Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun Volume 6
In trying to catch up with Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun, I found it helpful to keep Volume 4 at hand, because that’s the book that has the cast’s character profiles at the back, and I tend to get the various male supporting characters confused easily.
The young women are much more distinctive: there’s viewpoint character Sakura, the nice girl who tries hard and crushes on manga creator Nozaki; Seo, who’s athletic and mean but sings beautifully; Kashima, the androgynous prince who’s adored by the other girls; and Miyako, the put-upon shojo manga creator who’s forced to draw lots of tanuki by her editor. The boys, though, kind of blend together for me, between the basketball player, the drama director, and the cool-but-secretly-nerdy guy, all of whom assist Nozaki with his art. They look too similar and for a while, I didn’t even realize there were three of them.
That may be because many of the stories in Volume 6 are about the characters’ feelings and interactions, and I much prefer the chapters with themes relating to the difficulty of making manga month after month. (A chapter consists of 12-14 four-panel comics with a continuing theme or premise.) I also like seeing the editors, whether sympathetic Ken or self-obsessed Maeno; their interactions are some of the funniest in the series, in my opinion. Sadly, there’s not much with them here, although we do get a chapter about trying to pick a theme for a special manga anthology issue. That one points out just how generic Nozaki’s manga is, which I also find amusing.
This volume, unfortunately for my tastes, doesn’t have much else about the industry. There’s one chapter about trying to figure out a horror-themed short story with Nozaki’s characters and how bad he is at it. Miyako and Nozaki meet at a cafe to talk about upcoming stories, but that chapter is really about other people thinking they’re dating and getting the wrong ideas.
I hope that the next installment is a better mix of story types; the previous volumes have had more about working in manga. There is an art-focused extra here, with background on making the figure given away with a special edition in Japan. (The publisher provided a review copy.)