Ishida Shouya bullies a deaf girl, Nishimiya Shouko, to the point that she transfers to another school. As a result, he is ostracized and bullied himself with no friends to speak of and no plans for the future.
[Story] 7 - Plot holes and cut sub-plots, excluded from the original script/manga.
[Art] 10 - Characters true to their manga designs, high quality animation.
[Sound] 7 - Creative use of sound/music. Nothing too special and memorable besides theme song.
[Character] 7 - Side characters had their story severely cut. Leaving some with empty character.
[Enjoyment] 10 - Tears, sadness, anger, happiness and laughs, the whole package.
[Overall] 8 - Definitely would watch again.
For those wondering how and where I watched this film, I watched in Japan. At Keisei Rosa10 in Chiba on September 17th.
Having read the manga 4 times over and crying every time, I went into the theater
not expecting much tears as I have pretty much dried up my emotional experience with this manga.
However, much to my surprise, it has been a very, very long time since I have cried that much while watching a movie. Even comparing to a similar anime film Anthem of the Heart, which surprisingly lacked the ability to really give me a tearful moment. Not to say it wasn't a bad movie, but if you liked that one, you will certainly like this.
Be prepared for a emotional roller coaster as the movie plays with your ever so weakening heart as the movie progresses.
That being said, this is no perfect movie. The story falls short, very short in terms of character/plot progression outside of the two main characters. Perhaps it was because of the limit of having to cram the story into a 2 hour film that the writers had to cut corners.
However, story/character development of Shoya was spot on. The movie clearly delivered his character and it was very easy to sympathize and relate to the character. Same with Shoko, though the film did leave out some specifics, the repercussions of Shoko's existence could be felt where one may even agree with Ueno who despised her.
Unfortunately, the remaining characters were pretty much left out. And the overall story was ultimately incomplete because of this. With audiences who hasn't read the manga asking why some characters were even there. Character development with the side characters were very lacking and a lot of important details were stripped apart leaving a big hole in the story.
The only character who avoided this cut was Yuzuru who retained a lot of her details and character development.
This meant that people who haven't read the manga can be very confused by the end of the movie. As I had heard people talking about while leaving the theater.
Many details were left out, but the film retained a lot of the core elements from the manga in puzzle pieces, allowing those who read the manga to fill in the gaps to understand what it means. But that also meant those who haven't were left scratching their heads.
Besides the emotional road trip of your lifetime, Nagatsuka's moments in the film are very comedic and actually funny in a lot of ways. Often when the audience was laughing, it was usually when Nagatsuka was at his antics.
As for the art, no complaints here. Besides having some overally familiar Kyoani characters faces, Kyoto Animation has done a excellent job in representing the characters true to the manga. It's no Makoto Shinkai film, but the quality is nothing to scoff at. The high quality is retained throughout the entire film and no lazy production was visible.
Voice acting was top notch and sounded very familiar to daily Japanese life. Though overall sound was okay. The creative use of music in the film is a bonus. Besides that, not much to write home about.
The movie tried to stay true to the manga as best as it could and in the core elements in delivering the original message that the manga had, it succeeded. But unfortunately while following the path, they dropped a lot of it's side content.
The movie was able to deliver the core plot of the manga.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable film and I can't wait for the disc release.
Note: I watched it at the Toho Cinema Complex in Ario Nishiarai (*I had thought I could have been the only person on this review list who had really watched it at a cinema in Japan after reading a particularly harsh review, but I was wrong).
A quick overview: Koe no Katachi is a very well done film, although not without shortcomings, and which has dealt with (a) complex issue(s), and which leaves the viewer with questions but no easy conclusions. It is a powerful enough film to remember and ponder over, and people may draw different lessons, or perhaps none.
