she crumples the ace of diamond! Serves you right! Now can she study? When the teacher calls Maeda to read, there is that card on his butt. But how? Didn’t she crumple the ace of diamond? She’s still trying to resist reacting as she reasons there are 2 ace of diamonds. Yeah. Nothing can surprise her. When Seki turns the crumpled card over, it is the six of spades! How?! What?! When?! Why?! She is more surprised when the card is missing from Maeda’s butt and Seki pulling it out from his mouth! Surprised? Well, this one is the surprising finale: The class just ended! Ah, that reaction… Classic.

Episode 19: Glasses
Suddenly… Seki is wearing glasses! He didn’t wear them this morning so does this mean he is going to study for real? He takes out a mirror and takes a good look into it. Maybe he is trying to see if he looks good in them. Then he takes out a bunch of glasses and tries them on. Because he looks so serious, Yokoi fears to tell him off. She tries to ignore him but can’t help comment on the glasses he put on. The one with the black frames looks good on him (her opinion by the way) but she has to look away each time suspicious Seki looks her way. Then he proceeds to try on other weird glasses. Yokoi still prefers that other one. She becomes upset at his poor fashion taste so much so she has to give him that death stare and death snare to guide him back to choose that black pair. He settles for this one and Yokoi feels happy, feeling she has accomplished something. For the next few periods, she observes Seki in his other time killing activities but he has never put on his glasses since. It causes her to blow her top. What’s her problem?

Episode 20: Flipbook
Now Seki is drawing in the corner of his book for some flipbook animation. Yokoi notices he is writing words too and curious what he has written. It’ll be too fast to read since he is flipping the pages. To her dismay they are all the same! Wasted her time worrying. Then he takes out a mini recorder and starts recording. It’s like he is trying to become a pro animator or something since he is looking so serious. At the end, he gives a thumbs up and a satisfied smile? Curious, Yokoi? When nobody is in class, she sneaks back in just to see how he finished his flipbook. The animation is pretty decent and he was recording sound effects. It matches the animation as it plays along. Pretty well done. Then there is some singing towards the end and thankfully it sounds like a professional singer. There are even lyrics in the animation (those words). Good enough for Yokoi to let her imagination soar. In the end, there is this stamp of Toyama Model Shop and a commercial like as though it is promoting the store. She is shocked to hear whose voice is that. Turns out to be the owner of a hobby store Seki visits twice a week and he has him pre-record that line.

Episode 21: Bag Inspection
Yokoi is being called by the teacher because she looks distracted lately. But of course… She is in a dilemma whether to tell on Seki. Because if he gets scolded, she’ll be suspected and it will be awkward for her to face him. She then overhears the other teachers talking about the surprise bag inspection today. Maybe the teacher will take away his toys and calm him down. Evil look on her face… In class, she observes Seki playing with the robot family again! They’re having backpacks. How adorable. Then it’s inspection time. Curse you, Seki! Of all days, why must he bring the robots! She fears the teacher will destroy them. She tries to hint to him about the inspection but he makes the robots inspect their backpack! The teacher is getting closer so Seki puts all his toys into a box and hangs them out the window. It would have been a great idea but he didn’t hide the robot family! Then he puts the mother and child robot in his lunch box while father robot stands there looking impressed. Hurry up! Oh, the tension! I swear if she has a weak heart, she would have died of a heart attack. Yokoi can’t bear to watch as the teacher reaches his place. He finds nothing in violation. Where is the robot? Father robot is hanging on the backseat! Yokoi is so relieved that the tension is over but when he gets to her, he takes out the CD in her bag. It belongs to Tomoka and was supposed to give it back but was too worried about the robot family! She gets pissed when Seki puts on that astonished look at her. She is seething with anger and this prompts the teacher if she is really okay because she just looks distracted. She briefly mentions about the robot family but the teacher thinks she has family issues. Anyway he confiscates the CD and will have to write an apology letter at the end of the day. Yokoi is so frustrated while Seki continues to happily play with his robots. Curse you, Seki! Back home, Yokoi’s mom gets a call from the teacher who wants to pay a home visit. She wonders if she has done something in school. NooOOooOooOooooOO!!!!!!! It just goes from bad to worse for her. Poor Yokoi…

