Whispered Words, Vol. 3

By Takashi Ikeda. Released in Japan in three separate volumes as “Sasameki Koto” by Media Factory, serialized in the magazine Comic Alive. Released in North America by One Peace Books.

In this final omnibus of Whispered Words, both Sumika and Ushio have come to terms with their feelings for the other, but Sumika realizes that there’s also other aspects to life besides love, and that staying together forever is not necessarily something easy to achieve. The rest of the cast watches the two of them struggle as they march towards graduation. And their own struggles and successes are also seen throughout, as we watch Mayu’s burgeoning crush and social ineptness come together in a horrible way, Akemiya being clueless about his love life but finding that he enjoys his newfound career, and Kyori being blissfully ignorant of everything.

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As the cover might suggest, everything really does work out in the end. There’s a certain amount of angst on Sumika’s part, though, as she has to content with realizing that Ushio really does love her back, her family’s expectations for her “taking over the dojo” (meaning siring an heir), what she plans to do for a career (sports medicine? she’s not sure), and the fact that they aren’t in school anymore so she may not be seeing Ushio on a regular basis. Last volume we had a major Ushio breakdown, this time it’s Suminka who does the crying, as she realizes that she may have realized everything too late to do something about it. Ushio, meanwhile, has matured after her experiences in the last volume, and really comes into her own here, especially after being voted Student Council President. Admittedly, she and her brother are still playing “I can sacrifice my happiness for my sibling better than you”, but luckily neither of them succeeds.

A lot of this volume is told in a non-straightforward manner, which seems oddly fitting. There are flashbacks and present-day panels mixed together so that you really have to pay attention to the black borders to realize where you are. There’s lots of wordless dialogue, including whole pages where we see the characters dealing with fallout (usually caused by Mayu), but don’t hear them. We get the story of Ushio’s brother and his ex-girlfriend, who still have feelings for each other, mostly in the one-page ‘extras’ after each chapter. Oh yes, and Cooking Papa shows up towards the end, for reasons I can’t quite figure out.

In the end, the happiness outweighs the angst, and we get an unabashedly happy ending. Sumika and Ushio are openly together, and while some of the school mutters about it most seem to accept it. Akemiya becomes a famous model, and seems to be friends with Lotte, who has gained about 3 feet in height and 3 cup sizes as she hits puberty like a truck. Kyori finally finds out what’s been going on, and after some brief worry that she was in the way (which she totally was), she gets over it. Food helps. Mayu and Koi finally finish their ‘we are Sumika and Ushio two grades lower’ dance around each other. And our main couple is happily holding hands, as their brother, at his wedding, suggests they can’t get married now but maybe someday?

That someday is now, actually, and I’d like to think Sumika and Ushio are taking a trip to Tokyo Disneyland in their future. In the meantime, this was a great end to an excellent yuri story, and I think it worked very well in the omnibus format. A fantastic release from One Peace Books.

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Comments

  1. I love this series, but tracking its release is tough. There’s still no listing on Rightstuf for the 3rd volume. I guess I’ll have to check in at my Friendly Local Comic Store.


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