In the town of Zabo, where a number of yokai run around to do whatever their daily duties are, the story of this particular manga is about a human who happens to fall in love with a yokai girl. Said yokai ends up falling in love with the human. Before you know it they end up moving in together, and we get daily tales about their lives. On the surface it sounds pretty ordinary, but with this manga’s setting, you know there’s more to that story!
And that is, his girlfriend is one without a face.
To be more specific, his girlfriend, known as Noppeko, is a Nopperabou, a yokai who looks human but has none of the features of a face. So no eyes, no eyebrows, and no mouth. So the main hook for tearontaron’s The Girl Without a Face is, despite the various misunderstandings or potential awkwardness, the two are so in love with each other that it doesn’t really matter. And on that point, the manga definitely shows that. At times it might even be tooth-achingly sweet, as they both end up doting on each other in every chapter. Like there can be a classic kabedon scenario where they each happen to think differently about this moment, but it all results in them only deepening their love for each other.
Being so sweet does keep things pretty simple though, as the chapters are pretty short. A high majority of them will always involve these two, but for the most part the tales are told from the unnamed boyfriend’s perspective. At the start this is actually not an issue — but when each chapter starts off with the same dialogue (“Not to brag, but I’ve got a girlfriend”), I would be surprised if no one would just be mentally skipping the intro at that point. The best times are when that finally gets flipped and we get that from Noppeko instead, and when we even bring in one of Noppeko’s friends, Oniko. Those at least broke up the repetitiveness, and it might’ve helped if there was a bit more of that in this work.
But the more I was reading this, the more the manga came off as these were posted on Twitter or something. And I got to the afterword, and the author revealed this did begin on Twitter! So yes, the moral of the story is A Girl Without a Face is likely a manga you’re better off not reading all at once like I did. Like maybe read a few chapters a day or something. Otherwise you’ll likely start getting annoyed at the unnamed boyfriend for bragging about his girlfriend, or wish there was a bit more weirdness occurring in Zabo.
I mean some of the art for the yokai are quite good. And the actual romance between our two protagonists is fairly pleasant. But it feels like everything around the two could’ve been expanded upon, though ultimately, that’s not really what this manga is about. It’s all about these two lovebirds finding ways to connect with each other despite the potential pitfalls. So if you’re in for something sweet involving yokai, this is worth a look. Just uh, mind how often you read it.