Every classroom has one. The student who will do absolutely anything to avoid paying attention in class. Generally that student's repertoire is limited to staring out the window, reading comics, or perhaps playing with his phone. Occasionally, such a student creates a distraction, or annoys the students adjacent to them, but this usually draws enough attention that the teacher puts an end to it.
Unfortunately, not only are Seki's distractions fascinating, but he's a master of stealth in My Neighbor Seki Volume 1.
Poor Yokoi. Poor, poor Yokoi. At this rate, she'll never be able to pay attention in class again. But who could blame her? Seki simply refuses to sit still and do his work. And what he actually is doing is much more interesting than what the teacher's trying to get across.
For example, in 2nd Period, Seki starts a game of Shogi. Sort of. He's turned Shogi into a drama about loyalty and betrayal and possibly a resurrected king?
5th Period doesn't go much better. He's switched over to Go this time...but Yokoi's not sure about the rules of Go. Are...are there teddy bears and bunnies involved? Is that normal?
Wait...a cat? Why is there a cat in 6th Period? Multiple cats? Is this normal?
Ouija boards, robot toys, crocheting...there's a lot going on in the back row here. Unfortunately, there's not much note-taking. Will Yokoi ever be able to concentrate again?
The premise of My Neighbor Seki is fantastic. The chapters are short enough that they don't begin to get tired, and the ideas are so far-out that there's plenty of room for the author to play around. The art's not always amazing, but it's completely serviceable for the type of story that it tells, and it's clear who's who and what's going on .Overall, it's a hilarious manga that's a great way to spend a few minutes here and there.
Highs: To be honest, Seki really did take the disaster drill as seriously as he could
Lows: I wish Seki got called out more than poor Yokoi did, but I suppose that's part of the fun
Verdict: A step up from a simple 4-koma comic, My Neighbor Seki is still best read in small bites, but it's fun and reminiscent of middle school antics that most people either participated in or watched
Further Reading: Crayon Shin-Chan, Yotsuba&!, Neko Ramen
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