Master of Killing Time, The (2014)


master of killing time cover

Director: Yuji Mutoh

High school student Rumi Yokoi wants nothing more than to take notes in class. While this sounds simple enough, her neighbor in the seat next to her, Seki-kun, has a frustrating habit of playing games at his desk instead of being a good student. These aren’t your typical games however; Seki-kun has an incredible imagination that can turn a simple game of shogi into a richly imaginative jidai geki drama. As poor hopelessly tries to ignore the bizarrely adept Seki, she finds herself, more and more, drawn to the distractions with which Seki occupies his time.

The biggest strength of the show lays in the absolutely hilarious setup and jokes which make up each very short (7 minutes!) episode. I appreciate that many of the comedic bits would more than overstay their welcome if the running times were even only a bit longer and the decision to maintain the tight direction and brevity is an excellent one. Focusing entirely on the humor, we see little character development except for Yokoi increasing propensity to indulge her own imagination when watching Seki’s antics. We do visit a few other classmates for a bit of variety, but the series stays mainly with Yokoi and somewhat mute Seki.

Music is solid with appealing opening and ending songs characterizing Seki’s oddity and Yokoi’s exasperation. A recurring plaything, that of a robot family, earns itself an absolutely brilliant theme song that fully encapsulates the hilarity and joy of the show. The animation, while simple, featured pleasing design that lends itself to the humorous situations and oddness of the character’s thought processes. The occasional bit of CG is utilized well, typically for comedic effect, and never overstays its welcome.

Bitesized episodes result in massively amusing and easily digestible episodes in perhaps one of yhe most underrated anime series of the year. With it’s simple premise and continual payoff, you’ll be hard pressed to find another show that has as much good-natured comedy. Definitely worth a watch, if you love Japanese comedy, you won’t be disappointed.

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Long time film lover and occasional writer. I watch anything and everything though I have massive love for the works of Shunji Iwai, Jackie Chan, Johnnie To, and Kinji Fukasaku. POP! POP!

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