Sexy Voice and Robo Paperback – 15 Jun 2005
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
At some point, I kept on seeig this pop up in my recommendations, and on Listmania!, so I decided to give it a go. It helped that the hook was original, and the writer is just skilled enough to pull it off too :). Apparently, our heroine is just a little bit based off a friend of his (unnamed) that claimed to pretend to be a dating service at the age of 14.
The other characters are a hopeless otaku by the name of Robo, and a mysterious old man that hires hre. She solves cases, but the plot thickens near the middle, and her actions start to have consequences.
It's a good read, pick it up sometimes. If you're like me, it might take you a couple tries to look past the art, but it's well worth it. Also, his art improves later in the book.
Beware, though, it ends with a cliffhanfer ... and he doesn't appear to have written the second volume in the series yet. (Or, possibly, it just hasn't made it overseas.)
If you're looking for the usual kind of manga, you'll probably be disappointed. This is for people looking for something a little different...or maybe a lot different. The art sits somewhere between American comics and manga, but the sense and sensibility are pure Japan.
In the case of "Sexy Voice and Robo," you feel that Nico is only one person among many, which is just the right feeling for this type of story. This manga is all about the people. Or characters, if you prefer. What appeals in Sexy Voice are fleeting moments, small beautiful details, and many types of lives and ways to live them. It's definitely worth reading.
Also, I don't understand the complaints about Kuroda's artwork. While I have to admit his drawings are not as good as they are in "Japan Tengu Party Illustrated," or his "Nasu" series, his art always has this magical quality. His art has as much restraint and expressiveness as his writing. The only thing I can compare it to might be Hayao Miyazaki's animation.
It's a sad how few of Kuroda's works have been brought to America, but if you have anymore interest in his work, you might want to check out those that have been Scanlated by the public. That is, the kind souls who take it upon themselves to translate and edit manga which may never be picked up by publishers overseas and release them over the internet. "Japan Tengu Party Illustrated" and "Nasu" have been Scanlated in entirety by MangaScreeners, which is one of the oldest and best Scanlation groups out there.
The story follows 14 year old Nico. Her part time job is doing phone companionship. It's not so much phone sex, as phone chat with women, but lonely men tend to call in and the subject of panties comes up frequently. She sees the job as training to be a spy, and tries to recognize voices which she's gotten quite good at. Her skill of recognizing voices and meddling in the world around her soon lands her another job running errands to a mysterious older man. Meanwhile, she gets 25 year old "Robo" who collects toy robots (her nickname for him much to his chagrin) to run errands for her by telling him what to do via phone and then meeting him in real life as his phone girlie's kid sister. He's lonely and a tad socially awkward so he's easy to string along.
The graphics were OK. The quality of drawing varies widely from frame to frame, but characters can be distinguished, and that's what matters in telling a story.
The story lines for each chapter were self contained and had very little overlap. Main characters reappear, but each chapter has Nico going off on a new mission. Her missions have a playful quality in that she's practicing to be a spy and wants to do good deeds for everyone she meets. They range from serious missions like preventing the assassination of a soccer player, to lighter self-assigned missions like reuniting her boss with his 1940's girlfriend. From story to story we learn a little bit more about Nico and Robo.
Overall, this is worth looking at. It didn't pull me in, but some of the stories and mood linger.
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