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Manga Review: Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun Chapters 11-15

Year: 2011 (ongoing) [English translation]
Author/Artist: Izumi Tsubaki
Genre: Shounen, Comedy, Romance, School Life, Slice of Life

Reviewer’s Note: Chapters 11-15 covers the first half of the second volume of this manga, which covers material from the anime as well. Please note that I’ve also decided to provide an overview of each chapter read, leading to spoilers.

  • Chapter 11: Chiyo and Nozaki go to a shopping mall. They visit various stores eventually heading to a toy store where they meet and discuss figurines with Mikorin. After going back to his place Nozaki tries to get Chiyo to wear a sailor uniform as a reference for his manga. Yes, he does find it difficult to talk about stuff other than work – thanks for noticing!
  • Chapter 12: Ahead of a meeting with Ken, Nozaki, Chiyo, and Mikorin discuss Maeno’s editorial practices. Nozaki offers his usual scathing review of his former editor, citing examples. We see a flashback to his first meeting with Ken after being transferred to a new editor. At the current day meeting, Nozaki and Ken have a meeting about new installments of Let’s Fall in Love.
  • Chapter 13: It is a Seo and Waka chapter this time around. Nozaki, Chiyo, and Seo discuss the way that people react to Seo’s “alter ego” Lorelai. Waka shares his trauma at being targeted by Seo with Nozaki. On a visit to Nozaki’s place, he falls asleep to the music of Lorelai, not realising it actually Seo singing. Waka volunteers to become a part of Nozaki’s manga team in exchange for Nozaki’s song by Lorelai.
  • Chapter 14: In continuation of the events of the previous chapter, we see Waka discussing how to get back at Seo for her constant bullying. He makes the mistake of using one of Nozaki’s shoujo books for tips, managing to compliment her and give a gift of mittens instead of duel-declaring gloves without realizing the mistake… BECAUSE HE IS A MORON! But hey, he is an adorable moron. As for Seo, she is her usual oblivious self as well, but what can you expect?
  • Chapter 15: This chapter begins with Ken pointing out the lack of depth in Nozaki’s male and female protagonists Mamiko and Suzuki. We see Ken prompt Nozaki to think about Mamiko’s motivations, leading to Nozaki bringing Bento lunches to school, him getting into shenanigans with Kashima.

This week’s five chapters play out as they did in the anime series, but it isn’t an issue because the various moments are, at least for an avid fan like myself, repeatable. Love it! Love it! Love it! Time to let out a fangirl squeal of approval… *squee*
I’ll soon be coming to the end of the material adapted for the anime series. It feels a little bit weird but I am also oddly excited to meet some of the other characters, such as Chiyo’s younger brother and Nozaki’s younger sister. I want to see what other silliness this series can provide as well. I am really looking forward to it.

As a side note, I am considering changing my ratings for comedy categories to Aguris or Mikorins based on who the lead is now. I believe it is fitting given that these two idiots exemplify a spirit of whimsy and silliness. In any case, enjoy this adorable gif of Mikorin.

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Anime Rewatch: Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-Kun

Alternate Names: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
Year: 2014
Episodes: 12 (English-dubbed version)
Genre: Shoujo, Comedy, Romance

Back in 2017, I came across this anime and decided to review it. Whilst many of my views from that first viewing of the series still hold true, this rewatch review contains several other aspects that I didn’t notice at the time. I also broke down some more information about the anime adaptation because I felt like it. This time around, I also “suckered” my husband into watching it with me which might have impacted some of my perceptions.

When Chiyo Sakura screws up a confession to the straight-faced giant that is Umetarou Nozaki, she somehow manages to get his autograph and is invited to his place where she is asked to become part of a team making shoujo romance manga. Shock-horror, Nozaki is a popular manga artist using the pen name of Sakiki Yumeno. Chiyo will go down the rabbit hole of weirdness and stupidity that is the world of Umetarou Nozaki.

