Whisper Me a Love Song – Episode 1

By: Vrai Kaiser April 15, 20240 Comments
Yori and Himari's eyes meet on the roof at sunset

What’s it about? On her first day of high school, Kino Himari is enraptured by the upperclassmen band SSGirls and its lead vocalist, Asanagi Yori. When their paths cross, she can’t help blurting out that she fell in love at first sight. While Himari meant it as a fangirl, poor Yori is left flustered by her own “love at first sight.”

I imagine most of the people reading this site have seen a “useless lesbian” joke or two. Since society so often devalues affection between women and women’s agency over their own state of mind in general, it’s pretty common for queer women to downplay their own feelings as admiration or read ever more obvious romantic relationship developments as “just friendship.” And every single one of those self-deluding sapphics would turn to Himari and go, “girl, really?”

I had a wonderful time with Whisper Me a Love Song, but your experience will likely depend on how willing you are to stretch your disbelief over the premise. It’s possible the series tends to unpack Himari’s obliviousness, or that the premise is meant as a parody of the tendency to try and downplay romance between girls even when, say, both the girls are wearing wedding rings. But at least in this first episode, Himari crosses out of the realm of “kind of ditzy and oblivious” and sails into “excitable sea sponge who walks among us.” It stands out as the plot-starting contrivance it is, but the rest of the episode is so endearing I couldn’t get upset.

Yori's bandmate excitedly holding up the cat purse she used to bribe Yori

Since the future couple doesn’t get much time to actually interact, the actual stars of this episode are Yori’s wonderful bandmates. They’re all 110% behind Yori’s new raging crush on the freshman she met ten minutes ago for reasons ranging from genuine cheerleading to “this misunderstanding is going to be hilarious.” It’s heartwarming in a way that caught me off guard, so much that it was almost more fun watching Yori sputter and flail with her bandmates than talk to her crush. A good romance relies on the strength of its supporting cast, so this is a great sign for the story going forward.

I have to tip my hat to HiDive: they might not pick up many titles (about half of which are edgelord/fanservice fare), but their hit rate for prestige picks is becoming more impressive by the day. Like its slice-of-life cousin Sasaki and Miyano, Whisper loves skies colored gently by sunset, abstract shapes floating through the air to convey equally abstract feelings, and excellent chibi face goofs. It looks soft and romantic in all the right moments, which is an unexpected relief after the show’s production struggles—its original director had to step down due to health issues, and it was bumped from its original premiere date in January. Coproduction studios Cloud Hearts and Yokohama Animation Lab last worked together on The Great Cleric, which was…. Not promising. It leaves me a little on guard for future episodes, but none of those struggles show so far. In an overall unremarkable run of premieres, this is a sweet note to close out on.

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