Dear Noman, Vol. 1

Neji, trans. from the Japanese by Leighann Harvey. Yen, $13 trade paper (196p) ISBN 978-1-975320-08-9
This sweet manga tale by Neji (Beauty and the Beast Girl) puts a magical spin on processing grief. Mashiro Unohana, a 14-year-old girl whose older sister has died, sees wildly different, odd creatures that no one else seems to notice. When she finally decides to interact with one, it tries to eat her. Luckily, she’s saved by Bazu, a crow spirit and employee of the Boundary Preservation Society. Mashiro’s recruited into the society to partner with Bazu and help the “Nomans” that she sees, who may be humans or animals that have died or “natural spirits, traditional monsters, and the spirits that serve the gods.” (When a deceased human or animal Noman lingers in the human world for too long, it can become dangerous.) Neji does a lovely job getting readers invested in the spirits and their dilemmas; there’s tear-jerkers as well as emotional hijinx. Her characters are multidimensional: Mashiro’s a “goody two-shoes,” but she never feels like a pushover, able to hold her own against the loud-mouthed Bazu. Neji’s delicate line art and thoughtful grayscale shading technique grounds the fantastical elements, lending a serious tone to its themes of grief. The bevy of nifty creatures to explore will draw in manga fans, and leave them with weighty reflections on loss and life. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 02/05/2021
Release date: 01/01/2021
Genre: Comics
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