While some shoujo anime is usually light and fluffy, the overabundance of cliché tropes can get tiring. You have the Mary Sue heroine, the troubled but cute love interest, and the childhood friend for the main love triangle, but the formula can vary. Sometimes there’s a clingy girlfriend, mean ex-GF/BF, or a stalker Ex-BF/GF. Here’s where 2014’s Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun (Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun) comes in.
There’s a love-struck girl and a boy who’s oblivious to love, but the anime is refreshing. It’s also an affectionate parody of stereotypical shoujo. The funny thing is, the creator of the rom-com yonkoma (four-panel) webcomic series the show is based on writes shoujo too. Izumi Tsubaki also wrote Oresama Teacher and The Magic Touch.
Romance Can Be Funny Too
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun features Chiyo Sakura, a high school girl who decides to confess to her crush Umetaro Nozaki in the first episode. Because of her nervousness, Sakura botches her confession. She ends up saying “I’ve always been your fan!”
But here’s where the show breaks from the typical shoujo formula of a love confession. Nonplussed at Sakura’s declaration, Nozaki instead thinks she means she knows who he really is: a shoujo artist known as “Yumeno Sakiko.” Instead of telling Sakura that he either returns her feelings or that he doesn’t feel the same way, Nozaki gives her a piece of paper with his autograph.
Yep, that explains the show’s title. Nozaki secretly writes a shoujo manga called Let’s Fall in Love, which is published in a magazine called Monthly Girls’ Romance (Gekkan Shoujo Romansu). Sakura, in a strange twist of fate, is also a fan of Nozaki’s manga.
Like the viewers, especially those who haven’t read the manga (like me, because I’ve only watched the anime) Sakura is confused. But the shy girl just thanks Nozaki, and Sakura is too embarrassed to correct him.
She tries to backtrack and tells him that she always want to be with him. Nozaki responds by asking Sakura if she wants to come home with him.
Sakura panics and while she agrees to go with him, she’s worried that he’s being too forward. But the reveal that Nozaki just wants her to help him with his manga had me sold on the show. It’s goofy and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
(Don’t) Write What You Know
In contrast to male leads in shoujo who are either lady-killers or madly in love, Nozaki hasn’t ever been in a relationship himself. How he ever became an award-winning mangaka is actually a mystery.
In Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, it is revealed that he bases the characters in his manga on his schoolmates. As Sakura is roped into helping Nozaki make his manga, she eventually meets the people who have inspired him.
The show subverts other character stereotypes like the playboy in Mikoto Mikoshiba. His introduction shows him heavily flirting with his fans at school, but when they leave, he is consumed by embarrassment at the corny things he said.
There’s also the Prince-type character Yuu Kashima, but she’s actually a girl in the drama club. Think Tamaki from Ouran, but with a Takarazuka-twist.
We also have Yuzuki Seo, a girl with an angelic voice. She’s really a “speaks before she thinks” kind of person. The various sports clubs ask her for help, but not because she’s talented. The clubs all want their team members to get used to her aggressiveness and lack of sportsmanship so they can beat their nastier opponents.
You’ll get to meet the other goofy characters of this funny anime in the succeeding episodes. If you’re looking for shoujo that’s also incredibly funny, add Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun to your list! The anime appeals to a wide audience, and anyone from a shoujo fan, a casual viewer, or a TV Tropes enthusiast (any Tropers here?) will get a laugh or two out of the cast’s zany antics.