|Sentai Filmworks 2014
One of my favorite Rom-Com anime is Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. It follows an adorable, plucky highschool girl named Sakura as she tries to win the attention of her long-time crush, the stoic and unaware Nozaki-kun. But when Sakura finally gathers the courage to confess her feelings, Nozaki-kun mistakenly thinks she’s a fan of his manga. In a desperate effort to spend time with him, Sakura ends up helping him ink panels and do research for his writing.
The best part of this show, and where most of the comedy comes in, is how completely clueless and one-track-minded Nozaki-kun is.
You see, Nozaki is absolutely obsessed with his manga. Every waking minute is filled with planning out future scenes, drawing and inking, or gathering research. Even his limited free time is saturated by his work, like when playing a video game turns into a manga storyline!
I have a confession to make. I am Nozaki-kun.
Writers have a tendency to get a liiiiittle obsessed with their work. And sometimes I wonder if I’m one of the worst offenders. While everybody’s got something they love and know all about, since my main interest is writing, well… that means I pretty much have to know all about everything.
It’s been said that writers are jack-of-all-trades, masters of none, and boy is that true. No matter what kind of story you’re writing, you need to research a plethora of seemingly unrelated topics. So I’m constantly searching for juicy research tidbits I’ll need for future tales!
Like how Nozaki-kun can take something as simple as a bike ride and turn it into a chance to figure out the best way to write a romantic bike scene.
If I can do that to even mundane, everyday life stuff, you can bet notable locations like tourist destinations, historic exhibits, and museums are even worse. I can never get completely engrossed in them, because while there, I’m actually hard at work. I’m mentally writing down little notes to myself.
“They used this plant to make dye?” Scribble scribble note.
“Ahh, so that’s how people kept their teeth clean in ancient times.” Scribble scribble note.
“Wait, so that’s how they built houses during the 1800’s?” Note note note.
I take pictures not of the scenery or the historic exhibits, but of the museum placards!
|Did you know this plant can be used to make indigo dye?!
Sort of like how Nozaki-kun takes photos not of the cute girl who’s hanging out with him… but things to use as references for his manga.
And it doesn’t just stop with accumulating research. Like Nozaki-kun, I eat, breathe, and sleep stories.
Literally with that last one. My family might be mildly concerned that a good 75% of my dreams are action-adventure tales where I am the only one who can save the world from some natural disaster, alien invasion, or Big-Brother cabal. Most people grab a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, but when my eyes snap open? Scramble to find my laptop so I can write down my newest story idea before I forget all the details.
And you’d better not be an interesting person in the slightest, or I’ll turn you into a character in my book. Just like how Nozaki-kun turns his best friend into the heroine of his manga.
If I spend a day outside, I’m going to be trying to put words to how the sunlight feels on my skin, how blue the sky looks.
If I take a walk through the neighborhood, I’m going to notice that weirdly-shaped house and try to figure out what what kind of characters will live there.
And don’t you dare ever ask me about my book. Or at least don’t ask me questions about it after the initial pitch. If you show even the slightest interest, you have opened the floodgates. I will bombard you with hours of worldbuilding exposition including Amboron’s six thousand-year history and the diaspora of the human race across its landscape over the past millennia. I’ll tell you all my struggles and woes as a writer and how hard writing the last book can be. I’ll gush about my favorite character and tell you all their hilarious quirks.
You’ll never be able to escape, trapped with me in my realm of imagination.
…I dunno. That actually sounds kinda fun.
Maybe being Nozaki-kun isn’t so bad, after all.
(…Also go watch Nozaki-kun; it’s hilarious.)
All photos are used under US “Fair Use” laws. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun and all related terms property of Sentai Filmworks. And I am not affiliated with them.