Yuri Manga: Voiceful (English)

February 27th, 2008

Books like Voiceful are exactly the reason the Yuricon definition of Yuri includes “intense emotional connections” between women. Because sometimes it’s not “love” yet, and hasn’t gotten anywhere near “desire” but it’s still some seriously intense bond that could easily become something more. (Another good example of that is Haibane Renmei, in which the circumstances preclude a love affair, but don’t stop Reki and Rakka from being intensely attracted to one another.)

Before I forget, thanks to Eric for sponsoring today’s review!

The creator, nawoko, says in her endnote that Voiceful is pretty far from Yuri. In one sense she is correct, but I think anyone who reads Kanae and Hina’s story will be able to see the Yuri, without the need for Yuri goggles.

For a summation of the content of the book, and my first impressions, please read my review of the Japanese edition. As I have been doing, today’s review will cover the adaptation by Seven Seas.

I think this is one of the best in Seven Seas’ Strawberry Line so far. The color page, the cover and the tones are clearer than usual. Towards the end of the volume, the stories get a little darker. The stories at the end of the volume are the earlier Yuri Shimai stories – I have no idea if that is related or not.

The translation is quite good. I know I wasn’t the only one who had some trouble with “Opening,” the final story (how ironic, huh?) and the translator did a very good job of making it make sense. The emotion between Kanae and Hina comes across beautifully, as well.

As always the editing and adaptation are smooth as silk and the honorifics remain in place. Nice job, everyone. ^_^

The book also contains some preview pages for First Love Sisters, as an “extra.” Since FSL is the other Ichijinsha book in the Strawberry Line so far, that seems like a natural fit. I’m interested to see if Seven Seas is able to (or wants to) pick up any further Yuri Hime comics – and which ones they might get.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Characters – 7
Story – 7
Yuri – 4
Service – 1, some slight undressedness

Overall – 7

While not the absolute best Yuri Hime collection Ichijinsha has put out, Voiceful is a nice way to ease into the genre. If you have a friend who isn’t really a big fan, or you know a young babydyke whose parents would object to Strawberry Panic (and what sane person wouldn’t? ^_^) Voiceful makes a gentle point of entry into the Yuri world.

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7 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Though stories by nawoko that ran in Yuri Hime / Yuri Shimai are rather ‘vaguely Yuriesh’, I’ve seen some ero Yuri manga drawn by her.

    btw It seems that all the authors in YH/YS were chosen at the beginning because they had drawn Yuri manga/doujinshi before (uhh there are real veterans from the times of Sailor Moon and Utena like Hayasiya Siduru-sensei or Morinaga Miluku-sensei ^^). And most of these works were erotic. Women-oriented though.

  2. With the caveat that “erotic” differs from person to person, I agree that they are all very women-oriented.

  3. Eric P. says:

    Shame on you, Ms. Friedman! It’s not Raki and Rekka, it’s Reki and Rakka! I thought you at least liked the characters enough to remember their names! (since my fingers are too lazy to type emoticons, I am writing this half-jokingly, but you probably already guessed)

  4. Haha, sorry Eric! I’ll fix that right away.

  5. Still reading the copy I purchased three days ago. Well written, well drawn. This will also be worth rereading, I suspect – unlike many of the single volumes in my collection.

    I do not think that I have not run across the lone panty-shot yet. I am tempted to now obsessively search for it.

  6. ContentedlyAnon says:

    Erica,

    Please allow me to begin by apologizing (in advance) for the following semantic quibble. I promise that my intention isn’t to cause annoyance, but I confess that such irritation might occur.

    In plain (i.e., vernacular) English, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that Reki and Rakka are intensely “drawn” to one another, rather than intensely “attracted” to each other? Though “drawn” and “attracted” are technically synonyms, the former tends to be employed when expressing an emotional or psychological connection, whereas the latter tends to connote at least some level of romantic or physical interest–a dynamic frequently asserted (by fans) to exist between Reki and Rakka, but for which there is little if any supporting evidence. [Along the same lines, by the very end of Rainy Blue, Yumi and Sachiko obviously share a very deep emotional connection, but one that almost certainly isn’t romantic–i.e., the two are not “attracted” to each other, in the ordinary sense of the word. Similarly, by the time they limp off into the twilight, Mireille and Kirika undoubtedly share a profound psychological bond, but to label that bond an “attraction” would be a considerable stretch. (Who knows…somewhere along the line, my Yuri goggles might have been switched out without my knowledge. ^_^; ) On the other hand, even prior to the point at which Utena essentially sacrifices herself for the treacherous Anthy, she seems both “drawn” and “attracted” to the beautiful, self-loathing witch.]
    You might find this distinction a bit tedious (in which case, you have my sincere apology, as expressed above), but wouldn’t you agree that the characterization I’ve provided is more robustly defensible based on the evidence we’re given?

    I have one other related question, which stems from the Yuricon definition of “Yuri”: How credible does the possibility of evolution from “seriously intense [platonic] bond” to “actual romantic bond” need to be in order to merit your classification of “Yuri”? [For example, even without the Day of Flight, it seems unlikely that Reki and Rakka would develop a romantic bond; similarly, although Yumi and Sachiko will probably be married within a few years, it won’t be to each other, even if Japanese law changes in the interim. NOIR is slightly more ambiguous, since the series provides absolutely no concrete evidence whatsoever of a physical attraction between Mireille and Kirika, but a simple deductive analysis–including the fact that the protagonists are shown heading off to face life together (not to mention to continue to sleep in the same bed!!!)–offers at least some grounds for conjecturing an eventual romantic bond. (Brilliant conclusion I’ve reached: “It’s there if you want it, not if you don’t.” ^_-) In Revolutionary Girl Utena, by contrast, both the plot and the nearly relentless procession of attractions, obsessions, and bonds seem to yield extremely solid (though admittedly still circumstantial) support for the contention that Anthy is setting off to “be” with Utena, in all senses of the word. (I am specifically referring to R.G.U.–i.e., not Adolescence, in which it is utterly obvious.)]

    In other words, since you appear to label all four of the relationships above “Yuri”, despite their varying potentials for actual romance, what sort of cutoff do you utilize when invoking the “potential for evolution” criterion? (I realize that a precise analysis of the factors contributing to an inherently subjective criterion is next to impossible, but would you be willing to provide an example, from Erica Friedman’s perspective, of a deep-but-not-deep-enough-and-too-little-potential-for-Yuri friendship?)

    Thank you for your time, as well as for maintaining one of my favorite blogs. Your dedication is deeply appreciated, incredibly inspiring, and more than a bit terrifying. ^_^

    Cheers,
    ContentedlyAnon

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