Story & Art: Izumi Tsubaki
Translation: Leighann Harvey
Lettering: Lys Blakeslee
What They Say
Drawing comics is hard work, as high school boy and shoujo manga-ka Umetarou Nozaki and his motley crew of friends-turned-assistants know well. But being a manga pro doesn’t necessarily make Nozaki great at everything. In fact, Chiyo is about to discover that his talent just might be full of holes?!
As it turns out, everyone’s got some weaknesses, and nobody’s perfect-not even school “prince” Kashima! And Chiyo doesn’t get a pass either…because her greatest weakness is Nozaki himself!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Come the third volume of antics with Nozaki and co, you’d think the series would start to show signs of wearing thin, especially considering the bulk of the series’ humor stems from misunderstandings between the main cast and outsiders that have no idea of their moonlighting as manga-ka. However, volume 3 of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun proves there’s still plenty to explore with Nozaki and his merry band of classmates and work peers.
What keeps the series fresh aren’t the jokes themselves, but the fact that they’re delivered by an ever-expanding cast of characters, each interesting in their own way. Between Nozaki and his classmates at high school, fellow manga-ka Miyako at her college, and manga editors Miyamae and Maeno, there’s still plenty of untapped material for the series to take from. Add to this the fact that each 4-panel comic is usually part of a larger story arc, and you have enough character development to warrant a longer-running series. Seeing the development of a love/hate relationship between underclassman Waka and overly blunt Seo is but one of the many running gags that doesn’t wear thin because it focuses just as much on story and character as well as comedic timing.
The borderline meta levels of certain story arcs remains equally entertaining, as Nozaki continues to base the romance he writes in his manga off the unlikely real-life counterparts in his peers. Considering that shoujo stories tend to be fueled by characters’ painfully infuriating misunderstandings of love between each other, seeing those same tropes turned on their head in the series continues to be Nozaki-kun’s mainstay and greatest strength. Add to this some manga-ka in-jokes about screentones and perspective, as well as some downright ridiculous scenes with Kashima taking up singing lessons and you have a well-balanced collection of short story arcs, each with their own special brand of silly.
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Volume 3 continues to bring the laughs, as the series’ now well-expanded cast of fools provides a broad range of material to pick from. Whether it be the more general high school silliness, or the more straight-laced gags from a crushingly mundane work life, the series continues to pull off the perfect balance between character-focused story and all-around comedy.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: May 24, 2016