「恋を「思い」「描く」男子。」 (Koi o `Omoi’`Kaku’ Danshi.)
“The Man Who Envisions Love”
This was an episode of Nozaki-kun the storyteller diving into how he goes about telling the tale of Mamiko, and dealing with the editors he has to put up with to get his manga out into the world.
Meddling Editor, Die!
Editors Miamae Ken (Miyake Kenta) and Maeno Mitsuya (Ono Daisuke) are like a case study in good editors versus bad editors. Ken-san is a good editor, even if Nozaki-kun’s infatuation with him is a bit weird. I kind of get it, though. After being subjected to Maeno-san, I would be grateful for any half-decent editor too!
The reasons Ken-san appears to be a good editor are twofold. First, he largely seems to be letting Nozaki-kun do his thing, except for when he goes totally off the rails, and that’s one of the best things an editor can do. The other is because he’s pushing Nozaki-kun to deepen his story and understand his characters more. Those are great attributes in an editor, and they’re ones which I personally am grateful to have found in my own alpha reader and line editor.
Maeno-san, on the other hand, is a manga-ka’s (or writer’s, or artist of any kind’s) worst nightmare. An editor ought not force his own idea of what the story should be on the artist! I also got a twinge of irrational, sympathetic rage when Nozaki talked about his troubles with Maeno-san and how he would suggest things and then take credit. #@^&*$!!! The editor’s job is fundamentally one of guiding, tweaking, clarifying, and refining. It’s not their role to suggest where the story should go from here! Was it childish for Nozaki-kun to do things to spite Maeno-san? Yes. I understand it though. As someone who is fanatical about retaining control of his creative works – while still being open to compromise, I hasten to note – I understand where he’s coming from. Maeno-san is one of my greatest nightmares. You did well to get rid of him, Nozaki-kun!
Too Much Nozaki-kun, Not Enough Mamiko!
Watching Nozaki-kun try to get into the mind of Mamiko was interesting, though it was slightly misleading in how storytellers go about this kind of thing. Did you notice how, the more time Nozaki-kun spent on the “I’ll be Mamiko” campaign, the more Mamiko became like Nozaki-kun?
That’s not how it works. It’s funnier than the truth, so I understand and approve of why the story took that route, but this is an opportunity to give you a peek into how storytellers understand their characters (and how those characters write themselves), so I’m taking it.
What Nozaki-kun does is get into Mamiko’s shoes and imagine, if he were Mamiko, what he would do. That’s close, but not quite right. You don’t imagine what you would do if you were Mamiko; you imagine what Mamiko would do if Mamiko were in that situation.
That doesn’t seem useful at first blush. Have you ever heard an author say their characters have a life of their own, or talk about how they don’t write their characters, they just listen to them? There’s some truth to that. For the characters in my book – it should be released before the end of the year, I’ll keep you all appraised – I truly imagine them as entities separate from myself. They’re creations of mine, true, but they’re distinct from me, so it’s never what I would do in a situation, because that’s only useful if they share that specific character trait with me, which isn’t always the case. It’s what they would do.
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is a wonderful skill for promoting empathy and understanding between fellow humans, but you’re still putting yourself in their shoes. A storyteller must go further. They must leave that character in their own shoes, and hover over their shoulder watching what they do. That’s why authors talk about their characters writing themselves; once you’ve laid down the groundwork and learned who that character is, you just set them in the situation and let them act, naturally writing down each thing as it comes.
The fascinating part is, sometimes, you learn things about them you didn’t know. Fascinating, isn’t it? To learn something about a character entirely of your own creation. Nozaki ought to focus more on what Mamiko would do instead of what Nozaki-Mamiko would do. That’s empathy on an entirely different level.
Just Enough Love To Tease
In some ways, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun reminds me of Acchi Kocchi. There’s not a lot of romance in Nozaki-kun after the first episode, but there’s still some, and that’s insidiously enticing. If they were to give us the full, glorious Nozaki x Chiyo end, not only would it be a different kind of story, that would be it. The story would be done. The teasing, though…that gives us hope. Stimulating our hope rather than paying it off is brilliant because it makes us want more. They even give hints from the other character, moments where I’m like “Wait, could this be…”
Nope. It never is, even less so than Acchi Kocchi. But it teases us. It makes us hope, and that’s one of the many reasons I keep coming back for more.
Looking Ahead – Last Main Character Get-o!
Looks like our final main character is incoming next week. I’ll find out how much I like him next week, but for now what I’m excited about is more Yuzuki! Despite putting her as lower on the totem pole than Mikorin, her low utilization so far has made me yearn for more Yuzuki-chan madness. Looks like we’ll be getting it. I can’t wait!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Editor trouble. Nozaki lucked out ditching Maeno, even if his respect for Ken-san is odd. Plus the “I’ll be Mamiko” campaign! #nozakikun 05
- You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, Chiyo-chan. He could be cool! Though yes, this reaction is entirely appropriate to Nozaki-kun’s weird Ken-san love. Abort, abort!
- Nozaki-kun and Chiyo were really in simpatico when they were tsukkoming about Maeno-san. They’re perfect together!
- “Suzuki-kun!” “Suzuki-kun!” “Suzuki-kun!” Lampooning shoujo manga once again elevates this series to another level.
- Nozaki-kun learns the truth – Mikorin is the one he truly wants to cook for!