Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, Vol. 7

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.

The danger of most comedy titles is that they aren’t funny all the time. Not every joke can land, and sometimes you find yourself merely smiling and them moving on to the next page. That’s why it’s satisfying when you come across a volume that has an even greater number of hits than misses. I won’t say every page is fall-down funny, but the seventh volume of Nozaki-kun has an even higher ratio of laughing out loud than its previous volumes, which says something given that this is one of two manga where I can’t read it on public transit as I do laugh out loud too much. (The other is Oresama Teacher, by the same author.) By now we know the characters so well that we can anticipate what’s going to happen, but that doesn’t make the jokes any less funny. And, as always with this title, everyone plays the straight man or funny man depending on the situation.

The first chapter is a good example, dealing with cell phones and how manga that runs for a long time finds technology moving beyond it. We get gags about the fickleness of shoujo heroines and Nozaki and Sakura’s general ignorance of modern tech themselves (they still have flip phones, and react to smartphone discussion with what can only be called “dull surprise”). You’d think the punchline to the chapter would be Nozaki’s deranged idea of having him and Sakura communicate using cans on a string, the ultimate in low tech. But then Sakura’s general adoration of Nozaki adds to the gags, as does the class reacting to her doing this while having her normal phone sitting on her desk. The capper is two random students jokingly testing the can-and-string phone… and falling in love. Amping up the ridiculous is one of Tsubaki’s strengths.

Elsewhere, we see Miyako going out with her friends drinking for once rather than working on her manga, which actually rebounds on her later when she comes close to missing a deadline. (It’s hilarious but also personally terrifying for her, as she worries that she’ll be given back to Maeno for editing as a punishment.) Seo/Waka shippers get a chapter that is a gift from God, as Wakamatsu, at the advice of his team (who are trying to defuse her in some way), tries confessing to Seo, only to find her reaction to be very un-Seo like. This is the one chapter that defies our expectations a bit, as we expect some sort of ‘non-romance’ reason for Seo running off and getting embarrassed by the whole thing, but no: it’s just that she apparently has difficulty with directness. It’s really, really adorable. Though not as adorable as Sakura “bullying” Nozaki so he can get manga ideas, and getting a bit too much into her role.

Humor is subjective, and I’m sure some people won’t even giggle at any of these. But I found this to be one of the most rewarding volumes of Nozaki-kun to date, and it’s always one of the first things I read when it comes out. Great stuff.

Not many tanukis this time, but they are well-deployed and caught me by surprise.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind