Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun has been a pretty decent romantic comedy anime this season. Decent is the word I’d used to describe it in ever respect. It’s decently funny. It looks decently good. It’s decently well-written. It’s characters range from excellent and funny to kind of lame and boring; thus, as a whole, they probably average out to decent as well. It’s just overall pretty decent, and that’s not a bad thing.
Nozaki-kun is a comedy series that has lots of romantic character pairings, and much of the comedy comes from playing off romance tropes, particularly those of shoujo romances. It’s mostly focused on meta comedy and character humor. It has a very large cast, and it tends to focus each episode on a specific couple of characters, or pairs of characters. I’ve come to think that how funny and generally enjoyable I’ll find an episode is highly dependent on who the episode is about. I particularly like episodes centered around Mikorin and Yuzuki, but I find Yukari kind of lame and unfunny. The characters really drive the show, in Nozaki-kun, and I simply think that which characters happen to be driving a particular episode is just really important.
The other major comedic aspect of the show is the meta comedy. Nozaki-kun likes to mess with romantic genre tropes a lot. It’s kind of hit-or-miss, but many of them are very clever. The tandem bike, pictured above, was one of my very favorites. Nozaki wants to do a romantic bike scene, except that riding in tandem is illegal now. So he tries all sorts of things out in real life. Things like this, which break audience expectations, are often very funny, and, when Nozaki-kun gets its meta comedy right, it’s quite hilarious. It doesn’t always though.
While I’ve talked about the comedy already, it is a series about romance. The shipping value of many of these characters is pretty strong. A lot of the pairs are simply adorable. It isn’t focused on drama at all however. No notable character development occurs throughout the series. By the end, everything is mostly the same as it was at the beginning.
Yet, the series can mostly be forgiven for this, as it isn’t doing anything drama-based at all. Most of the moments that could have been real romantic drama or development, are quickly turned into comedy, almost to the point of being dark and ironic. Even so, those people who get annoyed at dragged-out romances probably won’t be happy. If you can’t stop yourself getting invested in your ships, the series may well disappoint you at the end. For me, it wasn’t too much of a problem, since I wasn’t all that invested in the romances, but even I was a bit annoyed by it. Just understand that it’s really just a comedy, and any romance present in it is entirely played for laughs.
Overall, I’d recommend Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun to people who want a light-hearted comedy with a lot of romantic elements, especially if they find the idea of making fun of romantic tropes to be a great one. I ultimately think that School Rumble is a better comedy, romance, and satire, but I wouldn’t discount Nozaki-kun on any level. It’s a nice little anime, if a very unexceptional one, and I was never unhappy to tune into it for an episode a week.