- Genre : Comedy, Romance, Slice of life
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Doga Kobo
Chiyo Sakura is awesome. She is awesome in that she is an actual, believable and inherently likable high school girl with one of those quintessential high school crushes on her classmate Umetarō Nozaki. Because Chiyo is awesome and not some shell of a girl without any motivation or personality, she decides to gather up all her courage and confess her feelings like a boss! But Nozaki-kun is sort of the clueless type. Chiyo being awesome is not to be daunted by this obstacle. Delightful shoujo style hilariousness ensues.
I love this show, it’s a great show, go watch it now. There, review accomplished! Go me!
Honestly though, I’ve been kicking around the idea of making a post for this series for a while now but all I keep coming up with is – and he’s great and also she’s great and it looks great and the message is great. I really needed to find a way to dumb it down, make it accessible, you know? So why this show and not another. It took me a long time to figure it out. I kept thinking back to Ouran Koukou Host Club, which I also loved and didn’t know why (I’m beginning to think I should just become a professional critic…) In the end, I think it hinges on a few specific aspects which make this show smarter than your average romantic comedy.
First, Chiyo is indeed awesome. I have zero patience for idiot heroines that are appealing only because the show tells us they are. I also can’t relate to perfect unattainable objects of desire. I cannot abide girls who are so passive they might as well be furniture or so insecure their brains short circuit as soon as boy talks to them. I have high standards for my heroines, they need to be someone I would want as a partner or a best friend. I would be very lucky to have Chiyo as either. She’s not perfect but she tries and she’s honest. She’s self-aware, has a good sense of humour with a bit of bite and is a real, sensible kind person. Take notes all you super talented and successful authors, your romantic leads don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be perfectly written.
Second, Nozaki-kun is awesome. I get why Chiyo likes him. I understand perfectly how she would develop that initial surface crush based on appearances and assumptions and I understand why she keeps liking him as she gets to know him. His brand of cluelessness, with maybe a pinch of disinterest, is not that annoying brain damaged blind spot type. It’s well worked into the story and nicely explained with a splash of quiet arrogance instead of plain old stupidity. I also found him more attractive as the story progressed which in turn made me cheer for Chiyo even louder.
And then there are the other members of the main cast which are, wait for it, Awesome! Even in a cast full of lovable weirdos, Mikoshiba stands out as a perfect comic relief and I always looked forward to his appearances. Seo was a great friend and allowed to show to portray a nice depiction of friendship which I always appreciate, especially in romantic comedies. It reminds us that love and relationships come in different varieties. And, of course, I’m desperately smitten by Mikoshiba. Basically, all the members of the cast are carefully realized shoujo stereotypes that balance each other out and work as a fine-tuned ensemble. Characters lean into their respective roles with gusto and glee, serving both as parodies and brilliant examples of the archetypes they represent.
At its core, the show is both a deconstruction and an ode to the classic shoujo. It playfully mocks the genre but never in a malicious way. In fact, it’s also quite kind to its characters, relying on situation humour and trope parodies rather than making someone the butt of all jokes. This doesn’t make the humour any less compelling mind you, I was genuinely laughing out loud half the time.
To really properly satirize something, you have to know it very well, and to truly understand something, you have to love it on some level. Girls Monthly Nozaki-kun knows that shoujos are silly, and flighty and don’t always make a lot of sense and loves them all the same. And I love this show.
What this anime taught me about myself: Just writing this post put me in a good mood.
A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.
Suggested drink: Fireworks flair
- Every time people think Nozaki is cheating on Chiyo or forcing her to do something unsavory – laugh and have a drink
- Every time Nozaki idolizes Ken-san – squee and have a drink
- Every time Seo is oblivious – clap and have a drink
- Every time Miko goes shy – blush and have a drink
- Every time you see a tanuki – smile and have a drink
- Every time Seo sings – listen and have a drink
- Every time Miko plays match maker – gush and have a drink
- Every time Chiyo recognizes a shoujo stereotype – nod and have a drink
- Every time Hori beats up Kashima – cringe and have a drink
- Every time girls fall for Kashima – agree and have a drink