As with being a fan of any media, being an anime fanatic can be simultaneously an extremely fulfilling experience and also a very frustrating one. This season is no exception. Amid the fourteen anime I am watching this season*, for every moment I spend enjoying an anime, I spend perhaps an equal moment being conversely annoyed at it. Don’t get me wrong, if I wasn’t enjoying the experience of watching what I watch, then I would no longer be doing so (the collective enjoyment I gain from consuming all the media I consume outweighs what small frustrations might come along with it). Although I may have let slip my
hatred distaste toward Kill la Kill two weeks ago, the knowledge I gain from watching it improves my contextual analysis of anime now and in the future to the point that the time I spend consuming it feels worth it (in terms of economics, my watching outweighs the opportunity cost of doing otherwise).
All of this has brought much of my attention to a little gem this season entitled Tonari no Seki-Kun. At about eight minutes per episode, the series contains about the depth of graham cracker… but that’s okay! In devoting the pure amount of time I must in order to stay up with anime while juggling university work as I have been, I have begun to appreciate more the shows that take little mental processing power but continue to provide adequate entertainment.
In the case of Tonari no Seki-kun, the entire plot can be summarized as follows: a female student spends all of her energy being distracted and annoyed by a male student who sits next to her and goofs off during class. That is literally all that happens each and every episode, but as I mentioned before, that is perfectly fine! Bookended by a fun little opening and ending, despite the fact that almost zero development has taken place between the 0:00 mark and the 8:00 (approximately) mark, time spent watching does not feel like time wasted, and that is because the entertainment value comes in the form of silly characters, gags, and comedy at its most basic level.
The implications of this in terms of practicality extend to practically every hobby or focus. Sometimes a lighthearted break is simply due from time to time in order to let your mind (or body) recharge. This is why it is recommended to get some physical activity in regular intervals while playing video games, or to take short study breaks while cramming for a test (although cramming in the first place is not recommended).
The upcoming question, I can assume, is: “How does this connect with Christianity?”
Well, beyond the fact that Christians are followers of Christ 24/7, regardless of their activity, and thus all activities are going to be somehow tied to their spiritual lives, one more “orthodox” Christian connection relates to Bible reading. In particular, reading the Old Testament can be a daunting task. Between confusion of what is literal and what is symbolic (especially in Genesis), understanding God’s will in, frankly, some ancient atrocities, and a difficult reading level at times, the Old Testament (or the Jewish Tanakh) is a difficult piece of literature to grasp. However, in addition to some of the most difficult to interpret passages of Scripture, the Old Testament also includes the books of Psalms, Proverbs, and even Song of Solomon, books that are easy to read in small portions (to some extent) and still gain from them.
Even in atheistic circles, the book of Proverbs is held to be one of the greatest pieces of surviving ancient literature, and as such, can prove to be a wonderful break in between heavy books such as Samuel and Judges.
This is where I must make the point that I am not trying to equate Tonari no Seki-kun, a silly comedy, with the book of Proverbs. While analogies can be helpful in illustrations, and I definitely make use of that fact, they all break down at some point or another. This one in particular cannot be taken far at all, for its application is quite limited and many differences exist within it, but the point remains that not all media is created for the same purpose, whether you are looking at anime or the Bible.
If you are like me and sometimes need a break from serious (or awful) plot developments, I highly recommend picking up Tonari no Seki-kun for a quick eight minute romp in mindless, but fun, comedy every week.
*Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren
Gin no Saji 2nd Season
Kill la Kill
Little Busters!: EX
Mikakunin de Shinkoukei
Nagi no Asukara
Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda
Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta
Tonari no Seki-kun
Witch Craft Works
Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil