Nawoko. Voiceful. Trans. Satsuki Yamashita and Patrick Seitz. Seven Seas, 2007. Summary
: The hikikomori Kanae is a huge fan of the Internet singing sensation Hina and offers up her unabashed devotion in person...which, as it turns out, is exactly what the emotionally bruised Hina needs. In the end, the two young women are able to see past their own preoccupations and really appreciate the other. This standalone volume also includes two short bonus stories. Comments
: Out of characteristic curiosity, I read the first few volumes of the trailblazing Yuri Shimai
yuri anthologies back in the day, and that means that I've undoubtedly read most (if not all?) of the contents of this book before. Unfortunately, there proved to be an enormous problem. Despite their ostensible novelty, those anthologies were so brain-bleedingly dull and undistinguished that I don't remember anything about the stories they contained! All that washed-out pastel coloring was the best (or worst) of truth in advertising. In fact, I picked up the Seven Seas edition of Voiceful
--even skimmed the summary--and didn't recall having read it at all! And I continue to draw a blank--even after reading it again!
*sighs* While in principle I have nothing but admiration for the Yuri Shimai
project of sensitive tales about girls loving girls by women produced in quintessential shoujo manga style, it's as if the high-mindedness of the project gets in the way of good storytelling! But unlike First Love Sisters
, which definitely improves when read in the context of a single-author tankoubon, Voiceful
remains tedious in any format. The two bonus stories are especially embarrassing. Indeed, the manga's only saving grace is the nuanced emotional chords it strikes from a characterization standpoint. It's not every day that you get a female hikikomori and a victim of domestic abuse becoming each others' salvation. But, even then, their mutual redemption is a really hard sell. Notes
: A5 paperback, 1st American edition; first published in Japan by Ichijinsha in 2006 Rating
- Though it's got a little something for everybody (moé art, shoujo-esque emotional maundering, manga-esque atmospheric foot-dragging), there isn't enough of any of it to please anybody.