Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Voices of Love by Kanae Hazuki review

Voices of Love

Author/Artist: Kanae Hazuki

Publisher: Luv Luv Press

Rating: M – 18 and up

Genre: Josei, Drama, Romance, Anthology

Grade: C+

Voices of Love is filled to the brim with sexy romance stories that adds spice to anyone's bookshelf. It is of course an anthology of shorts to fit anyone's tastes. On with the synopses:

Voices of Love – Mika Tsukahara is loved by all her students. They all see her as the totally awesome teacher, but there is one student who can change all that. And that would be her neighbor Naokazu Kuga. He plays loud music, loudly makes love, etc. Mika has had to get after him for disturbing the peace. This student has thrown her off her game.

One Summer's Day – Shigeru and Sana have been friends since high school and had a sexual relationship at one time. Sana has had a thing for Shigeru but doesn't know how to approach that confession. It turns out that Shigeru wants to have sex but he and his current girlfriend haven't slept together yet. So he wants to sleep with Sana to take care of those urges.

Rainbow Smile – Nina has a creep for a boyfriend. The two live together but he openly cheats on her and beats her. She confides in friend Taiichi. He cares for Nina and doesn't understand why she's still with that loser.

Pictures of Us – Mizumoto is 36 and a shy guy living in Tokyo. In order to meet new people of the opposite sex he places an ad on the net. There he meets Fuyu a 28-year-old woman. But when he meets her she actually looks younger than 28. She's more like 18. She's also lonely.

Teach Me Love – Atsushi attends an art college. After a friend broke a video game he offers up his girl as payment (the friend is a creep). Hayako Yamano is a lot looser than other girls and will give it up to anyone. She's under the impression that by sleeping with all these guys make them her friends. Atsushi will do what he can to help Hayako.

One can only take so many anthologies in one sitting. But I'm not complaining too much. Voices of Love was Luv Luv Press' maiden manga. As their first release I thought, "Hey, this isn't too bad" but as time has moved on I've found that I some of their later releases are light years above this title. But it's not bad and I'm not wishing I had the hour or more I spent reading this manga back.

I have to say that I appreciated that two of the stories, Pictures of Us and Teach Me Love, were told from the male perspective which is a rather fresh change. Although some of the stories were much of the same when it comes to josei there were two stories that I found rather compelling. Those were Rainbow Smile and Teach Me Love. These stories are of women overcoming the odds when the men around them take advantage of them. They're heartbreaking and wonderful all at the same time. Because of these two stories they make what could have been just a mediocre volume so much better.

The art in this volume is good but not spectacular. It has a sketchy feel to it but in the eyes they are very expressive. But in a few panels faces look a little out of proportion or things just come across as a little off but it's hard to figure out what it is. But with the art and storytelling they do suit each other.

For Luv Luv's first release this isn't too bad of a volume to kick off an imprint. They've only gotten better from here! I'll leave it up to you to decide whether you want to pick up this manga volume, but just know that you will miss two fantastic stories, Rainbow Smile and Teach Me Love. They really make this anthology. So...maybe borrow this manga from a friend or purchase used.

***Review Copy purchased at Borders***

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