Ooba Youzou is a troubled soul incapable of revealing his true self to others. A weak constitution and the lingering trauma from some abuse administered by a relative forces him to uphold a facade of hollow jocularity since high school.
There are very few manga which leave me speechless fortunately No Longer Human ranks as one of those and as my favourite manga. There have been cases for example Berserk, Gantz and 20th Century Boys but even they pale in comparison to the genius of Osamu Dazai.
It describes the tale of a nilhistic man who finds it difficult to show himself to others thus puts on a facade. It is a story about his life and how is gets to where he is and what occurs on the way.
Based on Ozamu Dazai's famous novel, it hits home and makes you empathise with a sex crazed
sociopath. After reading this I guarantee that melancholy will overwhelm you and that you will be glad to have read it.
I would continue trying to persuade you to read this but I shall let you decide as I promise you that you won't regret picking up the 3 volumes.
No Longer Human is a tale of despair. It is not heartwarming. There is not a happy ending. It is about the slow descent of a man who breaks and falls. Usamara Furuya updates Osamu Dazai’s novel for modern audiences and does an excellent job in the process. In the afterword of the final volume, Furuya claims that he was not able to truly capture the despair of the original, but I feel as though he has, at the very least, come quite close.
The art is fairly typical for a manga of this sort, though I feel as though Furuya’s talents shine the best as
we escape into the head of Yozo Oba, the main character. The clean line style of the rest of the manga is replaced with smudged darkness, doing much to portray Oba’s state of mind. I was also quite pleased with Furuya’s depiction of nudity and sex. Even in situations that are at least somewhat pornographic, every woman is drawn to an appropriate and realistic scale. This, I feel, helped me take the book seriously; had Furuya chosen to depict women as impossibly curvaceous and busty it would have taken away from much of the point of the manga.
The story is intriguing, to say the least. No Longer Human is about a man who does not know what he is, and this is depicted and far better than many things I have seen dealing with the same topic. The book gets very dark, possibly even triggering to people with problems involving rape or suicide, but it is handled frankly, without glamorizing or focusing on the acts beyond what is necessary. These are obviously major plot points and as such are brought up fairly often, but in a very “real” way. I read the Vertical Inc translation and was never taken out of the story by strange syntax or awkward translations. In fact, I finish all three volumes in about an hour and a half, with no breaks between.
No Longer Human is a story that sucks you in and keeps you in, all the while provoking oneself to ask what it means to be human. It is something of a cautionary tale, ending with a sense of urgency that one must in some way find oneself to avoid falling. This is a book I would recommend, but not if you are looking for a light or happy tale.
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I did not enjoy "No Longer Human". Why am I giving it a 10? I didn't find a flaw for it. It was perfect. The reason as to why I disliked it is because I have a pretty faint heart. This series is amazing. But I didn't enjoy it at all. I recommend it, but not for the faint of heart.
The story had a lot of depth to it, every single aspect of it was great. The story of a sociopath is always one that has fascinated me; this manga nailed it.
The art is amazing as well, the shading and the linework is really well
done, it fits the manga very well, being very dark and gritty.
The characters were perfectly thought out. The spiral to madness of the main character fascinated me and kept me hooked, wondering what would happen next.
So, do I recommend "No Longer Human"? Yes, I certainly do, it's the closest thing to perfection that I have read, but not for the faint of heart. This series will leave you speechless.
No Longer Human is a manga adaptation and modernisation of Osamu Dazai’s novel of the same name, following Yozo Oba, a young man who is terrified of other human beings and feels himself alienated from them. I see no problems in adapting the story to a modern setting, as alienation and fear and mistrust of other people exist in any time period. A story with these themes can be told well no matter when or where it is set, as it’s something everyone has likely experienced; but I find Furuya’s manga adaptation to fall short of Dazai’s classic novel in depicting that state of mind.
No Longer Human focuses heavily on Yozo’s severely broken perception of the world and how he keeps destroying himself in mind and body (helped in no small part by his environment); and in stories like this, my expectation is that the character’s actions and mindset be clearly understandable. In this pursuit, the manga succeeds partially, but it could have done so much more.
The core of Yozo’s character is evident: he feels alienated and mistrustful towards most people, and he can only connect to them superficially, by behaving like a clown to make his classmates like him, and by having casual sex with women instead of forming fulfilling relationships. He goes through hell as he overreacts to his every failing and misfortune, beginning to abuse drugs and falling into a very dark place psychologically. The disappointing thing about Yozo’s characterisation is the fact that most of the time we’re on the outside looking in at him, instead of on the inside looking out at the world through his eyes, as in the novel. We have an objective view of him, not a subjective one heavily influenced by his self-loathing. Being directly inside Yozo’s head gives a much better idea of who he is than anything the manga does from a third-person perspective: the best examples of this are the passages ripped straight from the novel and displayed between chapters of the manga, which have the unfortunate effect of inviting comparison to the source. Now maybe I’m being unfair here, because novels by nature get inside a character’s head far more easily than manga, but it’s not like manga are useless at it. Solanin and Berserk are examples that prove that manga can express character emotions effectively: they build empathy for their characters through effective use of facial expressions and body language, as well as composition. Unfortunately, No Longer Human doesn’t do this nearly as well.
Occasionally, Yozo’s worldview will leak into the art: he’ll be depicted as a helpless marionette, or the people around him will be depicted as faceless beings incessantly staring at him; and one standout sequence shows Yozo drawing a manga, filling it with grotesque and horrifying images, venting his feelings through his art, clearly expressing exactly what’s going on that we don’t see the rest of the time. Although the manga’s artwork becomes more expressive as the story goes on, it is ordinary for the most part, and the occurrences I’ve mentioned are the exception rather than the rule, and arguably a case of too little too late. The artwork doesn’t do quite enough to communicate Yozo’s thoughts and emotions, leaving the rest of the job up to the writing.
Furthermore, Yozo is only given minimal backstory. His father is implied to be a major part of why he became the way he was before he was introduced at the beginning of the story, but the hinting at what happened is so vague as to be nearly useless. The novel, in addition to describing Yozo’s upbringing and early life, includes a brilliant account of his father offering him a choice between two gifts: a mask or a book. He wants the book but gives in to his father’s expectations and chooses the mask, symbolic of the façade he would put on for the rest of his life. Nothing like this is to be found in the manga, leaving us to guess at what turned him into such a broken person, which is unfortunate, as it makes him that much less understandable and relatable. Showing his childhood and giving more detail regarding how he grew up would have gone a long way in creating a more interesting character, and would have greatly benefited No Longer Human, which is first and foremost an exploration of Yozo’s character.
In conclusion, if you haven’t experienced No Longer Human in any form, then I advise you to read the original novel. While the story of alienation, betrayal, vice and self-destruction shown in this manga is certainly serviceable, and its strengths are hard to dismiss, many of the changes it makes cause it more harm than good, making it a decent manga instead of a great one.