Voice Over! Seiyu Academy Vol. 9
Written by: Maki Minami
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media
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 Nine continues with Senri’s flashback that began near the end of Volume Eight. We see that Senti inadvertently hurt someone else who he thought was pretending to be his friend. After the flashback, Senri thinks he has to break off contact with Shiro in order to avoid hurting him. But Shiro is persuasive when he says that Senri’s omelet rice is tasty and full of heart.
In the previous volume, I had suspected that Shiro and Hime were one and the same, although nothing blatantly stated it. If I hadn’t skipped ahead seven volumes, I probably would have already known this face before it was blatantly stated in Volume Nine. This is a disguise that Hime has to take on in order to get male voice acting roles, due to gruff voice. If it were to come out that Shiro is really a girl, then Hime’s voice acting career would be over.
Unfortunately Shiro has never told Senri that he’s also a voice actor, so when the two bump into each other at a recording session for the same anime, things get awkward. Senri tries to act like he’s not close with Shiro at all.
With all that deception going on, there’s also Mizuki Haruyama keeping an eye on Hime, since she’s with his agency. We see Mizuki becoming jealous when he realizes just how close Hime has been with Senri while disguised as Shiro. The reader sees in his thoughts that he’s in love with Hime, but he hasn’t said a word to her about his feelings.
What I’m finding fascinating with Voice Over! Seiyu Academy is that it’s a shojo manga that’s not developing the straightforward love triangle. At this point, you have Mizuki interested in Hime, while Senri is trying to be friends with the disguised Hime and doesn’t seem to have any romantic interest in the protagonist. The “gender bending” hidden identity is also a nice touch, although I have a feeling that this is seriously going to come back and bite Hime in the butt somehow as the series progresses. I can only imagine how hurt and angry Senri would feel at such a time he learned the truth about Shiro’s identity. The fact that Shiro hid the fact of being a voice actor from him was hard enough on Senri, so I’d imagine finding out this friendship he’s trying to cultivate is based on a lie would hurt tremendously.
Even though I’ve only read Volumes One, Eight, and Nine of Voice Over! Seiyu Academy, what I’ve read has interested me enough that I want to chase down Volumes Two through Seven in order to have a more complete picture of what’s brought the series to this point. As I read more volumes of the series, I’ve come to gain a stronger appreciation for it.