[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.
Koe no Katachi is dangerous because it is exploitative. I'm not going to pretend to know anything about deaf people. I don't. This movie certainly does not allow any greater understanding into the mind of deaf people is the point I want to iterate. It uses a serious problem as a plot device constantly and reduces Nishimiya to one-dimension. She is the textbook definition of a mary-sue as well as a damsel in distress. This is clearly troublesome when trying to explain deafness to an able-bodied audience.
Nishimiya's entire character is her illness. She is paper thin with her sole character trait being she likes
to feed fish. She is so inhuman it is gross. Moe being used in this way is offensive. Including deafness or any other handicap into anime is an exciting idea, and I laud the attempt. Sadly, the execution is simply sickening. A personality-less self-insert male character who wants to repent for mistakes he made when he was a child falls in love with the object of his errs. It's inherently questionable to approach this topic from a romantic perspective because it's hard to sympathize with an object. And that is what Nishimiya is, an object. To be affected on, for us to pity, for us to see illness in a "new light," to justify against bullying, to see the indomitable human spirit. A show like Monster works this concept excellently because it uses the object of interest (Johan) as more of a symbol. This work tries to make Nishimiya a character as deeply developed as Shouya but they foist too many roles on an underdeveloped symbol, not even mentioning her role as a character.
Shouya, Ueno, and Ishida are all flat. Their motives are drawn to plot points not to logic. Ueno shows up when things finally start moving in a direction the audience would be satisfied with in tacky KyoAni fashion. Drama in this work is so over-the-top and predictable it's borderline cringe-worthy. Even if you could swallow the unbelievable developments that lead to the saccharine mid-section of the film the way it dissolves is so inauthentic. Shouya shows no signs of development and no effort to change throughout the work and then magically obtains a group of friends.
As for the abstract? The art? If you polish it up enough and use a voice technique the audience is unfamiliar with you have the safest ticket to visual and audio praise you can muster. Are there creative shots in this work? Impressive blocking of characters? Fresh setting or new takes on animation/style? No. This is a typical KyoAni work. They stuck with what sells.
What the point is thematically I can't tell you. I can tell you that this film is successfully doing what it wanted to do. Capitalize on disease using moe with the highest budget in the industry. This work is not even average, it is bad. Please stop and think about why you feel the way you do when you watch this work. If you're crying is it because Nishimiya is a person you have become endeared by or are you crying because she's like an injured puppy? Affection for things like this a wonderful human trait, but this work is dubious.
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 ;)
This is gonna be in Spanish and in English. I'll add the translation below, explaining why I put the "low" rating.
The adaptation, from the point of view of someone who had already read the manga (even before any movie announcement existed), was mediocre. The character development was null, except for Shoya and Shoko (also Yuzuru and Ueno, more or less). Mashiba had no importance, the same as almost everyone else. In the manga we got to know why Mashiba was so nice and kind (and also saw him punch the face of our main character when he knew it was him who caused Shoko's pain
in her childhood).
Koe no Katachi manga made me feel tensed and even cry. The tankobon in which we had Shoya unconscious was brutal.
Now, taking my overall opinion away, I'm gonna explain each and every aspect of my rating.
-Story (2/10): Terrible adaptation. Important scenes were cut off, even the most essential parts (like Shoya's bench, which was shown but with no relevance). The detail of the crosses in people's faces wasn't so marked too. If I gave 1/10 to the adaptation, it would have been unfair, I admit. However, it doesn't deserve a 3.
-Art (8/10): It would have been a 10/10, but it disgusted me to see the camera focusing wherever in most sign-language parts, instead of letting us see the characters communicating this way. Staff laziness to investigate, I guess?
-Sound (9/10): Cute selection, but not as memorable as in other Kyoto Animation films.
-Characters (4/10): The movie showed me the next:
>Shoya without any specific reason to change and become a good man.
>Cute Shoko who sadly lacked of interaction with anyone who wasn't Shoya, Sahara, Yuzuru or Ueno.
>Forced Ueno. Staff wanted us to hate her (but, personally, I adore this character and Shoko in the manga).
>Miki and Mashiba. Both could have not appeared in the movie and the result would have been the same.
>Nice Yuzuru, but lacking of all the personality she had in the original version.
Terrible development of almost everyone. I was thinking of a 3/10 for this aspect, but I'm merciful.
-Enjoyment (5/10): It was uncomfortable to see how ripped the original story was while the scenes advanced. However, I must admit there were a lot of scenes I enjoyed as separated fragments (instead of one "full" movie). I was disgusted but I enjoyed, so I give it an "I don't know" (5/10).
Koe no Katachi is a cute movie, but it angers me to see how high ranked it is in MAL while the manga is so below and without even reaching 9 as score.
My direct comment for you, who is reading my review (and who I really thank for taking the time to do so), is to not feel so pleased with the movie and give the manga a chance. I don't know, maybe you thought I was exaggerating in this review, but I would feel very pleased if you could return after reading the original version to tell me if you agree or disagree with me.
Koe no Katachi is a wonderful manga and it seriously deserved more than what was delivered to cinemas.
La adaptación, desde mi punto de vista con el manga leído (desde antes de que siquiera existiera algún anuncio de película), fue mediocre. El desarrollo de personajes fue nulo, con excepción de Shoya, Shoko, Yuzuru y Ueno (más o menos). Mashiba no tuvo nada de importancia ni desarrollo en la película, al igual que casi todos los demás. En el manga, hasta llegamos a saber (quienes lo leímos) el por qué es tan buena onda (además de que disfrutamos la parte en la que, cuando se enteró de que Shoya era quien molestaba a Shoko, le volteó el putazo de su vida).
El manga me hizo sentir los momentos de tensión que, si bien sí estuvieron bien realizados en la película, por mucho no superó a los que tuve al leer la obra original. La parte del suicidio me hizo llorar y el volumen en el que el protagonista estuvo inconsciente fue brutal.
Ahora diré cada aspecto, explicando por qué su calificación.
-Historia (2/10): La adaptación fue terrible. Eliminaron escenas vitales, como todo lo relacionado con los cuadernos de Nishimiya, la banca de Shoya, entre muchas escenas que habría sido cómico ver (como cuando descubren que Yuzuru es una chica en las regaderas). El detalle de los taches en las caras de las personas también fue menos marcado de lo que debió. Reconozco que darle 1/10 hubiese sido ya muy mala onda, pero definitivamente no merecía un 3.
-Arte (8/10): Hubiese sido un 10, pero me molestó mucho el hecho de que, cuando comenzaban a hablar con lenguaje de señas, la cámara volteaba a otros lados que nada tenían que ver. Eso denota flojera, si me lo preguntan.
-Sonido (9/10): Muy bonita selección, pero definitivamente no tan memorable como en otros trabajos de Kyoto Animation.
-Personajes (4/10): La película me dio a un Shoya que se volvió el chico buena onda sin razón alguna; una Shoko linda pero sin tanta interacción con otros personajes más que Shoya, Sahara, Yuzuru y Ueno; una Ueno que se vio forzada a ser el personaje odiable por el público (aunque personalmente adoro a este personaje en el manga), una Miki y un Mashiba que pudieron no haber estado en la película y el resultado hubiese sido el mismo; una Sahara que tampoco importó mucho más que para plot-device; una Yuzuru sin toda la personalidad que se le vio en el manga; y un Tomohiro que sólo sirvió para añadir comedia. Desarrollo terrible. Toda la familia de Shoya pasó muy inadvertida también (su madre y su sobrina se salvaban por poco). Estaba tentado a darle 3/10 pero soy misericordioso.
-Disfrute (5/10): Me fue muy molesta la película al ver, conforme avanzaba cada escena, las terribles mutilaciones que hacían. Aún así hubo escenas que sí disfruté mucho al tomarlas nada más como partes por separado y no como una película en conjunto. Me molestó pero a la vez sí disfruté un poco verla, por eso le doy un 5/10 (lo mismo que un "no sé") a este apartado.
-Calificación general: 6
Es una película bonita, pero me molesta mucho el que esté tan arriba en el ranking de MyAnimeList mientras que el manga esté más abajo y sin siquiera llegar a 9 de calificación. Mi comentario directo a tí, quien leyó mi crítica (y a quien agradezco haberla leído) es que no te quedes con la película. Si ya la viste y la pudiste disfrutar, te recomiendo mucho leer el One-Shot y el manga serializado. Tal vez, al haber leído mis ponderaciones, creas que estoy exagerando o que soy un hater nada más, pero estaré feliz de que vuelvas a darle una leída a mi comentario una vez que termines de leer el manga y me comentes en qué estás de acuerdo y en qué no.
