Rating: 4/5 – Is Unrequited Love Still Love?
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow.
“My Love is a solitary flower…one that will never blossom,” muses brainy, athletic Sumika in the first chapter of Takashi Ikeda’s Whispered Words, a yuri manga that explores her desire to be more than just a friend to longtime pal Ushio. And while Ushio shares Sumika’s passion for her own gender, she prefers a particular type of girl. Girly girls. Cute, feminine girls. In other words, the kind of girl Sumika definitely is not.
Given the omnibus size of this first volume of the series, Sumika and Ushio’s is a love story that will not find a quick resolution. Fortunately, that isn’t necessarily going to be a bad thing, as Ikeda’s blending of words and images do a good job of keeping the reader’s interest from storyline to storyline. We see most of the narrative through the eyes and words of Sumika as she struggles to be everything she imagines Ushio would want in a partner. Ushio constantly and sometimes unwittingly cruelly keeps Sumika in the fabled ‘Friend Zone’, not realizing the efforts Sumika is making. Of course, if Sumika would simply say what needs to be said, there might be a quicker resolution, but then we’d have no story. It’s Sumika’s silence, of course, that give the title its meaning.
Just as Ushio is blind to Sumika’s advances, Sumika is ignorant of her own suitor. Masaki, a cross-dressing male, wants Sumika to just notice him, but again, the words unspoken, or spoken in relative silence, prove to be his undoing. Like any good yuri, the pursuit of desire is the real thrust of the story, and Ikeda’s woven a nice web of romance, with some interesting twists and turns, the introduction of interesting side characters with stories of their own, and solid artwork that gives these characters strength and presence. Fans of yuri manga, don’t let this one pass you by.
Whispered Words promises to take a while to tell its tale of unrequited love, but with writing and artwork this compelling, it also promises to be time well spent. The love triangle of Sumika, Ushio and Masaki may not be one easily resolved, but is any love worth having ever easily achieved?
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow – firstname.lastname@example.org
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