… the serious students in Japan? My Neighbor Seki, by Takuma Morishige, certainly turns that ideal on its ear! Rumi Yokoi is a diligent student who tries to focus on her teachers. However, she is constantly being distracted by Toshinari Seki, the boy at the next desk. He plays with toys, does magic tricks, and sets up elaborate works of art on his desk, but somehow, the teachers and other students never see what he is doing. Rumi can’t stop noticing, and she even gets pulled into Seki’s activities, imagining elaborate stories based around what he is doing.
The artwork in this manga is good, with particularly expressive faces and body language. However, the real treat is the surreal activities that Seki enjoys, and the stories Rumi makes up as she tries to make sense of what he is doing. On the one hand, Seki is constantly goofing off in class. On the other, he is making elaborate, delicate, and even beautiful things, all in the space of a single class. I’m looking forward to seeing what Takuma Morishige will have Seki (and Rumi) do next.
Reviewed by Fran (staff)