Since Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun seems like a pretty thorough satire of the manga industry, I guess it was only a matter of time before the subject of editors came up. And frankly, it was a bit of a mystery how a mere boy like Nozaki-kun, and one who seems to have little experience with girls or inclination to acquire it at that, could manage to connect with girls well enough to be a shoujo mangaka.
Enter Miyamae Ken (a delightfully exasperated Miyake Kenta), Nozaki-kun’s editor of the moment. Nozaki has a bit of a man crush on him (Isn’t he cool? Kakkoi!”), which manifests in his panic in cleaning his already spotless apartment when Ken says he’s coming over (a panic Sakura initially mistakes for his girlfriend coming over, then his sexy older female editor). Ken turns out to be an overweight and somewhat disheveled salaryman-poi guy (much to Sakura’s relief) but Nozaki adores him because he responds quickly to every text, submission or phone call (even if the response to the latter is “I’d rather you just text.”).
It soon becomes clear that there are other reasons why Nozaki-kun likes Ken-san so much, and that there should be. In the first place Ken may be curt, but he’s a damn good editor – when Nozaki’s writing lacks emotional clarity (which is usually, it seems) Ken bluntly points it out and forces Nozaki to consider the problem. And even more, there’s the matter of his previous editor, Maeno-san (which is a great pun, as “Mae no” means “before”). To put it bluntly Maeno-san (Ono Daisuke – as usual, the Onos move in pairs) is annoying as hell. He takes a year to respond to a storyboard submission. He claims credit for everything, which understandably drives Nozaki crazy to the point where he writes specifically to avoid using things Maeno can claim credit for.
But when it comes to Maeno, Nozaki had it lucky. His upstairs neighbor and fellow shoujo mangaka Miyako Yukari (Kawasumi Ayako) had to use a tanuki in every scene because it’s Maeno’s favorite animal (and because she seems too meek to complain). When she wrote a mystery plot – the adaptation of which features a cameo by Wakamoto Norio – Maeno gave away the mystery in the next episode preview. And now that she killed off the tanuki in said plot he’s trying to push her to include an elephant, because he finds that the next cutest animal. As editors go, Maeno-san is a complete nightmare.
Prompted by Ken’s criticism that Nozaki doesn’t let the reader know what
Mikorin Mamiko is thinking, he decides to go to school as Mamiko in order to get inside her head. Fortunately this doesn’t include cosplay, but it does include making lunches for Sakura and Mikorin among others (Sakura’s ends up as her new wallpaper). Eventually Nozaki in the guise of research ends up pushing Kashima on a hand truck as he runs away from her harem – and no, it really makes no sense but this is quite intentional, as Nozaki’s general thought pattern is exquisitely twisted and convoluted (I’m sorry, Nozaki-kun – I take back what I said about you being a tsukkomi). He ends up convinced he’s closer to his goal of understanding Mamiko, and Kashima ends up with a broken heart.
While this episode didn’t quite reach the Himalayan heights of brilliance last week’s did, it was another smart and perceptive winner. And I like the fact that most of the humor was driven by Nozaki-kun himself rather than the zany supporting cast. This may technically be a shounen, but among the main couple Chiyo is definitely the protagonist and Nozaki the “giant robot” – and that dynamic is one of the things that makes Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun a highly unusual series.