Not counting my article considering animated series that I’d like to be renewed, since articles considering cancellation or renewal are the most popular on The Scratch Pad, the Franken Fran review that I re-posted here back in August is by far my most read piece of work on this website. Why? I believe that it is because very few people discuss it, so that post is where some people are getting their info about the manga. Ironically, the only reason I even learned that Franken Fran existed was because Y Ruler of Time stated he wasn’t going to review it in his Seven Sinful Series video from early 2009. Combining those two things have led to me making a certain decision: from now on, most of what I review will be obscure comics and manga that either no one knows much about or don’t want to touch with a thirty-nine and a half-foot pole. This could be considered a sister or follow-up review to Franken Fran in that aspect. Someone has to review this stuff, and it might as well be me. So, it is time to go behind-the-scenes of the eroge gaming industry…
Creator(s): Azure Konno
Average Chapter Length: 25 pages
Magazine: Comic Gum
Publisher: Wani Books
Original Run: December 23rd, 2008 – present (Japan only)
In case you didn’t leave to watch that video real quick, let me fill you in. Koe de Oshigoto!, or Koegoto for short, is a manga series about a 16-year-old girl, Kanna Aoyagi, who, feeling obligated to pay her older sister back for all the hard work she did in raising her, ends up working at Blue March: a eroge company. For those reading that aren’t perverts, eroge is a Japanese video game featuring erotic content. In short: I’m reviewing a comic from the Land of the Rising Sun that is about the production of dirty video games. But of course, that isn’t all: Kanna has an extremely overactive imagination, and thus she can easily put herself into the place of the character she is playing. This leads to her eventually coming to orgasm at the end of recording sessions. If you are uncomfortable with this already, then it might be a good idea to leave and stick to your good ol’ One Piece or Naruto Shippuden.
Surprisingly, there is a good amount of character development in this series: Kanna is slowly becomes comfortable with being a eroge seiyuu, we learn what drove her older sister Yayoi to create Blue March, etc. The jokes are a good mix of visual and verbal humour, with everything becoming ten times funnier once you discover who these people are and how they work. Due to the main subject matter, most jokes are sexual in nature: as such, if you aren’t a fan of sexual humour, then you can either drop the comic or dive in to see if Mr. Konno can change your mind. The handful of jokes that aren’t sexual are 100% character-based, in that it is just the actions, reactions or simple dialogue of the characters that make them work (e.g., a conversation between Kanna and her friends in earlier chapters).
The lineart in Koegoto is clean: every stroke is fine and precise, which is likely the result of the amount of time given to make each installment. Since Comic Gum is published on a monthly basis, Azure Konno is able to take his time to draw the manga. Because of this, he is able to create very detailed backgrounds and put in little things such as a loose strand of hair here or there, some wrinkles in a character’s clothes, et cetera. Coloring gets special mention here, since grey gradients and shadows are used here in a way that I’ve never seen done before.
The writing in Koe de Oshigoto! brings to mind slice-of-life, a genre of manga that got me hooked on the stuff in the first place. Strip away the erotic part of the main character’s voice acting job — hell, strip away the erotic part of Blue March — and you’ll find yourself with a story perfectly acceptable for a shōnen or shōjo audience. But I’d be lying if the charm in this comic doesn’t come from the main character clumsily trying to figure out sex and all things related. Kanna’s naivety and shyness towards things of a sexual nature is part of what makes this such a great read for me. There is also the fact that Koegoto is somewhat educational, guiding both Kanna and the reader through the world of voice acting: there is a lot of information in here that isn’t restricted solely to eroge voice actors. There is also the fact that everything is grounded and realistic for the most part. You can actually imagine a handful of these situations happening in real life, albeit in slightly different ways.
Bottom line? If you like sexual humour, check this out. If you like slice-of-life and can handle sexual humour, check this out. If you are interested in the other side of the industry whose works you might masturbate to, check this out. In fact, unless the idea of sex makes you sick to your stomach, check Koe de Oshigoto! out. It is a truly comedic experience that you won’t regret, as long as no one else is looking. There is no official English translation, but a simple Google search will give a scanlation as the first result. A several-episode OVA is being released, with the first episode having come out last month. See ya, and thanks for reading.