Koe no Katachi es un manga grandioso y definitivamente se merecía más que lo que nos entregaron en las pantallas.
A Silent Voice is a movie by the popular animation Studio Kyoto Animation. Instead of cute girls doing cute things, which is what the studio is known for, this movie delivers teenagers crying and wanting to kill themselves because of some bullying back in elementary school. But don't panic, the girls are still cute.
The story is pretty simple: In elementary school, a deaf girl comes in as a new student. She then gets bullied by the other students, one of which is the main character, to the point she gets transferred to another school. The main character then becomes the scapegoat for the bullying and
gets bullied instead. Years later the main character wants to meet the deaf girl again because he suddenly felt guilty over the bullying and wants to make up for it. They then fall in love, meet old students, cry a lot, want to kill themselves and all that jazz that's supposed to make you feel invested.
So yeah, going in and expecting an interesting story is not a good idea. This is not a movie that's enjoyable because of the story. It's also not about interesting characters. The main character is bland and lacks characterization; he wants to kill himself just because he feels guilty over something he did in elementary school and his switch from bully to altruistic wiener is not shown or explored. The character feels bad about himself and his arc revolves around making the girl he bullied happy again. Aw what a nice guy. Too bad being a nice guy doesn't make him an interesting or multifaceted character. It's really just white knighting with the goal of making him "get the girl" at the end.
Then there is the deaf girl which has even less personality, and the way the movie tries to make the audience sympathize with her is also very cheap: She's a cute, deaf girl who's all altruistic and nice to everyone. And she feels bad about herself and wants to kill herself. Aw isn't she a cute victim. It's a cheap way of making the audience sympathize with her.
Most of the secondary characters are not worth mentioning. The few that somewhat stand out are a fat friend of the main character, a black-haired bitch who's childish and arrogant and the deaf girl's sister who's very boyish. Though even those are not particularly interesting or well-developed. The fat guy just serves as comic relief, the bitch is there to cause first world problems and the sister has a camera that the movie uses for exposition. There are also the two mothers of the main character and the deaf girl, both of which are of course MILFs because god forbid to have mothers that look average.
So no interesting story, no interesting characters. The only way to enjoy it is if you weep easily and can empathize with the first world problems and cute girls being cute victims. If you cannot relate with the desire to kill yourself because you have been a bully or gone through bullying in your school years, then it's really just a boring soap opera in which the characters cry especially loud and slap each other from time to time.
To redeem the film, let's go to the more technical side of things. Animation is good because KyoAni, music does its job.
The directing is alright. The show tries to be a bit fancy with some X-signs that hide the other people's faces to symbolize the main character's reluctance towards connecting with people, but it really seems more clumsy and out of place. It's not bad though, just a bit gimmicky.
The character designs are typical KyoAni, with all the girls having the same faces but different wigs. The boys look a bit weird, especially the main character's spiky hair, the blonde bully who looks all stoned, and the fat friend that looks completely out of place with his weird wig and facial features. But overall the designs are alright. Nothing too interesting, partly a bit weird, but still alright.
Would I recommend this movie? Only to the ones that cry very easily and like cute girls doing suicidal things. But since most animefans of today have that kind of preference that would probably mean it's a recommendation all across the board. There are also a lot of scenes in which the characters eat because food porn is apparently a big thing nowadays. So if you like watching anime characters eating delicious-looking food then this might also be a movie for you.
To the ones that don't see themselves in the mentioned demographics, I can only recommend it to you if you're interested in knowing what all the fuzz is about. The worst thing that will await you are two hours of boredom and maybe some external shame, but there is also some entertainment in the more melodramatic scenes which can be quite humorous, albeit in an unintentional way. So it's not all bad for the haters of melodrama; at the very least you will laugh about the bitch-fight scene near the end, that much I can promise.
Read All First! / SPOILERS*: (Im sorry if you don't agree, but this is my Review)
Koe no Katachi(Manga) had an amazing story line, filled with great character progression, and a lot of story and insight.
However I strongly believe that the movie did not do the Manga justice and left viewers with a lot of plot holes and questions (from the reaction after the movie). It should not have of been a movie, as there was too much story and character progression to be fit into a 2 hour movie (I really enjoyed understanding why Nishimiya Shoukos mother is why she acts the way she was
from the manga)
The movie cut out a lot of scenes which made it hard to understand why people were doing things (making the film together (which was not in the film) was put to one text message and then forgotten - and a good plot line)
It should of been an 12-25 episode Anime.
