Hoshi no Koe – also known as Voices of a Distant Star – is a manga about time and space, told through the perspective of a delicate romance between two separated lovers. It is a manga that, despite its short length, manages to capture deep subject matter regarding life and love. Even with all of its melancholy, it clings to the power of hope and patience, giving a bittersweet ending that is hopeful and optimistic but still fitting naturally into the manga’s pensive story.
We are two lovers… separated by time and space.
Hoshi no Koe details the delicate romance between two lovers, Mikako and Noboru, while also being wrapped around a sci-fi premise. Despite this, the manga chooses to approach its story in a realistic manner, focusing more on its human characteristics with the emotions and thoughts of its two central characters. Both Mikako and Noboru are interesting individuals that are easy to sympathise and relate to, and it is fairly easy to put yourself in the shoes of both of them as they deal with their own issues. Their inner conflicts, concerning problems with being forgotten, thinking about the future, and being aimless in life, are nuanced issues that are delivered excellently and given a layer of realism that makes this manga tug even deeper into your emotional heartstrings. The manga does a great job at creating characters alongside a story you can invest easily and deeply in, and it does not make that investment a disappointment as its ending is a perfect way to conclude its melancholic story. The ending brings a more hopeful and optimistic light onto the table, and it fits well as a natural conclusion.
Despite the manga focusing more on its human characteristics, its own sci-fi premise does a lot to picture interesting thoughts surrounding the pursuit of space and knowledge. Many of the people participating in the space mission are young and have their future seemingly taken away from them because of the pursuit of the beyond. While ten chapters is not enough to fully delve into these aspects of the story, they are still wonderfully told and are given a lot of intricate thought to them. They are merely short musings, but they capture the state of the members onboard, giving the manga an even stronger sense of personality and life.
The manga’s art style reflects perfectly the melancholic tone of this romance story, giving way to beautiful illustrations that do its job at conveying the emotional weight of the topics it touches on. Characters are drawn nicely, and their issues and struggles are portrayed clearly and smoothly by subtle gestures of behavior. Things such as gazing into the painful and fleeting moments of the past or being drifted away into a never-ending melancholic state are conveyed such that it makes this manga a captivating read as it perfectly illustrates the emotional weight of its themes.
Hoshi no Koe is a short manga that manages to do so much despite its length. Its themes surrounding life and love through the lens of a sci-fi premise – and its delicate and perfect execution of these themes through its story and characters – manages to pave the way for a manga that leaves an outstanding lasting impression, an impression that makes it nothing short of amazing. It is a short yet thoughtful work of fiction that leaves you gazing at the sky above, distant and detached from the world around you.