Let's fall in love with the characters all over again!
Title: Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun (Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun)
Publisher: Square Enix (JP), Yen Press (US)
Artist/Writer: Izumi Tsubaki
Serialized in: Gangan Online
Translation: Leighann Harvey
Original Release Date: November 22, 2016
A review copy was provided by Yen Press.
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun was adapted into an anime a couple of years ago, and it found a fanbase amongst viewers who enjoyed its utterly goofy, dorky takes on cliched shoujo romance moments and bizarre antics. But no comedy remains good forever, and after 13 episodes you may be left wondering, “Was that all of the good material in Nozaki-kun or does the manga still have more to offer?” The answer to that is, “Yes, it does,” and this manga is a delightful treat for both newcomers and devoted Nozaki-kun fans alike.
By volume five the story has largely progressed past the material covered in the anime and it’s as fine a place as any to dive in. For newcomers, Nozaki-kun is a four panel comic published in larger chapters so it’s still paced and flows like any other manga. Sometimes a chapter will remain focused around a single idea, like Chiyo trying to spark Nozaki’s interest in her, and sometimes the chapter will end in a wildly different place than where it started, a la a Simpson’s episode. There’s only one character new to anime-only fans, Nozaki’s younger brother Mayu. He was only briefly glimpsed in the show’s final minutes, but it’s pretty easy for the reader to get a sense of his personality very quickly. All of the characters have a chance to shine and make fools out of themselves in this volume, from Seo misinterpreting a teen magazine and thinking that she’s “a little tease” to Mikorin watching with horror as one of Nozaki’s more outlandish manga situations comes to life before his eyes! There’s plenty of humor related to Nozaki’s comic-within-a-comic, Let’s Fall in Love!, and while it doesn’t have my absolute favorite gags (like the character’s reacting to how all of Nozaki’s male characters have the same face), watching Nozaki and Chiyo agonize over creating a mascot character was still quite funny.
While this volume relies a bit too much on previous gags for it to be a good starting place for folks completely new to Nozaki-kun, it’s a fine place for anime fans to jump back in and for returning fans; let’s fall in love with the characters all over again!