Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

January 25, 2015

Have you ever admired or liked someone so much that you are willing to do what it takes to be next to that person? So you don’t mind being a lackey or some sort of an assistant just to be close to that special one despite he/she doesn’t realize your true feelings? I guess for some that is just enough for the moment, maintaining status quo rather than rush things in. And so that is the case for our main heroine in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. There is this tall guy whom she has a crush on and I am very sure she would love for them to be a couple more than anything else. However with her poor choice of words and his density combined, she ends up being his manga assistant instead. I suppose the payment of being next to him is more than enough. Twisted rational if I should say. Maybe sometimes love don’t make you think straight…

Episode 1
Chiyo Sakura has always been in love with Umetarou Nozaki. After summing up all that courage, the most she can eke out to his face is that she is his fan. This calls for appropriate measures. He gives her his autograph! She tries again but this time could only manage to say she always wants to be with him. Then? He brings her back to his home. That easy? He makes her do inking on his manga and it is only till 4 hours later and after pages after pages that she realizes he is a mangaka! His signature that reads ‘Sakiko Yumeno’ sounds pretty familiar. Of course it is. It is the name of a popular shoujo manga called Let’s Fall In Love! This is a popular shoujo romance manga among girls as it depicts a young girl’s heart. However observing Nozaki, Sakura feels like it is a complete opposite. He lacks tact. A lot of them. She calls him by his pen name but he doesn’t want her to do so. It seems not many people in school know about this. Because they don’t believe him even when told. To a point they told him to stop lying! Nozaki says he has been keeping an eye on her. He is glad to have picked her since she is the best person who could colour a poster so cleanly and do a nice work. So she is just loved by her talent? Continuing to help him ink his manga (so as to get close to him), she tries contributing her ideas but finds it hard since they have to comply with the laws in real life too. You can’t really have your characters smoke and drink alcohol, right? Even riding a bicycle, you can’t draw riding in tandem. So this leads to a discussion on how to go about a romantic scene involving going home on a bicycle.

Next day, Nozaki asks Sakura to come cycle home with him. She is going to love this romantic encounter but turns out he brought a double seater bicycle. Feels so odd… Look at all the people staring… Can any love situation arise out from this? They try out more scenarios which are just plain embarrassing to Sakura. Finally he employs this double seater bicycle in his manga and resolves the tense romance situation by having its seats stolen in the end. Is this guy serious? Of course his editor told him to be serious so he changes it to one whereby the couple walked home along with the bicycle. That’s better. I’m not sure if Sakura is bitten by the bicycle bug because now she’s bugging Nozaki to ride the double seater with her. Sakura asks why he draws shoujo manga. It was a hobby at first and then he went with the flow. He assures that he has never been in love before! However he has given a bit of love advice to girls when they ask. He wonders if there is anyone she likes. Of course she flusters. Without naming hint, she tries to hint his personality, the good and the bad. However he is too dense to realize she was talking about him and wonders what is so good liking that guy. As Sakura ponders if things should remain the way as they are, next day she sees Nozaki lifting a fallen cat. It reminds her of something similar Nozaki did to her during the school’s entrance ceremony. That’s right. She can’t let it go on like that and needs to tell him how she feels. After summing up a year’s worth of courage, history repeats itself because the best she could say is she is his fan. She gets a second autograph. I don’t think those are tears of joy. Try again next time? Later Nozaki tells her that another assistant of his will come to help out with his manga. The way he paints Mikoto Mikoshiba as if he is such a nice guy. But the first time she sees him, he is like a total delinquent!

Episode 2
Mikoshiba not only demands respect as her senior, but he flirts with the other girls like a playboy. Then he gets embarrassed by it. Despite Mikoshiba not wanting Sakura to ask him anything, the way he is acting is obvious. He is itching for her just to ask. Just ask… Then when they try to follow a drawing game show, Mikoshiba doesn’t draw well in all categories! So what is he good for? Nozaki puts it this way. Nozaki will first draw the character. Sakura will then at the inking before Mikoshiba adds the beautiful effects! It’s his specialty to bring out the character’s charm to its finest. Annoying? Later Nozaki tells Sakura that Mikoshiba is actually the model for his heroine, Mamiko. Now that she reads it, her character is exactly like his! As Nozaki wants to introduce a new character, he needs to go observe people. He needs a model because if he doesn’t, all the characters end up looking the same! Asking Sakura if she has any friends she knows who would be a good model, she believes Yuzuki Seo would fit the bill as she is always being chased by someone. Oh, there she is now. Being chased by teachers! She’s fast! Oh God. I think I know what kind of girl she is. When Sakura introduces them, Seo thinks Nozaki is a lolicon for sticking around Sakura. Nozaki makes more observations on Seo. Seems she has a habit of lacking tact and doesn’t realize what she says that annoys that person. She also helps out in sports clubs but actually she lacks sportsmanship and does lots of fouls for her selfish play.

One day the teacher punishes her to take notes back to the science room as penalty, Nozaki became the unlucky chap to help her just because he was passing by. While she brags about herself, she unwittingly ruins the activities of others by cutting in between. That photo shot is now ruined. That love confession is now ruined! Then she wants to play a penalty game with him to see who will carry all the books. But it is a ploy to dump totally everything on him and run away. Then the teacher spots her. The way Seo tells Nozaki to take care of things for her feels like some manga scenario so Nozaki believes in her. In the end, she never turned up as promised and Sakura is the one who helped him finish. He finally concludes the kind of person Seo is: Oblivious! Damn right. But the damning verdict about Seo is when Nozaki catches her in the act of what she does best: She is singing like an opera singer!!! That angelic voice!!! Lorelei is her nickname! OMG! Can you believe it?! Nozaki believes that a lot of things happened between them that eventually made them friends and know each other so well. Some sort of rivalry battle perhaps. In actual fact it is because they sit close to each other in class. And so Nozaki creates a new character based on Seo and Mikoshiba could tell. He tries one of his cool lines that he is the perfect fit to be a model but Sakura just feels disgusted and annoyed. You embarrassed yet, Mikoshiba?

