Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun stars a teenage boy who works as a shojo manga artist and somehow ropes all his friends into becoming his assistants. Though this is the version of the story that’s most familiar to audiences, it wasn’t always the basic premise for this series. In fact, the original title was meant to be Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-san,
Izumi Tsubaki released the first three chapters of the original draft for Nozaki-san alongside the special edition of the official manga’s 13th volume. It features Nozaki’s younger sister, Yumeko Nozaki, in the protagonist role as a shojo manga-obsessed high school student. Here are some of the big changes between the initial product and the final story that became Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun,
The original story follows a new transfer student named Miyoshi. Upon arriving at school, he runs into Yumeko Nozaki, an eccentric girl who’s obsessed with recreating clichés from shojo manga. Much like the main series, Nozaki-san parodies clichés and tropes commonly found in shojo, with Miyoshi suffering through Yumeko’s ridiculous schemes the entire time. The main characters would have consisted of Yumeko, Miyoshi and finally Ichijou, an attractive student who sits next to Miyoshi.
Yumeko’s oldest brother was going to be in university, while her second brother would have also been in high school. In the original draft, the Umetarou Nozaki fans know and love was going to be a very minor character. Ironically, this ended up becoming Yumeko’s fate in the main series, as she has only appeared in a handful of chapters so far. Seo and Kashima were also initially intended to play the role of Yumeko’s friends, but because Tsubaki didn’t have time to rewrite new characters when she was transitioning to the new scenario, she decided to carry them over to the main series as well.
Yumeko’s overall existence in the official Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun is often treated as a joke in itself. She’s always drawn in a super-deformed style, only ever seems to appear in bonus chapters rather than the main chapters, and is the only one in her family who doesn’t know her oldest brother created her favorite shojo manga. Not that Nozaki hasn’t told her — he has — but Yumeko refuses to believe him.
Umetarou also worked as a shojo manga artist in the original draft, and perhaps this is what led Tsubaki to decide to shift focus from Yumeko to her brother instead. As a shojo manga artist herself, it would have been a lot easier for Tsubaki to create material based on her own experiences. Having a male lead who makes shojo manga also admittedly makes for a more interesting setup.
This isn’t to say that the original draft known as Nozaki-san isnt good. It had some fun ideas with charming characters and a female lead who’s shamelessly goofy. But the ongoing punchline of “she likes shojo manga way too much” can only be stretched so far. Tsubaki only gave readers a peek into the first three chapters, though, with just three major characters introduced. There could have been more in store, and with how good Tsubaki is at writing comedies, perhaps she could have made this premise work without the punchline getting too stale.
In the end, the final version of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun is seen by many as one of the funniest anime to come out of the 2010s. With its unconventional protagonist, a quirky supporting cast and genuinely funny jokes, it’s a comedy that can be easily recommended to any anime fan. Nozaki may not be your typical shojo heroine, but that’s what audiences love about him — and perhaps that’s what ultimately led to Tsubaki choosing him over his sister.