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.
In this volume, Sakura’s realized that, despite four entire volumes chasing after Nozaki-kun, she’s basically made no headway in her relationship with him. Her female friends, Seo and Kashima, are also developing their, um, “relationships” with the boys they like, but for the actual boys involved, the girls’ new behavior brings nothing but confusion.
Volume 5 focuses mainly on the relationships between the seven main cast members, but there’s also a good amount of manga industry knowledge, as well. The cover features two of the editors at the magazine where Nozaki’s work is published (those familiar with the series will know the man on the left is his current editor) and one chapter shows the process of a manga artist being chosen to do cover art for a monthly magazine. If you’re interested in manga as an industry, it’s pretty interesting, and readers can learn quite a bit about how manga is made and edited from the series.
One plotline readers may find a bit distasteful involves Nozaki’s younger brother, Mayu, who starts to draw risque manga to motivate the other boys on his middle school judo team. Only a few of his drawings are shown in this volume, but they’re tonally very different, and some readers might not be super excited about vaguely ecchi content in a series that’s typically pretty tame.
There’s also a “beach episode” chapter, and while some of the jokes are a bit mature in nature, the art itself isn’t really very ecchi, and the jokes mostly center on “beach episode” tropes and Nozaki’s unnatural interest in watching beach romances unfold.
While Volume 4 had some extras in the back, the only extras in Volume 5 are the extra strips in the front and back covers, both from the open-air bath (onsen) arc in the volume.
As always, I definitely recommend the Nozaki-kun series to those who read or watch a lot of romance and romantic comedy manga & anime. Volume 5 is a definite must-read for anime fans looking for more, since this volume is full of storylines they won’t have experienced in the anime. You can pick it up now at your local independent bookstore or at online retailers like RightStuf.
Story: 4 out of 5 stars
Art: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads | IndieBound | RightStuf
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