The movie “A Silent Voice” has worn various awards and received large amounts of fame over the 4 years it’s been released. The movie follows the story of a deaf girl called Shouko who joins the same school as Shoya, who starts to bully her because she is different. He goes as far as to throw her haring aids out the window and even makes her bleed in one instance. The bullying is only encouraged by Ueno, Shoya’s friend and possible admirer. Many viewers get the feel from the trailer that this is a one way one path love story must involving those two characters, you might think it’s about redemption or forgiveness. Well it’s not, well at least not all of it.
The main narrative of A Silent Voice follows the story of a deaf girl named Shouko, who is bullied in school because she is seen as different because of her disability. At the beginning of the story she uses a notebook to communicate with the other students via them writing questions in the book and Shouko writing her responses. At first it’s Ueno who makes fun of Shouko because of her notebook, but later Shoya, Ueno’s friend joins in with the bullying, teasing Shouko by stealing her hearing aids and discarding them. He also makes fun of the way she talks, as Shouko can’t hear the sound of her own voice. The bullying continues until Shouko’s mother is forced to make a formal complaint to the school, in an attempt to cease the bullying. When Shoya’s mother finds out about his behavior, she marches over to Shouko’s house with a large sum of money to pay for the hearing aids. Shoya’s mother apologizes on Shoyo’s behalf and promises that Shoya will never treat Shouko like this again.
After Shoya leaves school he joins Highschool where he bumps into Shouko after a long time. It’s revealed that she left the school that she was attending with Shoya because of the way he was treating her. She runs away from him and begins to cry. This is mainly where the story begins, and the past bullying school scenes were just a vision of the past. The rest of the story is Shoya trying to make it up to Shouko by learning sign language and slowly warning up to her. The two face many challenges together, as they are ridiculed by Shoya’s friend, Ueno because of the fact he used to bully her and Shouko’s mum, who doe’s not approve of their new relationship or the two being together.
Shouko Nishimiya works as the main protagonist alongside Shoya. From a teacher’s POV, it’s obvious that all Shouko wants to do in school is fit in and join her fellow classmates in learning and enjoying school life. Shouko’s character is a shy and kind one. She doesn’t seem to challenge anyone, and just generally tries to fit in, singing along with them etc. Shouko is a very loving character and acts in a very caring way, making it hard to watch when she is bullied and ridiculed.
Shoya Ishida doesn’t seem to act on his own interests and normally follows what everyone else is doing. This happens mostly in the first part of the movie, where Shoya keeps on bullying Shouko. Shoya doesn’t take responsibility for his actions until his maturity stage. Shoya is loud energetic and clumsy, much the opposite of Shouko. He isn’t very clever, normally conforming to what he is told.
The sub characters in A Silent Voice played a very vital role in the progression of the story between Shoya and Shouko, offering emotional support to both characters and acting as a way to vent out frustration and built up anger. The sub characters were written very well and this made them very relevant, also sub characters such as Uneo, who were only used a small amount during the first half of the movie are greatly added to and given depth near the end. I loved this about the movie and it made each character very significant and memorable, it’s also a brilliant example of character development done correctly in a movie.
Main Narrative Continued
The first half of the movie shows Shouko and Shoya’s past and the reason that he bullied her and interacted with her in the first place. It’s reveled that she just wanted to become his friend and this makes the story all the more emotional. The first scene after the prologue of Shouko and Shoya in school together sees both Shouko and Shoya run into each other at the new school they are attending. When Shouko recognizes that it’s Shoya stood in front of her she attempts to run away and hide. Shoya catches up with her and explains (in sign langauge) to Shiouko that the reason he was chasing after her was because she left her notebook. Later Shoya tries again to see Shouko but he is stopped by Yuzuru and told to leave. This is obviously the first in a string of attempts by Shoya to reach out to Shouko and this is where the rest of the movie leads off to, with a handful of other sub plots and twists as well, making it very exciting.
Later in the movie we see Shoya interreact with Yuzuru a bit more as he tries to get closer to Shouko. He explains his situation to Yuzuru and she becomes more sympathetic towards him. This moment is cut short however when Shouko’s mother discovers them, confronting Shoya by slapping him across the face as he realizes it’s her mother. It appears that Yaeko’s resentment for Shoya has not yet departed. The story progresses and later we see that Shouko’s mother start to resent Shoya less and less, as we see Shouko doesn’t seem to have a problem with him anymore. It’s a very interesting dynamic to consider and it sure helps build tension between the characters. This comes from mainly Shoya’s mother wanting what’s best for her daughter. The reason she acts this way is most likely because she obly wants whats best for Shouko and if Shouko is happy that’s all that matters.
Reasons A Silent Voice Is Worth Watching
First of all lets start with the obvious reason, the story. The story of A Silent Voice is a very good but touching one. It uses the disability of a deaf girl as its whole narrative structure. The fact that the story starts off with the bullying scenes at the start of the movie and then moves onto their time in Highschool makes the story easy to follow and understand. I loved the overall idea of this movie and that’s why I decided to give it a watch.
Illustration & Animation
The overall appearance of the animation of A Silent Voice is breath taking to say the least. I wouldn’t say it’s on the same level as A Garden Of Words for example, but for a movie that’s over 2 hours long it sure does look amazing. It seems as if every character has been drawn and then re drawn to perfection. The background of set pieces are very detailed and beautiful as well. I’d say even if the movie isn’t to your liking the way it looks will not be a problem for you, because t looks simply amazing, a lot of work definitely went into this production and this is very evident from the way its portrayed.
