Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – 05

noz51

Nozaki gives his apartment a thorough cleaning for his extremely curt editor, Miyamae. Chiyo doesn’t think the editor likes Nozaki at all, but Nozaki is totally in love with the guy for the punctual and straightforward nature of their communication. We learn why Nozaki feels this way in an episode that explores the mangaka-editor relationship, which can be a treacherous sea.

noz52

Nozaki has been scarred by his previous editor, Maeno (whose name means “previous”): who always suggested and took credit for obvious ideas Nozaki had either already come up with, or ones he hates. After a subtly manipulative, self-important boob like Maeno, Miyamae seems pretty darn “cool and mature”, as Nozaki describes him.

noz53

Nozaki is also troubled by the fact his neighbor and fellow mangaka—the beautiful college student Miyako Yukari—is still suffering under the affable boot heel of Maeno, who forces her to put random tanukis in everything she draws, regardless of genre (her apartment is also full of the things). The website set up ostensibly for artists’ benefit is full of posts of him describing what he’s wearing or abusing Miyako’s manuscript.

noz54

Miyako should get mad—indeed, when Maeno shows up unannounced and teases Nozaki, Nozaki very nearly hulks up—but she doesn’t. Such is the insufferable, inscrutable power of Maeno, something Nozaki is very glad to be (mostly) rid of. From there, Nozaki receives criticism from Miyamae that he isn’t revealing enough of Mamiko’s emotions to the reader. Believing the only way to understand Mamiko is to become Mamiko, Nozaki decides to do just that.

noz55

The results are unsurprisingly hilarious, though not as over-the-top as you’d think. He makes a bunch of bentos to give to friends to try to capture Mamiko’s feelings, but ends up conjuring a somewhat sinister Mamiko. He also tries to understand what it’s like to have girls for enemies. In an inspired choice, he does this by speeding Kashima around on a hand cart; her hordes of worshipers in hot pursuit.

noz56

The chase sequence is a hilarious peace of physical comedy, and the little moment the “spurned” Kashima has with Hori afterward is pretty cute as well. Ultimately all of Nozaki’s research only leads to an even more confusing, unrealistic version of Mamiko that further frustrates Miyamae. Even so, it was neat to watch the creative process in action.

8_ses

 

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – 04

noz41

Mikorin reveals himself as far more comfortable around fictional girls than real ones, as evidenced by his love of dating sims. When he tries to get Nozaki into them as well, a hilarious send-up of the genre ensues. As an accomplished shoujo artist, Nozaki enters the game as the protagonist fom his own manga, who isn’t the slightest bit interested in any of the girls in the game. He also serves as skeptic to Mikorin’s true believer, picking the sim apart as he plays.

noz42

Nozaki sees ulterior motives in the characters that don’t belong in the game’s genre, but on one point manages to convert Mikorin with the sentiment that the game’s protagonist’s best friend Tomoda is way too selfless, sacrificing his own youth to support them. Suddenly motivated to pull an all-nighter drawing a manga in which Tomoda is the protagonist, the most suitable person to pair him with turns out to be the protagonist from the game, making it a BL manga and thoroughly confusing Chiyo when she arrives in the morning.

noz43

After subverting the dating sim by pointing out the sidekick best friend is the most compeling character in it, GSNK moves on to a new story in its second half, in which Mikorin must prepare for what is, despite his playboy persona at school, his first mixer ever. He solicits advice from Nozaki and Chiyo, who turn out to be ill-suited to the task, as both of them would prove insufferable at a mixer. Nozaki, posing as a girl, gives conversation-killing answers to Mikorin’s questions, while Chiyo is only interested in meeting someone who matches Nozaki’s description exactly.

noz44

Nozaki also insists on “going to the toilet” with Chiyo to talk “in private”, but when Mikorin insists on joining them, they’re all just in Nozaki’s bathroom for no reason, which is great! Ultimately, Mikorin sends Kashima (who thankfully escapes physical abuse this week) to the mixer in his place. The Prince ends up conquering all four of the other girls, leaving the three guys in the dust. Not that having Mikorin there would have resulted in a dramatically different outcome, but Kashima sure seemed more into it.

