Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun Vol. 5 - Manga Review

Chiyo, Nozaki, and the gang all head to the beach for the Drama Club’s training camp!

The Lowdown

Chiyo Sakura has been Nozaki’s assistant for a while now, but she hasn’t made any progress in getting the dense shojo-mangaka to notice her romantically! The drama club’s trip to the beach might just be the place for some summer shenanigans to get Nozaki’s blood pumping, but in the meantime Chiyo turns to magazines to figure out what the most effective tactics are! However, Nozaki has got problems of his own when his editor, Ken-san, asks him to come up with a mascot for bonus items give-aways for his series, and his brother Mayu has to figure out how to get his judo team excited about practicing their groundwork.

How Was It?

Anyone who has been reading Nozaki with the hope that Chiyo might one day make some sort of romantic progress with Nozaki will likely empathize with Chiyo’s realization at the very beginning of this volume at she’s gotten nowhere, and this realization satisfyingly provides the basis for a lot of this volume’s entertaining happenings. An example of this is occurs early on in this volume when Chiyo attempts to read magazines to figure out how to woo Nozaki, only to end up with the mistaken idea that she has to become like Yuzuki Seo. Layered into this are scenes showing Nozaki’s dense panic at Chiyo change, and I thought that these two little bits in this segment came together quite well in terms of creating funny moments. Another funny segment between these two occurs when Nozaki enlists Chiyo to try to help him come up with a cute mascot for a giveaway for hilarious effect, and these two definitely continue to play off each other very well for laughs. Nozaki is at its best when it combines character-driven gags while lampooning the manga-making process, and this scene was another great example of this.

The gags specifically following Chiyo and Nozaki continue to be complemented by scenes following this series’ quickly expanding cast of characters. These continue to be funny on the whole, but after five volumes some of the character combinations used for humour are beginning to become a  bit repetitive. This is especially true of the recurring storyline following Wakamatsu and Seo - it is beginning to get a little bit silly that Wakamatsu hasn’t realized who his Lorelai is yet, and this beat continues to be the crux of jokes in this volume. However, there are still a number of funny moments as the gang heads to the beach even if the jokes aren’t quite as fresh as in previous volumes. One of my favourite segments in this volume followed Nozaki’s brother Mayu as he struggled to get his judo club to practice their groundwork, and I laughed at the creative way that Nozaki’s manga was worked into this gag. This was an example of the way that the series manages to still deliver fresh jokes, and there are still plenty of moments that fans of this series will appreciate in this volume.

Although much of this volume revolves around the relationships between the expanding cast of characters, I continue to really enjoy the way that elements of the manga making process continue to provide the basis for the gags. This is especially apparent in a couple of chapters which show Nozaki’s editor, Ken-san, having to come up with the cover for the magazine to hilarious effect. As I noted above, Nozaki does a good job incorporating bits of the manga-making process into the storyline, and I enjoy when it goes into depth with particular elements as it did in this scene. It’s funny and even a little bit educational, and I’ve enjoyed the moments where we’ve had the chance to see characters outside of Nozaki’s gang get a bit of the spotlight. Again, the series’ trademark use of some of its absurdly dense and serious characters pays dividends here in a frequently funny way, and I hope that the cast of characters continues to grow to allow for more dynamic situations as the series continues.

A final thing to note about this volume is fans of the series will likely be delighted to see a chapter devoted to Chiyo and Nozaki’s first meeting. This takes place before the first chapter of the series and covers how Chiyo’s crush on him developed, and I thought this was a cute way to add some context to the events of the story. There’s also a nice easter-egg revelation here which I thought was quite satisfying. This chapter feels good but is one that is distinctively Nozaki with several funny moments, and I thought it was a strong way to end off this volume.

Final Thoughts

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Vol. 5 is an enjoyable mishmash of the types of absurd and hilarious situations we’ve come to expect from this gang. Although the formula is largely the same and is starting to get a little bit repetitive at times, I still found myself grinning quite frequently as I read through this volume thanks to the dynamic situations these characters are put in for entertaining effect. By now, this series is what it is in a lot of ways, and those who have enjoyed the previous volumes will find plenty to like here as the cast continues to expand.


Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Vol. 5 was translated by Leighann Harvey and published by Yen Press on November 22nd, 2016. Authored by Izumi Tsubaki, the series is currently ongoing and published by Square Enix’s Gangan Online. The series received a one-cour anime adaption in 2014 by Dogakobo which is being released by Sentai Filmworks.

Verdict:

B

Date of Publication: November 22nd, 2016

Author: Izumi Tsubaki

Translator: Leighann Harvey

Publisher: Yen Press



Matt

Matt is a broke law student by day, broke law student by night, and one of the co-founders of Taykobon in his dwindling spare time. Although his favourite series tend to be shonen adventure series, he also has a soft spot for slice-of-life shojo romances. He enjoys following the manga industry, and is a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays in other nonexistent spare time. 

Favourite series: Bakuman

Favourite author: Io Sakisaka