Special 1: School Camp
Yokoi’s class is on a class trip outdoors. Her group (which includes Seki. Oh God…) is to hike from the boarding house to the observation area. She is relishing the outdoors and believes nature will take her troubles away. Will it? She notices Seki looking restless. When they come across a sign that warns them of the Demon Lord’s castle, everyone starts laughing hard. Except Seki who is shivering in embarrassment. Yokoi remembers she overheard a conversation with a local officer and Seki. Something about how he was quite a prankster when he was young and they left his ‘masterpieces’ untouched. Yeah. I guess he drew up that sign and is supposedly that Demon King. Yokoi feels bad for him and tries to get everyone to move along. She sees Seki quickly hiding the sign in his bag! They pass several more signs like the boiling pond, dragon grave (equipped with a ‘dragon killer’ equipment which is no more than a ruler) and lost forest but the rest of the group’s reaction is the same: Laughing hard. Seki’s reaction varies. At one time he admires Yokoi because he thinks she is standing up for her (when she just finds it hard to laugh alongside the rest knowing the culprit is right with them). Then he gives that death stare to her thinking she might have discovered his Demon Lord identity. Yokoi tries to be natural and laugh with the rest. But now Seki is depressed? Finally when they reach the Demon Lord’s castle, it is a prop tied up a tree. Seki is looking satisfied as Yokoi realized it wasn’t about hating his childhood past but this game wasn’t up to his standards. When Uzawa unties the rope holding up the prop, Yokoi spots a big picture frame falling down. It is a hand drawn picture of a knight hero as a reward for slaying the Demon King! And Seki left his name there too! It would be a total embarrassment if anybody is to see this so Yokoi goes to great lengths to hide it. Since her back is too small, she puts it under her t-shirt! Why the heck is she going so far for him?! Once at the observation tower, she hears other students talking about the ‘attractions’. Making it worse, Seki is enjoying the scenery without a care. Yeah. Why the heck is she trying to be responsible for his embarrassing past? Needing to get rid of it quick, she throws it into the river below. Uzawa thinks he saw a fish and with the guys (including Seki), race to go catch it! Heart pounding moment for Yokoi. Thankfully they couldn’t catch anything. Yokoi finally feels liberated and enjoys her freedom. On the way back down, she spots the picture floated down to the boiling pond. Again, why the heck must she pick it up and hide it under her t-shirt? The water is damn cold and she could have just feigned ignorance. Everybody laughs at her for trying to wash her hand at this ‘boiling pond’. Including Seki! That is the last straw. She is going to take this picture back to her home and couldn’t care less anymore. Seki felt a cold shiver down his spin. Unknowingly, his fate is now in the hands of a new Demon Lord!

Special 2: Snow Play
Yokoi sees Seki creating a cute snow bunny. Aww… How cute! However he puts it in the middle of a frozen pond and tries to crack the ice! Is he going to drown the poor bunny?! Evil! Yokoi wants to talk to him first but since he is getting more violent, she throws a snowball at him! Bull’s eye! He takes the bait and goes to find the culprit. He thinks the sound of the guys nearby must be the one. Yokoi is hiding nearby and now that the coast is clear, she goes to rescue the bunny. However she made it worst by putting her hand on the ice as support and the ice cracks into floating islands. The bunny is going to sink so she puts her hand into the freezing water to take it. Seki realizes those guys making a snowman couldn’t be it so when he returns, the bunny is gone. Yokoi thinks she is safe behind the shed but Seki is heard coming! The footprints… He is armed with snowballs and goggles! This guy is serious! Yokoi cannot leave the rabbit because if she escapes, it will fall into his hands again. Covering up her face with a scarf, she retaliates by throwing a few snowballs. However Seki is faster in all aspects. Tactical retreat! While Seki is replenishing, Yokoi takes the rabbit and run. Seki tries to go after her but seems she has run into the building and thus he lost her. Tomoka is surprised to see Yokoi all messed up. Yokoi even asking her to dump this lump of snow out of the window. Seems she has taken a decoy. The real one is still behind the shed. Yokoi thinks a step ahead and borrows Tomoka’s scarf. So when Seki enters class, he doesn’t suspect Yokoi at all. Phew. In the middle of class, Seki takes a pile of snow from his bag (?!) and starts sculpting penguins! Super cute! This guy is good. Maybe he isn’t that bad after all. But here comes the polar bear going to eat them! Oh no! Yokoi takes back what she said about him. Now how is she going to save them? Longest day ever…