Episode 3
Mikoshiba wants to introduce Sakura to a friend of his who can be a new character model. However her thoughts on him as the heroine model is still on her mind so she freaks out he is cheating on the manga boyfriend. Yuu Kashima may be the Prince of the School and charms the hearts of every girl. However this person is a girl! Just the mere flirt with them sends their hearts aflutter. Kashima is a bit shocked that Sakura doesn’t know her. Sakura gets uneasy standing beside Nozaki and Kashima so to ease her heart, she stands next to Mikoshiba. Can’t take the pressure from 2 beautiful people, eh? I guess Mikoshiba isn’t. Kashima continues to flirt with girls when the president of the drama club, Masayuki Hori jumps in to beat her up! His way of reminding her to come to club? When Sakura does her inking, she notices several cute markings as a way to mark a section of inking. Nozaki notes she has not met that person before that person always come by late at night to help. Sakura gets worried thinking it is another girl. Nozaki couldn’t say because the person requested to be anonymous. But how come one of the marks looks like an underwear… She asks Seo about which mark she would pick and she picks the underwear! Easier to draw! Disappointed? Yeah, she doesn’t mind being called an underwear. Kashima requests Sakura’s help to finish the props for the play since her usual flirting has made Hori mad and beat her up resulting in more destruction. Sakura then sees a familiar marking on the board. Could he be the late night inker? She confronts him and she put it the wrong way that if he likes underwear! And the discussion turns into a friendly one over underwear… Kashima gets the wrong idea and when she asks, she gets beaten up for sexual harassment! When Sakura goes to Nozaki to do her inking, Nozaki knows she has already met him for he left a thank you note in the inking part. She is relieved this person is a guy and leaves a message back for him. Uhm, how is she going to ink that part then?

In exchange for Hori to help mark the inking spots, Nozaki also helps Hori out with a script for the play. Because he has met Kashima, Nozaki’s version of an ideal prince is ruined. Kashima wonders why Hori and Nozaki are so close so Sakura doesn’t want to give away much and says Nozaki is repaying Hori with his body. I think it just got worse. This causes Kashima to feel she is no longer needed. Because she is always the one Hori hits first, right? She confronts Hori to ask who is cuter but he doesn’t hesitate to answer Nozaki. Sakura also gives the same answer. No room for cheering up. Sakura asks Kashima what she wants from Hori. Marriage. Seriously?! Telling this to Hori, now he is more inclined not to tell her anything even if he has a girlfriend or get married because she will steal away the girls! Nozaki is stumped in his script so he has Sakura and Hori read the part of the heroine and hero part respectively. Since Hori is quite passionate and serious, Sakura won’t lose out. Mikoshiba gets the wrong idea that they are in some lover’s quarrel. Wow. They’re really into it like it’s the real deal. Since when did it turn into some sort of competition? Eventually he too gets drafted to read out the part of the maid. But since he is so timid and shy, Hori becomes the drill sergeant to tell him to do it properly. Say it right! Let the voice out from your stomach! Nozaki gets inspiration to complete the script but unknowingly made Mikoshiba the heroine. I guess that part always suits him best. Nozaki then goes to see Kashima act in the play in hopes his perception of her will change. Surprisingly or not, she plays the part very well. Nozaki asks Hori if he wants to act too but he is more than satisfied watching Kashima on stage.

Episode 4
Mikoshiba stays at Nozaki’s place because he wants to ask advice on love! Well, he writes shoujo manga, right? So what is it that he wants to ask? The decisions to make in playing a dating simulation! Flashback reveals Mikoshiba isn’t good with girls so he tried ‘researching’ via playing such games. However he was really frustrated at their kind of character. He persevered and eventually graduated from 2D to 3D. Figurines, that is. He lets Nozaki play and try out. At first he puts the name of his manga hero and then turns down or chooses options that hurts/ignores the heroines! Because his character has only eyes for his manga heroine! Restarting again and putting his name this time, he chooses a girl to conquer that resembles a lot like Sakura. It’s because the internet says she is the best route. Nozaki becomes depressed when the reaction of that girl differs than what he expected. So Mikoshiba suggests he calls Sakura for some help. It’s late at night. And Sakura is getting the wrong idea about it. In such games, there is always a character who is the hero’s friend and will do anything to help. At first Nozaki is sceptical and believes this type will backstab you. But after playing throughout the game, they realize he is such a good guy and even feel for him that he wasted his schooling years just to help the hero out! So sad that they want to draw a manga to dedicate to him. They try to think of the love interest this friend would have but realize from his actions, could it be he loves the protagonist?! If you think about it, why go to great lengths to help him out? Sakura stops by early next morning but nobody answers the door. It seems the duo have pulled an all-nighter finishing this manga dedicated to this friend. Sounds gay… Sakura believes Mikoshiba doesn’t talk much to girls so he insists he’ll show it to her. From what it looks like he is having a blast with girls, suddenly he texts Sakura desperate calling for help. Where’s the pride?

