I woke up today with the Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun opening theme song dancing in my head despite not hearing it in a few months. I think that’s a good sign for my first article here on Geektrum.
Remembering this infectious tune and it’s happy fast-paced trumpets brought an unusual morning smile to my face and made me want to re-watch the series again soon. I don’t do that very often with anime. Manga, yes (I can pick up any favorite part of the story easily and quickly) but not anime – I don’t have the time or patience. But this series is worth the wholehearted recommendation if you enjoy any of the following: dorks, drawing, interesting female characters, height differences, deadpan humor, hating needless mascots, the comedic mistrials of love.
I would say this anime falls somewhere in-between Fruits Basket and Gintama. It’s got “Fruba’s” shoujo-colorful setting and characters lovingly stumbling through high school situations and crushes, but no sad serious times or otherworldly elements. And then it’s got Gintama’s unpredictable moments of laughter and unapologetic flaws that make its characters worthwhile in the eyes of a devoted fan. No historical references or ridiculously offensive humor though (unfortunately…).
The first encounter I had with Nozaki-kun was on Tumblr with a gif set of two boys “attempting” to play a dating simulation game and ending up in tears. It was really funny and I wanted something new to watch. I headed over to Crunchyroll.com to see if they had this show and thankfully they did!
The overall quality of the animation is great and pleasant to watch. As mentioned, it’s got colorful and clean scenery within and outside the school. Natural elements like sunlight or rain are expertly portrayed. And basically, if I like the opening animation (and song) I am probably gonna like the series. Check.
Unexpectedly at first, I was annoyed by the design of the main character, Chiyo Sakura. This being a shoujo story, of course she was designed to be cute, small, and attractive. But her color scheme made me cringe as an artist: the red-orange hair that didn’t feel like the right length, big red bows on each side of her head with polka-dots, purple eyes, RED-ORANGE HAIR. Sigh, chock it up to personal preferences… It was too much for my discerning eyes.
Despite my artistic bias, Chiyo redeemed herself easily over the course of series. I assumed her cherubic/moe design would lack the depth of a fleshed-out personality, but Chiyo was probably the smartest and most relatable character in terms of navigating the humor and social situations thrust upon her. I didn’t want to like her…but she was persistent and thoughtful in her interactions and I began to cheer her on.
Nozaki himself is, well, kind of a unicorn in my eyes. A ridiculous unicorn. He’s tall and handsome (the typical anime/manga design of an impossible high school boy that looks like an adult), draws shoujo manga monthly (making his deadlines on-time), lives alone successfully, is friendly and easy-going, and an oblivious idiot. Though lovable, mostly unbelievable (sometimes to the point of frustration). But his unusual personality is part of what makes this series special.
Despite the lip service I just gave the two main characters, my favorite is actually Chiyo’s friend Yuzuki. Let’s just say she’s COOL. I don’t want to spoil her for you (she first appears in episode two). Her quirks are something I haven’t seen often in females for either shoujo or shonen series.
I am crossing my fingers that Nozaki-kun gets a second season this year or the next. It’s a pipe dream that its manga gets licensed in North America someday. At the very least, it seems a new OAV has been released, but it’s not (yet) available on Crunchyroll. I’ll keep you updated if my dreams come true!
Article by: Sophia Navarro/ ChibiSofa