Alan Smithee

Voice Over!: Seiyu Academy Vol. 1 – Review

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Voice Over Seiyu Academy Vol 1If you don’t know what a seiyu is, that’s ok. I’m about to make it pretty damn clear.

The Japanese word “seiyu” is a bit of a portmanteau (the Japanese do it all the time) of the extremely long to pronounce “koe no haiyu” (声の俳優) literally meaning voice actor. The industry decided to shorten that to the first and last kanji with a new pronouncer (声優) as “seiyu”. Alright, there’s your bit of language and weeabooness for you to digest, let’s get onto the review.

Viz released this new manga to the real world on the 1st of October, but I’ve already managed to burn through the site’s review copy twice. I always read quickly the first time through and then come back to the re-read with more of an emphasis on the artwork, inks, character continuity, the works. I’m glad to report that on the second time through, I liked it even more.

The story behind Voice Over! follows the life and times of 15 year old Hime Kino attending a high school that is geared toward preparing their students for life as a seiyu, pop star, actor, etc. She has been bound and determined to attend this school since the day she met Sakura Aoyama, the voice actress of her favorite anime “Mahou Senshi Lovely Blazers” and decided she wanted to grow up and star in the popular series. There’s only one problem, she can’t do cute girly voices. Any time she does, it comes out as a mature male husky voice.

Of course, no shojo manga is complete without a love triangle. I don’t feel I need to say much more here, but I can tell it’s going to be a huge driver of the story in upcoming volumes.

One might think that there being a manga telling the story of a voice actor would be hard to sell since the seiyu world is uniquely audio oriented…but the art and writing from Maki Minami is genius. Whenever she wants you to hear what the voice that Hime is making she illustrates the person who’d make that voice. It’s clever as hell because it’s a visual gag for an audio portion of the storytelling.

Minami-san is famous for her other long running series (also avalable through Viz) S.A.: Special A that ran from 2003 to 2009. Voice Over! was the series that picked up after the end of Special A and has finally reached the US.

I sincerely enjoyed reading this manga and will be looking forward to picking up the others when they’re released. If you’re fan of gender bending, school drama, or comedy manga, this is one I highly suggest you pick up.

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