Mikoshiba’s friends enlist his help to even up the gender ratio at a mixer. Thanks to his pride, he accepts. Now what? So he practises attending a mixer with Nozaki. I’m not sure if this guy is joking around or has never attended one before. Or both. Uh huh. Nozaki even puts on a pair of bunny ears to pretend he is a girl. Not working. With Sakura coming by, he enlists her help to join him. She thinks this is the perfect chance to appeal her feminine but it seems he cooks way better than her. The mixer practice farce continues with Nozaki always calling Sakura to the toilet to comment after every line Mikoshiba says, Sakura ranting on her ideal guy (which is basically Nozaki and that means she needs no other guys, which means why the heck would she attend a mixer in the first place). Mikoshiba fears of being paired so Sakura suggests sitting alone but with a cake before him, which makes it look like some sort of birthday party. Since Nozaki is just being negative and Sakura talkative, Mikoshiba has had it and bans them never to go to any mixer. Another toilet commenting trip? Mikoshiba wants to join too! Eventually Mikoshiba doesn’t turn up and has Kashima replace him. The friends feel bad for trying to force him till they hear Kashima’s relayed message that he wouldn’t come unless they were all girls. They take it as an insult he wanted a harem. So they’re glad Kashima is coming along because despite the uneven gender ratio, less men more share, right? Well, no. Because all the girls are all over Kashima. She’s the centre of attention! The guys are the biggest losers. Kashima the big winner. When Nozaki learns his editor is coming to visit, he makes haste to clean up his place. Sakura comments he doesn’t need to rush like that and only reserve such for his girlfriend but he replies that he wouldn’t be this stressed if that person would be his girlfriend. Oh sh*t! Editor more important than girlfriend?! Oh Sakura…

Episode 5
Nozaki considers his editor as cool and mature so this sends bells ringing to Sakura that the editor must be a mature woman. But Ken Miyamae turns out to be a fat grumpy guy. Relieved? He leaves as quickly after he takes his manuscript and even turns down all the great hospitality Nozaki offers. Although Nozaki admires him to the max, Sakura can clearly see that Miyamae somewhat hates him. But as he continues explaining, we’ll soon learn why Miyamae is the best. Because his previous editor, Mitsuya Maeno is a nightmare. He has a penchant for claiming/bragging an idea is his. Also, you can tell if a manga is under him because he has a fetish for tanuki. Yup. Every manga has this tanuki in it! It’s like this little creature transcends space, time and dimension or something. Just when there is a new mystery genre manga came out and although it still involved a tanuki, the premise seems interesting till the next chapter review which reveals the culprit ruined it all! That’s Maeno for you. Sakura also meets Yukari Miyako who is also Nozaki’s neighbour and fellow mangaka. Sakura is so thrilled to meet her but all she could ever eke out of her mouth is tanuki… In her place, she discusses about Maeno’s current fetishes like idols (because their skirts are short enough to have you see their panties) and elephants (they’re too big to be put in the background or fit in the panel anyway). Heck, she shows him a website of the manga magazine in which it is absolutely nothing but him! You might even think it is his personal blog or something. And there’s the part where he ‘defiles’ the manuscript… Then here comes the person in the flesh. Nozaki is pissed upon seeing him and even more when Maeno claims Nozaki is here because he missed his advice. Cool down! But he calms down when Maeno gives him photos of the amusement park that he wanted. Unfortunately it might reach boiling point once more because all the photos contain his face. So you see, the big reason why Nozaki is grateful for a guy like Miyamae? Yeah. He even texts him to convey his feelings. His reply is offensive but he takes it as a positive note. Creepy…

Miyamae calls Nozaki that he couldn’t understand his heroine Mamiko’s feelings because all he sees is her calling out the protagonist’s name. So he tries to hint to that dense Nozaki (to him, not his characters) that this would be a problem if readers can’t really understand all that. Taking up his advice, Nozaki is going to become Mamiko for the entire day. This creep you out, Sakura? Yeah… He has made lots of bentos to see their reaction. He gets disappointed when he realizes the difference between fantasy and reality when Seo complains. Mikoshiba even gets one and although he feels odd, he finds it delicious and this makes Nozaki happy. Could this be how Mamiko feels? Later he sees several girls fighting over Kashima and realizes Mamiko also has rivals. Then this scene… Nozaki kidnaps Kashima away on a cart! A bevy of angry girls just chasing them down! After a while, Nozaki begins to realize there are no special feelings at all because Mamiko only had eyes on the protagonist. Kashima feels insulted because it’s like as though she got dumped. Sakura returns the lunch box to Nozaki. She shows him she made his bento into her handphone wallpaper. He is impressed enough to want to continue being Mamiko. Okay, I think that will be enough. That night he calls Miyamae and believes he understands how Mamiko feels now. However after reflecting what he did for the day as Mamiko (Sakura keep pointing out what he is doing wrong), he retracts that he needs to study more. The end result leaves Miyamae more frustrated and with a potential big headache…

Episode 6
Sakura brought some calming opera-like music to listen while they work. This voice sounds familiar? Yeah. It’s Seo’s! Nozaki immediately turns it off! Speaking of her, here she is causing her usual rampage during the boys’ basketball game again. Everyone gets pounded in the face? There’s no stopping her. Nozaki’s former basketball member, Hirotaka Wakamatsu meets up and talks how Nozaki has changed ever since he went into shoujo manga (Nozaki believes he is much cooler now) and also complains about Seo’s habits since she is the assistant for the girls’ basketball team. He feels like he is being target lately and has trouble sleeping. In exchange for hearing out his troubles, Wakamatsu will help with his manga. Nozaki accidentally plays the song from Lorelei and instantly falls asleep! He wakes up next morning and although apologizing for not getting any work done, he pleads he needs to have that song for he has never slept so good for a long time. Nozaki is in a dilemma to tell him the truth behind that voice. Maybe not. After all, Seo is the reason behind his stress and relaxing. With yet another rampaging by Seo, Wakamatsu again seeks comfort in Nozaki. Maybe he should really get mad at her but since he doesn’t know how, he wants to borrow his work to study. Seriously? Study shoujo manga? It gets off to a worse start when Seo finds a love letter in her shoe locker. It’s supposed to be a challenge letter. And when they finally meet at the rooftop, all what Wakamatsu had to say (he didn’t say much by the way) goes to waste since she was thinking of what kind of nickname she wants to give him. He blows his top and starts complaining (to the point of tears) about her behaviour. But from the way he ‘complains’ about her making up after that, doesn’t it sound suspicious that she may actually like him? And then this… Wakamatsu mentions about Lorelei! He starts praising her angelic voice and all the good qualities and how this person he never met is such a goddess! Seo’s reply? Please repeat that again! Utter defeat for Wakamatsu… The only thing left to do… What is he going to do with those gloves? Throw down a challenge? Nope. Just give it to her. Well, at least she has some use for it. Squash flies… So what’s the point of Wakamatsu complaining his ‘loss’ to Nozaki? Where did he go wrong? Well, he shouldn’t have studied shoujo manga in the first place.