First up, this series may begin with the confession, it expands to a larger cast in an organic fashion. The cast of the anime predominantly consists of high school students and three adults that give us an idea of the business side of the manga industry. The cast is as follows:

  • Umetarou Nozaki: Our male protagonist and the object of Chiyo’s affections. He is so focused on creating shoujo manga that he misses the obvious fangirl in his midst… or does he? He has no experience with romantic relationships and what you see is pretty much what you get. He has a younger brother who makes one or two cameos during the anime.
  • Chiyo Sakura: The friendly and cute female protagonist who has had a crush on Umetarou since the entrance ceremony of high school. She accepts Umetarou for the idiot that he is and still loves him.
  • Mikoto “Mikorin” Mikoshiba: Mikorin is adorable if a bit of a moron. He has issues with girls but made matters worse by playing nothing but dating sims and trying to emulate best friend slash rival Yuu Kashima’s flirtatious lines. He has real issues talking to anyone but Chiyo and Kashima normally. He helps Nozaki with manga and is the inspiration for Nozaki’s character Mamiko because of his shyness. [Mikorin is a good example of nature versus demeanor.]
  • Yuzuki Seo: Seo is Chiyo’s friend. She is a force of nature and oblivious to how her actions affect others in a destructive fashion. She takes special glee in harassing Waka from the basketball team.
  • Yuu Kashima: Kashima is a young androgynous woman that taken on the role of the school “prince”, delivering cheesy lines to the girls of the school. She also has a bizarre desire to have Hori praise her alone after he invited her to the drama club during the entrance ceremony. She is also friends with Mikoshiba.
  • Masayuki Hori: Hori is the head of the drama club. He doesn’t do acting anymore because he has stopped growing. He has a dysfunctional working relationship with Kashima who has to micromanage because she has very limited personal drive. Hori has a working arrangement with Nozaki, wherein he helps with Nozaki’s manga in exchange for scripts for school plays. He helps out at different times to the rest of Nozaki’s helpers as he doesn’t want Kashima learning about it.
  • Hirotaka “Waka” Wakamatsu: Waka is a member of the basketball team and is the target of Seo’s harassment.
  • Yukari Miyako: Yukari is one of Nozaki’s neighbors and fellow manga author that is also a college student. As one of Maeno’s longsuffering “clients”, she is commanded to draw ridiculous amounts of tanukis in her creations to satisfy his bizarre whims.
  • Ken the editor: Ken is Nozaki’s editor. He is round and he comes off as exhausted by those around him, especially the fanboy Umetarou.
  • Maeno the editor: Self-absorbed and uncaring of what his “clients” think, Maeno is obsessed with Tanukis and later elephants. He was dumped as Nozaki’s editor a year before the start of the show. Alas, Yukari hasn’t rallied enough willpower to do so as well yet.

Next, we see the use of a social network to give us insight into the cast members. Think of it as the six degrees of Kevin Bacon but with cross-dressers and people with mental problems. This aspect also helped us see several characters in a different light. I was considering using a diagram to show this in detail but I decided against it because I am slightly lazy and didn’t want to learn new software. Instead, I’ve decided to show a few examples in short form, focusing on Wakamatsu and Hori as they relate to Chiyo and Umetarou.

  • Hirotaka Wakamatsu – Utemarou Nozaki (former member of the basketball team)
  • Hirotaka Wakamatsu – Yuzuki Seo – Chiyo Sakura
  • Masayuki HoriUtemarou Nozaki
  • Masayuki Hori – Yuu Kashima –  Mikoto “Mikorin” Mikoshiba – Utemarou Nozaki – Chiyo Sakura

Rewatching this series was a lot of fun and I can see myself doing so again soon. Promises are made in the first episodes and those promises were delivered upon with relative ease. It avoided adding too many things that can date it, reducing the cringe value of say a giant cell phone. The humor is light-hearted and playful as well, avoiding mean-spirited mockery that I’ve seen in several other series. Characters are allowed to be themselves, as mentally ill and/or oblivious as they are at times. No apologies are made and the series doesn’t take itself too seriously. That makes for a really fun experience that makes me excited to watch the series again in the not-so-distant future.

BEST OF…
Okay, it is time for my ratings of best girls and best guys. The eight students, which includes a college student, will be objectified for the general amusement of myself and others. Some of my ratings will not surprise people that have known me for a while. If you have your own ratings, I welcome you to post them in the comments section.

Best girls?

  1. Chiyo Sakura: She is kind and accepting of those around her. If only she had enough courage to confess properly to Nozaki.
  2. Yukari Miyako: Long-suffering and kind, Yukari aims to make others happy. Unfortunately, she lacks enough self-esteem to stand up for herself.
  3. Yuu Kashima: Whilst Kashima is assertive, her behavior tends to be all over the place when it comes to Hori. The whole “prince” thing is a bit weird as well.
  4. Yuzuki Seo: Whilst assertive, Seo lacks empathy and care for those around her. One might also argue that her “reality” is different from the objective reality of those around her.

Best guys?

