Anime Review: A Silent Voice

Movie Poster for A Silent VoiceDespair. Pity. Envy. Compassion. Hatred. Love. Grief. Sorrow. Regret. How many words can you use to describe your small circle. How many feelings can one person deal with at once before it just becomes too much to bear. Which of these emotions is the one that would push you over the edge?

A Silent Voice is a movie based on a popular manga. I read the manga about a year ago and was truly sad when it ended. It was such a good read and covered so many aspects of life that I had never considered before. Recently it was released in America in subtitled format. If you missed this one in theatre I highly recommend you try to find it to rent or stream online.

The story revolves around Shouya Ishida. A high-school aged boy (for most of the story) and his attempt to atone for his life as a bully years ago. The target of his bullying was a young girl named Shouko Nishimiya that was in his class for a short time. Shouko could barely hear and because of that could not speak either. She wanted to be friends with everyone in class and learn about them through her notebook. This was a girl that had a lot to deal with in life. The early parts of the story revolve around learning, through her being bullied, what it might be like as a youth trying to make their way through school when they cannot hear what is happening around them.

But bullying Shouko is not, to me, the most troubling part of this early section of the movie. It is the fact that Ishida does not even realize he is bullying her. It makes me wonder how many bullies start out not realizing they are bullying those around them. Ishida is just having fun. He’s having a laugh. It’s just a bit of fun that makes everybody else in class laugh. Things take a dark turn, however, when he is finally called out on his actions by the teacher. And worse, nobody else in class is on his side. He has become the class bully and finds out that nobody else wants to get in trouble and just blames him for everything that happened.

Welcome to the start of the story. Ishida is now in high school. He regrets his actions and the trouble they caused those around him. His regret is so deep, that he has decided to end his own life because those dearest to him would be better off without him around causing trouble.

This story leads us through a whirlwind of emotions as we learn more about each character. Who they were in the past. Who they wished they had been. Who they have become. And, finally, who they wish to be instead. This is a touching story. A story I dare you to watch without your own eyes becoming moist as you think about the struggles each of these young people must deal with.

How many emotions would it take to push you over the edge? Which emotion would be the final breaking point for you?

Summary: The choices we make in our past can haunt us for many years. Follow a young boy trying to escape his past and become someone new.
Movie length: 130 minutes
Content: Clean (visually and language, there may have been a few swear words but I don’t remember any)
Language: Japanese

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