Why you should watch “A Silent Voice”

Ava Pollock, Staff Writer

[DISCLAIMER: If you’re sensitive to mentions of suicide and bullying, do not read this article]

Imagine a movie that is beautiful, heartfelt, funny, depressing and creative all at once. If you want to see a movie like that, you should give “A Silent Voice” a watch. “A Silent Voice,” “聲の形Koe no Katachi” or “The Shape of Voice” in Japanese, is a Kyoto Animation movie that was made in 2016.

The movie revolves around a high school student named Shoya Ishida attempting to make amends with Shouko Nishimiya, a deaf girl who he bullied in elementary school. At the beginning of the movie, Shoya attempts to kill himself but changes his mind in order to make amends. A flashback reveals that other classmates also had a hand in bullying Shouko but when the headmaster finds out, Shoya is singled out. As a result, he becomes an outcast all throughout middle school.

In the present, Shoya is withdrawn from the world and cannot look people in the eye due to the guilt of bullying Shouko and the subsequent ostracization he experienced. This is cleverly envisioned with other characters having a big blue “X” over their face. Over time, he starts to connect with new people and reconnect with old friends from elementary school, and the X on their faces starts to fall off.

“A Silent Voice” is an emotional rollercoaster of a film. You’ll laugh, cry, get upset with the characters, rejoice when they succeed and more. Some themes of this movie are bullying, suicide, friendships, forgiveness, the beauty of life, social awkwardness, perseverance and the integration of disabled people in society.

The character designs were done by Futoshi Nishiya, and he did a fantastic job. Each character’s personality is clear just by looking at them. Shoya is tall and lanky, with his glance constantly weary and uncertain. Shouko is warm and friendly-looking in comparison.

Many anime fans tend to give English dubs flack, but I would personally say that the English dubs in “A Silent Voice” are just as good as the Japanese version. Every character’s voice matched their personality. Shoya’s English voice actor, Robbie Daymond, was successful in making Shoya sound timid and awkward. As well, Shouko’s English voice actor is deaf in real life, which truly makes the English voice feel authentic to her.

“A Silent Voice” also has unique symbolism that the viewer can uncover if they focus hard enough. One notable example of this is the appearance of koi fish in the movie. Throughout the movie, koi fish are shown in some form. Koi, among many things, symbolizes perseverance most of all. Every character in this movie is shown persevering through a drawback of their own: Shoya with his reputation and loneliness, Shouko with the mental and emotional aftermath of the bullying she went through, Yuzuru— Shouko’s sister— with her depression, to name a few.

All in all, I would definitely suggest giving this movie a watch. Words alone can’t describe how much I adore it. This is a movie that both fans and non-fans of anime can enjoy and/or even relate to.

The poster for the movie “A Silent Voice.”