Don't get me wrong I did enjoy some parts and the scene where Shouko at the festival, with the Fireworks and music I thought that was breathtaking.
however there was too much missing for my liking.
[This review contains NO spoilers]
This is a story about the importance of listening and the effects of not doing so. It something we can all understand and learn from.
Social anxiety, Suicide, self loath/pity, forgiveness/acceptance, attachment, the desire/difficulty to be connect and most of all the complexity of human communication and emotions - all covered in this Movie as you delve into a journey to unravel a facade to find emotions we all contain and hide from others to void the difficulty of conveying them. We follow a character who closes his mind and refuses not to listen to create his own cynical narrative and in
it we learn voice (koe) - or communication - has many shapes and forms (Katachi) and that it's shallow to think it's all monotonous.
When I heard Kyoto - with their legendary art style - was going to make a favourite manga of mine into a movie, I contemplated packing my bags and going to Japan for it's premier. Sadly I lacked the funds so I had to settle for the nearest cinema in London - 3 excruciating months after it's release.
It was sad to see the seats half empty, but when the movie started, the 60 year old man behind me was laughing, gasping and getting emotional along with the rest of the diverse crowd and this shows how well the message of the movie resonated and how universal the enjoyment was.
The plot evoked a roller coaster of emotions, some easy to emphasis with, and others MADE easy to resonate with! The plot starts vigorously but with a pace you could easily keep up with. It slightly stagnates to build context until the plot's climax - which got my spine tingling - a climax that I don't want to ruin for the unsuspecting! But the stagnation is what stops it from getting a 10/10 for it's plot. The strategic retreat from the plot's focus enabled for a good few laughs and set up what was to come very well, but it turned a 2 hours movie into what felt like a 3 hour movie, where I was anticipating the end mid way though as it seemed like they had reached a happily ever after. It somewhat ruined the experience for me and I felt like it could have been executed better by adding some more romantic develop (because I felt more pity for the characters than love).
I hate to be the guy who boasts how much better the source content was, but it's necessary to mention that a lot of the 60 + chapters of plot couldn't fit into the 2 hours time frame - hence we got hastily implemented and unexplained developments that the manga could easily clear up (one of the biggest being that fat that they all set out to make a movie and that is the real crux of how the MC makes and learns to socialise with friends), frankly the manga and movie could be considered separate entities considering their different approaches and focuses to this plot. This is a clear limitation the anime movie medium of story telling has so I can't personally penalise too much for doing the best it could, certainly better than other movie adaptations - and I rate based on comparison. There was room to fix some of the issues related to this, such as by removing some of the pretty/still/un-progressive scenes in exchange for progressive and informative development from the source content. Then again removing them could have made it feel too dense/melancholic and would likely have ruined the nice pace it set out and the mood those particular scenes set - so it hard to criticise.
The art was stunning, and Kyoto included their trademark extra, where the frames are never still - there are always subtle things happening in the background that just adds the cherry on top of their memorising art. The art could get any anime brownie points including Phantom world. Every nook and carny was accounted for, from the curves in the fingers, the change in colour form skin to nail to the glow emitted by the bright lighting and the distortion of their realistic dynamic multi tone shadows. Kyoto kept to their cutesy shiny art style with tranquil backgrounds and scenery - and props for their consistently amazing colour pallet.
The voice acting was ace, like most anime - at this point it's a given considering how serious people take voice acting in Japan. The music hit the spot, it started of with an English song, which may have confused the Japanese audience if they were unable to translate the lyrics, but it was pretty clever and a good way to summarise the first few chapters of the Manga which the movies wanted to power through with to save time. The Musics crept up on you and exploded sometimes, others it gently wrapped it's arms around you as you desperately tried to hold the tears back, And as your face prepared to unleash an unforced smile, the music came in to amplify it.
All in all, coming out of the cinema was hard, there was a plethora of emotions and thoughts swirling around in my mind, it created a moral dilemma that still has my mind in conflict now. Nothing felt too cliche apart for the typical anime personalities, which can be over looked considering what the plot done with them. The movie was truly touching, the ascetics was mind-blowingly good and the music was on point.
