Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun

IMG_0910.PNGChiyo Sakura is a girl with a crush on her fellow schoolmate Umetarou Nozaki. When she finally confesses her love to him, he assumes that she is a fan of his manga and so gives her an autograph. When she explains that she wants to be with him always, he invites her over to his house to help him with his shoujo manga strip. This is when Chiyo realises that Nozaki is in actual fact renowned manga-ka Sakiko Yumeno.

Having come to this stunning realisation, she agrees to be his assistant in the hope that it will bring her closer to him. As they work on shoujo manga, she finds herself encountering other schoolmates who also help Nozaki, and even more that serve as inspiration for characters in his stories.

This anime is based on an on-going four-panel web romantic comedy manga written an illustrated by Izumi Tsubaki and has been adapted into a 12 episode anime.

IMG_0666.PNGThe general anime rom-com genre is nothing new, but there was something about Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun that caught my attention from the very beginning. To start, it had a very catchy opening song, and it was also focused around something which I’m interested in and yet know very little about – manga-kas and the processes that they go through that result in the finished products. I was intrigued, and hoped that I’d maybe learn something about the craft.

I came for the concept, and stayed for the characters. Sakura and Nozaki have an interesting dynamic which is also often hilarious. Sakura’s cute and cheerful personality is offset by Nozaki being tall, stoic and generally expressionless. His usually deadpan face makes him a good straight-guy for the colourful cast of characters that surround him, and Sakura often acts as Nozaki’s social bridge when he misinterprets social situations or what might be considered an ‘exciting twist’ in a shoujo serial manga. The two of them have a unique chemistry that makes for some entertaining situations.

IMG_0912.PNGSo far every episode has felt generally funny to me. A bit part of this is based on the characters for Nozaki’s shoujo manga characters, and how very unlike the shoujo stereotypes they actually are. Each episode has had a focus on one of these characters, as well as having a good balance of character exposition and plot movement, and they’ve all been very enjoyable.

IMG_0702.PNGI’ve also really been impressed by how the manga script-writing and drawing element has progressed. It’s interesting to see how plot ideas form in Nozaki’s head based on the things he sees happening around school (how he get any actual schoolwork done is still a mystery to me), to getting them down on a storyboard and having the shading and backgrounds drawn in afterwards. There is a real element of realism here, including Nozaki’s problems with editors and publishers, that balances out all the school-life chaos and amusing misunderstandings going on. One can almost draw similarities of these two atmospheres and see them reflected in the two protagonists.