Kashima is upset because she thinks Hori is ignoring her when in reality he’s just exhausted from splitting time between the manga and the Drama Club. Nozaki’s crew brainstorms ideas to help lighten Hori’s background work while Kashima takes drastic action to make her Senpai notice her.
One of the main reasons it’s so easy to care about the characters in Nozaki-kun is seeing how much they care about each other. Watching scenes like the manga crew trying to help out Hori in their own weird ways is really endearing. Sure I laughed hard at Nozaki’s boxes and Chiyo and Waka’s stick figure houses, but I loved the sweetness of their gesture even more.
That concept carries over well into the romantic relationships too, as we get the sense that the couples genuinely care about each other beyond surface level attraction. It might be easy to say Kashima was oblivious to how crazy and over the top her antics were this episode, but even if she was aware you got the impression it wouldn’t matter – she was determined to do whatever it took to cheer up her closest, dearest friend. How can you not love that?
On top of the great relationships, this episode was also hilarious. The aforementioned boxes and stick figure houses were great, but clearly the standout bit was the bull mask. Something about this series and bizarre, mad dashes across the school just really works. The extended gag with Kashima trying to get Hori in girls’ clothes was possibly over extended but that’s really nitpicking. It was just one more adorably over the top way of showing her affection. It also reinforces the casual exploration of gender roles that I’ve been finding to be a fascinating twist, leaving us with so much good material to soak in from this week’s episode.
This was the best episode of Nozaki-kun yet. I have never laughed that hard for that long at an anime since Nichijou. At the scene with the boxes I probably sounded like a crazy person for three minutes straight. Hori continues to be a great straight man, and this episode continues in showing Nozaki’s personality through his interaction with different characters. It’s obvious Nozaki loves his art, but he also doesn’t seem to have many qualms with taking shortcuts to make up for shortcomings. The little bit about his debut works was another gold nugget in an episode just jam packed with some of the best absurdism around.
Kashima’s scenes were also pure gold. Usually misunderstandings are some of the most frustrating bits of characterization you can do, but since Nozaki-kun is intentionally going into it from a comedy standpoint it works fantastically. The best thing is how everyone just cannot understand the absolutely insane trains of thought that guide her actions, leading them to think she’s just messing with Hori. Once the bull head scene happened I was just dying. The last little scene was really adorable, reaffirming the mutual crush that these two are just too weird to express normally.