Yuri Manga: Voiceful

September 13th, 2006

I really, really like Voiceful by nawoko.

This was not originally so, when the first nawoko stories ran in the then Yuri Shimai magazine. I found them a little too vaguely Yuri-ish, and had to turn the Yuri googles up and stare hard to really get any vibe from them. I didn’t object to the art – or the stories, really – but the fact that they fed in, IMHO, to the idea that any story with two women standing next to one another must therefore be Yuri.

But my opinion changed when nawoko’s story “Voice” ran in Yuri Hime. When it became a series, “Voiceful”, I liked it even better. And now, I’m thrilled to have it, and the other nawoko stories as a collected volume. Together, they all work much better than they do as stand-alones.

One of the common threads in nawoko’s work is music. It is music that ties these stories together, even more than intense emotional connections between women – which also stand out more in the collected volume, than they did as separate pieces.

“Voiceful,” the title series, is the story of shut-in Kanae (right on the cover above) and her transformation as she accidentally runs into, and subsequently befriends, her “goddess,” an independent singer who releases her music on the internet, Hina (left on the cover above). This story of two emotionally damaged women who find strength to make each other strong – and thus become strong for themseleves – is really, really nice.

The other stories in the collection also show people from the point of view of their weaknesses, but not in any gruesomely obnoxious way. Most of the stories are quiet, little slice-of-life pieces in which fear and hope and music intertwine to make a melody of life…and sometimes love.

Ratings:

Art – a loose, scratchy sort of nice – 6
Story – stronger as a sum of their parts, but nothing objectionable in any case – 7
Characters – ranging from an annoying 4 to a lovely 8 depending
Yuri – 6
Service – an underwear shot for the very, VERY desperate – 2

Overall – a pleasant, not earthshaking 6

Another solidly put together volume from Ichijinsha, with extra color page not included with any of the original stories.

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