Wakamatsu is tired of Seo targeting him at basketball practice and decides to confront her. Unfortunately, he consults Nozaki’s manga as a reference for how to approach her. Nozaki falls ill and enlists Chiyo, Hori, and Wakamatsu to help him make his deadline.
I continue to be impressed how Nozaki-kun keeps pulling out fantastic side characters. Wakamatsu isn’t particularly interesting on his own, but paired with Seo they make a great couple. Their confrontation may go down as one my favorite rooftop confessions of all time. The way they manage to play out their silly comedic obliviousness while still getting across that they really like each other is just a testament to the show’s good writing. Watching Waka sheepishly hand over the mittens and Seo gush about them was so sweet and perfect that it made me wish there was more screen time for them. Much like Kashima and Hori, the series could just as easily be centered on them and it would still be entertaining.
The second half of the episode wasn’t as strong as the plot tip-toed back into the minutiae of manga making. Still, there were plenty of great moments to be had. Chiyo didn’t get too much to do this week but her second guessing her reaction to Nozaki’s “SOS” text was a nice bit of self awareness, showing she’s not totally one-dimensional and trying to learn from her mistakes. It made for a pretty great gag too when everyone else showed up with the same gift. My favorite bit was the script for the manga though, particularly Hori declaring the main heroine annoying after Nozaki’s description. It’s just another example of how Nozaki-kun does a great job at poking fun at manga tropes without totally devaluing the medium.
Looking at the bigger picture I find it interesting that we’ve seen things a bit more from Nozaki’s direct perspective, temporarily putting his own quirks aside and letting him play straight man for a few scenes. It really works great, particularly this week as he observed Waka and Seo on the roof. Watching him writhe in pain at the irony of their situation got one of the biggest laughs of the entire series out of me. It adds a lot of humanity and personality to his character when he could have easily ended up as a stoic blank slate in lesser series. Needless to say, Nozaki-kun is cementing its place as my favorite show this season and I’m looking forward to Mikoshiba’s return (seriously, where was he this week?) next episode.
I loved this episode. Whenever this show manages to play on shoujo tropes with characters who are into each other it often turns very sweet. This week is no exception. Wakamatsu’s unintentional confession was as funny as it was adorable. My favorite part is his total backing out on throwing down the gloves and just giving them to her. Seo’s reaction to the confession also fleshed her character out a bit more. From her introduction, she seemed completely oblivious. This shows that’s obviously not the case, and that she can be capable of wanting romance just as much as the next girl, she just doesn’t really know how to express it.
Nozaki is such a bro in this episode. He goes above and beyond what’s honestly necessary to help Wakamatsu through his problems with Seo. His reactions to the rooftop scene were perfect, and it’s nice to see more evidence of his neutral personality simply being the default and not the only expression he has. The second half was a bit weaker, but seeing how the characters try and fail to interpret Nozaki’s vague instructions was still funny. I like Nozaki as the viewpoint character, and I definitely wouldn’t mind them doing that more often.