Sakura receives an SOS message from Nozaki. She rushes down to his place thinking this time she will get in his good books by helping out with his work. Turns out he is sick. How can an ink she bought help him out? Apparently he mistakenly SMS to Wakamatsu and Hori too. Nozaki’s concern is that the doctor wants him to stay in bed but he wants somebody to stay in bed for him while he finishes his manuscript as the deadline is tomorrow. He tries to show off his professionalism by drawing with closed eyes since the body remembers. Let’s say Picasso is much better. Just rest. So the trio have the task of completing it for him. But this is the first time they have to cut and set screen tones! Although Hori and Sakura have more experience as assistants, Wakamatsu seems to be doing better so they pretend they know it all. As for what the characters are trying to say, Hori seeks Nozaki’s advice but since he won’t stop ranting (he is really going into details of the feelings of a girl!), I guess they just have to add the speeches themselves. Sakura checks on him and her heart beats like mad when she hears him murmur her name in her sleep. Could it be? Then it follows a few names of other girls before he decides on one that will be the name of his new character! So disappointed! When he is well, he checks on the work progress. The verdict? He will have to ask for a deadline extension! Wrongly applied screen tones! Wakamatsu is glad to receive new songs from Lorelei and wonders how Nozaki got them. That facial contortion that he got them by exchanging his pride has Wakamatsu believing of some underground connection. In actual fact he had to suck up his pride that he likes them and ask for more from Sakura (who is probably getting the wrong idea).

Episode 7
Nozaki finished his manuscript early and realizes he has no other hobby! Sakura must be dreaming of this day because Nozaki asking her to accompany him out is like a date! This is what happens when you put your hopes too high up. Because Nozaki can’t get work out of his mind. Whether it is the movie he picks or the food he eats, the reason he chooses them is because for reference for his manga! Even at the clothes shop, he wonders if the sailor uniform would look good on Mamiko. Would Sakura care to try it on? Heck, he even tries to put it on himself! No luck! At the figurines section, guess who they saw there? Mikoshiba. WTF… Nozaki thinks those figurines can provide some good model reference… At first Sakura’s heart is pounding of what kind of bishoujo he is going to pick. Then it turns out he picked a handsome guy. Disappointed! Then they head to the stationery shop to get some supplies. The day ends with Nozaki asking Sakura to come to his place. Could this finally be it? Again… This is what happens when you put your hopes high. She is made to finish the cooking he made too much. Eat your heart out! Eat away your misery! Don’t despair. After all that trouble, Nozaki has got a nice present for her. Gee, what could it be? A sailor uniform… Disappointed… And he wants to take pictures of her in it now!

Sakura asks Mikoshiba to be her art club’s model. He turns her down. But when some other girl asks, his charm automatically sets and accepts it like a cool guy. Regret? Sakura won’t even help him decline this one. Back home he tries to practice poses. Mostly weird ones. The only ones he is good at are bishoujo figurine poses. Just sad… Mikoshiba arrives at the art club. Some of the members have him pose in certain poses as they wish. That girlfriend breaking up pose… Sakura has him pose like working on a manuscript. Although Mikoshiba gets to boss Sakura around during break time, when she leaves to buy him some drink, he panics and scolds her for leaving him alone! Mikoshiba feels more tired despite the periodic breaks. Then comes in Nozaki and he hopes this guy could help whisk him away. Nozaki did ask for permission to take Mikoshiba away. However he is willing to wait till the club session ends. Damn. Nozaki sees some of the students sketching and their sketch are great model references. He wants to join! Not recruiting. Nozaki is also given a chance to pose Mikoshiba. But he starts posing all the other club members into one big group pose. At the end, the art club members thank him. One of them asks if he wants to model for them again. I guess his instinctive charm kicks in. He is glad to do it nude next time. Wowee! He just dug his own grave. Can Nozaki help him out? When he does that nude modelling, Nozaki wants to come and see. Yeah…

Episode 8
Hori carries around Nozaki’s shoujo manga in his bag. He is not worried of losing it and let people have the wrong idea since he always clutches on to his bag. When Kashima is seen running away from club activities, he throws the bag at her! The manga drops out as Kashima takes a peek. To her horror she gets the wrong idea on the kind of books he reads. Before she can go further, Hori takes her out. Eventually she gets a copy and Mikoshiba says he too has one. He surprises her by reciting a line perfectly from a chapter. She too acts her part out but this freaks Mikoshiba out. She then happens to bump into Nozaki and ask his thoughts on it. His comments are all professional but it sounded ambiguous that Kashima thinks it is all so complicated. When Kashima practises her play lines with Hori, she notices he is a bit different. A bit happy. Actually he is glad that for once she is taking serious interest in her work. When the other fan girls come in to bug Kashima if there is anyone who is playing the princess role, Kashima mistakes Hori’s angry face that he might want to play the princess part! Hori thought Kashima has her feminine side when she asks his opinion to choose between a long or mini skirt. Turns out she borrowed his clothes and left the skirt as his substitute. The following days, Kashima always leave female clothing and accessories in his locker. Is this some kind of harassment? Hori notes that they are all well coordinated actually.

