I’ve never dived too far into short-form webcomics before I read Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse from author Arata Kawabata. Each of the 21 chapters is consolidated into an average of about 20 pages each to tell one-off stories of a second-year student’s otaku friendship with the new school nurse.
I must say, this is one of those “Don’t judge a book by its cover” moments because the fanservice cringe-fest I was expecting never happened. However, I did discover a compelling and funny narrative that I didn’t want to put down.
Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse introduces second-year student Tamotsu Kurita, who discovered that his new school nurse, Momoyama, is an otaku. They each share an interest in the medium and nerd over games such as Fate GO and anime. Momoyama even has a requiring husbando character that the book will spend chapters on her finding different ways to express her love for this 2D character.
I think the story began in a different direction and shifted after a few chapters. Early on, we were pretty focused on the relationship between Kurita and Momoyama as if it had the potential to be something more. However, the shift in tone opened up the world to still contain subtle themes of Kurita in love and more about Momoyama’s life outside the school.
Kurita and Momoyama each share the spotlight throughout the chapters as we can get the sense of what they are each thinking. They’re both passionate and good friends, which keeps any tension or real drama to a minimum. There’s even a time where a classmate threatens the possibility that Kurita might lose some of her attention; we see a quick resolution and move on. This keeps the pacing and high and makes the entire experience an easy read.
The comedy of Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse is super dry. The author really understands this culture as the jokes will only make sense to someone deep in the otaku business. Surprisingly, it’s not even technically making fun of the people who like playing gacha games or collecting physical goods.
The entire manga normalizes it to the point where if you fall into any of the categories that are discussed, you feel like you aren’t alone. Still, that doesn’t mean you can laugh at the fact that you’ve once budgeted yourself on pulls of a gacha game or spent an entire day looking for the best deal on a figure.
Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse does contain some chapters of fanservice, but it’s not in your face or overly used. The entire manga plays it relatively safe in the regard as to not allude to anything misconceptions about where the story is leading. The friendship between Kurita and Momoyama is pure, and it’s great to watch them interact and find common interests in what they enjoy.
The illustrations are amazing as each panel plays on the comedic timing and emotional speeches that these otakus like to emphasize. It’s not uncommon to see page spreads of Momoyama daydreaming or making an adorable facial expression. There were a couple of weird transitions during chapters, though, where I couldn’t quite follow how the story got from one scene to the next, but it could have been because the joke just went over my head.
Do You Like the Nerdy Nurse is all about sharing an appreciation for otaku culture by showing that it’s okay to like this stuff no matter your job or how old you are. Further, we can still laugh at ourselves when being called out for the strange things we do to express our love for this medium. I was thoroughly impressed with this manga and honestly wish that it didn’t end.
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