Typical rom-com manga plotline. Girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, girl attempts to confess to boy, boy completely misunderstands what she’s actually trying to say and instead of accepting or rejecting her love, hands her an autograph made out from a famous and popular girls’ manga artist, who actually happens to be him.
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun follows the misadventures of the eponymous Nozaki-kun, a popular shoujo mangaka, and the
poor unfortunate assistants he recruits to work for him. True to its placement in the romantic comedy genre, this means adding a plethora of other characters and their romantic misadventures, too.
The cover of this volume spotlights Hori, Nozaki’s background guy, and Kashima, the star actor of Hori’s drama club. It’s practically impossible to pick a favorite couple in this series, but Hori and Kashima might actually be my favorite: many of their gags in Volume 3 revolve around Kashima’s rather blatant crush on Hori-senpai and Hori’s much more subtle attraction to his secretly-favorite kouhai.
Despite that, the storylines largely focus on the mangaka aspect of the series, from a screentone numbering mixup to some background on Nozaki’s editor. The volume feels a little slower than others, and aside from some of the couple-based chapters, it’s not quite as funny as some of the other volumes so far.
Aside from the mangaka chapters, there’s also a good amount of time dedicated to another couple, Seo and Wakamatsu. In one chapter, Wakamatsu announces (after getting a beatdown from Seo) that he wants a utility knife, leading to some interesting misunderstandings. There’s also an entire chapter about Waka feeling like Senpai is harassing him — by asking him out to movies, an amusement park, and the zoo.
As mentioned in previous reviews, Nozaki-kun is done in 4koma style and is paced differently than other manga because of that. One cool part about this manga is during the screentone chapter I mentioned earlier: while the scene in general gives some insight into day-to-day hilarity (and annoyance) that comes with making manga, it also shows some of the screentones used, which is a nice touch.
While definitely not my favorite volume so far, Volume 3 is still pretty solidly entertaining, and it maintains the overall tone of the series while exploring more humor within the mangaka aspect of the series. It’s not the best jumping-on point, and anime viewers will find the storylines familiar, but Volume 3 is great for manga collectors and completionists, and it’s still the sort of manga you can read over and over again.
Story: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Art: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Feliza Casano has watched all of the Nozaki-kun anime three times. She founded Girls in Capes and currently edits and writes for all sections of the site. In her approximate 2.3 hours of free time each month, she loves watching anime, reading science fiction, and working on her novels-in-progress. Keep up with her antics at felizacasano.com and follow her on Twitter @FelizaCasano.