Manga-ka: Yamimaru Enjin
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: March 2008
Synopsis: “Shinichiro and Narusawa are getting closer, but it’s been months since Narusawa’s cat Acht said a word to either of them. Determined to get him talking again, Shinichiro rushes off to Tokyo were Naruawa is teaching a special seminar. But after a crazy night of drinking and sexual advances from Naruawa’s students, is Shinichiro really ready for relationship? This next volume of Voice or Noise proves the sometimes actions do speak louder than words…”
In volume two of Voice or Noise, Shinichiro continues to lament the loss of communication with Acht, the spirited black cat who stopped speaking after an accident. Wishing to find a way to talk to his feline friend, and better understand his natural abilities, Shinichiro begs Narusawa to begin training him again to understand animals. However his growing feelings for the older man are becoming a bit problematic.
What I continue to love about Voice or Noise is how it doesn’t rely solely on the budding relationship between its two lead male characters. While that remains a fairly central part of plot, though no such romantic relationship yet exists, just as much attention lays on the other matters at hand: Narusawa’s ability to understand animals, Shinichiro wishing to learn and the loveable cat, Acht, who suffers from his own turmoil. The feelings that are forming between Shinichiro and Narusawa feel more grounded and believable when they’re naturally blended into the story, plus aren’t casually leapt into especially with as many issues regarding them as there are (such as age for one).
Some of the more mysterious elements of volume one returned here in volume two, such as the stalker crow and the other world where animals’ souls live differently than here among humans. I look forward to those attributes of the story being explored further, and as much as I enjoy reading the romantic elements in Voice or Noise, I hope they don’t one day completely overshadow the animal aspect of the plot.
Yamimaru Enjin’s art is still really pleasing to the eye here and it works well with the story. I enjoy the masculine features drawn with such delicate and simple line strokes, and the screen toning usage is nicely balanced; not too much, just enough to serve its purpose.
Overall, Voice or Noise continues to impress. With simple, appealing artwork and plot that doesn’t focus itself entirely on the male love interests, it’s a great boys’ love read with a lot of heart that I certainly recommend picking up.