Summer is a time to be outside, enjoy the sun, and catch up with old friends. It’s the perfect opportunity to go places and see new things, yet at the same time the underlying purpose is to provide rest and relaxation. For me, this came in the form of a weekend away, a bit of binging, and a show that couldn’t be more perfect than Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. The series is a delightful combination of cheerful background music, manga-style openings, and Amelia Bedelia-like characters. It’s one in which the plot line will hit home so incredibly hard and its hilarious irony will leave you gasping for air.
To give you a clearer idea of what I’m talking about, here’s a brief synopsis:
Chiyo Sakura, star of this shoujo anime, is a typical high school girl who has feelings for a typical high school guy –or so she thinks. In Sakura’s attempt to communicate her fondness for Nozaki, she finds he has a more literal interpretation of things than she could’ve ever imagined. When she voices how big a fan she is of him, Nozaki assumes Sakura is talking about the manga he writes in his free time. He takes out a piece of paper, scribbles an autograph, and before she knows it, she is working as his assistant-in-training. This is the ideal excuse for Sakura to spend more time with Nozaki, but the big question is, how will he see this time spent with her?
While a more easy-going series, this show definitely has some obvious biblical implications than can be drawn from it, a few of which I am going to dive into today.
The most visible Christian theme found in this series is Sakura’s love for Nozaki-kun and how it illustrates the love of Christ. The feelings Sakura harbors for Nozaki are relentless and unrequited, much like a picture of Jesus’ love for unbelievers (Romans 5:8). Despite this being a somewhat sad scenario, it is hopeful in that neither get mad when their intentions are misunderstood, and neither Sakura nor Christ’s adoration wavers in light of this fact (Isaiah 54:10).
Sakura’s devotion to Nozaki might be the most recognizable Christian theme, but Nozaki himself demonstrates sacrificial love in the way in which he pursues his manga. He is wholly devoted to his words and how it will affect people, just like the way the God of the Bible carefully breathed the scriptures so that we may take them to heart (2 Timothy 3:16). To convey his feelings just right, Nozaki analyzes the reactions between him and his assistants, literally taking on the essence of the characters themselves. In the same way, our careful research of the Bible can cause us to act more like Him –once we truly realize how God feels about us, we begin to feel the same way too (1 John 4:16).
This brings me back to Sakura’s love for Nozaki. Without knowing Christ’s love for us, life is routine. Day after day is spent going through the motions, unable to unlock our full potential as well as all the other blessings God has in store for us. At best, we are unfulfilled, looking more and more like Nozaki-kun by the minute. He gets up, goes to school, and nothing, besides his manga, seems to bring him any real enjoyment. He realizes something is missing, but he can’t quite put his finger on just what that is.
If only he wasn’t so blind to Sakura’s love for him, if only more of us knew the satisfaction that can be found in Jesus…(Ephesians 3:16-21). Nothing would make either of these two individuals more happy than if we were to acknowledge them, but both accept such a choice exists because it’s the only way true love can be demonstrated. That, my friends, is where the beauty lies in each of these stories. And that, my friends, is why I encourage you to consider where you stand with the One Who Actively Pursues Your Heart.
While I have just skimmed the surface of the anime’s connection to the Lord’s passion, Teresa Christina has a great article out there that continues to explore the love of Jesus and Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, and I would encourage you to check it out if you have the chance!