Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun
Episode 9

by Amy McNulty, Sep 1st 2014

It's a rainy day, and there's a high school girl without an umbrella. Her crush walks up beside her and…! Only the fictional readers of Nozaki's in-universe manga, Let's Fall in Love, would know exactly what to expect. Sharing an umbrella is a familiar trope of shōjo romance, but Nozaki just pens romantic stories. He doesn't have a clue how to live them.

In Episode 9 of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Nozaki is still hilariously obtuse, Sakura is still blissfully in love, and when they both forget their umbrellas on a rainy day, the resulting misunderstandings make for laugh-out-loud comedy. Sight gags are especially strong in this first segment, as characters deal with the rain in their own distinct ways. A number of jokes are delivered with perfect punchlines that skillfully pay homage to the series' origin as a four-panel comic.

The second half of the episode gives Nozaki's fellow manga artist and neighbor, Yukari Miyako, more of a spotlight than her initial appearance. Although most of her scenes are built on jokes about her passiveness versus the overzealous pushiness of her editor, Mitsuya Maeno, we do get to see a bit of her life outside of manga, as well as her real feelings on having a tanuki forced into literally every panel of her manga to suit her bizarre editor's tastes. The comedy is a little weaker here, but only in comparison to the first segment; on its own, it offers plenty of laughs.

For the past couple of weeks, the endless stream of new character introductions in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun has finally ground to a halt, so we can now look forward to getting to know the characters a little better. Episode 9 is another welcome breather, and the comedy is given even more focus because we're already familiar with the set-up.

This episode is another example of the series' attractive animation and designs, even if the style is nothing particularly innovative. Now that we've met all the important characters, it appears there's a little to be desired in the differentiation of some male characters' faces, but hair color, height, and attire serve well enough to keep them distinct. Sakura screams "shōjo manga protagonist" with her wide eyes, dual ribbons and spunky smile; she's almost out of place with the other character designs, but it's never distracting.

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun still isn't breaking any ground in plot development. This is a comedy show through and through, with jokes just a little outside the realm of plausibility without approaching Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo-levels of insanity. If you're still laughing by Episode 9, you clearly don't miss the drama you can find in other shows. This isn't Let's Fall in Love; if anything, it's a shōjo parody, but it stands on its own even for those not familiar with the genre.

Rating: A-

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for nearly two decades.


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