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The Spring 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Whisper Me a Love Song

How would you rate episode 1 of
Whisper Me a Love Song ?
Community score: 4.0

What is this?


At the high school entrance ceremony, a band performs for the incoming freshman. One student, Himari, "falls" for the band's vocalist Yori. When she encounters Yori at the shoe locker, she "confesses," thinking she's just become an avid fan. Yori misinterprets Himari's confession of love for her music and genuine romance and so begins a story of misunderstandings.

Whisper Me a Love Song is based on a manga series by Eku Takeshima. The anime series is streaming on HIDIVE on Saturdays.

How was the first episode?

James Beckett

I may whinge about how my joints have begun to creak and moan in the face of the ever-present specter of time, but it's always funny to sit down and watch a show that reminds me of all the ways I have not changed one bit over the years. If you went back in time to visit the long-ago year of 2008 and ask Little James what his ideal definition of a “hot girl” would be…well, to be honest, he probably would say something super cringy about emotionally damaged pilots of giant red monster-killing robots. If you managed to break him out of the Weeb Zone for a few seconds to give a somewhat less humiliating response, he definitely would describe something to the effect of, “A badass chick who plays guitar in a rock band!” Then, once you got him on the track of “music” and “romance”, he will probably talk your ear off about Broadway musicals and concept albums for far too long. It will only take a few minutes of Little James passionately arguing about why Ludo's Broken Bride EP is secretly the greatest album ever made to realize why this kid is going to need a little more time in the oven before he gets his first girlfriend.

Anyway, the point is that I am a hopelessly biased and pathetically easy mark for any love story that involves one or more individuals crooning about their feelings with the help of a guitar. Whisper Me a Love Song takes the fundamentally golden concept of “Dorks who can only express what is in their hearts with the power of music” and applies the equally powerful gimmick of its two leads being disastrously not-straight anime girls. Refreshingly, none of the cute melodrama that we get in this show seems to be rooted in the characters being ostracized or tormented because of their sexuality. Yori is a quiet and introverted gal who only really seems comfortable with a six-string in her hands and a song on her lips, but she doesn't seem conflicted or troubled at all when she assumes that an adorable first-year is confessing love to her. Yori's friends are super supportive right from the get-go, and all of Yori's troubles stem more from her being shy and awkward every day, making it tough for a girl to know how to respond to matters of the heart. Himari, for her part, doesn't seem to be primarily concerned with romance of any kind but it seems fairly clear to me that her hyper-fixated fangirling stems from a much deeper reservoir than simply admiring Yori's musical talents. Yori might have to step back and take things slow on account of misinterpreting Himari's enthusiasm as a love confession, but I do not doubt that the feelings will become mutual before long.

I enjoyed this one. It's simple and sugary-sweet in all of the right ways. The fact that the leads have such clear and likable personalities means that the show is a pleasure to watch even when the stakes are relatively low and the gags are relatively low-key. If your summer season is looking light on love, so far, then make sure to add Whisper Me a Love Song to your watchlist.

Richard Eisenbeis

As with many romance stories, Whisper Me a Love Song begins with a misunderstanding. After seeing a student band perform at school, Himari, an outgoing freshman girl, confesses her love to Yori, the main vocalist of that band. Of course, the trick is that Himari means she loves Yori as a fan—though she fails to mention that part.

So what we get in this episode is Yori dealing with her romantic feelings for the first time. She has never had a romantic partner—never been confessed to before. Himari's confession completely blindsides her. She has to put in serious mental effort to decide if she wants to go out with Himari or not. However, once she decides that she would like to date Himari and responds in kind, it's only then that she realizes the misunderstanding.

This leaves Yori at a bit of a crossroads. While Himari does not see Yori as a love interest, Yori sees Himari as one. And while the impetus for those feelings was a misunderstanding, now they are here and real. The question is what does she do with them? Does she act on them or let them fade away?

Luckily, Yori doesn't rush one way or the other. Because of this, she gets to know Himari better—learning that her attraction to the younger girl is more than just skin deep. With that, our romantically inept heroine decides to win the heart of her first fan—and, in all honesty, seems to be a natural at it.

