Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, Vol. 10

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.

As you might gather by the cover, the bulk of this volume of Nozaki-kun deals with the 2nd years going on the class trip, with all the usual gags you would expect from both “class trip” as a riff and these Nozaki-kun characters. We see Chiyo’s obsession with Nozaki get amped up even more than it already was, which I wasn’t aware was even possible. Nozaki, of course, is similarly obsessed – with manga reference pictures, which he will happily do anything to get, including pretend to be a teacher and hide under the covers with Chiyo. As for Seo and Kashima, well, their stories are connected with the not-significant others they left behind – Kashima is texting third-year Hori everything she does along the trip, while first-year Wakamatsu is both enjoying the Seo-less basketball practice and also realizing that not having her harass him bothers him in a way he can’t understand.

As is traditional with this series, each of the three “main pairings” gets some nice tease but also some walking back to make sure nothing happens too quickly. Waka may be happier with Seo gone, but it “opens up his heart” so much he’s now rivaling Kashima for the title of Prince of the School. And while Hori may now be aware that Kashima is what he has in mind when he thinks of the ideal woman, it doesn’t mean that he’s admitting feelings of love or anything, and in fact may be getting things wrong more than ever, as the karaoke chapters shows off, though it also shows that even Kashima at her worst is something he can accept. Of all the main pairings in the series, this is the one I think shows the most promise as an actual relationship – assuming that either Hori or Kashima can get past the comedy of their premise. As for Chiyo and Nozaki… well, maybe he really IS a good mom.

In contrast, the manga chapters in this volume aren’t quite as strong as usual. I’d argue the chapter showing Nozaki struggling to have “manga advice” for a column verges on boring, in fact. Better is the chapter where Ryousuke discovers Miyako in an apartment with a guy! It’s Maeno, of course, but that just makes things much worse for everyone involved, especially since Nozaki and Ken also end up involved in what is now becoming a five-way romance with BL elements. (It also allows the author to work in the tanukis, which are otherwise absent from this volume). And we can’t forget surprise manga creator Mayu, although we may want to when we realize that Mikoshiba’s influence means that these drawings are more suitable for Young Magazine and Nakayoshi.

All this and some actual character development for the other girls in Chiyo’s class, though not enough that I actually remember their names. Still, overall this volume made me laugh quite a bit, which is what I ask it to do every time.

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