Because Nozaki is hopeless drawing backgrounds, that is why Hori is around. Even he has a hard time trying to decipher where the characters are supposed to be. They are surprised Nozaki can debut with his horrible background drawings. I guess the mangas he drew doesn’t have much background in them. Hori trains Nozaki to draw backgrounds but it is so obvious that the characters seem like floating. How to fix this? Draw them standing on a box! His perspective of depth and distance is also off. Nothing like the box to fix it, huh? And he puts a note that boxes are the in thing now. Sakura suggests they should take some photos and draw. She flusters when she is supposed to play Mamiko and Nozaki the heroine. However she is too short that she can’t be seen in the camera. Since Hori has the same height with the protagonist, he takes over. Despite the perfect angle and everything, Nozaki feels something is missing. Boxes! Quit it already! Kashima sees Hori referring to the manga and even seeks Nozaki’s guidance about it. She gets the wrong idea he wants to be carried like a princess. As Hori is going to stay at Nozaki’s place for the night, Sakura fears something gay might happen and will also stay with pretence she wants to learn more about drawing backgrounds. Hori lacks sleep in his club and can’t help doze off. But when he sees Kashima standing on a box trying to reach for something, it pisses him off and does a slide tackle. It knocks him out. Kashima wants to bring him to the infirmary. Dressed like a prince and carrying him like a princess? Eventually she thinks if she can’t be his prince, the horse will do. But she put on a bull’s mask instead and runs straight there. Everyone thinks this must be some sort of rodeo. Hori is surprised to see the person behind that mask. In the end, Hori decides to draw all of Nozaki’s backgrounds but in exchange his next story must be about a prince who was turned into a bull. Sakura asks Hori has he mistake Kashima to be a guy the first time. Well, he never noticed her skirt and only when she entered the female toilet.

Episode 9
On a rainy day, Sakura forgot to bring her umbrella. Is this the chance she has been waiting for to share an umbrella with Nozaki? Well… He forgot to bring his too. Oh God, why are you screwing with her! He gets this idea of rolling up his sleeves and longs and hides under his jacket. Lame… Want to get in? Eventually they have to turn back since they got pretty drenched. As they wait, Nozaki thinks of writing out some scenarios. He starts telling of what seems to be a romantic story but turns into a ghost story. They see lots of girls competing with each other to share an umbrella with Kashima. It looks like some mushroom field. Seo then dumps her umbrella at Sakura because she prefers to run in the rain. Sakura starts flustering that she is finally sharing an umbrella with him but since she is fantasizing too much, she didn’t realize she got his head stuck in the umbrella. Such a tall guy… Now Nozaki holds the umbrella. Rain water keeps pouring on her head… Then the car splashes puddle over them. Bad day… Sakura wants to go on like this for a while. Nozaki too. Really? He just remembered he left the laundry outside and wants to escape reality! Back at his home, since they are soaked, he tells her to take off her clothes! WTF?! She has no clothes to change! Don’t worry. That sailor uniform. There are some poses he wants to capture. No way!!! Nozaki no baka!!! Next day Nozaki shows Sakura the rainy day scenario story. It seems he put in Seo’s scene and Sakura felt she really lost out to her.

Miyako’s college friends thinks it is weird she writes her love letters in point form. What is with this tanuki business too? They go eavesdrop her on the phone thinking she’s talking to her boyfriend. They get the wrong idea she got into trouble with some debt collectors since she is assuring she’ll get her work done. Nozaki and Sakura go see Miyako to confirm something. Hearing her off the phone with Maeno makes Nozaki feel he is such a blessed guy to have Miyamae. Miyako tries to solve her tanuki problems but it’s not going too well. She relates how she tried to stand up for her title to be published but from the way they hear it, she lost since it became a second title. Nozaki remembers Maeno has a habit of changing words on his own and thus the ‘misprint’ seen in the final printed version. Miyako also had many of such experience but it seems to make the dialogue very erotic. They suggest she complain and when she calls, surprisingly he apologizes at first but soon blames her manga has too many kanji and hard for him to read. Now she has to apologize! They suggest putting an indirect message of complaint in the manga but I don’t think Miyako knows how to do it. Another suggestion is to overload the tanuki factor so she draws a guy in full body costume of a tanuki and faxes it over to Maeno. He loves it! Backfired. When Miyako makes that character more boring, it seems Sakura takes a liking for it. Nozaki sees Miyamae and suggests of adding some spice to his next manga. An alien who looks like a human but only more handsome and popular? Isn’t he just a handsome guy? Miyamae thinks this was just a waste of time but Maeno totally loves this idea! Nozaki is irked that Sakura is more excited with a drawing from Miyako than he gave his autograph. He is willing to trade it by drawing his characters and even in tanuki suits. Big lecture from Sakura: Please treat your characters with more care. Oh sh*t!

