“Calling Out To You” – Voices of a Distant Star (manga) – 6/10 Pumpkin Pies

Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones, as the wind blows out the candle and blows up the bonfire. ~Francois de la Rouchefoucauld

Mangaka: Makoto Shinkai and Sumomo Yumeka

Genre: Romance/Sci-fi/Drama/Mecha

Review Status: Complete (1 Volume/1 Volumes)

Licensed: No. this manga is not licensed in the US currently, but it was formerly licensed by Tokyopop.

Art: Light and sketch-like. There really isn’t solid shading, it’s mostly in shades of gray and done lightly. The character designs and layout are pretty solid and true to the anime.

Summary: To what distance would you go for your one true love? In the midst of an alien invasion, Mikako joins the resistance, leaving behind the one young man she loves. As she goes deeper into space, Mikako’s only connection with her boyfriend is through cell-phone text messages. The war rages on and years pass, but Mikako barely ages in the timelessness of space while Noboru grows old. How can the love of two people, torn apart by war, survive? (Tokyopop)

Review: There are a few things that make a manga. One is the art and whether you can stand to look at it. The other two are the story and the characters, which combine to make something enjoyable. This manga mixed them in a way that leaves me with confused feelings.

On one hand, the characters and sentimentality this manga evokes are strong and moving. This manages to capture the longing for a loved one, impossibly far away, in a way that really speaks to anyone who has had to be far away from their own family and loved ones. Being away from them is hard in the first place- being away from them for years at a time, rarely in contact, and not knowing when you’ll ever see or speak to them is something else.

What mars that wonderful feeling of longing that is so exquisite in its presentation is the whole premise. People are randomly selected to be pilots of very large, expensive machines. The idea that any government, no matter how desperate, would throw people at random into these machines and then send them into a war zone is completely unbelievable. There’s no sign that there is some sort of shortage of people who are over the age of 18 and are smart, intelligent, and able to be pressed into service if it’s that desperately needed- one need only take a look at how Israel manages its army to see that it can and is done. However, it’s just taken as a matter of course for this lottery to exist.

Unfortunately, this means a lot of the feelings and sorrow I had were constantly interrupted by the thought that no government would ever do such a thing and made the whole storyline stupid and ridiculous.

Overall, suspension of disbelief is necessary to create a world that the reader can get lost in, and that failed hard in that respect, which ruined the emotion that the manga had.

Recommended: 10+. There are brief mentions of death- there is a war going on- but there is no language, no fanservice, and the worst there is in terms of gore are the burn scars on a victim of the attacks.

Other titles you might enjoy:
5 Centimeters Per Second (anime)
The Place Promised In Our Early Days (anime)
Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below (anime)
Saikano (anime)
Ef- A Tale Of Memories/A Tale of Melodies (anime)
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (anime)


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