For those that have never heard of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun (or Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun), it is a four-panel romantic comedy manga that received an anime adaptation by Doga Kobo in 2014. It was recently added to Netflix and has quickly become my favorite comedy anime of all-time. “Why is this?” you might ask. Well, let me break it down for you with a numerical list, (because who doesn’t love numerical lists).
1. The Characters
Umetarou Nozaki is the title character, a high school student. In his off time, Nozaki writes the romantic shojo manga, Let’s Fall in Love under the alias Sakiko Yumeno. Chiyo Sakura, otherwise known as best girl, has deep feelings for Nozaki. However, when she tries to confess to him, she makes it sound like she is a fan of his manga, and becomes Nozaki’s assistant instead. Almost every character is aware of her crush on Nozaki except for Nozaki himself. The two have fantastic chemistry, most of which comes from Chiyo’s overthinking and Nozaki’s obliviousness.
The rest of the main cast is fantastic as well. Mikoto Mikoshiba (or Mikorin as Chiyo calls him) is extremely flirtatious but often embarrasses himself due to his loud mouth. His attitude toward girls is meant to hide just how self aware he is. His friendship with Yuu Kashima allows for some amazing contrast, as unlike Mikoshiba, Kashima is an extremely self-confident flirt who steals the hearts of every girl in the school with her charm. This creates conflict for drama club president Masayuki Hori who often has to drag Kashima back to club meetings as she often gets distracted by the sheer amount of ladies vying for her affection.
Rounding out the cast are Nozaki and Chiyo’s best friends, Yuzuki Seo and Hirotaka Wakamatsu. Seo is an extremely blunt hard-headed athlete who has a singing voice that could create world peace. She often gets on the nerves of everyone around her, especially Wakamatsu. Wakamatsu is a star athlete who is usually antagonized by Seo whenever she comes to practice.
2. The Comedy
Outside of Wakamatsu and Chiyo, it seems that every character is a reversal of a common character trope in shojo manga. For example, usually it is a female character that gets easily embarrassed from her own flirtatious actions, but since Mikorin is a dude, it’s awkward instead of endearing. Most of the comedy in Nozaki-kun comes from this role reversal. Once you put most of these characters in the same room, hilarity typically ensues as they all have to deal with each others’ crazy behavior. It’s hard to describe in words. You have to watch the show to truly understand what I mean.
3. The Voice Acting
Both the original Japanese cast and the English dub cast are fantastic. However, I am going to focus on the English dub cast here as I personally prefer it. Most of the cast of Nozaki-kun were relatively no-name voice actors to me before I watched the show. Juliet Simmons and Ty Mahany are brilliant as Chiyo and Nozaki, bringing most of the heart to the show between the comedic moments. Scott Gibbs brings this awkward charm to Mikoshiba that I haven’t really seen in any other show. Monica Rial and Adam Noble play off each other perfectly as Kashima and Hori despite them recording separately. The ADR (automated dialogue replacement) director, Kyle Jones, knocked it out of the park here. It is rare that a comedy anime English dub is good and it is amazing that it turned out as great as it did.
4. The Episode Count
Currently Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun consists of only 12 episodes based off of the first 30-ish chapters of the manga. Since it first aired in 2014, there has been no news of a second season in production. However, the manga is still running with no end in sight, so if you love the show, you should definitely pick up the manga by mangaka Izumi Tsubaki.
Nozaki-kun is not just the funniest anime I have ever seen, but it is filled with a cast of vibrant characters with a surprisingly good English dub from Sentai Filmworks. I cannot recommend this absurd romantic comedy enough.