Pros: The sound and vision (KnK
is top-notch Japanimation. I dare say that in some aspects, it is better than a Ghibli film). The ambient piano background music really matches with parts of the film, and the use of marimbas and even silence at the dramatic climax worked out well. Shoko Nishimiya is adorable when she has that half-proud and half-shy face when she does ponytail. Cute, but elegantly done and not unpleasant. However, was this better than Tamako Loves Story - I cannot tell. There were recognizably magical rooftop sequences in Yamada's K-On! and at the classroom and school ground with Midori in Tamako Love Story. I am not sure whether KnK had such "magic" moment despite its very fluid art.
Voice actors have all done a great job. Saori Hayami, Yuki Aoi, Miyu Irino were expectedly good, and Kaneko Yuki (who played Midori in Tamako) was a great pick for Ueno, another difficult character.
Con: I feel that the original manga's theme was very challenging for a very young manga artist to deal with; I also felt that some themes weren't fully explored or developed properly. Besides the bullying/redemption theme, there is an attachment/detachment in relationship theme, and on top of that, a male-female friendship and romance theme. Those themes coexisted and had resonated against each other for sure, but it's not done in a well-calculated and clear-cut way. That was the main issue of the serial manga, and to explore those themes, the manga author had to involve the characters to comes to terms with each other in a slightly forced situation (like the movie club and the event of going to a theme park).
Although the story line of the movie club was completely cut and altered, the theme park sequence was saved for the film- which still felt forced. However, I felt that Reiko Yoshida has done a nearly perfect job with script-writing and editing the story to be able to fit in for a two hours film. My only grievance is that the reason behind Nishimiya's decision at the climax was not convincingly told (which was as in the manga- but the Manga fully told Shoko's mother's sufferings of being divorced because of her child's disabilities and sis Yuzuru's side story of being bullied because of the same reason- so there was a more natural reason why Shoko should have cumulative feeling of guilt that she was making other people involved with her unhappy [and not just that sense of guilt towards breaking up Shoya's relationship with others]). Viewers might be puzzled then why Shoko had to make that decision in the climax (as it was already not exactly written convincingly to start with in the original manga).
Final verdict: Having written down the cons, this is a very challenging work of art (yes, "art", which is not simple "entertainment"), and it did choke my heart at several moments. This won't be everyone's favorite, as it deals with a serious and dark issue, and as it's not all straightforward (as in Tamako Love Story) - but it leaves viewers questioning about their own relationship with other people in the past and present.
I remember that I was reading manga, but at that time it wasn't coming out frequently and scanlating wasn't going good either, that's why I read about 9 chapters, so I barely remember any events expect the beginning of the story and main characters. But I was waiting for anime adaptation since that time. Even though kinda hoped for series, not just a movie.
I must say that I was a little worried about it airing at the same time with Kimi no Na wa, but it still seems alright, box office going good,
even though it is three times less than Kimi no Na wa (but don't compare original movie made by Makoto Shinkai with manga adaptation, even from KyoAni).
But for the first half an hour (or maybe more) I was sitting quietly, being afraid to move even, cause it grasped me completely. I was feeling anger, pity, shame, a whole parade of emotions. Story felt good and dramatic, as Japanese like to do. Never ending and always sharp problems of bullying in school, attitude to people with disabilities who are trying to fit in the society.
Animation was great. This is what you should expect from Kyoto Animation. And don't try to compare it to Kimi no Na wa, it is really just on different level from the very beginning. And camera work! It was really incredible, I loved tons of shots, how they tried to accent on legs and lower parts of the body (I mean shots excluding characters' heads :D).
But as for characters and their development, movie had some problems. Both two main characters were shown great. But such a large amount of, probably, interesting supporting characters weren't developed good enough, even though the movie is more than 2 hours. Like Mashiba (red-haired guy in anime), for instance, he said just few phrases and felt really left out. And two ex-friends of Ishida from elementary school seem to have been forgotten at all, even though there were at least two scenes with them. And there were some shots that I didn't quite understand, like, for example, why Shouya's mom was bleeding and looked really beaten up, after she gave money to Shouko's mom? She beat her, really?