All praise aside, if I were to point out a weakness in this episode, it would be the music. While certainly above average, you need a song that blows you away when it comes to life-changing musical moments like the one this series is based around. But aside from that, it seems like a good effort on all fronts. I'm ready to see where it all goes.

Nicholas Dupree

Sometimes, it feels like everything needs a gimmick. In a media-saturated landscape, it's tempting for creators to grasp onto some twist or subversion to stand out. While those types of stories can turn out great, there's something to be said for sticking to rock-solid fundamentals. When it comes to a good romance, you don't need any fancy gimmicks or wacky add-ons; all you need is two awkward idiots making one another's heart go doki-doki. That's something Whisper Me a Love Song understands, which lets this premiere be charming, sweet, and funny in equal measure.

On the one side, we have Himari, an overactive puppy of a girl who shows affection for anything and everything with total abandon. She'll hug friends, loudly declare how much she loves someone or something, and rarely spare a thought for how others might take her actions. Introduce her to Yori, who looks and carries herself with impeccable coolness, but inside is a nervous loner who catches feelings the moment a pretty girl with a prettier smile looks her way. Combine the two, and you have a recipe for tragically comedic misunderstandings to solid and funny results in this episode. I especially appreciate Yori's friend group egging her on – and teasing her – through the whole thing. They add a lot of energy to the dialogue while letting Yori hash out her feelings rather than bottling them up, and in general, there's just a lot of good chemistry here.

The visuals are decidedly pedestrian, but it's clear that the folks involved are trying to make the most of limited resources. At its best, the pacing and direction feel reminiscent of Sasaki & Miyano, capturing the tingling thrill of first love alongside the shivering nervousness of putting feelings to words. The opening performance is heavily referenced, if not outright rotoscoped, but makes for a lively introduction to the voice for which Himari falls head over heels. Yori's solo musical moments are much more humble, but that works quite well for the scenes, distilling an awkward, tentative intimacy between her and Himari that does a lot to sell their potential relationship.

I don't think this premiere or show will blow anyone's mind, but it's hitting all the beats you want from a romance right on time. The characters are simple but endearing when they're together. The music is solid and fitting for the new emotions the story explores. The visuals are modest, but they know where to put their priorities to make the story work. It's good stuff, and I'll certainly be back for more.

Rebecca Silverman

There's a fascinating fiction out there that says that you must have experienced something to be able to write about it. Mostly, this pertains to romance – no one tells a would-be mystery author that they need to go out and commit a murder to be able to write about one. But for Yori, the idea that she can't write a love song without ever being in love is more of a convenient excuse, or at least that's what it feels like. Although we don't necessarily know it at the time the issue comes up, Yori isn't actually part of the light music club she performed with at a school assembly, and that suggests that what she doesn't want to do is be part of a club rather than not wanting to compose music.

That's reflective of how a lot of Whisper Me a Love Song's source manga frames things: the obvious answer isn't always, or even often, the correct one. We see that once again in this episode when Himari, the enthusiastic puppy of the story, tells Yori that she's fallen in love at first sight, only to turn out to actually mean that she's become a superfan of her music. This opens the door to questions of what Himari thinks “love at first sight” means or why she doesn't equate it with romantic love; refreshingly, that doesn't seem to be similar to Yori's previous statement about never having been in love. There's a real spectrum of romantic orientations here, and that's not always something we see in this kind of story. One or both of them could easily be demi-romantic or aromantic, and that gives the series a chance to differentiate itself from its fellows.

None of that means that this is a perfect first episode. I don't love Himari's breathless voice, and I think Yori's feelings move a little too quickly; while I appreciate that they need to move the plot along at a good pace to capture viewers' interest, it's a little too disjointed here. It also feels like Miki, Maa-chan, and Kaoru are extraneous, thrown in to pad out the cast, and although that may change going forward, right now, it's just more names to remember. But despite these issues, this contains much of what I love about the manga, and Yori's songs are gentle enough to make it plausible that Himari could fall for them so quickly. Even if this wasn't one of my favorite yuri manga, I think it's off to a good start, giving us a taste of what's to come.

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