For day three of twelve, we visit a show that dares to ask the tough questions:
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun was something of a surprise as Dogakobo took what I thought was a mediocre 4koma manga and turned it into the funniest anime of the year. The show’s ability to riff on the genre conventions of shoujo manga and flip gender roles on their head was outstanding. The show offered a consistently hilarious cast of misfits that refused to conform to standard stereotypes and the results were superb.
The high point of the show for me came when Mikorin (who is best girl by the way, in case you forgot) decides to spend the night with Nozaki and ask him for help with girls. Unfortunately, the girls Mikorin is concerned with are of the 2D variety and they inhabit his dating sim games.
I’m an avid player (reader?) of visual novels (much more so than shoujo manga) so this gag worked for me on a level that the other parts of the show just didn’t. Watching Nozaki bring his work as a mangaka into the visual novel world yielded hilarious results as he first decided to name the player character after the main love interest in his manga then immediately refused to pursue any of the girls in the game because “Suzuki only has eyes for Mamiko”. After getting past this obstacle, we find that Nozaki’s shoujo manga sensibilities led him to make all the wrong decisions in the game. It’s a concept that’s very funny on a surface level but also an interesting commentary on the differences between how stories progress in works targeted at men vs women. As somebody who has trained himself to look at things from a girl’s perspective, Nozaki is utterly incapable of seeing things from the perspective of a male reader.
Nozaki’s instincts continued to be categorically unfit for a dating sim as he eventually decided that the only one for the protagonist was actually the male friend character who gave up his three years of high school in order to help the protagonist. He and Mikorin then team up to write a manga about a romance between the protagonist and the main male friend that would make many a fujoshi squeal. It’s this non-standard way of approaching well-trod territory that made Nozaki-kun such a funny show and nowhere was this truer than when Nozaki and Mikorin were playing visual novels together. It was the comedic pinnacle of a very funny show and one of the funniest sequences I’ve seen in anime period.