Interesting & Memorable Characters
There were a lot of memorable characters in A Silent Voice and they primarily played a role in the first part of the film, playing their role as Shouko’s classmates. Most of them don’t actually take part in the bullying and instead watch on and do nothing. They would later make more appearances in the movie, this would be to protest their innocence when asked about Shouko’s previous bullying by the other classmates.
Appropriate Antagonist Character
One of these characters that stuck out to me was Uneo. She would normally be the mina instigator of the bullying but would normally act innocent and never actually have to take responsibility as this would normally be covered by Shoya. The difference with Ueno is that the other students all realized that this sort of behavior was wrong, Uneo continues to display these patterns even in Highschool where she makes fun of both Shoya and Shouko for being together. She seems to be angry that everyone around her has moved on from being like this and treating Shouko like this and this makes her feel vulnerable and jealous. This is greatly increased when Shoya is in hospital.
Dialogue & Body Language
The dialogue is used pretty well in A Silent Voice and this is evident in most scenes particularly the sign language scenes. The dialogue is also structured in a very informative and careful sort of way that made it very easy for use to read the characters body language. I especially thought this was significant in the bridge scene involving Shoya and Shouko as it really captivated how both characters were feeling perfectly and their actually true intentions. Watch the insert below and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Symbolism & Hidden Meanings
There is another well thought thing in this movie which is how open people with disability are to start a relationships/friendships. This isn’t limited to people with a disability, but the same goes to those who don’t have appealing looks or are not that sociable like Nagatsuka.
Character Depth & Arcs
Throughout the movie we see various characters have depth given to them as well as see some characters go through a whole arc as well. Some people would argue this is only possible through longer content like series for example but it is completely possible in a movie such as A Silent Voice, in fact more so because of the length of the movie. A good example of this would be Ueno, who take son the role of the antagonist after the first half of the movie is complete. Still showing her resentment for Shouko even much later in the movie. Her initial hatred for Shouko seems to get bigger and bigger, more so after Shoya has to go to hospital after saving Shouko’s life. However, by the end of the movie we see she has changed a lot.
Great Ending (Spoliers)
In my opinion the ending of A Silent Voice was exactly what it needed to be. It offered a pretty conclusive ending, with most of the problems that arose at the start of the movie being flattered out and solve by the end. The ending would also see many of the other hardships that came about because of confrontations that were created as a result of Shoya’s actions being concluded and ended. This allowed the series to finish on a generally good note.
Reasons A Silent Voice Isn’t Worth Watching
Strange Ending (Spoilers)
The ending of A Silent Voice offers an interesting ending that supports appropriate conclusion as well. The ending sees many of the main characters from the start reunite and come together despite the conflicts that they were involved in throughout the movie. Characters such as Uneo and Sahara also make an appearance, thanking and apologizing to Shoya. I’m not really sure if the little confrontation between Ueno and Shouko at the end was supposed to be very malicious but it didn’t really fit in with me. I think it would have been better if the two just made up and became friends, but maybe it was an attempt to show that Ueno still hadn’t changed? That would seem a bit pointles to me and it wouldnt really accomplish anything that was supposed to conclude her characters arc.
During the second half of the movie when Shoya is in Highschool we see him interreacting with a number of characters who all claim to be his friend, such as Tomohiro for example, who’s voice acting history and overall presence very much annoyed me. I think that the writers could have done a lot more with his characters and not make him so unlikable. To me he just comes off as this needy loser who always hangs around Shoya for no proper reason other than “they’re friends”. There’s never an explanation into how the two became such good friends or how they became friends in the first place. In my opinion Tomohiro’s character had a lot of protentional, but only some of this was used evidently.
Incomplete Conclusion (Spoilers)
I was happy with the ending of A Silent Voice but I felt that they could have done something a little different with Shoya and Shouko’s relationship. I know this was expanded upon in the film with the two going spending time together while doing various other activities, but it felt like the two didn’t really get the ending they were supposed to, I was hoping for a much more romanticized ending, but I was still very much satisfied with the original ending.
Being over 2 hours long the story of A Silent Voice is a long one. It also may take a long time to get into, although this may not be the case with some viewers as if you’ve read the movie description you will know what the movie is about. This means it will be easier to sit through the first part of the movie.
The pacing of A Silent Voice is quite fast and this can make it hard to keep track of everything that’s going. The main reason for this is the fact that it’s been illustrated from book and each chapter is done in sections of the movie. This sometimes means the movie can head in a more fast paced way than how it did before or in the future, this is true of the bullying scenes during the first part of the movie. The pacing wasn’t a particular problem for me but it was still an apparent element that peaked my interest. Also I didn’t have many reasons not to watch A Silent Voice.
A Silent Voice offers a touching story with a good ending. There seemed to be an obvious message with the ending of this story. This story teaches a valuable lesson about bullying, trauma, forgiveness and most importantly love. I would have liked more of an insight into why Ueno resented Shouko so much and the reason she acted the way she did even right up to the end of the movie, I think that could have been concluded or explained better. A Silent Voice illustrates (very well) how a disability can negatively affect one’s self esteem, which pushes that person even further away from people around them.
I think the overall objective of this movie was to show the effects of bullying and to present a message, as well as to show the power of redemption and forgiveness. If this was the aim, A Silent Voice did a very good job at portraying it. I would honestly give this movie a go if you have the time, it’s definitely worth it and I’m sure you wont find yourself regretting it.
Rating for this movie:
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