The Sound of Your Voice

Ethan Hyun is the team leader of an editor team at Sam Publishing and is a very nerdy person. He loves comics, games, animated shows, figurines and recently he’s been into audio dramas. And better yet! He’s going to work with his favourite voice actor, Jimmy Kwak, after the company decides to publish an audio drama based on a book they’re published! But their first meeting was horrible, as Ethan injured Jimmy while on the train, and Jimmy thought he’s stalking him. Soon, however, they get along and when life almost throws them both onto the street, they end up living together and learn more about one another.

THOUGHTS
This. Is. So. GOOD! [insert lots of excited swearing] I’m done now or I’ll write way too much about it. Nah, just kidding. I was going to put this in a BL batch, but I have so many things I want to write about it so it doesn’t work for a batch where I try to limit myself to some quick summary of thoughts. So let me just scream out my love for this title in a completely separate post.

The setting is kind of clichéd. Fan meets idol, idol meets fan, they fall in love, happy end! And two people become roommates and fall in love, happy end! People get kicked out and have to find someone random to live with or they can’t afford a place! One guy is gay, the other is not(?), they fall in love, happy(?) end! I’ve seen these before. Probably not all together, but still. There’s also the workplace romance thing which is an eyerollingly common trope. Yeah, this is a ridiculously clichéd setting. But it works, because it allows for a focus on the characters.

To begin with, it’s a really cute webcomic. You can assume Ethan and Jimmy will get together right from the start and then they live together and sleep in the same bed because Ethan keeps falling off, so in that sense, it’s very predictable, but then we look at the characters. And it’s not really about the boys’ love anymore but about two adults with different backgrounds trying to get through life, and end up dealing with their past, present and future together in a way they never expected they would.

Both of them have… maybe heavy isn’t the right word to describe them both, but they carry things from their past that weigh them down while they both work with something they both enjoy. I mean, obviously, Jimmy has a past where he was stalked (it comes up in the first chapter so no spoilers there) and on top of that, he carries a lot of expectations from others, not to mention judgements people have because of who he is and his background. Ethan carries a dark, dark past. That much we learn early, but what exactly is kind of slowly unravelled as the story goes along, although it is very early hinted at. And he has an ex-boyfriend who clearly seems to have issues letting go.

I guess this is going to be a major spoiler, so just completely skip this if you want nothing of that, but you might want to know it gets dark. That warning said this title deals with domestic abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety and violence. All related to the dark past I just mentioned. These are, sadly, things that have been part of my life as well (and I’m pretty open about it even though I don’t generally talk about it) so when I say that I feel like the way it’s handled with Ethan’s reactions and feelings and Jimmy’s acceptance and wish to support Ethan is great, I really mean it from the bottom of my heart. Ethan tries to forget his past and hide from the thoughts and memories he has, but the past will always be there with us and it makes Ethan break down and he has panic attacks (another thing I know all too well from experience). It doesn’t help that his ex and his friends are part of that past and his ex, in particular, can trigger thoughts of and memories from it. So this story ends up being more about overcoming the darkness one carries than two guys hooking up.

I just feel like Jimmy’s background was kind of lost. I get some of it – like the rich kid thing – but it didn’t get the same focus or in-depth story-telling as Ethan’s did and that’s probably the one thing I’m a bit sad about. But I’m happy regardless because these guys got together and they both had the possibility to grow and find some happiness and relief in their lives and in one another.

Would I recommend people reading this? Yes! I think it’s a very good story which deals with humans very much as they are, while the characters have room to grow, and there are funny parts mixed with the dark parts. And Jimmy and Ethan are so cute! I would honestly have been happy even if they ended up just being friends and I really wish people would read this even if they weren’t into BL. Sadly I know lots of people would stay away because it’s BL for various reasons, but they really do miss out on a great title that doesn’t actually have that much “gayness” in it.

What would you like to see a review of next? Let me know in a comment!

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