「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

Random thoughts:

  • 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!

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Compromise, Control, Temporally unfocused, and Fast, easy, guaranteed.




  1. I’ve always wondered why the tanuki gets the explosion/execution treatment in the OP.
    …Words cannot describe how much I want to take that animal and crush it to bits now. (MAENO!!!!)
    Hmm, the Kashima and Hori bit was interesting, wished it was a bit longer…

    1. They somehow made him even more annoying than the already unbearable manga version. Seriously hope they cut out his parts as much as possible. He’s nothing but an annoyance.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      At least Wakamoto saved that skit with his ever-so-reliable godlike voice.

      1. Hmm… As for me, one of the greatest strength of the manga aside from razor-sharp comedy is that the author managed to make all characters likable to some degree.

        Including Maeno. Even the urge to have somebody shove a knife into his gut a manuscript into his mug is also counted as twisted, “sobaditsgood” kind of affection…

      1. I’m guessing her thoughts were along the lines of: “What the heck am I doing on a cart…oh a leaf hit me…but I don’t care anymore…Nozaki-kun thinks carrying me will hurt his arms…I’m not that heavy…” Now that I think about it, I felt sorry for Kashima during that chase. On the bright side, things were sweet between her and Hori this time.

  2. All right. The narcissism was bad. Taking control of an author’s work to insert his own preferences was worse. Spouting obvious ideas and claiming credit when they actually happened was pretty bad too. But spoiling the culprit for a mystery in the next-chapter-preview…! There are no words for such evil. There are a whole array of extremely painful deaths I would comdemn him to, but to spare you all exposure to the more violent side of my imagination I will simply say that editor should be fired. …Out of a cannon. Into the sun.

    1. One has to wonder if Maeno has developed enemies over the years, I mean what with how he is a terrible editor (Come on Maeno! Why did you forget the manuscript of your mangaka?
      (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻) and he’s so egotistical that it’s a surprise how Miyako-sensei can put up with him.

      1. I have a theory:
        It’s exactly because Maeno was such a horrible editor to work with, those mangaka who managed to survive/work under him had become so adapted/flexible/creative that their works ended up being popular, …and part of that credit goes to editor, Maeno.

        Orange Juice
  3. OnoD, Kawasumi Ayako and Miyake Kenta. 3 more powerhouse seiyuus to the show’s cast.
    Chiyo’s seiyuu, Ozawa Ari, is amazing to keep up with them as a newcomer seiyuu. She needs more roles in the future just like how Amamiya Sora got her break.

    1. I think working with these veterans and learning from them first-hand would help her in the long run. Even better if she could shine next to them (which she does so far =3)

      Random Comment
  4. Awww, and no mention for Norio Wakamoto surprise cameo as the narrator of Miyako’s mystery manga? I nearly choked on my coffee when I heard his voice! 😀

    And next episode, Wakamatsu finally debuts! Poor, poor Nakamatsu…

  5. On Nozaki’s infatuation with Ken, I think competent editing is one of his turn ons. One omake in the manga had him raise a “doki” sign when Chiyo pointed out an inconsistency in his manga.

    Ruri Random
      1. Nope–earlier in that thing to chapter Nozaki had Chiyo use that thing to mark approval. Plus the doki sign had a heart on it, which is not normally used in conjunction with the bad kind of doki.

        Say what you will about Nozaki, but he appreciates good editing work.

      2. Well, Nozaki just happened to be holding that sign in hand back then, so I’d figure that the author would rather play that scene for laughs (with Nozaki’s “oh crap” moment) instead of ship-teasing us poor readers though.

        To each his own I guess?

      3. I agree that this was more of a bad kind of “doki” from Nozaki. Especially because the soundeffect next to him is one used for shock/surprise.

        “Doki” is just a heartbeat sound and even though it’s most commonly used for excited/lovestruck situations it can be used for every situation in which a character’s heart beats loudly.

  6. This is one of those episodes where I watch it and think “Oh, I can’t wait to see what Stilts has to say about this one!” It’s like you knew what was coming when you wrote those Control and Compromise pieces.

    The animation here really is sneaky good. Little things like the leaf blowing past and the way Kashima lands on the cart after jumping down the steps really help to add flair to the scenes.

