I’ve been kinda out of it for a while, what with college and my lack of good study habits. My anime watching has slowed, but I’ll still try to put out posts every now and then. I actually have a review in progress, but am struggling to really assess it, so I’ll put this out first. Today, we look at Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-Kun: Monthly Girls Nozaki.
The Story: At Chiyo Sakura’s school, almost all of her friends know the name Sakiko Yumeno. She’s a popular manga artist known for her monthly story “Let’s Fall in Love.” Critics praise her artwork and her perfect depiction of a young girl in love. Chiyo herself loves the manga and keeps a collection of it in her room. She also happens to be crushing hard on a boy in her class who barely knows she exists. His name is Umetarou Nozaki, and he has a job, though there, he goes by a different name: Sakiko Yumeno. Nozaki follows the story of Sakura, Nozaki (the character will not be italicized, but the name of the show will), and a host of other characters as they help him write his manga.
This is a show built in a similar way to No Game No Life. Its purpose is not to tell a story. Rather, it’s about having fun. Nozaki is just a series of little skits and vignettes that rarely, if ever, connect to each other. The show rarely takes itself seriously and the audience isn’t supposed to either. This is a show that you can just watch, laugh, and have a good time with.
Of course, that means that Nozaki better do a good job entertaining you, and it does. To an extent. The biggest problem I had with Nozaki was that its humor got repetitive. It was funny the first few times, but then it got predictable. Every now and then, there would be something different, but it kept relying on the same comedic devices over and over again. It’s a cute story, but that only gets you so far. Nozaki’s goal is to entertain its audience and only partially succeeds.
The Characters: The characters of Nozaki are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Many of them have these these strange mixes of personality quirks and traits that I’ve not seen in any other anime characters. However, innovation for innovation’s sake does not always produce great characters and you’ll see that in this show
Chiyo Sakura: Sakura’s probably the sanest person in the show. While she’s not crazy or something new, she provides a bit of consistency and sanity to a show where the characters are anything but. She might not be the most interesting character, but she’s grounding and prevents Nozaki from getting too out of control. While a driving force behind her character is her feelings for Nozaki, the two’s relationship isn’t addressed much until the second half, which means the two are deprived of some needed development.
Umetarou Nozaki: Nozaki is one of those strange characters. He’s the dense protagonist taken to ridiculous extremes. While many dense protagonists will be oblivious to someone’s feelings, Nozaki is oblivious to many social situations in general. Between him and Sakura, Nozaki’s a more interesting character, but, like his personality, he can get a little dull. Like Mikoshiba (see below), it takes some time before he gets to be a better character as the show starts to explore his relationships with Sakura more. He needed those relationships explored for him to grow more as a character.
Mikoto “Mikorin” Mikoshiba: It’s difficult to talk about Mikoshiba because out of all the characters, he’s the least consistent. He is potentially the most and least enjoyable character in the entire show. When he’s on point, he’s on point, but if he’s not being funny, he’s extremely annoying. Unfortunately, it’s really not until late in the series that he becomes really good; there was a time when I considered stopping the show because I couldn’t handle Mikoshiba, but he did redeem himself.
Final Verdict: Monthly Girls Nozaki is in a weird spot for me. It tried really hard. It had its moments and partially achieved its goal of entertaining its audience. However, it didn’t do the best job. Its comedic devices became overused and its unorthodox characters, while commendable, fall flat and can also become annoying. At the same time, I had fun with the show. I can’t say I recommend it, but I think it might be worth looking at. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you’re not going to get a great comedy show, but sometimes, it’s worth sticking with the anime despite its flaws.
Final Grade: B-/C+