12 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun episode 1 – Please don’t become the thing you’re parodying

Nozaki - 01 -14[2]Remember the name of Gangan Online, the online manga publishing arm of the Gangan brand. The manga that have been turned into anime that came from Gangan Online so far have been Watamote, Daily Lives of Highschool Boys, Barakamon and some crappy 4-koma about cute girls that nobody watched. Now they’ve got Nozaki-kun, which judging by the buzz I’m seeing will also prove to be popular. I do have some early reservations about Nozaki-kun though that I hope won’t come to fruition, or else it will end up in the pile of bad 4-koma anime from Gangan Online and nobody wants to be part of that pile.

Nozaki-kun is a parody of shoujo manga tropes. It uses the framework of a girl hopelessly in love with a shoujo manga artist and uses that conceit to explore dumb shoujo manga scenarios and change them in ways to make them funny. The scene where a girl stands on the back of a dude’s bike and grips him around the waist because he’s so tough and smells good? Can’t be having that, riding like that is illegal. Let’s instead try turn the concept of riding of a tandem bicycle into a romantic experience, which when presented in Nozaki-kun comes across as faintly ridiculous.

Nozaki - 01 -16[2]Now all Nozaki-kun needs to do, and this is worth putting in bold, is not become the damn thing it’s supposed to be a parody of. It’s fine to start some characterisation. That will help add to the comedy. But don’t do the things that you’re mocking. It makes me feel embarrassed for the creators when they do that. It’s like when Gintama spends 20 episodes parodying goofy shounen logic and then goes and pulls a 3-4 episode arc of goofy shounen logic with a straight face. They are always the worst parts of Gintama. Don’t spend an episode mocking shoujo sparkles then have the main character be covered in shoujo sparkles with no punchline. Winking at the audience when you pull this shit is not enough. Don’t have the main girl be surrounded by a bunch of attractive men and say “omg this is like a shoujo reverse harem manga lol” because that’s not funny.

Then again, what I’ve described there is basically what Ouran High School Host Club does and people inexplicably seem to love that show. People also love Gintama, even the bad shounen arcs that completely clash with the tone of the entire rest of the show and undermine all the jokes it made up until then. Sometimes I wonder about you lot and your terrible taste. You all have terrible taste in anime. All of you. Why can’t you have refined and sophisticated taste like me. Oh woe is me and my superior taste in Japanese cartoons. Nobody can understand the suffering I go through. The least I can do is deliver these pearls of wisdom that are my blog posts. Bow down before me oh plebeian ingrates and worship my words and my magnificence!

Nozaki - 01 -9[2]Where was I? Oh yeah, Nozaki-kun. It’s all right. Hope it remembers to stay funny.

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  1. Posted July 7, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to quote Hideaki Sorachi about why he makes Gintama the way it is, “Gintama is probably the hotpot of seriousness and comedy. I don’t really think about it. I’m just a punk who does anything he wants.”

    I think that’s why Gintama has the following and notoriety it has. I’m a Gintama fan, but I find it hard to recommend to most fans because of its episodic pacing.

    Anyway, I’m going to give Nozaki-kun a full watch. I just realized that it’s from the imprint that gave Watamote and Daily Lives (which I like).

  2. fathomlesblue
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Revaluate your thoughts on Occult Academy episode 12 before claiming to have superior tastes with anything.

  3. Taka
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Big surprise but I’m going to defend Gintama. I think it is perfectly alright to become what you parody especially if it’s only for a short while. Sure maybe if Gintama completely dispensed with the funny and became a show about serious manliness I might like it less but I don’t think there is anything wrong with making forays into the material it parodies.

    It shows that, while they are taking the piss out of things, they also acknowledge the strength the genre can have and express their love of it. The best parodies are born out of love for the genre, not loathing.

    That is why This is Spinal Tap can utterly lampoon Rock Music and still make some pretty enjoyable music at the same time.

  4. Varyn
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    I know jack shit about Gintama, but isn’t it like 400,000 episodes long, is there even enough left in the shounen genre to parody at that point?

  5. Posted July 8, 2014 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Because hell Scamp things do not always have to be so clear cut. Personally, I see anime like Ouran High School Host Club as an attempt to poke holes at a beaten up genre while still acknowledging that it still a genre that works. Why the hell does everything have to be black and white for it to work?

    Well in any case, from what I read of Nozaki-kun, it probably is what you want it to be – straight up comedy (which works insanely well for Nozaki-kun).

    • aethelwolf
      Posted July 8, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      ^This, exactly.
      If you love something, then embrace it’s flaws and run hand-in-hand with it into a sunset full of sparkly screentone bubbles.

    • Posted July 8, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Ouran isn’t really a parody of shoujo, despite people claiming it to be one. It’s just a reverse harem with awesome comedic timing and fun characters. And that’s enough for me because even though I don’t care for the genre, I overlooked that fact because it was FUNNY. You’ll be surprised how much you can get away with if you’re actually funny.

  6. Shinmaru
    Posted July 8, 2014 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    I really like the setup before the reveal that Nozaki is a manga artist. (Not that it’s all that difficult to figure out even if you just look at the title and ignore the synopsis, but whatever.) The fan/autograph gag is amusing enough on its own as a random joke, but the way it gives just enough detail to rouse suspicion in the viewer and then pays it off later makes it so much funnier. That really won me over from the beginning.

  7. Kiseki
    Posted July 8, 2014 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    Rest assured, I can probably count the number of times it played the shoujo straight on one hand. Or half a hand.

    Still a bit surprised that some are actually still classifying this as a shoujo and/or romance though.

  8. Kiseki
    Posted July 8, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    …Speaking of shoujo manga bike rides and traffic violations, Hime-chan no Ribbon’s first OP featured the eponymous heroine standing at the back of the bike while the love interest pedals off into the sunset. Complaints were made, so they animated a new one featuring just Himeko on the bicycle. Then Daichi & Himeko riding past angry police officers became a running gag in the anime.

  9. Kaitune
    Posted July 8, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Don’t worry. I have read quite a bit of the manga, and I can assure you that it stays as zany as it starts off. There are (VERY VERY VERY VERY) minor romantic hints between some characters, but none of them is all that sane, so the zaniness remains.

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