Please Pay Attention!
In the end, what can I say? Just like how Seki is having a whale of a time engrossed and indulged in his own world, so do I. Thanks to the short duration of each episode (approximately 7 minutes each except for the special which is almost twice the length at 13 minutes), by the time it ends, you’d be wondering what happened to the time since I was also being amused by his antics and lost track of time. You can say that there is never a dull moment as long as Seki cranks up his creativity. Yeah. I’d rather pay attention to this than the class. Absolutely hilarious and funny. So much so you might forget that you are actually in an ongoing class.

There are so many things I would like to say about Yokoi too. For instance, it is safe to say that she is Seki’s number one audience because she never fails to ‘miss’ his entertainment despite how she criticizes, comments or even vowing not to be distracted by him. But the temptation is too great. Therefore I can also say that she is as guilty as Seki in ignoring her lesson and his ‘partner in crime’, which is as bad as skipping class. Because you’re doing something else rather than pay attention to the teacher so it’s like being rude and disrespect. Yokoi too has a very vivid imagination. You can see that when she starts observing and analysing Seki’s playing, she goes into her own fantasies imagining the scenario and such. I think both of them can hit it off as some creative screenplay since they are ‘quite good at it’. There are times when she ‘cares’ about Seki too because she feels bad if he gets caught and goes to certain lengths to cover it up for him. Of course ultimately she has to bear the brunt of it. I suppose it is better on her conscious this way. Better do something than don’t. Either way, she is going to get it, right?

Each time Yokoi proclaims this is the last time she will be distracted by him and wants to concentrate on her lesson, Seki pulls off a more amazing feat that makes it too good to be missed. Thus for every time, she would be missing class and not learning anything. I won’t be surprised if her grades are bad and need to take remedial classes. God forbid if Seki attends remedial classes with her. How could you explain if she turns out ‘dumb’ when she enters society and the working world? She went to school and learnt nothing! She is a bit of a sadist too. Sometimes she has this tendency to put on an evil look on her face as she ponders about Seki’s you-deserve-it fate. But usually it comes back to bite her. She’ll never have the last laugh. Now the teacher has decided to pay a house visit and you can imagine the impact this will have on her. I fear she will grow up to be a person who hates such mini distractions and will be a very strict person or someone who gets easily distracted and have a short attention span.

Seki is such a weirdo and although his antics are deemed ‘creative’, I wouldn’t go so far to say that it disrupts the class. Don’t you see? He is quietly playing with his own stuffs but it is Yokoi who is the one who distracts herself by watching him. So the blame cannot entirely fall on him because it is not like he forces her to watch. She is doing it at her own volition. And when she misses crucial points on the lessons and have to hurry up in copying it or when the teacher calls her to read the text, she only has herself to blame if she wasn’t following. But there are times I feel that Seki does want Yokoi to be his ‘partner in crime’ as sometimes he keep hinting to her. At the end of the day, Seki is usually the winner because he ends up having the most fun and never gets caught. Never. You have got to love what he pulls out from his bag. It might spring a surprise or two. Sometimes it feels like a Doraemon’s pocket because of the things he takes out. You don’t question how it got in there. Just be awed that he brings it to school. No fear. Nobody will get in the way of having his fun. Well, almost.

