The “Prince” Of The School.

They are pointing! Big time pointing. It helps.

I successfully turned in the Senior Grades, which was a good thing. I have successfully graded all late work as well, although the Schoology system seems to be alerting me to some of it a bit late. I’m assuming that the database assigned to my class simply couldn’t handle the throughput of data from the storm of assignments being sent in, so some are straggling in the “update” list. Despite all of that productivity, and being ahead of the game in putting my gradebook together, I am completely buried in paperwork.

The final report card is due on Friday, when I walk in the door. It is a Big Deal, in that a student who fails my class will either need to retake it somehow, or just not graduate. As a result, I am checking and rechecking scores, double checking grade entry into the report card system, and doing my best to find any missed points to “save” as many students as possible.

On that front, I’m about a third of the way through the process, and can only say that you win some…you lose some. I’ve found a couple of “saves,” but those are mostly C+ grades to B’s….the Fails are so Epic in Stature, that they are pretty much a forgone conclusion at this point.

It is Wednesday though, and Comics are a good thing. A Very Good Thing. I’ve been kind of down on what DC and Marvel are producing, and have been reading a ton more Manga. You can tell that, I think, from today’s art, which is very much my “spotlight” on an excellent piece of work, “Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun.” Definitely my favorite thing I’m reading at this moment, and the character of Kashima (depicted above) is maybe my favorite thing in a comic book this year.

So…what’s it all about, you ask?

“Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun” is an ongoing Japanese four-panel romantic comedy webcomic, written and illustrated by Izumi Tsubaki. The panels are landscape format, reading downward, and generally are a single “gag”, but a chapter of them generally has a theme, or some kind of short through line. Its chapters are serialized in “Gangan Online,” and have been published in both physical and digital releases of “Shoujo Romance Girly” as well as tankōbon (Manga book format) volumes. An anime television series adaptation by Doga Kobo began airing in July 2014.

Just so you know…I knew NONE of that before this week. I feel like the series is brilliant, and went out of my way to learn more about it, just to make a good post here. You’re welcome.

So here’s the premise: High school student Sakura has a crush on schoolmate Nozaki. When she confesses her love to him, he mistakes her for a fan of his romance Manga and gives her an autograph. When she says that she always wants to be with him, he invites her to his house and has her help on some drawings. Sakura discovers that Nozaki is actually a renowned shōjo manga artist pen named Sakiko Yumeno. She then agrees to be his assistant in order to get closer to him. As they work on his manga “Let’s Fall in Love” they encounter other schoolmates who assist them or serve as inspirations for characters in the stories.

That’s it…that’s the whole premise. It is hilariously executed. It is fully aware of the tropes of shōjo manga, and uses them to excellent effect, especially when discussing how one might actually put together a shōjo manga in the first place. As a stranger to the Manga process… that’s as interesting to me as the situations are funny.

My favorite character, Kashima, is introduced early in the first volume, as inspiration for a character in the shōjo manga within a shōjo manga. She is Mikoshiba’s (the background creator of the fictitious comic) best friend and classmate. Kashima is a tall girl who has a “prince” personality that makes girls fawn over her. Seriously, they follow her in flocks, and Archie would be jealous. Mikoshiba and Kashima considered each other rivals in their first year, although Kashima was clearly “better” in all aspects. She is pretty dense and often gets wrong ideas regarding Hori,(Chapter 16, for instance) making her the target for Hori’s anger…but at the same time she often comically wants his attention. Due to her tendency to ditch practice, Kashima is often dragged by Hori to their club activities.

It’s fun, light hearted stuff. It’s a definite relief from things like “Secret Empire” over at Marvel Comics.

It makes me laugh. Buried in paperwork, that’s a great thing.


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