Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, Vol. 6

By Izumi Tsubaki. Released in Japan as “Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun” by Square Enix, serialization ongoing in the online magazine Gangan Online. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Leighann Harvey.

In terms of the Nozaki-kun fandom, one of the fortunate things about it is that there really aren’t very many ship wars. For the most part, this is because the main pairings in the manga, even though none of them are actually romantically paired, are so blindingly obvious – Nozaki and Sakura, Hori and Kashima, and Seo and Wakamatsu. The one wild card has always been Mikoshiba, and it’s therefore no surprise that fan writers love him. I’ve seen him used as an alternate pairing with Sakura, just in case she ever tires of Nozaki (doubt it will ever happen, but hope springs eternal), and I’ve also seen quite a few Nozaki/Sakura/Mokoshiba OT3 fics. But the addition of Nozaki’s brother Mayu gave BL fans someone new to focus on, and this volume must have delighted them, because not only are Mikoshiba and Mayu comedy gold but they’re also very, very shippable.

A lot of the humor in Nozaki-kun relies on building from previous gags and characterizations, as you’d expect. Mikoshiba is the inspiration for the heroine in Nozaki’s manga, so when Nozkai discovers he’s getting cute texts from someone else, and that he’s responding as “Mamiko”, he gets fired up in the best Nozaki way. Meanwhile Kashima is having trouble dealing with her new role, which requires “wistfulness”, and when given the choice between Sakura’s practical advice and Nozaki’s romantic, thinking like a writer advice, she knows exactly who to turn to. Nozaki has the brilliant idea (no, really, it is this time) of having her avoid and not speak to Hori for three days. Sure enough, this nearly kills her just by the end of one day – and, even better, Hori is somewhat poleaxed by it as well.

Elsewhere, we get Wakamatsu’s amazingly inept acting, the dangers of playing a visual novel and not using the default names, and Miyako’s fellow mangaka relationship with Nozaki continuing to be misunderstood by the guy who’s crushing on her… who, because this manga is very close-knit, turns out to be Seo’s big brother. We also meet several other author’s in the magazine that Nozaki’s published in, and they all seem to have their own eccentricities, though they can all agree on one thing – Nozaki’s manga is generic and dull. Honestly, it’s something of a surprise it hasn’t been cancelld by now, but I think that the ‘Nozaki tries to find the idea for a new series’ plot is being saved for a rainy day – that and the tie-ins to real life are too much fun to drop. Possibly best of all, Mikoshiba needs to have someone pretend to be his girlfriend, and each of the three main options are hilarious.

Nozaki-kun remains hilarious, and the hilarity is because of its character-based humor. Unless you can’t stand anything to do with 4-koma or tsukkomi-0style humor, you should be reading this every time it comes out.

Very few tanukis this time around – we are running a tanuki defecit.

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