For hard core manga and anime fans, the voice acting world has the same kind of glamor and mystique as Hollywood. So it’s no surprise that the world of Maki Minami’s manga Voice Over! Seiyu Academy portrays it as such. Viz Media has just released Volume 2 of the series and you can read on for the review. (For the review of Volume 1, click here.)
Back Cover Blurb
Hime Kino’s dream is to one day do voice acting like her hero Sakura Aoyama from the Lovely Blazer anime, and getting accepted to the prestigious Holly Academy’s voice actor department is the first step in the right direction! But Hime’s gruff voice has earned her the scorn of teachers and students alike. Hime will not let that stand unchallenged. She’ll show everyone that she is too a voice acting princess, whether they like it or not!!
Quirky characters are par for the course for the series, and Minami-sensei expands the zaniness with first-year Visual Arts student Ume Ichijo. Actually, Ume got introduced at the very end of Volume 1 as the head of the AQUA fans. As it turns out, she’s not just a rabid fangirl, but an amazingly talented animator whose creative ability is powered by her passion for her crush.
Winning over an adversary is a common storyline in shojo manga, but while the befriending of Ume had potential, especially when she starts crushing on bad boy Takayanagi, it ultimately makes little sense. The Stragglers’ ultimate goal in this arc is to do well in their second lunchtime broadcast, and they turn to Ume in hopes of using her material. Somehow, this turns into a desperate quest to create a new original anime for the broadcast. At one point, Ume quits, leaving the Stragglers frantically drawing frames on their own, which is rather silly considering anime footage isn’t required (their first broadcast didn’t have video) and they’re being judged on sound, not video. Even Mizuki points out, “You want to be a voice actor, so you don’t need to draw!” Also, Ume’s self-perception as an outcast toward the arc’s end doesn’t mesh with the way she is depicted in previous scenes.
Having scored another victory for the Stragglers, the story then shifts back to Hime’s career. Producer Yamato, who is unduly fascinated by Hime, offers to officially sign her on. However, Minami-sensei attaches strings to the bargain that are purely for the sake of thrusting Hime into an extreme situation. Given that voice actors are heard and not seen, Yamato’s condition that Hime “become a boy” is nonsensical. In the midst of Hime jumping at her big break, we get a glimpse of her family life. Her mother’s disapproval is meant to stir sympathy for Hime, but it feels overly contrived, especially when Mrs. Kino tells Yamato to disregard Hime as a voice actor.
Extras include embedded author’s remarks, translation notes, and another mini-Mitchy manga.
Voice Over! continues with the Stragglers once more impressing the school with their lunch broadcast performance, and Hime getting a major break in her budding career. Unfortunately, the actual details of the story leave you scratching your head rather than drawing you in. Minami-sensei is setting Hime up as an unlikely heroine, but she’s not one I’m interested in cheering on.
First published at the Fandom Post.