Episode 10
His rainy day sketch surprisingly received positive reactions so Miyamae told him to write a side story for his side characters. However Nozaki is in a dilemma because those characters are modelled after Wakamatsu and Seo. When Wakamatsu comes over seeking his advice as he is deeply in a dilemma about going out with Seo who handed him a movie ticket, Nozaki didn’t hesitate to tell him to go. And then tell him all about it. So Wakamatsu dresses his best while Seo is just casual to go watch this so called alien B-grade movie. I don’t know what the big fuss was trying to fight over the dominance of the armrest space but eventually it is Seo who won since Wakamatsu is so meek. When the movie starts, Seo starts laughing at parts normal people wouldn’t. She loves the killings, doesn’t she? Towards the end, she seemingly falls asleep on him and he wants to find out her reaction when she wakes up but actually she’s just relaxing in that pose. As they leave, they talk about the movie but it’s like they are watching different movies because Seo is like talking about stuffs that didn’t happen in it. She’s talking about the killing and gore so much that he can’t take it anymore and tells her to shut it! Sakura reads the side story and is impressed. She likes it. However Nozaki only has negative comments about it. Wakamatsu spies outside the music club to find out who Lorelei is. Hori comes by and the best way to find out is to walk in and ask. He does so but when he comes out, he is excited to turn his next play into a musical! Nozaki and Sakura see Kashima depressed. Because Hori wants to turn the next play into a musical, she is required to do lots of acrobatic flips and somersaults. Is that a musical? However Kashima can do all that (?!) except one: Singing. Yup, she’s tone deaf. Sakura requests Seo’s help to train her but you can tell she’s not really into the mood. But since her best friend is asking… First she has Kashima sing to gauge her. You can tell from Nozaki and Sakura’s reaction they’re about to be dragged to hell the moment she opens her mouth. Seo? She had ear plugs on! Seeing their reaction was just enough to gauge her?! Her options to train her are harsh so the rest figure it’s easier to do something about Hori. Make him hate musicals or erase his memories. Wakamatsu sees Seo entering the music club. As she trains Kashima to sing, Wakamatsu mistakes this is her horrible voice and feels so bad for her that he starts crying out his woes to Nozaki.

Thank goodness Hori won’t be doing a musical play next but since an actor is out due to a broken bone, he has to replace him. Of course this makes Kashima happy as she gets to act on stage with him. In the play, her character is supposed to beat him but she couldn’t. His character is supposed to lose but he won’t. They just don’t match… Hori thinks of finding a stand in and who better to play it than Nozaki since he wrote this story so he should understand the character better. But Nozaki doesn’t realize he had this character… Nozaki is such an amateur in acting that it’s obvious. He wants to change since it’s hard to act in his school uniform. Sakura relishes seeing him in a costume when he comes out in a bear suit… So disappointed! Can’t even see his face! Well, it’s the only suit that fits him. Hori thinks he needs to get a guy who loves to stand out. The rest can’t think of one. Then how about a guy easily deceived to take this part. Everyone had the same idea: Mikoshiba! At first he won’t be tricked into it but with the constant praising, he’s in! Seeing Mikoshiba acts somewhat reminds Hori of a very familiar character: Mamiko! During Kashima and Mikoshiba’s fight scene, Hori cheered on the latter to crush the former! This makes Kashima sulk and she gets the wrong idea that Hori likes him more! Gay?! He even starts calling his name wrongly over and over. Mamikoshiba… Hori thought he has secured Mikoshiba as an actor but the next day he returns back to his timid self. Looks like Hori has to play the character himself. Want something done, do it yourself. Wakamatsu spies on Seo to try and catch her good points but all she does is give ill but in-your-face-honest advices to her friends. Wakamatsu’s friends think he is starting to fall for Seo.

Episode 11
Nozaki seems to know a lot about Miyamae. And he knows all of it via Miyako. It’s like information leak. Flashback reveals when they first met. Miyamae was to take over as Nozaki’s editor from Maeno but that guy didn’t show up. Miyamae finds Nozaki to be annoying because it’s like he fears Miyamae wants to butt in writing his story or win over him by flattering his characters. But when he manages to name several minor characters, Nozaki becomes impressed and that’s when they got ‘closer’. When Sakura mentions she would like to see an element of surprise in his manga, he starts sketching a few sketchy and absurd surprising moments. Though she is surprised, but it is not the kind of surprise she is hoping for. Nozaki suggests he’ll set up some excitement for her tomorrow. This doesn’t sound good. But Sakura can’t help look forward to it. First excitement: He becomes her chair! WTF?! Did anybody order some S&M play?! Surprised? Next he gives her some flowers. Ah, good surprise. Then his hand falls off. Surprised?! More of like shock. Then he helps her to bring some books to the faculty room but retracts on his statement. So uncool. So heartbreaking. She doesn’t hesitate to take up his offer to eat his lunch. All rice only? But wait. There is curry underneath. Surprise? She even gets tea, seconds and dessert. So much so she can’t take any more of such surprises and could explode! When he wants to walk home with her, by that time I’m sure Sakura is already suspicious. On her guard. Everything he does, she will be looking over her shoulders, getting ready for what may come. Nothing much happens. So what’s the surprise? None. He just wanted to walk home with her. That surprise. Surprised? Dumbfounded… Later Nozaki hands in his next manuscript to Miyamae employing this surprise element (especially that curry under the rice trick). He doesn’t look impressed and thinks it has turned into some food manga.

Thanks to the heavy rain, coincidentally all the guys stop by Nozaki’s place. This is the first time Mikoshiba meets Hori and Wakamatsu. At first Mikoshiba didn’t like how cool and athletic Wakamatsu is but when the latter praises him, they become friends. Hori doesn’t like the idea Mikoshiba is here because he might blurt out the secret that he does Nozaki’s backgrounds. If Kashima finds out, she would want to help out too and inadvertently bring all the fan girls and crowd in this place. Such vivid imagination. As Nozaki makes dinner, the rest decide to watch TV and unconsciously whip out their drawing tools at the same time! Whoops! Hide it back! Mikoshiba tries to start a conversation. Especially about girls. He hints to Nozaki for some ‘magazine with lots of girls’ but was given the manga magazine. Okay, let’s be more specific. Real girls. He hands him his graduation album. WTF. Oh well, this will do. Mikoshiba wonders what kind of girls they like so they start ranting away their ideals without looking at the pictures. As the train service has stopped due to the storm, looks like they will have to stay for the night here. Hori notices Nozaki’s notes that he is planning to make some pyjamas party for his next chapter. Yeah, see him taking down notes and turning their guys talk into girls talk? Nozaki can’t believe the guys want to go to bed this early. He’ll watch over them. No excitement. He mentions his intention of writing sleepover scenarios so the guys try to talk about relationships. When they are curious about Sakura’s relationship with Nozaki and are going to ask him, that dude is already deep asleep! The trio have fun arm wrestling well into the dead of the night. Meanwhile Sakura thinks a lot about Nozaki. She has a Valentine’s chocolate for him and a note of confession in the fridge.