    1. I know, right? The funny thing is, I had no idea. Though I did get about halfway through this episode before I started going “I know what I’m going to saaaay!” XD

      If you write enough, sometimes serendipity happens and you trip over a pleasant coincidence like this ^D^

  7. I, on the other hand, empathise a lot with Ken-san. Nozaki must be an awful writer to be editor for. He’s the kind who just does not get it when you try to be subtle with them, and when you try to be direct they end up going in very strange directions. I still laughed at his little death rattle at the end, though.

    1. Actually, Nozaki doesn’t seem like a bad author to work with. Compare Nozaki-kun to Aito (Manashi); I can’t imagine Ken-san having to belt Nozaki upside the head because he’s about to miss a deadline again. Getting the work in on time is huge, even if Nozaki does apparently go off on weird tangents sometimes.

  8. Oh man, Maeno is the biggest insta-hate figure of this entire season so far. He’s like all the worst aspects and editor can have rolled into one, combined with all the aspects a failure of a human being would have. I could totally get behind them hating him (though it was funny as hell to see Chiyo and Nozaki hate him in sync).

    Which makes me wonder if the author is applying some ‘write what you know’ aspect into all this. I shudder to think what kind of experiences the mangaka must’ve had if that really is the case.

    As for the whole Nozaki-Mamiko business, besides the rule of funny, maybe it’s also just because of Nozaki’s straightforward personality. He can be pretty dense when he wants to, after all, and could be that it affects understanding his characters too. He’s still maturing as a writer, after all. Or at least that’s how I feel about it.

    1. On Nozaki-Mamiko, I don’t disagree. He’s definitely still maturing, especially since he’s been able to get by observing Mikorin for his Mamiko reactions up till now. Though I do think Rule of Funny explains most of it this time.

  9. I love Maeno, because he’s so awful. No Maeno means it’s less funny. So while he is a detestable kind of character, he’s also awesome in his complete obliviousness and inability to care about how others feel.

    My favorite scene was this, though:

    Oh god, I know that feeling. I KNOW THAT FEELING.

    I also like how the series constantly pokes fun at how manga doesn’t even closely resemble reality. “Do they ever study?” Indeed.

    Also, the tanukis are great, because they remind me of every lame animal sidekick ever thrown into a manga. (Why are most mahou shoujo sidekicks talking animals, anyway?)

    1. Laugh now, but there’s a REAL, recent manga called Hime-sama Tanuki no Koizanyou, where a boy finds out that his family has some pact with tanuki spirits and that he’s betrothed to a tanuki.

      Apparently, Maeno is real. Gods help us all.

  10. Apparently, if Chiyo really wants to get Nozaki’s heart through his manga, she should actually consider becoming an editor…

    Considering Nozaki’s feeling about Ken, thank God I haven’t see any weird fangirl who ships Nozaki and Ken. (Yet, on the other hands… There are fans who ship Ken and MAENO…. Yaoi fangirl’s minds sure work in a VERY mysterious way…)

  11. I just about brained myself laughing, dear god. Especially that scene with Kashima and the angry mob girls… Dear lord! Also, MAAAENOO! ( `皿´)キーッ!! How does he still have a job? HOW?! (On a sidenote: Miyako should just really stick a gauntlet through him already. Does the tanuki sell?)

    Also, how cute was that o-bento scene? My heart when a little doki-doki by the sheer moeblob that is Sakura~ I want to take her home! I suspect Nozaki might beat me there though.

  12. I’m not the kind of person who will laugh out loud for a long period of time when watching anime. I usually smile, chuckle a bit, but in short spurts.
    It’s been a long time (well, since Love Lab, actually) that I just couldn’t stop laughing big time.
    And the guilty scene was the cart driving. That absolutely floored me, as it was the last thing I expected when Nozaki thought about rivals.
    Well played, show, well played….

  13. I’m excited for Yuzuki to make her comeback, as she’s a funnier character with a foil like the upcoming guy. I don’t remember how many chapters they’re going through per episode, but I hope we can get to the cafe chapter with Miyako. I think it’s possibly my favorite of all.

    And those tanuki expressions… sometimes their expressions are so ‘spectator-ish’ about what is happening in the manga that it makes me laugh – it would be interesting if Miyako-san is using the required tanuki characters to be ironic about her own work.


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