Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun is one of those titles that I missed out on back when it aired and I haven’t stopped hearing about it since. With that, I decided to take a chance on it for this review and see what it’s all about for myself. I’m highly confident this will be an enjoyable experience given the studio and staff involved.
Chiyo Sakura, a cheerful high school girl, falls head over heels for her tall, handsome and completely oblivious schoolmate Umetarou Nozaki. When she finally plucks up the courage to confess her feelings to Nozaki, much to her confusion, he hands her his autograph! It turns out that Chiyo’s stoic teenage love interest is actually a respected shoujo mangaka, who uses the pen name Sakiko Yumeno. The misunderstandings continue and Chiyo very quickly finds herself becoming one of Nozaki’s manga assistants. Striving to help Nozaki with his manga in the hopes that he will eventually notice her feelings, Chiyo’s life is about to become very odd and hectic.
Based on a 4-koma manga, by Izumi Tsubaki, the romance, of course, becomes secondary to the comedy as is common with 4-koma manga. Given that the source is a 4-koma it’s surprising that the series even features full-length episodes. The series certainly doesn’t suffer because of this though and each episode feels natural and flows well. Fans of romance may feel a little misled with this title though as the main focus is on comedy rather than progressing romantic relationships. It actually reminds me of Kamisama Kiss in this regard but the comedy is at a much higher level. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun is easily one of the best comedy series I’ve seen in a while and it literally had me laughing out loud on more than a few occasions.
While comedy may take centre stage in the series the romance side of things is very well thought out and the pairings in the series are spot on. Even though they revolve around increasingly silly comedic elements you can’t help but root for some of the characters. The characters themselves, while cliché, are very well written and, again, it’s surprising to think the source material is only a 4-koma. That being said, I think I speak for everyone when I say more focus on the romance side of things wouldn’t have hurt. A very enjoyable experience overall though and I would definitely like to see more in the future, hopefully with the possibility of exploring those romance elements.
Doga Kobo has done an amazing job on Nozaki-kun, the animation is crisp and clean and looks fantastic. The character designs are truly something special and Chiyo’s facial expressions really make the series (see screenshots for full details). Looking at some of their previous titles it’s obvious they are was clearly the right studio for this kind of adaptation.
MVM Entertainment’s release of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun features both English and Japanese audio tracks. Both do a great job of bringing the characters and series to life but I feel the Japanese track does edge ahead in terms of quality and enjoyability. The music throughout the series was handled by Hashimoto Yukari who also worked on other fan favourites such as Golden Time and Toradora. The opening theme “Kimi ja Nakya Dame Mitai” by Masayoshi Ooishi is easily one of my favourites, it’s funky and the accompanying animation is awesome and shows just how random the series can be. The ending theme “Ura Omote Fortune” by the character Chiyo Sakura (Ari Ozawa) is tamer in comparison but still enjoyable.
Extras on-disc include a six-episode series of shorts as well as the usual Japanese Promos, Commercials and Clean Opening and Closing Animations. If you’re thinking about picking up the Collector’s Edition then you can expect a soundtrack, as well as the series on Blu-ray and DVD, all cased inside a collector’s art box.
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun may not be the romance series that you’d expect it to be but it’s definitely one of the best comedy series of recent years. Characters are well developed and likeable which is surprised given it’s based on a 4-koma manga. If you’re looking for a good comedy series to fill your time then you can’t go wrong with Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun.