Shinozaki-san Ki wo OTAshika ni! (literally “Be Careful, You Might Become an Otaku, Shinozaki!”) is a manga by Shou Hikawa (better known as Saku Saku Tei in doujin circles) running in the magazine Comic Meteor. It tells the story of the titular character Akina Shinozaki as she struggles to get her cute otaku friend, Kaede Sasamura, out of her “unproductive” hobby. The catch is that Akina’s plan to get Kaede out of her obsession involves getting into the otaku culture herself, leading to a massive culture shock on Akina’s part. As Akina explores the unique world of otaku subculture, she finds herself slowly getting more and more obsessed with getting on Kaede’s good side rather than setting her on “the proper path.”
What makes Shinozaki-san a good read, at least so far, is that it’s somewhat similar to OreImo, minus the incest and the annoying plot progression. If there was one thing OreImo got right, it’s how it handled otaku. They’re no longer depicted as no-good scumbags who live in basements, but actual human beings. Shinozaki-san is no different. It doesn’t put otaku on a high pedestal, nor does it relagate them to be simply comic relief. They are characterized rather well, with actual personalities that make them deviate from your usual otaku stereotypes, and I’m not just talking about the main girl trio.There’s also an enjoyable amount of anime, manga and game references aboard, especially PreCure.
Another thing to like about it is the art. Of course, as with all things subject to perception, take this with a grain of salt. What I like about the art in this manga is that it’s generally pleasing to look at. It’s polished and well-drawn overall. The character designs are very nice and cute too, to put it lightly. What I’m trying to tell you is that the art of Shinozaki-san is one of my all-time favorites.
And of course, the most important part: the yuri. Shinozaki-san is by all means, a yuri manga. Akina’s almost unhealthy obsession with Kaede shows that much. One-sided it may seem to be, the yuri elements are tasteful for the most part, showing how Akina’s thoughts move from “how to get Kaede out of an otaku life” to “how to get Kaede to fall for me.” Of course, only time will tell if Kaede reciprocates, but I’m willing to go all in on a satisfying yuri ending.
So all in all, Shinozaki-san Ki wo OTAshika ni! is a very enjoyable manga about otaku life. Its lighthearted approach to how otaku are depicted in its story sheds more light into what really make otaku tick. Not to mention all those wonderful yuri moments and cute clothes (yes, I’m a sucker for that stuff). It should be a beneficial read, provided that you like yuri.