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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Voice or Noise Vol. 1 by Enjin Yamimaru 
30th-Dec-2007 11:59 pm
Enjin, Yamimaru. Voice or Noise. Vol. 1. Los Angeles: BLU, 2007.
          Summary: Middle school student Shinichiro's dog is acting strangely, and the vet advises him to go consult with Narusawa, a physics professor who can talk to animals! Despite Narusawa's cold demeanor, Shinichiro finds him captivating and wants to be able to talk to animals just like him. But, of course, the development of their relationship proves to be a rocky one; for Narusawa, who can communicate with all living things, actually understands very little about them.
          Comments: I'm not, generally speaking, a big fan of Tokuma Shoten's BL. The stories are uniformly sentimental, (largely) de-sexed, and prosaic--and, unless the mangaka in question is a skilled one, unbearably dull. Fortunately, Enjin managed to stumble upon an interesting Dr. Doolittle-like premise for this, her first pro series, and even asks some morally pertinent questions about how far and to whom one ought to be obligated to extend one's sympathies. (She also has a snarky, magical black cat sidekick, which, since the days of Sailor Moon, has become a classic, much-loved narrative device.) I can't help but notice, however, that the age difference between the primary "couple" of the piece is quite dramatic--underaged boy and man twice as old as he; unless the author ages Shinichiro significantly in the next volume, the relationship is likely to remain mostly platonic... Just fair warning for any in the market for the erotic.
          Notes: paperback, 1st American edition; first published in Japan by Tokuma Shoten in 2002
          Rating: 5.5/10 - Not great, true, but it's not all that bad. Which is a pretty high compliment for a boy's love series, if you ask me.
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