I enjoyed it as an avid fan of Romance, particular dramatic ones - despite the romance not being completely conclusive in the movie. I enjoyed this more than any other anime of it's type, and I'm sure anyone with the same taste wouldn't hesitate to give it a 10/10 and others wouldn't dare give it bellow an 8 unless it's not their thing.
Many had an issue with what they saw as an emotionally manipulative plot that stereo typed emotions and disabilities and thought it gave a shallow outlook on them. However I think expecting a movie that tackles these theme elegantly with precision is too much to ask for, especially of the length of this plot and with it's density in content. Some people are choosing to get offended by how deaf people and suicidal people are presented here - as if this anime was tailored to be the political ambassador for these groups of people and has a duty outline the existence of a variation of people in these groups, as well as representing them as strong independent people - rejecting (or at least wanting to mask) the existence of vulnerable people in this category. It seems like this leads them to think adding convenience in a plot and a catalyst for progression is inherently a bad thing, as if the purpose of media itself isn't to entertain with by showing a collision of stark stereotypes that enable recognition and empathy (as well as saving time on unnecessarily developing a character from birth to present day) but to make a perfect recreation or reality without abstraction and stereotypes of entities (something even a computer is not capable of) that is primarily to educate viewers and not provide entertainment that's not difficult to decipher.
Of course not everyone who make such points fall into the pitfall of expecting too much form their medium, but many seem to give these point significant weight in their score, with a few minor flaws seeming to elicit a deduction more than 3+ points out of 10. They are free to do this and I have no right to lecture them on their scoring system, but I just think it's inefficient, ineffective and lacks the investment of deep thought with a widened scope - IE. it clashes with my philosophy. If you fall into this category and can enlighten me on your perspective I'd really appreciate it.
I didn't like A Silent Voice as much as I would have liked to. The storyline had so much potential but failed to step out of boundaries. Expressing issues like suicide, mental illnesses, and bullying is a challenge through a movie, but no matter what the mediocre plot remained. I am surprised that it is rated so highly, and I think it's because of the main storyline that everyone loves it so much, but here's why I rated it so low.
While there were signs of character development, there was so much skipping around. Instead of getting the viewer to understand what it really feels like
for someone to develop anxiety, a decent amount of crying and small animated symbols filled the blank spaces instead. I thought that this movie would somehow prove that it was more than a typical storyline with a sad story, and it had the opportunity to tackle so many mental issues but did not go in depth with it.
The movie is too much of an "aesthetic" vibe rather than a true story being told. The story is more revolved around the main character instead of the others around him who are also facing fair struggles of their own. Suicide is such a strong topic and yet it is not portrayed properly. Please don't hand me the sad emotions with a suicide attempt. DISPLAY the pain they feel through mental pain and past experiences, not physical expressions throughout the whole movie.
some people say "I love you" is the hardest word to ever say to someone... but is that really true? is it that hard to say? in my case it is hard yes, but not the hardest. have you ever thought of the word "I'm sorry"? I'm not talking of the "easy" "I'm sorry" i'm talking about the "I'm sorry" that comes from the bottom of your heart, the expression of your true feelings, being completely sorry, regretful, that word that burns inside you like hell... now, that's really REALLY hard to say.
at first I thought that this movie was just a movie about how
a bully and the bullied make a relationship by forgiving each other, but in reality, this movie goes beyond that, and I feel completely relatable to what this movie had to offer, because I once felt that, that need of telling people that I did hurt "I'm sorry" the sensation of being burned alive when doing it crushes your soul, but in the end, you'll know it was totally worth it, you will feel relieved by doing so, and by watching this movie, you'll understand why. I'll try not to bully you with Spoilers, but you have been warned.
Story 10/10: if you have ever been bullied by someone, you will know how hard is to keep what you feel deep inside, developing fear, having trust issues, trying to keep yourself from people to avoid damage. it is something serious. having the will to overcome this is hard.
the plot goes around an average boy that goes to a school, he had friends, money, good reputation. but one day, a girl appears, that girl is deaf, that girl tried to be friends with her classmates, tho, she only got rejected by many, specially from that boy, he kept bullying her, to the point of damaging her, not only physically, but psychologically too. here we see a complete turn of events, pretty much Karma. yes, Karma is a bitch, and this boy ends being the bullied one. Ironic isn't it?.
