Manga Review: Dear Noman

Remember the early chapters of Bleach before they went to Soul Society, when the series was still good? Have you ever thought, “man, I wish I had a series that was just this, but with lesbians”?

Yeah, me too.

Dear Noman is a two-volume yuri manga series about Mashiro Unohana, a middle school girl who is very short and also can see ghosts. One day she is attacked by an evil ghost and is rescued by a woman named Bazu, who is also a ghost, except actually she’s called a Noman because ghosts in this series are called Nomans, since theyre Not Humans and also this is a yuri manga. Do you get it? Do you get the joke about the Nomans?

Anyway, Bazu brings Mashiro back to the secret government ghost killer organization, where Mashiro wakes up and accidentally kisses Bazu, inadvertently cementing a contract as Bazu’s… I don’t remember what they call the human half of these pairs so I’m just gonna call Mashiro her pokemon trainer. So anyway the fourteen year old Mashiro wakes up and kisses Bazu, who is the ghost of a crow which coincidentally appears as an adult human woman in her twenties.

There’s a bunch of faffing about for the rest of volume one which mainly consists of second-year middle schooler Mashiro learning about Nomans (none of this information matters at all, it never comes up again) and Bazu, who presents as an adult human woman of legal voting age, being tsundere because when she was a living crow she was rescued by a human, and then dismembered by a different human, and she’s conflicted about this, but also it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t come up in any situation beyond Bazu, who is old enough to drink, acting tsun-tsun toward Mashiro, who is too young to know what a VHS is.

The end of volume one involves the ghost of a girl from Mashiro’s school who commited suicide after being rejected by her crush named Chihiro. Chihiro wants to kidnap and/or kill Mashiro because she’s all fucked up and evil from being a ghost for too long and it makes her manifest her homosexual affections in unhealthy ways. She gets reformed and joins the secret government ghost killer society as another contracted Noman, something which does not matter beyond her appearing for comedy gags in like… 3 chapters. Also its established that Mashiro can heal Bazu by kissing her, something which does not matter at all because it never comes up again, and the series drops all attempts at romantic development between Mashiro and Bazu starting in volume two.

Volume two actually tries to have a proper plot, centering around the search for the ghost of Mashiro’s dead sister, who has apparently been eating other ghosts for the last ten years and has become all fucked up and evil as a result. The sister in question died because…. she needed to be dead for this plot to work, don’t worry about it, it doesn’t matter. The point is Mashiro tries to reform her sister instead, but that fails and Bazu gets cut in half so Mashiro sends her sister off to the afterlife instead.

Oh yeah, they don’t actually kill the ghosts in this series. The ghosts all wear special paper necklaces and the contracted Nomans with the society use long forks to tear those necklaces which purifies the evil ghosts and sends them off to the afterlife. It only happens like… three times, it doesn’t really matter.

Anyway the series ends with Mashiro losing the ability to see ghosts and Bazu moves on from being a ghost and is eventually reincarnated, since her regrets weren’t actually real in any way that mattered and she just moves on as soon as Mashiro can’t see her anymore. Bazu is eventually reincarnated as a little girl who moves in next door to Mashiro ten years in the future, and I can only assume Mashiro starts bangin’ human Bazu’s mom because the last shot in the manga reveals Mashiro apparently helps take care of her. Also Chihiro becomes Mashiro’s cat.

This series is… fine. It exists. None of its plot points or attempts at episode stories really land anywhere, since they’re never given any room to breathe save for the last arc concerning Mashiro’s sister, which didn’t land because it was very clearly contrived as a result of the series not making it past 14 chapters. Which, coincidentally, is also Mashiro’s age during the course of the series!

The characters are likeable, but are little more than shallow tropes without any significant depth to them. Bazu is easily the strongest, but that’s only because she was designed to appeal to me specifically, and is therefore infallible and perfect. The art is nice, which isn’t a surprise; this series is by Neji, who also created the web manga Beauty and the Beastwoman.What little combat exists in the manga, however, is… not great. It’s poorly storyboarded, and is typically limited to a single page. The conceit of having to tear the paper necklaces could’ve made for interesting choreography, but this isn’t a battle manga, so it’s just dull instead.

Overall, 4/10, cute enough that you won’t really lose anything by reading it, but there are better options. Here’s some Bazus for the road.

Oh, and we have a patreon.

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