Episode 12
The girls are talking the chances of going out with a guy based on the gift given. When Sakura mentions about that autograph, they feel it’s better for her to stay away from him. She gives them her Valentine’s Day chocolates. Five months ago, she forgot to give it to the guy she likes (guess who) or rather she couldn’t find the guts to do it and it stayed dormant in her fridge since then. Don’t worry, it’s not expired yet. She’s still sore she wasn’t able to get a hold of him on that day since he was busy ‘running around’ being a busybody when he heard other people were being given chocolates. But Valentine’s Day for Nozaki didn’t go too well too. Because he opines there is no need for White Day, the girls misunderstood his intention and cancelled him from their list. He got no chocolates. He was unfazed. He didn’t even realize it. Sakura talks to Seo about the last time a boy gave her chocolates. It was like when she was 3 years old… As for Kashima, because Hori said he didn’t like handmade chocolates, she went to the store and bought a chocolate, copied it and hand this imitation to him. So he unknowingly ate her homemade chocolate he hated so much. Sakura has been suggested to give Nozaki eat the chocolates since he might eat it naturally as Valentine’s Day is over. Unfortunately Nozaki bumps into her and her 5 months of love scattered on the floor. Nozaki gets the wrong idea that she is mad and wants him to pick up and eat them. Although she is happy, he further mistakes that happiness that she totally loves to see him pick and eat them up from the floor. He really wants to make it up to her and since she mentions she wants some candy to make him happy, he gets more wrong idea about what it means. Later Seo and Sakura compliment Kashima’s improving singing skills. But why do they cover their ears when they say that?

Sakura and Seo meet up with Mikoshiba and Kashima for the fireworks festival. They see a group of girls trying to resist asking them out. They look like zombies… Mikoshiba and Sakura exchange praises and clearly despite how plain they dress, Mikoshiba really wants to keep the praises coming. Nozaki and Wakamatsu are also here to observe the couples. But Wakamatsu’s misery begins when Seo drags him away. As he is not familiar with Kashima, he thinks ‘this guy’ is Seo’s boyfriend and starts having vivid imaginations about them. He’s really bothered about it. But what can he do about it? Hori is also here to take background snapshots for his manga references and isn’t too pleased to see Kashima around. When Sakura is lost, she bumps into Nozaki. I suppose this must be the most distasteful joke he has ever said to her. He joked he couldn’t identify her because of her different ribbon patterns! Sakura flusters on what to do so she shares her candy apple with him in which he doesn’t hesitate to take a bite. They head to a higher ground so Nozaki can take pictures for references of the festival. Since Sakura cannot get up on the metal bars, Nozaki lifts her up and this brings back memories of that entrance ceremony day. Deja vu. She thought it was bad enough she got on the wrong train till she saw Nozaki sleeping while trying to climb over the school gate! Since she was too short, Nozaki lifts her up. She thought he was some sort of delinquent but eventually realized he is a nice guy. That’s the first time she met him and he saved her when she was late for school, panicking and about to cry. She reflects lots of things have happened and their relationship didn’t go anywhere but she’ll keep on loving him more and more even though he only sees her as a friend. As the fireworks start to light up the night sky, Sakura accidentally blurts she loves him. Oh gosh. Did he hear that? He says something inaudible because the fireworks start up again. Then he puts his face closer to her ear and whispers he also feels the same like her. Yes. He loves the fireworks. Oh… I don’t know if Sakura has gone crazy but she’s laughing. In a cute way, that is. She thanks him for staying by her side and is happy with the way things are right now.

Love Lessons From Manga… Imitated From Real Life
Surprisingly I didn’t expect myself to enjoy this anime as I was going to pass it off as something mediocre. See, that is the problem when you try to judge something before fully watching it. The funny bits and moments are definitely the best parts of the series and it is just funny to see the characters react and deal with all kinds of it. The balance and right mix of such comical moments are what makes this series an enjoyable watch. Sometimes ridiculous but if you think about it, real life can be quite pretty similar too.

Bringing out the best in the comedy are the characters and despite Nozaki and Sakura are the main characters, the other side characters do well to bring good balance to the overall feel of everything. Each has their own quirks and personalities that we can relate to like Mikoshiba’s penchant to be praised. These characters also shows us the irony in life because for example Mikoshiba sounds like he is cool and flirtatious with the ladies but in real life he is just a noob and the furthest he gets with them is just dating simulations. Likewise, Seo may be a troublemaker and lacks tact but her angelic singing voice makes up for all that. Thus Wakamatsu, who is always stressed out by her, is also calmed and soothed by the person whom he doesn’t know is the very same girl. Then there is Hori who always has the tendency to beat the crap out of Kashima if she pisses him off the slightest. I don’t know if this would amount to violence against woman. Despite Kashima looking a lot like a guy, she is still a girl underneath that tomboyish looks. I wonder what her fan girls will have to say about that.

