Loudest Whisper Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, March 11, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, July 14, 2009
What will happen when Aoyama and Akabane cross the line from friends to lovers? Will it destroy their relationship, or bind them closer together?
Writer/Artist: Temari Matsumoto
What They Say
Hiroshi and Seichi are the closest of male friends, just not in THAT way. But that doesn't stop everyone in their high school from gossiping about their supposed romantic involvement. When quashing the rumors becomes impossible, will these friends do the opposite and make the gossip come true?The Review!
Like the content, this book feels flimsy and insubstantial. The book was printed during a time when Tokyopop was trying to make some cost cutting moves, and they switched to a much thinner grade of paper. While it’s not quite onion skin thin, it has the feel of newsprint and it doesn’t seem like it would withstand repeated readings without tearing. This is probably okay, because this particular volume doesn’t deserve more than a single session, but the paper quality is disappointing none the less.
For the most part, the dialog flows smoothly and naturally throughout the book. I didn’t notice any typos, but the use of the word “thingy,” not just once, but twice, had me rolling my eyes. Surely there is a better word that could have been used to describe a male reproductive organ.
The theme of The Loudest Whisper is one that I thoroughly enjoy. All of the couples in the book are friends, and during the course of their story, they become lovers. Starting with Akabane and Aoyama, two high school students, Temari Matsumoto explores the deepening relationship between close friends. There’s no bickering or fighting, just two people who care for each other and want to move their relationship into a new direction. There’s the usual sense of confusion and fluttering of heartbeats, but overall, the transition from buddies to something more is effortless, which, unfortunately, makes it a bit boring. The stories aren’t long enough to introduce much conflict or tension, though the overall tone is lighthearted and uplifting.
My favorite chapter was “Heart-Shaped Lunchbox.” Since his parents moved out of town and left him to his own devices, Hideki’s friend Shuntaro makes lunch for him every day. Hideki is grateful for Shuntaro’s thoughtfulness, and he wants to do something for him in return. He decides that he will prepare a lunch for Shuntaro in appreciation, but there’s just one problem – Hideki can’t cook! This was sweet story with friends who care about each other. The conflict is resolved in a satisfying manner, and the chapter wraps up with a feel good ending.
I didn’t care for the art very much, and thought the overall look was thick and blocky. The characters don’t deliver much in terms of expression, and proportions was awkward and rigid. Background details are minimal, just enough to set a scene. Despite my disappointment with the interior artwork, I find the cover illustration appealing, as Akabane and Aoyama clutch their upraised hands together. Aoyama glances predatorily at Akabane’s vacant, clueless stare. Cute!
This introduction to The Loudest Whisper series doesn’t offer much to set it apart from the scores of BL titles crowding store shelves. The stories in this anthology are pleasant and positive in tone, but they are also very clichéd and a tad on the boring side. There is a lack of tension, and the conflicts are shallow and too easily resolved. Still, this would be a good starting point for someone who hasn’t read many BL stories and wants to dip a toe into the genre. Otherwise, there are better titles to sink your teeth into.
Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: C-
Text/Translation Rating: B-
Age Rating: 18 and Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left