I thought it would be interesting if Gotou had more screen time and somewhat play an active role but I guess for now the dynamic chemistry is between just Seki and Yokoi. This is what happens when you don’t set the record straight. Other people tend to misinterpret your relationship since it looks ambiguous from other’s point of view. I would have loved to see that love rumour about Yokoi and Seki and how it will impact on them but that would be distracting to the main theme of the series, which is about Seki doing his own crazy stuff and Yokoi getting distracted and fascinated or annoyed by it. Other minor characters are okay but they do not make any great impact. Like the very laidback and insensitive Uzawa and the seemingly intimidating Maeda, both whom Seki seems to fear for they may ruin his fun. I think the robot family even has more presence than them. Honest! It’s like they have a life of their own despite being just Seki’s toys.

The drawing and art of the characters are quite simple. To a point that you think that the series is intended for younger audiences since it looks like it was drawn for a children’s programme. But when you have an anime series based on the quirkiness of an odd boy in class, no fast paced action no fantasy adventure to some foreign land, no ecchi stuffs and no romance (rose frames, sparkly bright eyes and smile, you know those ‘romantic’ effects), I think this kind of style is quite suffice. However I just want to note that Yokoi suspiciously looks like Shiho from Zettai Karen Children. It is as though Yokoi is her long lost sister or something.

Kana Hanazawa is absolutely kawaii and so fitting as Yokoi. I don’t think there will be another seiyuu who could play her role so well as her. So hats off to Kana Hanazawa once again for pulling off such a fine job. Although Hiro Shimono takes on the role of Seki, he has no actual spoken lines in the entire series. All you hear from him is his moaning, huffing, gruffing, gasping and the most laughing. For a guy who doesn’t talk much, let alone say a single word, I guess you could say that this brings to a whole new level of actions speaking louder than words. Haha! Thus you can also say that 90% of this show is all about Kana Hanazawa as she is doing most of the main narratives. Second to her is perhaps Satomi Satou as Gotou but she isn’t as moe as Fairy Tail’s Wendy.

The opening theme is also epitome of what constitutes to Kana Hanazawa’s kawaii-ness. Meiwaku Spectacle has her starting her lines in a rap fashion way (can you say your lines that fast without biting your tongue?), enough to make fans and even casual viewers squeal in delight of how cute she sings. Basically as you could have guessed it, the song is about Yokoi and her distractions with Seki. Trying to record something live with her? Yamete… The ending theme is equally fascinating but it is instrumental. Well, almost. Set Them Free is by Akira Jimbo and this Japanese jazz fusion band specializes in percussion music, which is what the ending theme is all about (although the animation sees Seki making his percussion music out of his stationery set). It is quite interesting to hear those beats (even Yokoi can’t help enjoy it). Save for the jazzy sultry female background vocals which prevent this song to be 100% instrumental. Also I want to note the very amusing insert song of Danran! Robot Kazoku by Ichiro Mizuki. This is the theme for the robot family! You’ll definitely hear this song whenever they make their cameo. If Ichiro Mizuki’s voice sounds familiar, it is because he is known for singing tokusatsu themes, which is how this song sounds like. And you got to love some of the lyrics too. “Everybody loves scrambled eggs!”. Oh yeah. Makes me want to sing along as well.

Overall, even if you have other better things to do, please feel free to make some time to watch this little gem. It might not be something epic in the long run but for the time being, this little series is quite entertaining and fun itself as it can give you ideas on what to do when you are bored or not wanting to pay attention to something that you are ‘forced’ to sit through. I’m sure you can cook something up as bizarre and fun like Seki did when you are attending a college lecture, a business seminar or even if you are watching a ‘boring’ movie with your girlfriend/boyfriend. As you can see there is always something to do and as Seki proves it, he can just do anything to pass the time. Whatever resources he has at hand, he can turn it into a little decent entertainment. Of course, please pay attention to your class lessons. There is always the right time and place for everything so please be responsible and not shirk your duties. But if you are not going to get caught anyway, why bother? And make sure you very well don’t.