Whisper Me a Love Song – Anime Outlook




Akira Mano
Series Composition:
Hiroki Uchida
Character Design:
Minami Yoshida
Sub Character Design:
Ouji Ryuunosuke

Art Direction:
Soushi Kuwashima
Photographic Direction:
Takahiro Kita
Colour Design:
Yuuichi Furuichi

Wataru Maeguchi, Hiroshi Sasaki
Sound Direction:
Fumiyuki Gou, Nozomi Nakatani
Animation Work:
Cloud Hearts, Yokohama Animation Lab

Two of my favorite mangas were being adapted this year: The Witch and the Beast and Whisper Me a Love Song. I was extremely excited for them, but also extremely nervous when The Witch and the Beast was assigned to Yokohama Animation Lab and Whisper Me a Love Song was assigned to Cloud Hearts due to both of their recent anime not being all that great. The Witch and the Beast anime has long been out; as of writing this article, we’re 10 episodes into that show. And it’s very hard to say if that show’s production/performance will even matter for how this show goes. The Witch and the Beast’s adaptation was, in my opinion, pretty solid, but not for any production reasons. It was more the individuals like the director, the art director, the great compositing at times, and specific boards that really brought out the aesthetic of the show, whereas the limiting animation and janky models were what were bogging the show down.

Due to issues we’ll delve into later, Whisper Me a Love Song was delayed to Spring 2024 from Winter 2024, and now it is a collaboration between Cloud Hearts and Yokohama Animation Lab. With more time to work and now becoming a collaboration project, the main question is: will the production be better than their previous works? And can it be a more successful adaptation than Winter’s series, The Witch and the Beast? To answer that we’ll look at the different factors of the production and the PV that was released just today.

Director Change

One of the most notable things about the whole production is that we had a director change and a huge delay that stemmed from that. While it is not a great thing to have a director change, I believe there are positives and negatives to be taken from the situation. The original director for this anime was supposed to be Xinya Cai, who is fairly new to the anime industry herself. She doesn’t have many credits, and most of them are in Cloud Hearts or Yokohama Animation Lab productions. If they aren’t, like in her appearance in Arte, it is notable that the director for Arte, Takayuki Hamana, has fairly good relationships with Yokohama Animation Lab. So Xinya Cai would have been a fairly fresh in-house director who would be making her directorial debut. However, due to an illness, she had to resign, and here comes Akira Mano to replace her. Akira Mano has not helmed a series himself in a very long time.

But make no mistake, he’s as much of a veteran as you can get, which is the complete opposite of Xinya Cai who can be considered a newcomer to the industry. Is Akira Mano an upgrade or downgrade to Xinya Cai? Truly I don’t think it can be quantified at a realistic level. We don’t really know what Xinya Cai is capable of and even with her leaving the project, her influences might still be in the show either way, Akira Mano has not directed a series in quite a while and he’ll be picking up work left over from another director. It’s going to be very hard to tell who would have done a better job even after the show came out.

I admittedly have not fully watched any of Mano’s shows, but I did see a couple of episodes of Ghost Hunt with him directly boarding the first episode. He has a very good eye for cool framing and transitions, somewhat reminiscent of Masoami Andou’s paneling style, but it’s a bit more organically integrated into the actual episode.

It’s possible that Mano’s framing style will be making an appearance again in Whisper Me a Love Song.

Due to my lack of experience with the director and the circumstances mentioned already, it’s very hard to gauge their performance on the show and that’s about all I have to say about him. Overall with how much time was provided to the show (this show was delayed a whole season, around 4 months), I don’t think the director change will be a large part of the concern for me, and with how other Cloud Heart/Yokohama shows have gone, it might have benefitted production-wise from the delay.

My First Impression on the Latest PV!

We can speculate all day about the director change and delays, but I believe that looking at the footage that has been released is probably the best way to go about it. Much like before, Minami Yoshida‘s character designs are fully displayed here, capturing the essence of the original manga designs nearly perfectly! She did a great job. A lot of the original art style’s uniqueness comes from the amazing flowy linework in the hair and the rather “organic” shapes of features in the face. Typically, these are elements that are a bit hard to adapt into anime, as it’s difficult to maintain consistent features in character designs across multiple drawings with those types of details. This is a more common trend with light novels (rather than manga, but Eku Takeshima‘s manga art style has an exceptional level of detail), where these tend to be defining features. When adapted into an anime, it often looks bland and generic because the complexity in the art just can’t be maintained. Minami avoids most of that by choosing what and how to simplify said features. For example, the hair is quite simplified from the manga, but the choice of strands that are kept and the slight shine that is maintained allows it to retain much of the original aesthetic, which I believe is the main positive takeaway for most people.

Another positive aspect I wanted to highlight is that the compositing is pretty nice. It can be a little bright in some parts, but considering how fluffy and cute this manga can be, I do think it fits the pure-natured relationship of our main characters. I also love how bright and bold they kept everyone’s color palettes. I was expecting everything to be a bit more subdued, but this anime’s color scheme is overall very bright and unique in certain ways, not to the point of being in your face or anything. I think most fans of the manga will be completely satisfied with the character designs and overall art style of the show as long as the studio can maintain it (which they weren’t able to do all the time with The Witch and the Beast last season). Though with the show being delayed, I would hope that gave them enough time to at the very least maintain the consistency of the models throughout the show’s entire run to an acceptable level. The animation shown in the trailer isn’t much, but I do think you have to appreciate that it even moves. If you’ve ever watched Cloud Heart and Yokohama’s previous works like The Great Cleric or The Kingdom of Ruins, you’ll know that it is not always a given in their animes. In the PV there are at least small details like the hair moving, the clothing moving, and the expressiveness in the facial features, all of which bode well for the anime. I believe that, in most aspects visually, everyone should be happy with it. Since slice-of-life animes, typically don’t need the best animation ever; it just needs to be of acceptable quality, which I think at a minimum, this completely meets.

It’s a bit hard to gather your thoughts on a PV like this, and you’ll just have to see for yourself, but from what I see, I have a fairly positive expectation for the show. At the very least, assuming they’re on model, I think the character designs and overall aesthetics are wonderful. I forgot to mention it earlier, but they actually have a clothing designer for this show in Ryuunosuke Ouji, and just looking at the trailer, you can tell it paid off quite well. This continues the trend of a majority of Yokohama Animation Lab anime having great designs/aesthetics, but I think what will be most interesting to see is if Whisper Me a Love Song, unlike those other shows, can maintain its production. I’m hopeful it will, but we won’t know until it comes out with several episodes. I’ll be right there when it comes, and I hope you are too!

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