It’s been an exciting summer for Yuri fans, with series new and old that we love. One of the most exciting titles of the year to be released in English is Ikeda Takashi’s epic dramedy of Yuri tropes, Whispered Words out from One Peace Books. Volume 1 is available on RightStuf or Amazon.
The story follows the life of a high school student, Sumika, who is in the unenviable position of being in love with her best friend and classmate, Ushio. Sumika has everything going for her – classic looks, she’s tall strong, athletic, smart and a competent leader. Unfortunately for Sumi, Ushio dreams, not of being swept away by someone princely, but sweeping away her own petite and cute princess. Although Sumika is always by her side, Ushio never even notices Sumika’s feelings. Complicating this one-sided love, are about a hundred things, all of which are silly tropes of Yuri.
A male classmate who likes Sumika, is a cross dresser and is, in fact, so cute, that Ushio falls for him as a girl.
Aoi, Yuri light novel fan, thinks she’s found a like mind in Sumika…but she hasn’t.
Sumi and Ushio discover that there are, in fact, two lesbians in their class, and through pretense and blackmail are made to join Tomoe’s “Girls Club” for girl-lovers.
An extremely cute foreign student transfers in. Ushio, predictably falls for her, but Lotte wants to be strong like Sumi.
Each plot complication piles on Sumi, who bears the weight of Ushio’s obliviousness. And it’s apparent – especially after the somewhat messy arc with Aoi – that Sumika is a really standup kind of person. Ushio’s cluelessness hurts, and in a vulnerable moment, Sumika lets her mask slip. But will it bring them closer together?
Volume 1 covers the first three volumes of the Japanese edition (here are my reviews of Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3), which includes some emotionally charged reading in places. The story is comedic, but there are places where characters (and, possibly, readers) are found in tears. For a comedy, Volume 1 has a lot of drama. ^_^;
Technically, the book is much better than I expected. It had only a very few typos in nearly 500 pages and nearly none of the other issues I noticed with the preview copy. The translation is absolutely excellent – I could really hear the characters’ individual voices in the dialogue. The story is by turns hilarious, heart-wrenching and lovely. Ikeda’s art is reproduced well and I like both the heft and paper quality of the translated edition. I feel like I’m getting something solid to hold, but not hideously bulky or heavy.
Volume 2 is already up for pre-order, with a release date in November 2014. I know that the typo issues are mostly resolved in the next Volume, and while these three volumes are the hardest to get through (Volume 4, Volume 5 and Volume 6), the finale of this series is well worth hanging in there for, I promise!
Art – 8
Characters – 8
Story – 8
Yuri – 4
Service – 1
Overall – 8
If you’re looking for excellent Yuri, definitely get Whispered Words – good sales will translate to more Yuri. ^_^
My sincere thanks to One Peace Books for a review copy of Volume 1! It was great to be able to see this excellent Yuri tale told in English. ^_^