In general, I enjoyed it a lot, and can say that it's the second best movie by KyoAni (after Haruhi, obviously) and it is definitely worth watching. And I probably should finally read manga completely.
Story - 7
Art - 10
Sound - 10
Character - 7
Enjoyment - 10
Overall - 8
[I watched Koe no Katachi at United Cinema, Fukuoka, Japan on Sep 22nd, 2016](hope somebody will liscence it and get it abroad)
Short version; Kyoto Animation again brings great animation on to the table; The glittering eyes, cutesy-moe seifuku characters, great background, and much more. It is one of the finest animation quality out there, and if romance genre is your cup of tea, you will probably like the movie. Even if you don't like romance, it is not a disappointing film.
Ok, I'll start off by saying that I did not read the
manga before hand so I will try my best to not assume what the original content did(I will definitely read it).
That being said, I have to mention that frankly, I was worried that I was not going to enjoy this movie as much as I initially thought I did because I still was stuck in the Kimi no Na Wa void. I was really worried that the visuals Kimi no Na Wa presented me with was Makoto Shinkai level amazing and I thought I would have been disappointed by Koe no Katachi just because I show Kimi no Na Wa beforehand.
Really, It did not disappoint me at all. The animation quality of Koe no Katachi is just tremendously amazing; Kyoto animation with a film budget definitely get things glittering don't they.
Aside from animation quality, the two 'meh' part of this movie was the story and the character. I can say that the pacing of the story was good. The climax wasn't too rushed, nor the premise wasn't too long and boring. I had enough time to get introduced to the characters and how they live through life before everything happened. As well as enough time for the important events to sink through my brain for comprehension. Now the problem was it was spending too little time outside of our two mains.
I remember a point in the movie where a bunch of kids were shouting out random gibberish to one another that obviously was not explored beforehand or even if it was, it was very vague. Thus made a potentially emotionally climatic scene to a lackluster. I would have understood how each character would have felt and reacted if I was able to know the side characters a lot more. Which leads to the failure of a solid side character I will be talking about next.
I hate how the side characters were unexplored throughout the 2 hours. Honestly, I get it, 2 hours isn't heck load of time to explore every single aspect of the original source material(I read through other reviews that a lot of events that happened in the manga was skipped), but still, some characters obviously did not matter(which those characters did not give damn about the two mains), furthermore, the characters that did seem important just got overshadowed. For example, so Mashiba satoshi a bad guy after all or not? I was just left hanging urging to know if that guy was genuine(hehe oregairu) or not. His eyes still makes me uncomfortable when he looks at Ishida. Even worse, Ueno's goal was just forgotten entirely by the end; Ueno mentioned how she wanted to go back to a period when all of the classmates when she was young were still happy together. However, in the end, did she just change her mind and let the whole friend thing drop? I did not see the development of change in her mindset to eventually like Nishimiya in the end. I hope the manga does cover side characters a lot more so the whole 'Im sorry all I wanted is ....' part actually does make sense.
Albeit, in the end, Koe no Katachi did pull off a pretty emotional moment, twice to be exact, during the climax. Not as much as Kimi no Na Wa(also Kimi no Na Wa struck me harder a lot more times), but I still believe that KyoAni had done what was needed to adapt an emotional story. The art was phenomenal, the voice acting was good, music was really good too(props on Aiko for the song in the ending credits), the characters and the story was a little underdeveloped where it was needed, but regardless of that I enjoyed the movie and I can guarantee it was worth the 2 hours of my time.
Mad respect for Kyoto animation pulling off that animation tho.(I had to mention it again).
It was my first review but hopefully, it helped someone, somewhere in the world out there ;)
You think you know anime movies? Have you seen all 30 of these movies on our best anime movie list? Our writer sets themselves a only-one-movie-per-director rule and comes up with 30 movies every anime fan must see.