Over the past year, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (aka Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun) has been subject to a host of meme creations. After seeing one of them, my curiosity was peaked and I decided to look into this series. After reading the synopsis, I decided to put this series on my watchlist. Well, the time has come to discuss a rather odd series, which began as a webcomic.
This series begins with Chiyo Sakura attempting to confess to long-time crush Utemaro Nozaki, but ends up choking miserably. Based on a misunderstanding by what can be described as one of the most oblivious, obsessive, yet oddly endearing characters, Chiyo starts helping him out with inking his popular Shōjo manga creations under the pen name of Sakiko Yumeno. Enter the weird world of Nozaki, idiot manga writer and artist!
To begin with, this series begins with a common premise for Shōjo, the confession. In Chiyo’s case, her anxiety caused the misunderstanding in the first place, but from a story point of view, it opened up the chance for learning more about Nozaki. Some of you will notice the genres that I listed this series under. Whilst I usually find manga and anime the begin with the confession thing listed under “Romantic Comedy”, this series tended to focus more on comedy because it is, for the most part, a parody. As I watched it, it reminded me series such as Ouran High School Host Club and Gintama with the rampant social commentary on Shōjo manga. The story is made odder in the shift from romantic comedy to straight comedy and then a shift back to romantic comedy in the last few episodes.
The series was well-paced, with plenty of wriggle room for the viewer to get to know Chiyo and the slowly growing cast of characters. As for Nozaki, we see him grow (in his own weird way) on account of Chiyo. We also get to know the other cast members through both Chiyo and Nozaki. After all, some of the characters are introduced by Nozaki, such as Mikoto Mishiba; whilst the others are introduced by Chiyo, such as Seo. Please note that each of these characters are twisted versions of typical anime and manga archetypes. If you do decide to watch the series all of the way through, note that the ending is somewhat odd. I won’t say much, but just know that we don’t necessarily get closure for Chiyo and Nozaki. And yet, I felt that it was somewhat appropriate given the quirky nature of the series itself.
To the comedy, this is really down to personal taste. Whilst I spent most of my time nursing sore ribs from laughing at how deliberately stupid it was, some might not appreciate the gags that primarily poke fun at both the industry and Shōjo genre in general. In any case, the series seems to hit the nail on the hit with its representation of how over-the-top and silly some Shōjo can get. It does make the sane decision to steer around commentary around issues of consent that some Shōjo series have, as the focus is being silly rather than being depressing. This also means that there is a lot less for adults to worry about when considering if children in their care should watch.
As for the art, the lines were neat, colours were vibrant and characters distinct. Whilst it makes use of archetypal styles for characters, there is a freshness to the way that they are drawn that made me smile. It just went well with the silly nature of the series itself. The intro and outro music is enjoyable, with stingers throughout the series that seem oddly familiar.
Did I enjoy the series? Yes. However, it is not for everyone given the humour. That being said, if you are an avid devourer of Shōjo then I recommend watching at least a three or four episodes of the series to see if it appeals to your personal tastes. Why? Because a few of characters are introduced a few episodes into the series, and they contribute to the story in interesting ways. Just remember my warning about the ending.
Next week, I will likely be reviewing the series Working, a series recommended by reader kwenzqoatl. Feel free to check out their blog when you get the chance.