I 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.
The 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.