8_ses

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – 03

noz31

This week introduces us to two more characters who appear from the OP rainbow heretofore unknown to us: the short-statured drama club president Hori Masayuki, and the dashing, statuesque, academically and athletically gifted “Prince of the School”, Kashima Yuu.

noz32

Interestingly, Chiyo assumes both of them to be the opposite gender, getting angry at Mikorin for “cheating” on the guy in Nozaki’s shoujo manga with this Prince, who turns out to be a girl, and worried about Nozaki spending late nights with the mystery background artist, who turns out to be a guy.

noz33

With six of seven listed main characters now introduced, rankings are inevitable, and sadly it’s been a game of diminishing returns. We like the pair of Chiyo and Nozaki the best, followed by Mikoto and Yuzuki, and finally Kashima and Hori. And we like Kashima considerably more than Hori. Hori’s a bit of a dick!

noz34

Maybe he’s a great actor trapped in the wrong body, and he’s got that chip on his shoulder. He certainly likes Kashima far more than he lets on and genuinely wants her to shine on the stage (which she does). But what’s with all the physical abuse? None of the instances where Hori hit Kashima were what I’d call abhorrent…but they weren’t that funny, either.

noz35

Let’s just call them..awkward, shall we? If she’d hit him back once or twice, maybe it wouldn’t have rubbed me the wrong way, but it’s very one-sided and repetitive: she pisses him off, he draws blood. Too often Kashima came across as a big dumb lovable punching bag for Hori’s frustrations, which overshadowed her more positive qualities and sapped some but not all of the comedy.

7_ses

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – 02

noz201

This week Chiyo doesn’t make any notable progress in advancing her relationship with Nozaki-kun. But that’s to be expected in just the second episode, when several quirky characters who appear in the OP still need to be introduced. This episode unveils two of them: Nozaki’s friend Mikoshiba “Mikorin” Mikoto in the first half, and Chiyo’s friend Seo Yuzuki in the second. Both feel like fun additions that expand the show’s avenues for comedy.

noz202

In that regard, the two are getting closer in that they now know each another’s friends. What’s so funny is, neither really knows why the other is friends with them at all, as they’re both quite the handful. Mikoshiba is a playboy immensely popular with the girls, but he’s embarrassed of his own over-the-top flirtations. Despite his looks and typical behavior, he’s a super-shy dude.

noz203

He and Chiyo don’t quite get along at first, and Chiyo mostly tolerates him as he looks down on her, then relying on her to keep busy at Nozaki’s studio. After a game-show inspired “draw-off”, it’s established he’s not good at drawing anything…except for the flowers and details that surround characters, which he’s really good at; though not enough restraint with that element makes for irritating heroes. (The draw-off also shows Chiyo’s really good at classical rendering.)

noz203a

What’s great is that Nozaki uses Mikorin’s personality as a model, not for his heroes, but for his heroines, something made plain as day to Chiyo after a cursory gaze at one of Nozaki’s pages. When he wants to come up with a new model and asks Chiyo if she knows anyone appropriate for a shojo character, Chiyo comes up with her friend Seo Yuzuki.

noz204

Yuzuki just happens to be running for her life from teachers like some kind of delinquent, and when Chiyo tells Nozaki Yuzuki gets people angry easily, Yuzuki demonstrates it right in front of him, though not intentionally. She’s simply extremely oblivious, also ably demonstrated as she walks through a photo being taken, over wet calligraphy ink, and right between a guy confessing to a girl.

noz205

Her antics on the basketball court—and the way in which the team (and ostensibly other sports teams) use her as an example of what not to do—are also a reliable source of laughs, especially considering she believes her problem is she’s too perfect. Still, her charm and charisma wear Nozaki down until he’s happily taking her half of the work a teacher assigned them. Sometimes she can seem like pure evil, yet she the singing voice of an angel.

noz206

She really reminds us of a more oblivious Himeko. In fact, the whole episode had a similar air to Sket Dance’s excellent ninth episode, in which a mangaka is looking for interesting characters around school, and the Sket-dan make a highly unconvincing case for themselves until the last minute. Nozaki and Chiyo need similar convincing that there’s more Mikorin and Chiyo than their very evident negative qualities they exude at first blush.

8_ses