If you’ve been living under the rock and haven’t seen Koe no katachi (A Silent Voice) yet, I suggest you watch it before reading because this review contains ~spoilers~
When I watched “Your name” for the first time, it easily became my most favorite movie. It was safe to say that no other anime could pull off such brilliance in such a short time span. However, I’m glad that I was wrong. Shoya Ishida’s heart wrenching yet heartwarming story only reminded me why I love anime so much. Koe no katachi (aka A silent voice) is a story of redemption rather than romance. A story that teaches us how atonement and reconciling with the consequences of our actions can help us open up to the world in a brighter way.
PLOT OF KOE NO KATACHI:
This movie is an emotional rollercoaster that dabbles with issues such as disability, bullying, social anxiety, depression, self-loathing, suicide and the inability of people to connect with others. The story starts with Shoya Ishida who is a troublemaker. When Shoko Nishimiya, who happens to be deaf joins the school, she is constantly rejected by many of her classmates. Especially Ishida who bullied her to the point where she is scarred both physically and psychologically. However, in the due course of time karma catches up with him. He ends up being ostracized to the point where he even contemplates committing suicide. As a result, Ishida turns into an awkward man who cannot look into people’s eyes. Whenever a character would pass by him, they had an X on their faces. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t move me.
The most realistic part of this movie is the human depiction of each character’s personality. Each and every character is flawed to the point where they will lie, cheat or backstab in order to survive. Naoko Ueno too bullies Shoko in elementary school by talking behind her back since she had feelings for Ishida. While Ishida realizes his mistakes and attempts to change, Ueno continues to resent Nishimiya. She insults and even beats her down physically as she blamed her for the hospitalization of Ishida. If Ishida exemplifies redemption, Ueno reflects stubbornness and refusal to accept. Miki Kawai too joins Nishimiya’s bullying by laughing along with everyone. When everyone makes Ishida the scapegoat in elementary school, she quickly turns to crocodile tears when he tries to bring up how she let the bullying happen. Kawai is your average narcissistic high schooler who wants everyone to like her.
EPILOGUE – A SILENT VOICE :
By the end, Ishida finally accepts his own redemption. The X on everyone’s face finally falls off as he begins to truly see and hear people. In the manga, he becomes more social after high school. Both Ishida and Nishimiya attend their elementary school reunion hand in hand. The events depicted in the manga are more elaborate, but in the form of film, Koe no katachi does a superb job at portraying the theme with the help of ostentatious music of the piano. You start with hating the film for displaying bullying so casually but the flow of the story quickly wins you over. It’s the type of movie that makes us think about our own behavior and how we, as humans, can be more compassionate towards others.