[Review] Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Well, school has started being a pain again and what better way to alleviate that than with a nice high school romantic comedy? Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun was an anime highly recommended to me by many of my friends, so it naturally caught my interest. Furthermore, when I realized the main character Nozaki was voiced by the sexiest male protagonist voice actor, Nakamura Yuuichi (see Tatsuya Shiba from Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei. dat sexy bass voice aw yeah bass pride), I became quite interested.

The main premise of the show is that Sakura, a normal teenage girl, confesses to Nozaki her love. However, by stating that she “is a fan,” Nozaki mistakes her admiration as that of a fan, not a crush. This is because Nozaki is actually a professional manga artist for a Shoujo manga; a genre targetted towards teenage girls. I watched the twelve episode season over two weekends, splitting it up seven and five. My reaction, however, is quite mixed. While I absolutely love the characters, comedy, and overall presentation, I absolutely despised the very last episode to the point that I was somewhat insulted. Watching Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun was a delightful journey that finished off extremely poorly.

The characters of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun are very interesting to say the least, but where others may praise the show for its eccentric characters, I see a predictable unpredictability. In short, almost every character in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is a genderbend version of a typical stereotype. Yet the appeal of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is that the characters fit the opposite gender’s stereotype so well that it feels natural. This makes the comedy light-hearted and humorous, rather than annoying or forced.

As surprising as it sounds, the main characters, Chiyo and Nozaki are quite normal in most aspects. The comedy of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun stems much from this fateful duo. Mikoto Mikoshiba (also known as and will hence forth be referred lovingly as Mikorin) is on the right and is a typical Tsundere. Yuu Kashima is on the left and is an amazing actress. Yes, actress. Not actor. She.

They look identical, don’t they?

Starting with our beloved Mikorin, it is explicitly stated in the anime that Mikorin’s behavior is extremely feminine. He says one-liners and then gets embarrased for having said them, flushing red like a tomato. He loves being praised, often to the point of childishness, and is easily pressured into accepting requests he refused only seconds before. Nozaki himself uses Mikorin as a reference for the main heroine of his manga. Mamiko, the heroine of Nozaki, turns out to be a direct adaptation of Mikorin’s hilarious antics.

Kashima, on the other hand, is a textbook manga high school male love interest. Charismatic and popular, Kashima is frequently surrounded by other girls. Calling them “Hime-sama” (or Princess), Kashima oozes gentlemanly sexual appeal. But she’s… a she.

Don’t try that line in real life unless you’re as attractive as Kashima.

“Kashima!” – Hori

The other characters then play off their genderbend, creating the hilarity that is Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. Whether it’s Hori-senpai pummeling Kashima for disrupting theatre practice or Nozaki documenting Mikorin’s moves to adapt into his manga, many of my favorite scenes had one of these two idiots in them.

My biggest gripe about Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is its ending. Before I rant about it, let me detail the rest of the series. The beginning third of the series is a hilarious, comedy-filled roller coaster that had me splitting sides. The jokes are all tasteful and very witty. Many of the jokes can be described as satirical of regular Shoujo manga. For example, a common scene in many romantic Shoujo manga is the sharing of an umbrella during a rainy day. The umbrella scene in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, however, is anything but romantic.

How lovely.

My praise, however, stems from how Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun realizes that too much comedy gets stale really fast. Instead of 11 episodes of hilarious satire, the anime seemlessly transitions into a light-hearted slice of life. Rather than being side-splittingly funny, the jokes become cute and refreshing.

Then there’s the final episode. Oh my, that final episode. I had never hated a series finale as much as I had for the final episode of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. The final episode takes everything the others before it sets the anime to be and throws it out the window. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun at the foremost is a satire. All of its pairings are completely ridiculous and it relies on the ridiculousness of these romantic pairing for its jokes. For example, Kashima and Hori are not supposed to be perfect for each other because they haze, misunderstand, and avoid each other. Yet they still manage to be on friendly terms, creating an interesting dynamic of hate and love.

Much love was had this day.

