This paper is one that I wrote specifically for an English class. The professor challenged us to do a deep reading on any specific topic, short clip, or short anime episode, so I chose to look at the first episode of Seki-Kun and do some kind of deep reading on it for fun. So the end result of this paper was a B. It was a bit over the place here and there, which you will see, but it was a lot of fun to write. Also, considering I wrote this paper, there isn’t any real way for it to be considered plagiarism. Especially since it was turned in already. Hope you have fun reading it.
Seki-Kun: Characterizing Through Animation
My Neighbor Seki-Kun: The Master of Killing Time, is an anime adaptation of a manga with the very same name. A manga, which is a Japanese comic format in which panels and words go right to left, which is still ongoing. All created by the mangaka Takuma Morishige. Produced from Jan 6, 2014 to Maybe 26, 2014, the Japanese Studio Shin-Ei Animation with the director Yuuji Mutou, adapted the first twenty-one chapters of the manga into the moving Japanese cartoon form called Anime. A form of media that has been slowly becoming more popular using the internet and legal services like Crunchyroll. This paper focuses on the first episode. Watching an episode of My Neighbor Seki-Kun is a great way to show why that is. It is such an expressive medium in how it animates characters and crazy bits of action. Seki-Kun is fully realized and you can know what kind of person he is through his actions,his interactions with Rumi, and his facial expressions.
It helps that My Neighbor Seki-Kun is a very simple show to watch. First thing is first, it is a very episodic show, and each episode is only eight minutes. Starting with the first episode, which is where all examples in this paper will be pulled from, the concept is very easy to understand because of its very limited and easy scope. It is not trying to pull the wall of the eyes of the viewer in terms of creating an elaborate story. It is about two kids in the back of the classroom. One of them, Seki-Kun, is not paying attention to the lecture and doing an elaborate activity on his desk. Rumi Yokoi, the second character, is a girl who reacts to what Seki-Kun is doing while trying to pay attention. She is the relatable character who gets called on by the teacher and gets in trouble a lot. It’s very funny but a situation that could happen. It’s already easy to figure out what is going on without dialogue. Which helps considering Seki-Kun doesn’t speak.
Seki-kun uses its animation to tell you a lot about him. I am sure the manga does it as well, but adding movement to his actions adds so much to the anime in personifying him more. Especially when Seki-Kun doesn’t talk. From the episode this paper is focusing on, the first thing a person can notice is how bored he is in class. He isn’t paying attention and he works on other things instead. Like setting erasers with his name on him so they fall on each other like dominos. The first thing you can see about Seki-Kun is how innovative he is. He doesn’t just set up the erasers to fall down in specific s curves on his desk. He creates a Rube Goldberg machine using rulers, cups, and so many other things. Seki-Kun is a hard worker when he is interested in something. That thing just happens to not be school related at this moment.
How Seki-Kun reacts to different situations from his facial expressions also tells you a lot about him as well. Animation, which is a simulation of movement through moving drawings, is a way to make a person or object feel alive. Seki-Kun reacts in such wonderful ways to Rumi’s actions and the end of his Rude Goldberg Domino machine. Seeing Seki-Kun’s stare at Rumi after she destroyed his first set of Dominos tells her not only to interfere, but a bit of a look inside of how much he cares about what he works on. That is similar to the firework at the end of the Domino drops. It does not actually happen, but you can feel the excitement in the air when you see it in Seki-Kun’s image spot and him cheering because he finished something. He is proud to achieve this meticulous, pointless thing.
In the center of all of this is Rumi, the normal student in the classroom next to Seki-Kun and the point of view character for My Neighbor Seki-Kun. She is a character that reacts to everything and is constantly picked on the teacher for things that Seki-Kun does. Her expressions are pretty wide and fun as well. All while she is trying to keep her classroom space normal in some way with her interactions with Seki-Kun which creates a small rivalry between the two. If anything, she is just as expressive with her movements and actions as Seki-Kun. Her being flustered and ashamed while being wrongly called out in the classroom while Seki-Kun quickly puts away his erasers tells us just about as much about him as it does for Rumi. Like her being called in class to read a passage, because Rumi standing up is the reason for Seki-Kun’s dominos falling the first time.
At the center of all this conflict is the teacher, Mr. Adachi. He is not as in focus in the episode because Rumi and Seki-Kun are in the back while he’s in the front of the classroom. That means we don’t see Mr. Adachi’s expressions as frequently from their lack of importance. Still, he is the reason why the conflict between Rumi and Seki-Kun is happening. Rumi wants to listen to what Mr. Adachi is teaching, but Seki-Kun is very uninterested in the conflict. Rumi being called out for one reason or another from the teacher puts her more on edge with her learning and causes her to react in the way she does toward Seki-Kun. This is a classroom and the authority figure is the adult, the teacher. If this show happened in a less authoritative environment, this situation would not happen and this relatable comedy show would be something different.
My Neighbor Seki-Kun is a good piece of anime that, in a limited space, lets animation give the reader the personality and quirks of the main character, Seki-Kun. If anything, this show displays how a character talks is not the only way for a person to show who they are. Characters in this series are defined by what they do and how they react towards each other. Seki-Kun focuses meticulously on whatever he is interested in and feels hostility towards Rumi who ruins his work. Rumi is trying to deal with Seki-kun distracted and being called out in class. The teacher is the authority figure causing it all. All portions that My Neighbor Seki-Kun uses in its anime production to make Seki-Kun feel like a believable, relatable person.
Props to any professor assigning anime!
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It was really cool 🙂
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