My Neighbor Seki Volume 7
I thought, by this point in the series, I wouldn’t have much to say about My Neighbor Seki volume 7, but then I remembered the earlier books. Back then, Rumi watched Seki’s creative transformations of his desk. She was an observer and interpreter for the reader, putting his actions into context.
Now, it’s quite a contrast, as Rumi and Seki often wind up interacting. I mentioned this when commenting on the two books before this one, but this volume takes it even further. She talks to him, giving him advice, or follows him around the school, or even competes with him at selling acorns. When he makes a Godzilla-style monster movie, she’s in it, and at the end, they get into an odd juggling battle.
Seki’s personality also seems to have changed — or maybe we’re just seeing more of it. He seems less like the remote genius creating for the love of art, and more selfish. This is foregrounded in the first story, where he’s not just creating a yo-yo trick, he’s worried about how to brand it with his name.
I didn’t much care for the second chapter, mainly due to the central statement, “Most women do not understand a man’s challenge.” It’s playing with stereotypes I didn’t care for. In contrast, my favorite chapter was the one with the robot family, a recurring favorite. This time, they adopt a robot dog, only it’s larger than they are.
Otherwise, the students roam outside the classroom, as Seki sets up a haunted house in the equipment room of the gymnasium. Or he celebrates Christmas by dressing up as Santa and another holiday favorite.
I don’t know if I’m just growing too complacent with My Neighbor Seki, as it’s no longer as fresh to me, or if the series really is running out of steam. It’s got to be difficult for author Takuma Morishige to keep coming up with surprising and creative things for Seki to do. Either way, I didn’t find this installment as pleasurable to read as some of the previous.
Reportedly, the next book, out this fall, will conclude the series. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any sort of finale, or if it ends the way it began, with more stories of Seki’s creativity.