Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun
Chiyo mustered her courage to finally confess to Umetaro, but she's confused when he replies by giving her an autograph. Utemaro is a manga artist (using a pen name) for a popular shoujo manga series. In fact it's among her favorites, created from the artist renowned for capturing the feelings of teen girls. The same clueless guy who just gave her an autograph? Can this be right?
Umetaro often requires help to meet deadlines, so Chiho helps by shading pages. She discovers the basis of the manga is fairly bizarre, not only in the strange mind of the artist, but also where he draws inspiration among classmates. Will Chiyo make her feelings understood or will she get yet another autograph?
I'm often drawn to shoujo series with lively weird characters. Over the years I've noticed a trend where series tend to go off track the farther they go into romance. Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is however a comedy first, and sticks to it. It's not especially relationship oriented (yet), instead it's more about getting a good laugh, although this may change as the series progresses.
Chiyo is a good focus character, seemingly the only sane one in the bunch. More importantly, she's totally adorable! Others in the show aren't very deep, each having a handful of traits. For comedy, it's more about the situation they're placed in, so they still work well. If they can drive a good story remains to be seen, but for now they're fun to watch even if their limited range of quirks means the comedy surrounding them lacks variation.
My only disappointment lay in missed opportunities. Umetaro has a neighbor who is also a manga artist, but I found myself waiting for jokes that never materialized. But that's only a handful of cases, otherwise it does utilizes the material quite well. Where the comedy flourishes, is in the quirky contrast between shoujo manga and reality. This is usually played out by melodramatic scenes from the comic which is good material.
Stories mostly revolve around Nozaki's manga work, with difficulties in making a good story and maintaining inspiration. Mixed in there are multiple potential romances, each held back because one (or both) involved are too dense to move it forward.
As a story in progress, it seems possible things may go wrong when it gets farther along, but I'm be more concerned about lack of progress making it feel tired. It's nowhere near that point yet, so with attractive designs, good comedy, and an interesting premise; Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun is worth the watch.
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