So, as I’ve said before, I really like Seki-kun, it’s been one of the few shows I’ve been following this season, and among them it’s been the most charming. There are shows that are imaginative, and then there are shows the capture the nature of imagination, and Seki-kun is the second; it’s creative and fanciful without being outlandish or fantastic. It doesn’t depict an imagined scenario, it depicts the joy of imagination. And the character behind it all isn’t complex or interesting, he’s just a kid goofing off in class, which, for me, makes him one of the most engaging characters in anime. Seki captures a simple, beloved feeling of mine, carefree and genuine fun, the kind without any fancy toys or advanced graphics video games breaking down engagement and replacing it with realism; the imagination in playing is where the real joy of it is. That Seki-kun can entertain me for a full episode (even if that is only six minutes) just chisling an eraser demonstrates this principle. I know this is a very childish outlook, but I think I’m lucky to still be able to see things that way.
But I’m not here just to gush over this show more (or because it’s been nearly two weeks since I last posted); I just watched episode 10 and had some thoughts to share about it.
The episode, titled Golf, has a fairly standard set up. Seki and Yokoi are sitting next to each other in class, and Yokoi gets distracted when Seki starts to goof off, this time by playing microgolf on an old desk covered with bumps and cavities. It does alter the formula a little bit by having a second observer. While Yokoi still provides at least half of the commentary, we get a fair amount from another girl sitting behind the two, and she misinterprets what’s going on in a way that makes the episode oddly sexual.
First off, I like the idea of having another perspective. Though I think the show should continue to focus on Seki and Yokoi as the main characters because their chemistry is so good and the run time just won’t allow a much broader scope, it still is nice to have something to break the formula from time to time. It provides an opportunity for a lot of comedic irony, and just gives the writers more to work with if they need it. Also, I’ve complained before about Yokoi’s monologue commentary getting grating, so this fixes that problem.
Now, when I say the episode’s sexual, I don’t mean like HOTD, or anything like that; there’s no fanservice, it’s not distasteful, heck, you could even watch it around normal people and they wouldn’t give you weird looks (perhaps a first for anime). It’s just kissing and vague allusion to hanky panky, all purely done for a little joke. Basically, the girl behind Seki and Yokoi misinterprets what they’re doing, and starts thinking they’re a couple. It’s actually really cute, and fits with the little romance between the two (speaking of which, Yokoi actually gets a little involved in Seki’s games instead of just nagging him, and that’s always charming).
The episode itself was pretty good, but I’m not sure about the tone. What I’ve liked most about Seki-kun until now is the simple childishness of it; just play, free of adult responsibilities or anxieties. The romance until now hasn’t disturbed this because it’s just an aside and entirely platonic. But taking it a little further into the realm of sexuality doesn’t fit that same mold. Though the episode was both charming and funny, I didn’t find myself heart-warmed or chuckling because of the dissonance between the tone I’ve come to expect from the show and the tone of this episode. They created a conflict between childish joy and mature humor. For an extreme example, imagine a Mickey Mouse skit wherein Mickey is a stage coordinator busily running around to fix malfunctioning lights and things, during a Chris Rock performance. It feels a little awkward.
I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining about the episode, because I’m not. I still liked it a lot, it’s just that the not-so-childish tone conflicted with the childish fun of the show, and that made me think about what it is about Seki-kun I like so much. Am I alone in this? If you’ve watched the episode, or just the show, or even just found something I said interesting, please, share it in the comments.
Don’t lose your way.