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Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

6 min read

Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun Blu-ray CoverGirl meets Shojo Manga-ka

What They Say:
You know how the story goes: girl crushes on guy, girl confesses feelings to guy, guy mistakes confession for a job application.

Okay, maybe that’s not how it usually goes, but that’s what happens when Chiyo Sakura finally gets up the nerve to tell her classroom crush Nozaki how she feels. Since she doesn’t know that he’s secretly a manga artist who publishes under a female pen name, and he doesn’t know that she doesn’t know, he misunderstands and offers her a chance to work as his assistant instead of a date!

But while it’s not flowers and dancing, it is a chance to get closer to him, so Chiyo gamely accepts. And when Nozaki realizes how useful Chiyo can be in figuring out what girls find romantic, he’ll be spending even more time with her “researching” while remaining completely clueless. Could Chiyo’s romantic frustration possibly get any more drawn out of proportion? The answer will be profusely illustrated in Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun!

Contains episodes 1-12.

The Review:
Packaging is a standard blu ray case, holding two discs (one on each side). The case itself has one of those unnecessary flaps on the side to hold the case shut, even though the case closes fine without it. If anything, the flap has a tendency of popping out of place itself, which is frustrating on a minor level.

Cover art gets the feel of the series perfectly, with the front art having the main cast portrayed within manga panels, and the logo tastefully displayed in the upper right in a font that’s surprisingly eloquent in its simplicity. The back cover is more hectic, but still suits the series well, with its array of patterns and pastel colors alongside a spread of screenshots and promo-specific art (seeing Nozaki riding a tandem bike with his manga creations is something I would have liked to see within the series).

Menus for both discs are standard for a modern blu ray, with the main cast featured in the center, a background similar to the cover art, and menu items along the bottom of the screen. The series’ main theme song plays throughout, its catchiness and run-time making for the perfect length for menu screen BGM. My one gripe with menu navigation is choosing the “back” option. Whenever going backwards in the menu, simply navigating down to hover over the “back” button is enough to go back a screen, whereas most menus require you to hover and select the “back button itself. A minor gripe, but one that led to a surprising amount of accidental selections.

Since Sentai rarely dubs their releases, I figured I’d include any dub discussion in the extras section.

What truly surprised me with this set was the quality of its dub. With Sentai Filmworks at the helm (Penguindrum and Kids on the Slope dubs come to mind), I was hesitant at first, but I can only conclude that the series being a comedy allowed for less pressure on the dubbing end of things, because it was near perfect and is hands-down my favorite dub in recent history. Outside of a few hiccups (all the cast pronouncing the name as “mihKOHshibah” and the character in question being the hammiest of the bunch), the cast does an exemplary performance, each having their distinct take on their character, and providing a very natural delivery to all their lines, rather than focusing on maintaining a certain tone of voice without getting enough of a natural range across like most modern dubs. Even the more minor characters like Mamiko (Nozaki’s main character in his manga) provide unnaturally stellar performances with the handful of lines they have. Voices are able to go from serious, to off-the-wall in a matter of seconds and in such a natural manner that I couldn’t help but be amazed. It’s a humongous step up from what I’m used to in Sentai dubs and I hope they maintain this level of excellence in future releases.

Besides the Japanese promos and creditless OP/ED themes that all other anime releases try to pawn off as exclusive and special, we’re also treated to six mini-episodes, each totaling around 3 minutes and is the true pull to buying this set (besides the top-notch dub). Unlike most shorts, these Nozaki-kun minisodes actually do a good job of continuing from where the final episode of the main anime left off, with Wakamatsu fretting over Seo’s (apparent) boyfriend, and the gang heading to the beach for some misadventures. For something so short, they each felt very fulfilling—like a short episode, rather than an opportunity for something obscure or out-of-character, like I’ve seen with some other shorts.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun thrives on characters acting contrary to what you would initially expect of them. A tall athletic-type with a piercing glare and occasional bandages on his face? A shojo manga author. The pretty-boy sweet-talker? A closet otaku. Punk girl? Voice of an angel. Every character in the cast of Nozaki-kun has a particular quirk about themselves and yet it never gets old because the characters themselves are an absolute pleasure to watch.

The series is primarily told through the eyes of Chiyo Sakura—wide-eyed admirer of Nozaki-kun that confesses her love to him only to have him misunderstand and eventually take her on as an assistant to his shojo manga titled “Let’s Fall in Love.” On the whole, she’s the closest equivalent to a “straight-man” character among the ever growing cast of goofballs at her school. To describe the series as a school love comedy however would be to sell it short. What sets it apart from similar shows of that genre would be its added layer of Nozaki being a shojo manga-ka. The fact that he writes stories about characters falling in love in the most romantic way possible (to him, at least) only to have it reflected in the funhouse mirror that is his real life makes for great entertainment. Whether it be the kouhai character Wakamatsu being tormented by blunt-but-helpful Seo, or shorty Hori hunting down school-proclaimed prince Kashima, Nozaki has an endless source for inspiration from unlikely friends and classmates alike.

In Summary:
What truly defines Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is its cast of characters, all coming off as reflecting one trope of the shojo genre, at least in the eyes of Nozaki-kun. The combined romcom-style theatrics layered on top of Nozaki’s surprisingly entertaining manga author woes makes for a unique and entertaining watch. If the Limited Edition Set is too excessive for you, I would at the least recommend the basic Blu Ray Set for its dub alone.

Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitle, Nozaki-kun Shorts, Promos, Commercials, Clean Opening and Closing Animations.

Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A+

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: March 29, 2016
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: —
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Panasonic 40” HDTV, LG Blu Ray Player Model BD270

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