High schooler Chiyo Sakura is trying to find the words to ask out Umetarou Nozaki. In the end, she blurts out that she’s his fan. Misunderstanding this, he hands her an autograph.
What? Confused and flustered, Sakura stutters, “I want to always be with you.” So he offers to let her come over to his place right then. When they arrive, Sakura is more flustered, thinking he must bring girls here all the time if he’d invite her over so readily. She doesn’t want to be just another girl to him, but if she leaves, he’ll invite someone else over. She gets herself into a frenzy and then… Nozaki asks her to do the beta on the manga he’s working on.
And he’s not doing manga as a hobby or in hopes of having it be his job someday. Even though he’s still in high school, he’s already a professional mangaka.
On top of that, he only does shoujo manga. Flowery, pretty, romantic shoujo manga.
Sakura is shocked. And then she becomes his helper.
Nozaki hasn’t been trying to keep his career a secret, but when he’s told people he’s a professional shoujo mangaka, they’ve been as unbelieving as you’d expect. School doesn’t seem to stop him from his work (and his parents are surprisingly never around or even really mentioned). Now, with Sakura as his loyal assistant, he can get even more done.
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun is written in the form of four panels. It’s a humorous gag manga, one that revels in shoujo cliches while also poking fun at them. And the characters are over-the-top. Nozaki, for example, is so consumed with making his manga “wholesome” that he won’t put anything illegal in them. That means no underage drinking, no smoking, no illegal bike play, and no yaoi. (Sorry, yaoi fangirls, he says he can’t write about same-sex couples because their marriage wouldn’t be legal in Japan.)
Sakura is frustrated with these strict rules he puts on himself, but she also learns that Nozaki is so into himself and his own thoughts that he’s not going to listen to her suggestions. There is some “Will they or won’t they?” stuff between the two main characters, but Nozaki seems too oblivious for them to ever really be. Besides, this manga is more about the second-to-second gags as opposed to character development or story arcs. As Sakura continues to assist Nozaki, she helps him find real people to turn into characters and also meets people from the professional manga world. All of these people are wacky in their own ways, leading to greater and greater circles of silliness.
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun is a cute manga, and probably of most interest to fans of shoujo who also like humor thrown in. It definitely has a different sort of take on the shoujo field.
Publisher: Yen Press
Story & Art: Izumi Tsubaki