Review: Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun
It’s hard to confess your feelings for someone, especially when that someone gives you an autograph because you said you were their fan instead of actually saying how you felt. Even more so when that boy turns out to be a shojo manga creator that you idolize. And if you think that’s bad, you don’t even know the end of it for the series Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun or Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun. This series is a romantic comedy and published Square Enix in Japan and Yen Press in America. It’s currently ongoing, having started in 2011 and recently had an anime adaptation in 2014 produced by Dogakobo.
The series is pretty episodic, but the overarching “plot” is that Sakura is trying to confess her feelings to Nozaki, maybe muddles her words a bit and is instead enlisted into helping with Nozaki’s secret manga career. Though, she doesn’t exactly protest to it, because it lets her get closer to her crush and really learn who he is as a person. Along the way, Sakura ends up meeting other people coerced into helping Nozaki and more, all while having fun adventures. And misinterpreting Nozaki’s intentions to the pain of the reader, but hey, she’ll learn one day right? Well, we can only hope.
Character wise, I would say that this is a fun series for characters and changing up some archetypes, especially with the full cast.
So, first off we have Chiyo Sakura, she’s ultimately a romantic at heart and often lets that blind her from the reality of her situation. She constantly thinking of the romance she could be having with Nozaki, but is also happy with their current situation. Sakura is also slowly coming into her own as the story goes along, learning about others and herself in certain plotlines while still maintaining what makes her character.
Then we have Umetaro Nozaki, who is… For lack of a better word oblivious. He can’t seem to figure out that Sakura is in love with him, even though everyone else can. He secretly works as a manga artist for a romance series, while having no experience himself in love. So, when Sakura arrives he not only enlists her for line work but also to help him understand certain aspects of romance. He doesn’t think much beyond story plots and characters for his work, which often makes him seem sort of curt and rude.
Mikoto Mikoshiba is also one of Nozaki’s assistants and comes off as a popular handsome guy. In reality, he is actually shy and deals with a lot of embarrassment at some of the things he says. He also deals with anxiety around other people, easily uncomfortable around large groups of people he doesn’t know. He’s also low-key an otaku, who collects anime figurines and practices dating through dating sims. While he is sort of the comic relief he also is genuinely a fun character that just is trying his best.
Mikoto’s best friend Yu Kashima is the prince of the school despite being a girl. She’s also the star of the drama club, thanks to not only her acting talent but also her height. She’s constantly vying for Hori’s attention despite not having open romantic intentions for him. While being an airhead most of the time, she is a genuinely good character who wants to help out Hori as much as she can.
Masayuki Hori is the president of the drama club and another assistant for Nozaki. He’s amazingly good at acting, but is highly conscious of his height. Kashima is a pain in the neck for him, despite the very romantic undertones between the two and he often reacts violently towards her whenever she acts inappropriately or disrupts important situations. Despite this, he’s probably the more mature characters or rather the “straight-man.”
And these are only a few of the characters! There are others, but I honestly want to avoid spoilers as much as I can here, even with this series being so short and episodic. Also, many of the characters, at least the main two, are very cookie cutter and don’t really do much thanks to the rambunctious supporting cast. Still, these characters were refreshing, especially in a genre that really favors tsunderes. They really stretched some of the archetypes, but ultimately stayed true to the formula. It’s also a show that’s never mean to other characters, like intentionally. They poke fun at each other, but nothing is really malicious.
The art for this series is very… Cute and pretty. Which fits with the genre it’s in. The anime was produced by Dogakobo, who haven’t really done a whole lot of big name series beyond visual novel adaptations. But it was directed by Mitsue Yamazaki who is known for Durarara. The art is very shojo but, much like the characters, changes a lot of the usual genre archetype. It also isn’t too soft animation wise, instead having sharp lines. It’s also a very bright anime color wise. Sakura is soft and cute whereas Nozaki is sharp and muscular. It’s an anime that really seems, at least to me, to be very good for different characters and how they appear. Now, for the manga, I have no real idea. I haven’t read it, but from what I’ve seen it’s very similar and still has a lot of the same characteristics. It is a little softer line wise for me, but still has the fun that the anime has. I think both have their merits and worth taking a look into.
Sound wise, this was a good series. Now, I’ve only heard the Japanese dub and the very short English dubbed OVAs, but it was well done. All the voices match the characters, especially Yuichi Nakamura as Nozaki, who is also known for his work as Greed in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Tetsuro Kuroo in Haikyuu, and Yuuki Ono as Masayuki Hori, also known for his work as Josuke Higashitaka in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable. It definitely seemed like the cast was having fun with the stories and characters they were playing. The music itself is a bit underwhelming comparatively, but this usually how it goes for a Rom-Com anime. It’s light and fluffy, but also dark in other places for when the mood is right. The opening is Kimi Janakya Dame Mitai, which was performed by Masayoshi Oishi, and it’s a fun song that matches the fun opening animation. It’s just a light song to match the sort of up and down lightness of the show. Then there’s Uraomote Fortune, the ending theme, which honestly I didn’t feel was that great. Like it matched the show and Sakura’s feelings. Yet, when compared with the opening theme it comes off a bit… Dull. It’s pretty, don’t get me wrong, but when compared to the overall anime it seems to match only a very small portion of the series.
I watched this 12-episode series in the span of like three days with a friend, suffice to say, it’s a quick watch. But if you’re looking for a show that gives you a complete and fulfilling ending, well sorry but it’s not gonna be this show. I still feel denied, but also felt compelled to read the manga which is ongoing. However, sometimes an unsatisfying end is good? Though, I don’t think it really works with this series, especially with how it was executed.
Ultimately, I think that this series was a quick watch that had some really good times. It’s legitimately fun in very specific spots. So, if you think it’s up your alley… Look into it?
Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun: 7/10