REVIEW: ‘Dear NOMAN,’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dear NOMAN Volume 2

Dear NOMAN Volume 2 concludes the urban fantasy and decides to kick readers in the feels after luring them in with cuteness in the last volume. The urban supernatural fantasy follows young Mashiro, who has been able to see ghosts since she was little, learns about the world of Nomans, and teams up with crow spirit Bazu. Short and sweet, the series will likely appeal to fans of Natsume’s Book of Friends. The manga is written and drawn by Neji, translated into English by Leighann Harvey, and features lettering by Chiho Christie. The two-volume series is published in English by Yen Press.

While most of the first volume was about establishing Mashiro and Bazu’s relationship, Dear NOMAN Volume 2 focuses on Mashiro’s past and her guilt surrounding her deceased sister. Fortunately, the few reservations I had in the first installment about an inappropriate age gap romance (i.e. the kiss at the end of the first volume that resulted in both characters blushing) didn’t come to fruition, and the story was much better for it. Since the series doesn’t lean into a romance, it instead is about how Bazu and Mashiro both help each other move past their grief. Their partnership is that of friendship, all the way to a surprisingly cute ending.

Dear NOMAN Volume 2 also gets darker than the first. Mashiro discovers that the Boundary Preservation Society had ulterior motives for bringing her on. While their goals may ultimately be good, it definitely crosses an ethical line to manipulate a 14-year-old girl into helping them achieve it. Bazu rightly calls them out for it too, as it ties into the healing she needs as well. All of this story is focused on how grief can make us stand still, and moving forward is something we need to do to take care of ourselves. Mashiro has crafted an existence around guilt at a young age, and it has entirely dominated her self-worth; her overly positive attitude is a mask.

This more serious tone is additionally affected in the artwork. It is difficult to describe without spoiling, but a specific noman is horrifying. This is done through distortion and shadow. Dear NOMAN Volume 2 succeeds in this without high levels of detail and gore. Neji’s artwork uses bold black and white, in addition to shadowy greyscale, to make specific scenes hurt. What was once a tender moment is now mirrored with sinister colors. An image that should be heartwarming just feels inherently WRONG. It is great.

Dear NOMAN Volume 2 is a solid ending to a short little urban fantasy. The story is simple and sweet but has enough serious moments to give it depth. Readers will experience a rather thoughtful tale of grief and growing up. Previous concerns about an age gap romance were blessedly not present in this outing. I would have liked to see the story expanded a little more, but for those looking for a quick read and like contemporary supernatural, this is a fine one to pick up.

Dear NOMAN Volume 2 is available now wherever books are sold.

Dear NOMAN Volume 2 
3.5

TL;DR

Dear NOMAN Volume 2 is a solid ending to a short little urban fantasy. The story is simple and sweet but has enough serious moments to give it depth. Readers will experience a rather thoughtful tale of grief and growing up. Previous concerns about an age gap romance were blessedly not present in this outing. I would have liked to see the story expanded a little more, but for those looking for a quick read and like contemporary supernatural, this is a fine one to pick up.