Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun (Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun) is a 2014 anime based on the ongoing manga series of the same name by Izumi Tsubaki and published by Yen Press. This is not a new series for those who might follow Otaku Digest regularly! This little beauty comes up quite a bit (and rightfully so since it is a series that has been cruelly overlooked). It’s a romance and comedy anime and, in my opinion, it has some of the best characters and story to grace an anime season in a long time.
Let’s Fall in Love
The series follows Chiyo Sakura, a high school student with a crush. She finally works up the courage to tell Umetarō Nozaki how she feels but things turn from bad to worse when she blurts out her confession and he mistakes it for something else, giving her an autograph. She expresses that she wants to be with him always and he invites her back to his home. Although she gets her hopes up, he has her help him out with some drawings. Later Chiyo realises just who Nozaki really is; a popular shojo manga artist under the alias Sakiko Yumeno.
Nozaki approaches Chiyo again to help him out with his manga and she agrees to be close to him. They work together on his manga Let’s Fall in Love, a concept she hopes to become true. Through their work, they encounter characters who influence the manga, serving as inspiration for work on the manga in some way or another.
Usually, these kinds of anime are bland and have been done a million times before, but this was surprisingly refreshing in all aspects. Each episode is a new adventure for the characters as they work on the manga series and encounter new personalities. Each encounter brings a new aspect of comedy while there is also that constant ‘Will they? Won’t they?’ romance going on for more than one pairing. There are no real dull moments in the series, which is rare for a slice of life anime.
The Perfect Cast
The characters are what make this story. A bold statement, I am aware, but it’s very true. These type of series live or die based on the characters. Give us characters we just don’t care about and the series is doomed, give us characters we can love and root for and you have a winner. Although our main characters Chiyo and Nozaki are at the show’s centre, this series manages to give us a range of other characters to get behind too. What is great is that although they contribute to the main plot, they each have their own story which somehow never overshadows the protagonists. Their individual stories stay with you and keep you guessing.
In terms of characters, usually you would have the typical male and female leads, but this series takes a twist on those clichés. Chiyo comes off as your typical school girl with a crush, but you can tell as the series goes on that she is a social butterfly that actually has a brain in her head. No matter the personality, she can get along with them.
However, the real draw here is the character of Nozaki. We all know the typical aloof macho guy lead, but this series just took that and made it their own. Nozaki looks like the macho man but in reality he is aloof because he is just oblivious to the world around him unless it involves his manga, which he is very passionate about. Another thing which makes his character is the fact he is a manga artist for a manga based on love, but has no idea or experience in love personally. However, that makes for some amazing comedy with his outlandish ideas of love and affection between two people.
Much like our main characters, the rest of the cast take on different roles than we would be accustomed to seeing in this type of anime. The angry character is a smaller framed young woman while the overly confident guy is actually easily embarrassed and the token prince character is in fact a girl. These characters come together to make these stories happen, and with each interaction the audience is left either loving it or wondering why this has even happened.
Happy Ever After?
It’s not often a series likes this comes along, which is why it is a crime that this one has been overshadowed by lesser series. For the longest time, no anime really caught my attention nor did I want to watch anything, old or new. This series, however, drew me in and kept my attention with laugh -out-loud scenarios and dialogue.