24 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time episode 1 – Pencil case drums

tonari 2I read the first chapter for the Tonari no Seki-kun manga (re-named by Crunchyroll to ‘Master of Killing Time’, which is a way better name so I’m going to call it that from now on) when doing research for my season preview. It was super charming, so much so that I decided to read another chapter and then accidentally read the whole thing. I was a little worried coming into this adaptation because the trailers showed really poor animation, but turns out those worries were unfounded. The anime captures the spirit of the manga just fine.

tonariThe story is about HanaKana trying to pay attention in class but the guy next to her is too busy distracting her with elaborate contraptions. That’s about it for a story. It never leaves their seats, but the imagination with the contraptions and gags are endless and always brilliant. The animation definitely adds to the experience to the point that I’m willing to say this is the superior version. The animation is indeed limited, but they do a lot of neat things with dramatic swooping camera angles and operatic music to enhance the humour. It has a brilliant ending song and sequence with a neat OP too that shows the people doing the anime get the humour from the manga and are capable of coming up with their own gags. Plus having Hanakana as the main character is basically perfect because you get to listen to her panicked monologuing for the entire episode.

With 7 minute long episodes of a purely gag comedy, there’s very little more to say. Anime has generally pretty shitty at their short comedies, but good ones do come along every now and then. This can sit in my little pantheon with Fireball, Sexy Commando, Cromartie High School, Kogepan and Inferno Cop. In fact, I think I might go watch that first episode again.

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  1. Posted January 5, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Maybe you do have a semblance of good taste after all…

    • Scamp
      Posted January 6, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      No you must be imagining things

  2. fathomlessblue
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Don’t forget Detroit Metal City!

    Honestly, it was the Latin chanting during the domino scene that sold this series for me. That, and the incredible ED, complete with 1970’s Bond music. This ep was fantastic!

    • Scamp
      Posted January 6, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Did DMC have shorter episodes? I think 15 minutes is stretching the ‘shorts’ definition

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted January 6, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        12 minutes, so the same length as Cromartie

  3. gedata
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Just when I thought Coppelion gave me my fill of panicked HanaKana

  4. K
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    that ending though

  5. Rait
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I think Hanakana has become my favorite female voice actor. Her voice is especially good when she plays being upset. Or when she was all like “EEEEEEEEH” in Monogatari.

    • Mr. Anon
      Posted January 6, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      I would agree, but after hearing Ami Koshimizu again in Bravely Default (video game) and Kill la Kill, I am in love once more with her performance.

      Chiwa Saito also needs an honorable mention for sure.

      • Mr. Anon
        Posted January 7, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        Coming back to this, turns out D-Frag has a cast including all three! What bliss

  6. Posted January 5, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    The OP and ED are great. And HanaKana is doing a good role again.

    But to me, this is just too slow. What I liked about the manga, the little I’ve read, is how it feels like short little skits. At least this episode dragged it on too long for me, not really “exaggerating” the build-up enough to make it super fun.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 6, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      That’s because you have crap taste.

      • Posted January 7, 2014 at 1:55 am | Permalink

        That never gets old, does it?

  7. Ken
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    It seems 90% of all anime involve students sitting in the last row and all the way to the left in a classroom. It’s probably an animation shortcut. By putting the main character in the rear corner you don’t have to animate as many people sitting next to them.

    I guess I’m just jealous of this guy. My last name starts with the letter A and I was often made to sit in the front row by anal teachers who wanted to sit students alphabetically. I wish I could be this kid playing with things in the back of history class.

    I’m looking forward to more of this.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 6, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Ah, I never even thought of it like that. Suddenly the main character seat makes sense.

      • Gan_HOPE326
        Posted January 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, they also bravely lampshaded this in Watamote XD.

    • frodonk
      Posted January 6, 2014 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      I can tell you, based on my experience, that all the exciting things happen on the back row.

  8. Shikamaru
    Posted January 6, 2014 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    HanaKana really is one of the best seiyuus around at the moment. Best first episode so far. Other first episodes have all been pretty mediocre or bad.

    This also brings back memories when I was in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grade when I was playing with my Nintendo GBA during class. Fun times playing Pokemon, Zelda, Advance Wars, Super Mario, Megaman and Final Fantasy. Sometimes I also played Battleships or Tic Tac Toe with my friend during class.

  9. Aethelwulf
    Posted January 6, 2014 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    …Odd thought. In the opening credits, Seki-kun was animating the show itself. Would that mean then that his drawings had insane levels of photorealism in the context of their universe? No wonder the HanaKana girl was wigging out.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 6, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      And the perfect voice actor

  10. ANON
    Posted January 6, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Dominoes aren’t that big of a deal. I’ll blame scamp for hyping this up with his description of tabletop battle recreations and the like.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 7, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Tabletop battles next episode if that’s your wish, but I would have thought the firework would suffice?

  11. Shinmaru
    Posted January 6, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I started dancing the exact same time as the HanaKana character during the ED, anime of the year.

  12. sandberm
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Seki’s silent triumph fist made me seriously lol. I probably wouldn’t have picked this up without your review, but so glad I did.

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