  1. Umetaro Nozaki: What you see is what you get with Nozaki. Whilst a bit of an oblivious idiot, he is hard-working and seems to care for those around him.
  2. Masayuki Hori: Whilst his relationship with Kashima is a little strange, he is good-looking, assertive and smart. He is also hard-working.
  3. Mikoto “Mikorin” Mikoshiba: Mikorin is good-looking but lacks genuine self-confidence when it comes to “the ladies”.
  4. Hirotaka “Waka” Wakamatsu: Wakamatsu is a bit of an idiot but is good-hearted and good-looking.

CONCLUSION
This rewatch has placed this series as my all-time favorite anime series. I appreciated the humor and found the characters adorable even years after first watching the series. It also led to me recently picking up the manga series. All in all, I still love this show and look forward to watching it again soon.


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Manga Review: Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun Chapters 6-10

Year: 2011 (ongoing) [English translation]
Author/Artist: Izumi Tsubaki
Genre: Shounen, Comedy, Romance, School Life, Slice of Life

Reviewer’s Note: Chapters 6-10 cover halfway through episodes two five of the anime.

In chapters 6-10, we are introduced to Hori, Ken the Editor, as well as Nozaki’s previous editor Maenoshi who has a tanuki and elephant obsession. We then move to Mikorin’s (Mikoto Mikoshiba) sleepover where he and Nozaki bond over a dating sim. Enter Yukari Miyako, a college student who is Nozaki’s neighbor and one of Maeno’s long-suffering manga artists. Kashima becomes jealous of Hori and Nozaki’s friendship. And some of the cast practice some lines from a script, which confirms Mikorin’s inability to act.

This week’s chapters added in a bunch of new characters and character dynamics to the manga. We also see Mikorin noticing Nozaki’s preference for a girl that looks like Chiyo in the dating sim that he’s introduced to during a sleepover. He reasons that her game storyline is supposed to be the best, which I would assume is a nod to Nozaki’s younger sister Yumeko being scrapped as the lead character of this series.
Whilst there wasn’t any new material added this time around, we do see how well Izumi Tsubaki makes use of each panel. An example of this is when Hori is introduced. As we learn more about his acting, a bunch of dialogue regarding his height in the anime is broken down into a single panel. It was a pretty good demonstration of polish from a storytelling point of view. This series continues to surprise me with things that I didn’t notice in the anime as well. In any case, I will be continuing to read it each week because the bizarre world of Umetaro Nozaki continues to entertain me.


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Manga Review: Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun Chapters 1-5

Year: 2011 (ongoing) [English translation]
Author/Artist: Izumi Tsubaki
Genre: Shounen, Comedy, Romance, School Life, Slice of Life

When Chiyo Sakura screws up whilst trying to confess to Nozaki, she learns that he is a famous shoujo manga artist. Enlisted to help out with the beta elements of his ongoing stories, Chiyo gets to learn more about Nozaki and the two introduce each other to a host of weirdos and idiots. With all of these distractions, will Chiyo finally muster up the nerve to confess? Nope. It is the first five chapters after all. 😀

In lieu of rewatching the anime adaptation of this series, I decided to give the manga a run. The first five chapters of the manga cover the first two and a half episodes. These chapters also include scenes and characters absent in the anime, whilst the anime fills in some gaps in the manga itself. It is somewhat curious but it does show the benefit of consuming both the manga and the anime of a series. Whilst I admit a certain level of bias going into reading this series, I have to say that it even surpassed my high expectations.
The artwork was pretty close to the anime version as well, avoiding a frequent annoyance with manga and anime adaptations being different from each other in style and vibe. This is certainly not always a bad thing, hence I enjoyed the One Punch Man anime adaptation. However, when it is as atrocious as the depiction of the Dark Young at the end of Overlord season 3, then it is a slap in the face to fans of a franchise.
Back to the subject of the characters, whilst I didn’t get to see much of the extended cast members, those short sequences contributed meaningfully to the story. This is an aspect that drew me to reading the manga in the first place. I was aware from a bit of online research that there was a large cast and was really curious. We get a glimpse of the world outside of the characters that were restricted to the anime.

In conclusion, I really like the manga version of Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun and can easily see myself reading more of it in the not-so-distant future. Umetarou Nozaki is “best boy”. That is all! 😀


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Anime Review: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Year: 2014
Episodes: 12 (English dub version)
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList, CrunchyrollHulu,
Genre: Shōjo + Comedy + Romance + School Life + Gender Bender

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.