Top 20 Anime of 2014 – #10. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

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#12. Is the Order a Rabbit?:
#11. Denki-gai no Honya-san:

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Watch this series on Crunchyroll:

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun was the outright funniest anime that I watched in 2014, so if you’re into comedy shows, you owe it to yourself to give this one a watch. Doubly so if you’ve watched a lot of shoujo and romance anime, as this series mostly serves to parody the tropes of those genres (although I think most of the humor will be easy to understand even for newcomers to those types of shows).

The story centers on Sakura Chiyo, whose attempt to confess her feelings towards her classmate Nozaki Umetaro goes completely misunderstood, and leads to the revelation that Nozaki is the secret identity of her favorite shoujo manga artist. As it turns out, Nozaki is not only a popular artist, but has dedicated his life to manga on such a level that he’s pretty much ignorant to anything not directly related to the medium. Sakura becomes Nozaki’s assistant, and meets his other wacky assistants and editors, while dragging some of her own friends tangentially into the mix as well.

Nozaki-kun is a character-driven situational comedy which often delivers on some of the funniest and most clever comedic scenarios that you’ll see this year. Unfortunately, however, it can get pretty repetitive with some of its gags, and not all of the characters are equally funny or interesting. I suspect that different viewers will have their own favorites, but for me, Nozaki himself and his assistant Mikorin were by far the most hilarious, to the point that they really overshadowed any scenes that focused on other characters. Some of the scenes with Seo Yuzuki and with Nozaki’s editors were an absolute riot, but I found most of the scenes centered around Kashima and Hori to be pretty uninspired.

More than just being funny though, I also found myself relating to, and even somewhat looking up to Nozaki as a person. If you can’t tell by the output rate of my content on this channel, I put a lot of emphasis on working both fast and constantly, and all of my heroes are people with a lifestyle of persistent content production. Nozaki’s dedication to his craft made him pretty admirable, and even inspirational to me at times. His tendencies also fall into my favorite kind of comedy, which is born out of the character’s uniquely twisted perspective on the world around them. Nozaki views the entire world through the lense of manga creation, which could be as fascinating as it was funny.

Mikorin, meanwhile, is amazing because of just how spectacularly he fails. Few things are more interesting than watching an idiot who’s completely aware of how stupid they are desperately trying to act smart, only to be taken down constantly–and Mikorin is sort of that. He’s also totally lovable and adorable.

A fair word of warning (some of you might consider this a spoiler, but it’s more like something which you should be able to realize from the get-go): If you expect Sakura and Nozaki to make any real progress in their relationship, then you may as well give up. Most of the comedy in this show comes not only from the misunderstandings and miscommunications of the characters, but also from deliberately making fun of the entire romance genre, so if you start waiting for something to happen, you’ll just be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Overall, Nozaki-kun came up just short of being one of my most favorite anime of the year because it didn’t make me laugh consistently; but when it did, it had me laughing harder than anything else in 2014. Beyond this point, all of the shows on this list will be things that I consider a nine-out-of-ten or higher, but Nozaki-kun isn’t sitting too far behind. You can watch the show legally for free over on Crunchyroll.

So, what did you think of Nozaki-kun? Let me know in the comments below, and in case you missed them, check out my videos on #11, Denki-gai, and #12, GochiUsa, and stick around on my channel to see what my ninth-favorite anime of the year will be tomorrow!

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