Voice Over! Seiyu Academy Volume Eight is a manga by Maki Minami. This volume was published in North America by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the series so far, I would agree with this rating.
The main character of the series is Hime Kino, a high school student attending Holly Academy High School and is part of the school’s voice acting department. Unfortunately, she has a gruff voice that doesn’t seem to work well for female voice acting roles, which lands her into the Voice Acting Department’s stragglers group for the first-year students. Also in the group are Tsukino Todoroki (who speaks too softly), Sho Takayanahi (he can’t read kanji and is short-tempered), and Mitchel Zaizen (who goes by Mitchy, and has an accent as well as being full of himself).
Hime also has run-ins with Senri Aoyama, the son of an actress named Sakura Aoyama; he already has a voice acting career underway. But as time goes on, Senri surprises himself when he helps Hime out of situations.
Volume Eight sees the stragglers group getting ready to record the audio for a lunchtime broadcast. Tsukino has been given a lead role, but she’s unsure about whether or not she can pull it off. It doesn’t help that she’s thinking over what her teacher said about using her voice to convey her feelings in order for Tsukino to try to make more friends. After reading this part of the manga, I thought that Minami did a great job conveying this story, and ultimately ended it with Tsukino making the first step toward gaining confidence for using her voice. I thought this was much more realistic than having Tsukino overcoming all of her doubts right away. While it may have been one small step for Tsukino, it’s still some kind of development for her character.
Senri seems to have become friends with a boy named Shiro, who’s just gotten a semi-regular role on an anime. Senri invites Shiro over to have dinner, determined to make Shiro’s favorite dish, omelet rice. This first attempt doesn’t work out, but Senri makes several attempts over time, determined to make the perfect rice omelet.
It seems like a nice gesture, until the reader comes to learn that Senri actually wants to quit being friends with Shiro after he succeeds in making the rice omelet. Senri has second thoughts, but then suddenly asks Shiro what he would do if his best friend was just pretending to like him. But before Shiro can answer, Senri tries to cut off the conversation and slams the door. Of course, as we see later, Shiro is weirded out over what happened.
The remainder of the volume provides Senri’s backstory, from how his parents met, to how his mother had raised him to treat life as if he’s an actor, and how this made things very awkward for him once he entered school. The backstory includes Senri making friends with a boy in elementary school, but ruined the friendship when Senri assumed that the two of them were “playing buddies.” This last part helped to explain Senri’s actions earlier with Shiro.
But not only does the backstory explain what happened earlier in this volume, it also explains Senri’s attitude and behavior that he showed when we first met him back in Volume One. I have to say that by the end of this volume, I was able to see Senri as a sympathetic character after reading his backstory. It also explains why Senri doesn’t think very highly of his mother, either. Considering how much Hime idolizes Sakura, it also shows the reader that Sakura is nowhere near the role model that Hime thinks she is.
As of this writing, I’ve only read Volumes One and Eight of this series. Fortunately, I was able to follow what was going on for the most part, even though I skipped several volumes. My main confusion at first came from Shiro, but I was lucky that this volume explained how Shiro and Senri had met. Outside of that, though, I didn’t feel hopefully lost due to the skip.
But after reading Volume Eight, it makes me want to chase down Volumes Two through Seven at some point in order to find out what happened to bring the story to where it is in Volume Eight. This volume also increased the appreciation I had after reading the first volume.
If you enjoy reading shojo manga and also have some kind of appreciation for voice acting, then you’ll probably enjoy reading Voice Over! Seiyu Academy.
I wrote this review after reading a review copy of Voice Over! Seiyu Academy Volume Eight that was provided to me by VIZ Media.