Title: hanakotoba, hanataba Author: postscriptress
Source: Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun Character(s): Chiyo S. & Mikoshiba M.
Rating: K+ Genre(s): Romance Humor
Chapter(s): 1 Status: Complete
Synopsis: “I am not the kind of man who’d let such a beautiful young lady like you walk in the dark, all alone.” Definitely true, the truest of truths, straight from the bottom of Mikoto Mikoshiba’s too-large, too-fragile heart. (Or: in which Mikorin falls for Chiyo.)
Welcome Readers, we’re now in the month of February. It’s that month of love as people prepare for the Hallmark holiday of Valentine’s Day. Oh yes, that holiday that is even fantasized in anime and manga. I chose not to review a Valentine’s Day story today, but I have decided to review a love confession story. Just a little something to wet the appetite before I dive into the Valentine’s Day fiction.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; here to review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction. I’m still looking for more stories for fandoms that I don’t normally read, much less review. What can I say? That stack of Dragon Age stories just isn’t calling me right. This story called to me though.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun (Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun) is an anime and manga about a high school student named Chiyo who confesses her love to Nozaki but the confession gets misinterpreted. Instead of starting a romance with her crush, Chiyo is pulled in to be one of several students helping Nozaki with his monthly shojo series. The anime and manga are hilarious and create characters and events that are equal parts enduringly cute and funny; it doesn’t take itself too seriously and allows for everything to exaggerated while grounded in reality.
As for this particular fan fic, it’s the story of Mikoto finally working up the courage to confess his feelings to Chiyo despite her crush on Nozaki. I know, it sounds run of the mill “love confession” type story. In some ways it is, but it has its own charm that makes it stand out; how the characters are portrayed, how Mikoto confesses and the ending.
In terms of characters, Mikoto is absolutely in line with his anime and manga counterparts. The cheesy lines that make him blush seconds later. How quickly he becomes flustered or embarrassed when it comes to real people and uncomfortable situations — like him having a conversation with Chiyo about this girl he likes but he won’t confess.
Chiyo has that no nonsense, unimpressed demeanor about her that does show up in the series – particularly when Mikoto does or says something that causes him to flush horribly. In this story though, that demeanor is softened a bit due to the passage of time and the fact that she and Mikoto have developed a friendship. She is also shown to be a little dense too. This is also in line with the manga and anime because there were a few instances that if someone suggested anything romantic with her and anyone who was not Nozaki, it flew over her head. However, if it was with Nozaki then she was on the ball. It’s not the same denseness as Nozaki – his is a special kind – but it’s similar.
The parts with Kashima, Hori, and Seo are right on too. Seo continues to prove why she’s my favorite character by pointing out the unstated reason Kashima asks for Seo’s help (i.e. Kashima doesn’t want to be embarrassed in front of Hori). It’s a small thing in the greater story, but I appreciate Seo being depicted so well.
I think the only part of the characters that was off point was Nozaki holding back when encouraging Mikoto to confess. I mean, this is Nozaki and he does use real life to model for his manga so I would’ve expected him to remind Mikoto that he wanted full details to use in his next issue. However, that’s a small grievance and it doesn’t affect the overall story and characters.
Next, Mikoto’s confession. Most times there’s some event or trigger that occurs and sets the confessor off to confess. In this case, why the trigger happens is a mixture of Nozaki’s insistence and Chiyo’s unintentional encouragement and the effect is not immediate. There is a scene that builds out almost like it’ll be that confession with a big smooch on the lips but instead it ends with a whisper of what is to come. As a fan of the slow build and anticipation, I appreciate this tease of a scene and, more so, Chiyo’s reaction. Chiyo doesn’t think too much of the scene beyond a friend show appreciation for her listening and giving him advice. It helps build the anticipation and frames Chiyo’s understanding / frame of mind — i.e. at that time she does not see Mikoto as a love interest.
The lead up to the confession is adorable. I want to go into detail but I feel like I shouldn’t spoil it. So, I will simply say that Mikoto does something fitting of his character and his knowledge of flowers. No, it’s not that he suddenly buys a bunch of roses for Chiyo in colors that signify love, romance, etc. It does have to do with flowers and language of flowers, but it’s nothing super corny. If anything, what he does is so sweet that I wish my significant other would do this for me in real life.
The confession itself is a bit awkward; it’s hard for a confession not to be awkward when confessing to someone who has feelings for another person, but it’s sweet and raw. It’s not toothachingly sweet but sweet in its understanding of the two characters’ positions and their feelings. It has that uncertainty that comes with confessing to a friend — these things can break friendships, but also the optimism that maybe they could be more. It’s sweet and in some ways more fulfilling than other confession stories.
Finally, there’s the ending; it makes sense given the context of the story. It’s not a bittersweet ending but one that brings hope and possibilities. It is as innocent as the kiss. Which is probably the best part of the ending — the kiss. See, most stories have the kiss on the cheek or the kiss on the lips; chaste or open mouth, tongue tangling. This one keeps the kiss simple while conveying Mikoto’s feelings; it is an invitation. Mikoto does not presume Chiyo’s feelings but he wants to convey his, so he does through a simple kiss on the forehead. Probably one of my favorite kiss moments I’ve read in a while.
Would I recommend this story? I highly recommend this story for Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun fans. Maybe not so much for the Nozaki x Chiyo OTP crowd, but for anyone who enjoys the characters and wants some sort of romance to start developing. It’s a short story but it’s filled with so much charm and comedy to make it worth the time.
Stars: 9.5 / 10