Search This Blog

Friday, January 16, 2015

Manga Review: Voice Over! GN 3

Voice Over! volume 3
Author: Maki Minami
Viz Manga/Shojo Beat
192 pages
Hime just got her first big break in voice acting, but it means she has to move out of her house and pretend to be a boy! Her new manager, Yamada, is willing to put in the extra time to train her personally, and Hime's hope of being a voice actor seems close to being fulfilled. But Yamada insists that he'll only use her for male characters. Will she have to give up on Lovely Blazer to see her dream come true?
After volume two of Maki Minami's latest shojo series, Voice Over/Seiyuu Ka, I was expecting volume three to focus more on Hime and her VA school group as they prepare for their next performance. Instead, what I got was a fun and slightly dangerous romp through the forest as Hime spends a weekend in a voice acting retreat with school duo fave Aqua.
As with any good forest retreat involving teenagers, a possible relationship forms and drama ensues. Plus, Hime gets flicked on the forehead a lot by Yamada, her manager who has no problem pushing Hime to her limits to hear her famous prince voice. Even though the scope has narrowed to focus on just Hime's goals as a VA, I enjoyed it as much as if the whole crew was present.

I know that the 'abuse' doled out by Yamada upon Hime during this book is supposed to be played off for laughs while highlighting how hard Hime's training is. To be honest, it crosses the line at times, especially when he threatens to bury her in the woods if she can't do her prince voice. And yet, Aqua isn't getting the same treatment? Either give them all the equal treatment or rein it in on Hime, who is a voice acting newbie right now.
It's a shame the majority of this volume is Mizuki/Hime flavored, since I find the weird relationship between Hime and Senri, who get the opening chapters of this volume dedicated to their antics. Hime dresses up as a boy, Senri can't recognize her in boys' clothing, and someone is revealed to have a serious stray cat problem. It turns from weird to endearing so quickly, I was disappointed to find out 2/3rds of volume 3 is all about the retreat, with no Senri.
It's a pretty cute volume – Hime is clearly determined to tap into her prince voice, and Senri with the cats is alone worth picking up the book – but Mizuki adds a lot of emotional resonance to what could have been a simple, straightforward story arc. We get to see more of Mizuki and Shiro as actual people than we have in previous volumes, now that they are outside of their usual roles as school idols and in a place where they can be themselves.
I'm pretty sure Maki Minami is setting up a love triangle that will ultimately end with Hime choosing between Senri and Mizuki for endgame shipping. I just hope Minami doesn't lose sight of what Hime is here for: becoming the best voice actor she can be and a Lovely Blazer at that. That's what I love most about her, and I'd hate for it to be sidetracked for a love plot.