Disclaimer: This piece is submitted by one of our fans. We hope you enjoy it.
2016 was a wonderful year for animated movies in general, Zootopia and Moana in the occidental animation. In the anime industry, we had great films like Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa), In This Corner Of The World (Kono Sekai No Katasumi Ni), A Silent (Koe no Katachi, and today we want to revisit the last one.
A Difficult Topic Aboard by An Anime Movie
Bullying has always been a difficult topic to talk about. Even now, with all the tools we didn’t have 30 years ago, it’s still taboo for society; however, several movies and shows have touched the subject but in a superficial way and mostly shown one face of the coin. But what happens when you talk about the other side?
A Fresh Movie
The animated kids movie, A Silent Voice, looks at a different angle to talk about the bullying, not what happens to the victims, but what the consequences are for the bullies. It portrays what happens to them after they get caught; this is one of the main themes of the film.
- Based on the manga with the same name written and drawn by Yoshitoki Ōima
- Adapted by the studio Kyoto Animation
- Directed by Naoko Yamada, A Silent Voice is a fresh movie about bullying, depression, suicide, and friendship.
The story is about Shoya Ishida, a high school student with suicidal thoughts. With flashbacks of his past in sixth grade, we see what led the high schooler into considering suicide.
Everything started with the incorporation of Shoko Nishimiya, a deaf girl who wants to fit in with her classmates. Irritated by not being able to communicate with her, Shoya starts bullying and harassing her until he’s expulsed from his school. His friends turn on him, and he starts being bullied like he bullied Shoko.
Now in high school, he’s all alone with no friends or other interaction with people; he can’t even look people in the eyes. This is how he starts thinking about suicide but before he wants to compensate the people he hurt. One of them even learns sign language to apologize to Shoko and ask if they could be friends because that was all she wanted when they were kids.
The Other Side of the Coin
After Shoko’s incident, Shoya starts being tormented by his past actions. He loses his friends; nobody wants to involve with a bully; even though he regrets what he did, it doesn’t matter. Society turns its back on him, and now he has to suffer what Shoko suffered because of him.
This is an original way to aboard the topic, with the focus on the bully and their way to redemption. How he deals with the consequences of his sins, the isolation, the depression, the suicidal thoughts, the inability to make friends, and more themes are that play a role in Shoya’s character development.
What is “Friends”
Through the movie, you see Shoya’s difficulty interacting with people; he doesn’t even have a friend since he was a kid. Before he genuinely becomes friends with Shoko, first he has to learn what means to be friends. Everybody has thought about it at least once in their life, “what is to be friends?” It’s such a difficult question but the movie answers with a single scene. Quoting the character that answers all of Shoya’s doubts,
“Friendship don’t got to do with no rules or qualifications. Cuz it’s about something deeper, a bond, and you just can’t break that. Capisce?”
This movie has great characters that represent situations of the real life. Shoya would be a person who has bad in the past and now has changed but doesn’t let himself be happy. There’s another character who shows that sometimes people don’t change though they want it, a representation of how Shoya used to be and many more.
Though we love the characters, some don’t really do anything for the film. We can count three that really have importance in the film; however, others don’t have character development and you could remove them from the movie and it wouldn’t do a difference.
Good characters, but we wish they had more screen time and more story development.
Nothing in this film is put randomly; the scenarios, the colors, the cuts, and the transitions everything has a meaning.
Just a scene from a flashback of Shoko and other girls from her school it’s a perfect example, we won’t tell the details, but it represents the wish of Shoko to be accepted by her classmates.
There are other less subtle but as powerful as the previous example. The crosses instead of the faces of the people around Shoya and his fear of not being accepted. How these crosses fall, once he’s confident enough to be friends with that person, and how they come back to cover people’s faces when he’s afraid again.
We would define the soundtrack of A Silent Voice with one word “manipulate” but in a good way.
The themes composed by Kensuke Ushio make you feel the right emotion at the right moment, most of the songs are played on a piano, and the film is accompanied by images that will be imprint your mind.
There’s a moment in the final scene, and we can’t listen to the theme from the scene without remembering what was happening on the movie while it was being played.
Intense, Sometimes Too Much
It’s a drama well done but sometimes Naoko’s film is way too dramatic, especially in the scenes where Shoya and Shoko interact.
Don’t get me wrong, most of their scenes are good but it feels unreal in some scenes near the end.
And Shoko feels too good to be true, she’s a good girl that forgive everyone without getting angry, she feels more like a martyr than a character.
A Movie that Everyone Should Watch
This movie touches on a topic that’s still relevant nowadays; it has amazing animation. Well written characters, an astonishing soundtrack, and the original way Naoko Yamada treats different topics like bullying, isolation, harassment, loneliness, friendship, suicide, and more are plausible.
We would recommend it to everyone from anime lovers to new anime viewers to watch this kind of content very often; it sheds insights on some great topics in the best way possible.