Ah, Kuroda Iou’s Sexy Voice and Robo. I must say, I love this manga. Not because of the characters, though they’re all really engaging and interesting to watch, and not because of the story, though it is very entertaining and its premise is unique. No, I love Sexy Voice and Robo because of the art.
It is so damn good that it makes me cry.
Before I get into all that, at least a basic introduction is in order. Sexy Voice and Robo is the tale of two unlikely partners. Hayashi Nico, codename: Sexy Voice, is a quick-witted junior high girl who makes money on the side as a telephone dating girl. Men call her up to talk to her about anything and everything, and she charges them for it. Nico has an uncanny talent with voices. Not only can she manipulate her own voice to sound like myriad individuals so as to fool her clients, but she can also figure out what a person looks like just by hearing them talk. She aspires to be either a detective or a fortuneteller, but she’s not really sure.
The other member of this duo is Sudo Iichiro, a hopeless loser of a man who is actually one of Nico’s most frequent unwitting clients. Often times, when he thinks he’s talking to a busty 20-something (he’s quite a breast man), it’s actually just Nico in disguise. Iichiro earns his nickname of Robo from his large toy collection featuring some of the most beloved non-copyright-infringing giant robots Japanese youth has ever known. He basically provides the muscle, though he doesn’t have all that much muscle to speak of.
Together, Sexy Voice and Robo solve crimes and mysteries, though neither is particularly altruistic. Nico is in it for the thrill, and Iichiro often has no idea what’s going on even at the very end.
Now then. The art.
Based on the image I posted above, I think you can tell that this is quite different from a lot of manga around. There’s a complete lack of screen tones. The brush strokes do not try to conform to some standard of organization. There is considerable skill behind the brush, but more importantly there is considerable freedom in it as well. It knows the rules but chooses not to follow them, and the result is one of the most visually engaging comics I have ever seen. Things that seem like mistakes and may very well count as mistakes don’t feel that way on the page.
Due to this heavy brush style, the characters and backgrounds blend together while remaining distinct. They are not actors on a stage. They are not figures in a story. They are a part of the comic.
Truth be told, one of the big reasons why I like this so much is that it resembles my own drawing style but much much better. Just looking at the pages inspires me to be something more than I already am, as daunting a task as that may be.
Sexy Voice and Robo. Not only is the work beautiful from an aesthetic standpoint, but every page makes me feel the flow of energy and creativity from person to paper. I can’t recommend this enough, if only for the eye candy, though eye candy may not be the right word for it.
How about this:
Sexy Voice and Robo: Eye Full Course Meal with Balanced Nutrition and Tons of Exquisite Flavor.