A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi) Movie Review

Are you in the mood to watch something that will make you feel sad and make you hate the world we live in? Well then, you should definitely watch Koe no Katachi. This movie will make you wonder how cruel the world can be for people with disabilities, how bad bullying is, and how suicide is not the answer to everything.

Synopsis

Shoya Ishida used to be a very social kid, but as a high schooler, he became a social reject who couldn’t really make friends with people due to some traumatizing incidents that happened during his childhood. Shoko Nishimiya, his elementary school classmate, has a hearing disability and was a victim of bullying by Ishida and his friends. As they grew older, Ishida was feeling huge remorse over the things he had done to Shoko, so he tries to set things straight by trying to be her friend.

Plot & Story

The pacing of the story is not something that we haven’t seen before. We get to see what happened in their elementary school years and then we are back to present, seeing what the characters are doing at this point in their lives. Ishida was spending his ‘last days’ trying to sort of cleanse himself by gathering up money to give to his own mother to repay his debt for all the hearing aids she had to replace for Shoko because he destroyed them as a kid. He also wanted to bring to Shoko her old sketchbook and try to become her friend. After a sudden change of heart, he decides to carry on with his life and things start to go well for him, he started making friends and getting along with Shoko and her sister but things were never properly explained and his other friends involved from the past still had ‘open wounds’ about the whole situation which ended up in arguments between them. Shoko blames herself once more saying that she was the cause of everything and that she just can’t seem to love herself for what she is, which leads her to try and take her own life. Ishida then saves her but gets seriously injured which ends up being a wake-up call for all of them and brings them back together.

Art & Music

The music of the film was great. Nice background piano and soft acoustic tracks that were perfect for the setting of the scenes. The art was exceptionally good and the character designs were absolutely gorgeous with vibrant colors. The characters expressions and the animation were so well made and it was great to see variety in their designs. For example, when Shoko had different hairstyles and all the diverse outfits of the characters. But what really wins you over is the animation of the sign language. Seeing the characters interact so much with their hands was something fresh and original to watch especially when their expressions and way of speaking is so intense in order for Shoko to understand.   

Themes & Trivia

Bullying and suicide in Japan: Both phenomena happen everywhere in the world but in Japan, the way students are bullied is quite different and the rates of suicide in young teenagers in exceptionally high. According to the Minister of Education, bullying in other countries tends to involve a group of pupils picking on another. In Japan, in contrast, most cases involve a big portion of a class inflicting insistent psychological and occasionally physical torment on a single victim. The way Japanese schools are formed and organized adds a lot of pressure to the students, and unfortunately, the teachers don’t help much. A huge characteristic of Japan is that you should not stand out and students have to lead a collective life when they are at school so people who cannot adapt or fit in have a really hard time. Students are told by teachers who may notice that they are being bullied to adapt or quit. With this kind of mentality, how can a teenager or even a kid cope with his daily life? Which leads us to why the suicide rates for people below 18 years old are so high and out of control.

Comments

The film was great. It was quite rough and addressed a lot of subjects that we don’t want to see or talk about. Bullying is so wrong for everyone and especially in Koe no Katachi it is shown that from one day to another you can stop being the bully and become the victim. The cruelty of kids is also something that shouldn’t been taken lightly and this is where a good educational system with good teachers that care about the wellbeing of everyone comes into play. Suicide and self-loving are also two themes highly mentioned in the overall plot. Both main characters seem to hate themselves for different reasons but both end up thinking alike: that ending their life would be best for everyone, which is not true in any scenario. It also shows the grief of those left behind when someone dies and how good parenthood plays a key role to support a kid or a teenager.  

Also, why is the kid version of Maria-chan from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei in this movie?

‘I choose to isolate myself maybe because I wanted to believe I wasn’t isolated’

Plus:

  • Great messages and nice plot
  • Both art & sound were very good
  • Nice character development
  • Nice quotes

Minus:

  • THE TAG IN ISHIDA’S SHIRT. In the whole movie, it was always out, it annoyed me so much I wanted to scream.

A huge plus for me was the scenes that involved the mothers. In the earrings scene when Shoko’s mom actually injured Ishida’s mom and when Ueno was fighting with Shoko’s mom, I really felt the intensity of the situations and the feelings of each character. Also, the love confession may seem to have come out of nowhere but it fell flat and it was a crushing defeat for Shoko, which for me, is one of the reasons that led her to suicide.

What did you think of Koe no Katachi? Did it move you and make you cry, because it sure did it for me! Let me know in the comments!

A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi) Anime Movie

Official Site: http://koenokatachi-movie.com/

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