Voice or Noise Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
By:Danielle Van Gorder
Review Date: Thursday, January 10, 2008
Release Date: Friday, November 30, 2007
What They Say
College professor Narusawa can speak to animals and Shin-chan, for the sake of his beloved dog Frappy, yearns to learn as well. But will that knowledge bring Narusawa and Shin-chan closer together, or will it tear them apart?
The book is one of Blu's standard releases, with no color pages, average quality paper, and print quality that's acceptable. Lines are sharp for the most part and blacks are dark. There are a few pages where art and text bleed off the page, but it isn't a frequent occurrence.
The art is what stood out the most about this book for me - quite visually appealing, with creative and varied panel layouts. Enjin seems to be especially good at detailed faces and varied expressions - not just from one or two different angles, but from a variety. Her grasp of anatomy is solid for the most part, although there were a few panels where it was slightly problematic.
Some sound effects are replaced with English equivalents, while others are left untranslated. There doesn't seem to be any system to which were replaced and which ones weren't, but this partial translation is a welcome change in Blu's standard operating procedure.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Narusawa developed the ability to talk to animals as a teenager, but rather than a blessing he views it as a bit of a curse, and does his best to hide his ability from others. He still lives with the first animal he ever talked to, the erudite black cat Acht.
The only person he's open about with his ability is his childhood friend Ikegami, who's now a veterinarian. When high school student Shinichiro comes into his clinic with Flappy, a dog with an unexplainable problem, Ikegami sends Shinichiro to Narusawa, hoping that Narusawa can talk to Flappy and figure out what the problem is that way.
Narusawa doesn't take the request well, and completely shuts Shinichiro out. Gradually, however, Shinichiro works his way into Narusawa's confidence, and begins to show signs that he might also develop the ability to talk to animals. But Narusawa's motives might be less than altruistic, and the whole situation develops into something beyond Shinichiro's ability to cope. An accident finally brings the two of them back together, but the cost is high.
It's hard to figure out exactly what to say about this series thus far. Until near the end of the volume, it's difficult to tell that it's supposed to be a BL title, which is likely to turn away readers looking for sex scenes. The story itself is decent, but not as engaging as it could be. The characters aren't the most thrilling - Shinichiro is rather bland and generic, while Narusawa's character is confused. He definitely has layers of personality, but he never feels really believable. Acht and Ikegami were more interesting to me as a reader than the two main characters.
That being said, there is a lot of promise here, and with more volumes to come in the future, there's hope that Enjin will deliver on that promise. Acht alone is worth picking up the next volume for.
Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Blu
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Voice or Noise