Group dates, affection cards, and sidebars oh my!
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: July 18th, 2017
A review copy was provided by Yen Press.
Do you like seeing Kashima succeed in unlikely circumstances? Do you feel like the rest of the drama club gets shafted in favor of the major characters? Do you live for seeing the goofy mix-ups the cast of Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun seems to make on a regular, if not hourly basis? Then you’ll love chapter 73 of this volume of Nozaki-kun — and you have 8 more chapters to read as well!
Yen Press’s release of Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun has achieved a bittersweet achievement; it’s now caught up with the Japanese releases! Sweet because we are no longer ages behind the Japanese release, but bitter because this might lead to longer waits between volumes. And who wants to wait any longer than they have to for more Nozaki-kun?
As usual this volume is a fun mish-mash of old callbacks (Remember that Seo’s older brother is the classmate of manga-ka Yukari? This of course leads to hi-jinks); familiar routines (Nozaki trying to replicate an experience but in just far too much mundane detail); and new jokes as well (the manga gang learn how libraries really work!). And while it’s not even a part of the main volume, just an omake chapter in the back, I think I giggled the most at meeting Nozaki’s younger sister and realizing, wait a minute, Nozaki stole her appearance and name for his manga-ka persona! Yumiko is in some ways the most sensible of the siblings but, since she can’t believe for a second her oldest brother is her favorite manga-ka, she also comes off as the most amusingly clueless of the bunch (plus the ending to her drawing gags were some of the best punchlines in the entire book).
I was also particularly fond of the chapter that was just poking fun at shoujo manga conventions. Not tropes that appear in shoujo manga, but aspects of the works themselves, like an extended gag about author commentary in manga sidebars (although on a funny note, Nozaki-kun doesn’t usually have sidebars of author commentary since it’s not actually a shoujo manga). I also got a kick out of a shorter skit in another chapter involving both the boys and girls in Chiyo and Nozaki’s class devouring shoujo manga in huge quantities, both because of the presentation and because of how true to life it rang!
As long as Nozaki-kun keeps introducing enough new ideas and jokes each volume I will be a very happy camper. I have no idea at this point how long Izumi Tsubaki plans to make this series go (her other currently running series, Oresama Teacher, has over 20 volumes!) but I think I could very happily read another 8 volumes with these characters and their stupid and sweet high school lives.