Manga Review: Voice Over! Seiyu Academy Vol. #03

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 3 of the series and you can read on for the review. (To see previous reviews of the series, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Hime just got her first big break in voice acting, but it means she has to move out of her house and pretend to be a boy! Her new manager, Yamada, is willing to put in the extra time to train her personally, and Hime’s hope of being a voice actor seems close to being fulfilled. But Yamada insists he’ll only use her for male characters. Will she have to give up on Lovely Blazer to see her dream come true?

The Review

As part of her contract with Yamada, Hime agrees to pose as a boy (Shiro) whenever she is not at school, and now that she’s cross-dressing, the manga takes on a reverse harem flavor. (Funny how that happens with shojo manga). Except for the very first pages, Hime is the only girl featured in the volume, not counting the flashbacks of Sana. As for the male characters costarring with her, they’re the school’s three most popular boys (AQUA and Senri) and her uber influential producer Yamada.

Senri is the only one out of the four who doesn’t know that Shiro is Hime. That, however, works to Hime’s advantage. In fact,  it gets her into his apartment. Like Hime, I found his house terrifying (any place with that many cats has got to smell awful), but Minami-sensei presents his circumstances as those of a lonely, misunderstood boy. At any rate, Hime discovers a side of him no one else is privy to even as she utterly fails in trying to manipulate him with her voice skills.

Speaking of her voice acting ability, Hime’s realizing (finally) that her inability to control her voice is a problem. In true Hime fashion, she attempts to overcome it through practice and willpower, but she’s already proven neither of those help. So Yamada suggests a weekend training camp with both AQUA and Yamada accompanying her. (As Hime observes, they seem to have an awful lot of free time on their hands). While I still find it difficult to believe that anyone, let alone an entertainment professional, would invest so much into a “super amateur,” it is gratifying to see Hime punished Yamada-style every time she makes a mistake. But even though the purpose of the trip is for Hime to gain control over her “Prince Voice,” it winds up being about Mizuki’s past. The parallels between Sana and Hime are kind of weak, especially considering Hime’s not the only Straggler at school. However, as with Senri, Hime gets to see a side of Mizuki no one else does, which leaves me wondering if she’s going to stumble upon some secret of Shuma’s in the next volume.

Extras include embedded author’s remarks, translation notes, another mini-Mitchy manga, and Voice Acting Students Now!, an interview with seven voice acting students at Tokyo Animator College.

In Summary

Forced to live as a boy by her producer, Hime spends this volume cross-dressing and struggling to control her “Prince Voice.” However, the story focuses less on her acting career and more on the true personalities of AQUA and Senri. This adds depth to the boys and provides some justification for Mizuki’s interest in Hime, but I find myself, like Shuma, irked by the attention received by our “super amateur.”

First published at the Fandom Post.

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