I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
[Okay, wow, the wait to get a blank review post to open up for this one volume was so long I thought the site had actually stalled. I have reviews written up for the next two volumes. If those don't show up tonight, it means that my BL troubles continued and I've given up until the site starts functioning again. It's weird, because it actually worked okay during the day, when I was at work.]
A high school girl named Sakura tries to confess her love to cool-looking Nozaki, only to get roped into doing the beta (inking the solid black areas) for his manga – it turns out that he's secretly a shoujo mangaka. Sakura then meets several of Nozaki's other helpers and learns a bit about some of the more annoying aspects of shoujo manga creation, like overly controlling editors and having to make sure nothing in the story breaks Japanese laws.
This is, I think, only my second series ever that deals with the manga industry. The other one was The World's Greatest First Love. It was primarily a romance, but it did give a few peeks into the life cycle of a manga volume, mostly from the viewpoint of manga editors. Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, on the other hand, is primarily humor and looks more at the manga writing/illustrating side of things.
I have no clue how much of the manga creation stuff in this volume was true, but, regardless, it was funny. This series turned out to be one of the best I read during my vacation. I laughed at Nozaki's efforts to create romantic moments in his series that contained no illegal aspects. Sakura got to be his guinea pig for potentially romantic options, which usually weren't very romantic at all.
Then there was Mikoshiba, another one of Nozaki's helpers. He looked like a handsome playboy but was actually extremely awkward – and also unwittingly the inspiration for the heroine in Nozaki's manga. There were lots of other great characters besides him: Seo, a brash girl who made nearly everyone who met her angry; Kashima, a “princely” girl who had tons of female admirers (and who probably couldn't remember any of their names); and Maeno, Nozaki's former editor, who forced all his artists to include tanuki in their works, just because he liked them. Nearly everyone Nozaki knew and every potentially romantic situation he encountered was worked into his series in some way.
One of my favorite moments in this volume was when Nozaki played a dating sim. He was so fascinated by the player character's weirdly helpful best friend that he accidentally found himself shipping them, to the point that he pulled an all-nighter just to create a short fan comic for them in which they could actually end up together. It was both funny and kind of sweet.
Humorous manga can be hit or miss. This one turned out to be much better than I expected – a bit odd, but solidly enjoyable.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)