My greatest disappointment of the last episode was that it tries to make official every single pairing in a deux ex machina kind of way. Each character comes to a festival on their own accord, but they end up coincidentally matching up with their supposed romantic pair. Chiyo and Nozaki, being the main pair, go to a park to see the fireworks alone.

Screw the fireworks scene.

I won’t spoil the ending, but the episode first becomes a romance genre, decides “oops this isn’t funny anymore,” and then completely drops the romance via a joke I would personally label as a cop out. It was insulting.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is anything but a romance. In fact, I would label it as the opposite of a romance! Why would the anime decide to completely ditch its roots and become “another romance?” Its charm was that it was different from the rest. Why not return to the hook that introduced the anime in the first place, the fact that Nozaki is a Shoujo Mangaka? A friend asked me what kind of ending I would like after hearing my thoughts on it. Why not focus on Nozaki’s manga works? Have him be invited to some convention or the sort with Chiyo running around, helping him out, and manning the booths. Mikorin can be there to help too but gets completely distracted by galge girl figures in some corner and then gets lost. Hori, as dependable as he is, can also be there but at the same time be avoiding Kashima who appears with a bunch of other females. By becoming in the last episode what it makes fun of in the other episodes, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun sells itself short, leaving me a bitter taste at the end.

Tomoda is best wingman/waifu/husbando.

By the way, special praise goes out to the opening to Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun for being awesome. Here’s a link:

Final Score:
7.5/10

Go ahead and watch Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. Most people won’t be as bothered by the ending as I was because I’m a scrutinizing asshole that over complicates things (which is why I love reviewing anime).

The comedy and characters are great and the anime is very fun to watch. I just hope there’s a season 2 in order to wipe the atrocity that is that final episode.


Fun fact. This is my first decimal score. I can’t give it an 8 but a 7 felt bad because of how good it is.

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3 thoughts on “[Review] Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

  1. nalani

    I’m glad you enjoyed the series for the most part, and I love it when anyone comments on the hilariously similar but different best-friend duo Mikorin and Kashima – it’s a dynamic that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as I think it deserves, they’re practically half-identical twins. I feel like I should be saying more because I really did reading your review and your observations about the overarching themes and tone.

    The thing about the last episode though is that it was, save for the fireworks scene which was added to give the series some semblance of an “ending”, literally just another chapter in the manga (minus a number of jokes that were cut out to make room for said fireworks scene). The anime never really strayed from its source material other than the fact that it would sometimes do stories out of order or combine jokes from different chapters that flowed better when put together (a lot of chapters and gags were left on the cutting room floor). For the anime directors to suddenly and completely detract from the manga and create a totally original episode for the ending would be absurd. I can’t see them doing a particularly good job at maintaining the same flow the mangaka did in the first place for an entire 25 minutes – I can’t help but feel like it would be obviously out of place. The ending should be seen more like an end to a season than anything, because it really IS just the middle of an ongoing story. The manga is ongoing and continues the misunderstandings and trope subversions left and right with no romantic resolutions in sight (in fact the mangaka has deliberately scrapped any chapter ideas that swerved too far into the romance drama direction – she published some of her scrapped stories in a fanbook). I don’t know whether or not the anime will get another season, and considering the anime adapted over half of the existing material it won’t be for awhile at least, but for a series like this which is not only sitcom-y but also rather popular, its quite likely. Not to mention the end credits gave a cameo appearance by Nozaki’s parents and brother, which makes me think that the studio is at least thinking about the possibility. I just think you should keep that in mind.

    Also – right now the Blu-Ray/DVD’s of this series are being released with 3-minute OVA shorts that continue the story on past episode 12 so it really isn’t the “ending” :P.

    Reply
  2. Silvachief

    I’ve seen a lot of people heaping praise on Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun so it’s interesting to see a review that isn’t entirely positive (and it’s still pretty darned positive XD). I’m looking forward to checking it out!

    Reply
  3. Pingback: [Review] Favorite Anime of 2014 | YouthfulLaughter

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