Wave, Listen to Me!, from mangaka Hiroaki Samura is a seinen slice of life manga published in English by Kodansha Comics and was originally published in Japan’s Monthly Afternoon. Wave, Listen to Me! Volume 1 has chapters one through eight and I’m going to be honest, this is farthest thing I expected from the creator of Blade of the Immortal and as a nearing 30 year old anime fan with some anger management issues, this is just the series for me. Centered on Minare, Wave, Listen to Me! shows what happens when this disgruntled woman ends up on the airwaves instead of being stuck in her day job.
In Wave, Listen to Me! Minare Koda, a floor manager at a small restaurant named Voyager in Sapporo, is trying to deal with her bad breakup with an ex-boyfriend. After getting drunk, she vents to a stranger at a bar about her man troubles. The following day, she discovers that the man works as a producer at a nearby radio station, when she hears the broadcast of her drunken ramblings. With her messy life made open to the world, she storms the station in a rage, only to be duped into joining a talk show, and her anger and lack of restraint makes her an instant favorite with listeners. When Minare realizes that her voice gains her more attention and money than her work at the restaurant, she ends up becoming a late-night radio talk show host at the same station, trying to balance her talk show with her daytime life to make ends meet.
Also an anime, Wave, Listen to Me! is a title that nails the messy life of adult women in a way that not many others in the genre do. Minare is immediately recognizable as someone I know and even myself at certain parts of my life. She has bad luck with men and a hard time controlling her emotions – or even exhibiting the right ones. What is great about her as a character is that Samura takes time to showcase her as a whole human being, as a complex character with motives for her emotional moments.
In Minare, I see a woman not only allowed to get angry, but succeeding because of it. Manga, like all media, female characters are usually held to such a high standard that doesn’t allow them to be a mess, to struggle with emotions that are not soft. This is specifically why demographics like josei and seinen are important because they allow women to be shown in more adult and less ideal ways – they’re real in most of these stories. This translates to the art in Wave, Listen to Me! as well.
Breaking from traditional manga style, this volume feels pulpy which allows for Samura’s story to feel raw. There is also a messiness to the illustrations that increases during more chaotic moments. This keeps Wave, Listen to Me! interesting from start to finish. That said, Minare is a force of nature on the page which makes some of the other characters read as one-dimensional. While this isn’t a large critique, it something I hope develops over the next four volumes and given the way the anime develops, I’m sure Samura will.
Overall, Wave, Listen to Me! is a great read, especially for manga fans looking for a story that takes the rage from a messy breakup to the page. I can see Minare’s story being cathartic for many women and honestly just adults struggling in their jobs and just looking for something to go right.
Wave, Listen to Me! is available from book sellers now.
Wave, Listen to Me!
Wave, Listen to Me! is a great read, especially for manga fans looking for a story that takes the rage from a messy breakup to the page. I can see Minare’s story being cathartic for many women and honestly just adults struggling in their jobs and just looking for something to go right.