REVIEW: ‘Dear NOMAN,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dear noman Volume 1

For those looking for a calmer supernatural manga series, Dear NOMAN Volume 1 might just be what you are looking for. The manga follows fourteen-year-old Mashiro, who has been able to see ghosts since she was little. The premise has loose similarities that might appeal to fans of Natsume’s Book of FriendsDear NOMAN Volume 1 by Neji is published in English by Yen Press. It is translated by Leighann Harvey and features lettering by Chiho Christie.

Dear NOMAN Volume 1 kicks off pretty quickly. Mashiro has always been able to see ghosts: people, animals, and other creatures she isn’t quite sure how to describe. She encounters an adorable looking creature at school and decides to help it, only to discover she is in over her head. She is saved by Bazu, who appears to be a woman and wears a plague doctor’s mask. It turns out, the ghosts Mashiro sees are called nomans. The creatures are spirits who have stayed in the world of the living too long and morphed into evil spirits who consume souls. There are a few exceptions to this, and Bazu is one of them. Through a mishap, Mashiro becomes bonded to Bazu as her master and agrees to work for the Boundary Preservation Society. They are an organization that both prevents nomans from becoming evil spirits and help the ones that have fallen move on.

There is a lot to like about Dear NOMAN Volume 1. Mashiro is a believable young girl. She is a people pleaser due to a desire for connection. There is also more to her story to keep readers interested. Mashiro writes letters to her deceased sister. It is not yet explained how she died, but it appears Mashiro blames herself. Then, there’s Bazu. Right off the bat, her character design is fantastic. She is a crow spirit who took on the form of a human after death. She has a deep resentment for human beings due to the traumatic events surrounding her death. She juxtaposes Mashiro’s pure-hearted eagerness well.

Unfortunately, there is one elephant in the room with Dear NOMAN Volume 1. The bond between Mashiro and Bazu is initiated with a kiss. While Mashiro and Bazu’s relationship has some wonderful moments of connection and friendship, there is also a slightly uncomfortable underlying romantic tone. Whether that is where the series is actually going is unclear. However, even if Bazu is a crow, she is still in the body of a grown woman. On top of that, while Neji’s art is absolutely lovely, it furthers this discomfort. Mashiro looks like a genuine 14-year-old girl, with rounded features and height in comparison to Bazu. Bazu is attractive, not in an overtly sexual way, but she is a full-figured woman in a suit. This character design legitimately deserves praise. However, when you have the image of a grown woman kissing a young girl, there is a discomfort that is very difficult to assuage with any sort of supernatural lore.

Dear NOMAN Volume 1 is a more laid back urban fantasy that will appeal to many readers. Mashiro and Bazu are both very likable and have enough mystery to encourage further reading. The only issue is the possible romantic undertones. Even though Bazu is a crow spirit, she still is presented in the body of a grown woman with a young girl.

Dear NOMAN Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold.

Dear NOMAN Volume 1
3.5

TL;DR

Dear NOMAN Volume 1 is a more laid back urban fantasy that will appeal to many readers. Mashiro and Bazu are both very likable and have enough mystery to encourage further reading. The only issue is the possible romantic undertones. Even though Bazu is a crow spirit, she still is presented in the body of a grown woman with a young girl.