Ironically for Nozaki, despite writing such a famous shoujo manga, he himself isn’t really an expert on the subject of love. Though, he is keen in observing his subjects but tends to go overboard with zany and exaggerated scenarios from his perspective. Perhaps it is a reason why his manga is wildly popular because in some ways people can relate it to real life. For now his passion seems to be concentrating on the love life of his manga characters rather than the ones in real life. Right under his nose. Because in manga I think you can erase, reset and redo a scene again unlike in reality. No wonder he is so good. No wonder the manga is doing so well.

Sakura is a funny girl, which makes her an amusing watch. There are so many moments when she starts believing that Nozaki is going to do something romantic or perhaps realize something from the heart. Often as many times it turns out to be something else different and she’ll be so disappointed, disheartened, dismayed, crest fallen and frustrated. Feel like banging your head on the wall? In a way I think being status quo as his manga assistant is consider good enough because who knows what happens if they actually end up as a real couple. Hah. At least since they are not, there is no possible development of a break up later! Yikes! And the more she starts working with him on his manga, the more she starts to question the ideas he comes up with and uses. It just shatters all your perspectives on things.

Even the other smaller supporting characters outside the main magnificent seven are likeable in their own ways like Maeno’s narcissism, Miyako’s tendency to include tanukis not only in every manga she draws but in each freaking panel as well (something I feel is like a running gag each time she takes the limelight)! I believe Miyamae is the most serious character in the series and I don’t remember seeing him smile once. I guess his job is that stressful. Even Nozaki has times where he brightens up albeit usually when he comes up or does something silly. So with Nozaki’s strange stories and ideas sometimes, it even piles more pressure of him as evidently seen. No wonder he is so grumpy. I wonder if Lorelei’s music can help him. On second thought, maybe not. So which editor would you like to have? An unfriendly but serious one or a carefree and oblivious weirdo? I would have neither! If these characters were in Bakuman, I think it would have been big time fail.

I never put much hope on the romance department in the first place because I knew from ‘experience’ it was going to be status quo from start to finish. Even that seemingly heart stopping confession had some sort of a catch. And true enough it wasn’t really Nozaki that realized his feelings for Sakura or anything. Big relief or big frustration? Seeing so many of such situations in various animes already made me ‘numb’ when this sort of things happens. Oh well, on the bright side is that Sakura still gets to be by his side and she still has a chance. But don’t take too long… Or she’ll be forever waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting… Surely she doesn’t want to be content to be just his manga assistant, right? There are deep hints that Seo likes Wakamatsu (the constant teasing, why else would such a badass girl bug you like that?) and Kashima for Hori (otherwise why would she stand his abuse every time she escapes from club activities?). It would have been interesting to see something developing of this sort but you know, sometimes it is better there isn’t. Even Mamiko is having all sorts of troubles and challenges in love. Imagine it in real life. Oh wait. Doesn’t her love life chronicles take after real life?

The art and drawing are quite good especially the characters giving off that bishoujo and bishonen feel. In short, almost everyone looks good, handsome, cute and pretty and even girls like Seo with bad attitudes also look beautiful (till she starts giving away her bad habits then the overall beauty of the heart would start diminishing). Maybe the only one not fitting the bill would be Miyamae but even so, at least he is not that ugly. Note, Sakura has got the funniest-cum-cutest face when she goes into her annoyed mode because it makes her look like Pac-man! Serious!

I was surprised that Mai Nakahara was the voice of Kashima. No matter how much I think about it, she just doesn’t sound like the Mai Nakahara I knew of. Perhaps it is one of those roles once in a while whereby you voice something that you aren’t typically casted for. Kashima may sound a bit boyish but thinking hard and trying to recognize that lower voice belonged to Mai Nakahara, it was just mind boggling since she usually voices obvious female roles (think Juvia from Fairy Tail). At least Yuuichi Nakamura as Nozaki is still recognizable albeit he wasn’t in his angst character stereotype (Gray in Fairy Tail, Yamada in Valvrave The Liberator). Miyuki Sawashiro as Seo and Ayako Kawasumi as Miyako are definitely recognizable in my books. For the rest of the casts, they are Ari Ozawa as Sakura (making her debut voicing a main character), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Mikoshiba (Accelerator in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Yuuki Ono as Hori (Moral in Hamatora), Ryohei Kimura as Wakamatsu (L-elf in Valvrave The Liberator), Kenta Miyake as Miyamae (Klaus in Hayate No Gotoku) and Daisuke Ono as Maeno (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji).

Another winning point for this anime is the opening and ending themes. The opener, Kimi Janakya Dame Mitai by Masayoshi Ooishi attracts you with that funky guitar play. The way the singer sings the song with lots of funk makes it feel like fun all the way. Definitely you would want to hear it again. Aaow! Yeah! Ari Ozawa does Uramote Fortune and the cutest thing about this anime pop piece is how she goes singing repetitively the lyrics “Hantai no, hantai no, hantai no, hantai no, hantai no Fortune”. Addictively cute. She already has a cute voice and now the way she sings it is so cute, it makes your heart go “Kyun~!”. Really. There are a variety of background music too and I think some of them are not bad. But there is one they keep spamming and playing quite often so I think even though it sounds great, hearing too much of it becomes a bore.

After all that is said and done, this series is a good and entertaining watch if you want some light hearted romance that brings out the hilarious moments in the simplest things, go for this anime. You won’t regret it even if you’re not into the idea of love right now. Another good point that I suppose certain groups of viewers would find it good is that this anime doesn’t rely on fanservice or any sexual subtexts for its comedy so the comedy is clean good fun. Good enough for even for the family to watch. In the end, no matter how good a romance novel or shoujo manga is or how successful or good it looks on paper and theory, nobody has the slightest clue what romance and love is all about. Everybody is just a noob when it comes to love. Funny, isn’t it?

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