After that introduction, there is the timeskip that deliver you the freaking ninjas cutting onions on your room, the amount of feels it manages to deliver is real. this movie takes your heart, and starts slicing it like you were on a heart surgery. why? well, past is a douche, he tells the future of your actions and then the present is in charge of destroying your life... all because of what? something as "simple" as bullying someone? is that easily forgotten? well is not easy, but hard.
from this point, you'll see the word regret inside your mind as the story goes around the MC, he is trying to redeem himself from what he did before, but he doesn't know the price he has to pay off, its a really big one, even if it sounds simple, it isn't. the feel of being guilty attacks, those that once trusted him, no longer does. a lot of stuff gets on his way, he is only trying to talk to that girl he once bullied, he want to become her friend... but something prevents him of doing so... what could that be? hint: it isn't the people that prevents him of doing so.
Art 10/10: you know a show is a masterpiece when it can deliver the feels with animation, is not just the fact of the topic of the movie, when it resonates with each aspect: Story, Ost, Characters, and the ninjas cutting onions on your room, I swear I could have cried if I wanted to, yet I decided to die deep inside, tho I was close to burst in tears, and I haven't done this with a single anime... and that's really saying something. that's the power of the movie being delivered into your heart with images.
Sound 10/10: Read Animation again, but exchange words related to animation to Sound and we have our deal with the sound department... ah, who am i Kidding? voice acting was GREAT, OST was GREAT, the sound of ninjas cutting onions was superb... this movie knows how to keep your heart in your hand the whole time.
Character 10/10: hate, sadness, pity, happyness, I felt each one of them on almost every character, not in a bad way of course. I also felt identified with the characters, being so relatable and knowing how they feel, is something heartbreaking, if you do, trust me, you will burst in tears, if you don't then this means you have no heart or you haven't experienced something like this... in fact, the character that would suit you is Ueno.
Enjoyment 1/10: sorry, but I couldn't keep the Ninjas cutting Onions out of my room, I really enjoyed the movie. that, if Enjoyment means to get your heart crushed and wanting to burst in tears for 2 hours.
let's say that the scale of 1/10 having 1 as being sad, and 10 as being happy is what could define Enjoyment here, so scoring enjoyment as 1 is the same as scoring it as 10, even if that sounds pretty stupid XD
Overall 10/10: this movie is a bit rude, but meaningful, it touches deep topics with the most kind touch ever possible, so heartwarming, so relieving, so annoying, so happy, so upset, so freaking real.
Don't let people say you can't be friends with someone you once had a fight with and got separated due to that. regret will come one day crushing you, and you will know the POWERFUL meaning of the word "I'm sorry", and how hard it is to say to someone, even harder than the world "I love you"
now, if you are satisfied now, I shall go to a corner and spent the rest of the day crying
How am I after watching this movie? Angry. This movie was fucking good and it's such a pity that it came out when Kimi no Na wa did, because it deserves so much more recognition. Honestly, I believe it outshines it tenfold but this is a review not a comparison so let me give you my points:
- Great soundtrack/art/animation/the works. solid base. if you like kyoani why are you waiting
- EXPERIMENTAL. The perspectives and aesthetics shown throughout the movie are insane. Like if you think of one of those 'aesthetic tumblr posts' the entire movie is literally in that vibe.
- The noise level. not the
music. the noise level- majestic. since koe no katachi is about living life as a deaf person most of the soundtrack is ambient noise, cute jingles or piano notes. It's quiet. But as soon as the action picks up and things get more intense the sound gets LOUD, in this huge juxtaposition of noise, on a greater scale than most anime take it. It's so good.
- Characters. Let's talk about that for a sec. I've only seen the original oneshot of the manga koe no katachi is based on, so I don't have a reference for what these characters could have been like, in for example, a theoretical anime series version of this movie. I don't know. But I can say for a movie with only 2 hours to spare it did pretty damn good to flesh out these characters as much as possible considering the size of the cast. We see 12 characters on the regular.
12 characters! (not just one-off, as regular appearing characters) and we know exactly who they all are. That's more than what I can say for a lot of movies and even anime out there. But naturally there is some bias. The two main characters bear the brunt of the character development (primarily our protagonist Shouya) and over time you can see a clear change not only in themselves but in their relationships. Characters don't 'learn a lesson' and change the next day. We're not talking about cheap development like that, in fact one of the more realistic things about koe no katachi is how each character's personalities stay the same but their values change. Everyone is trying the become a better person and clashing with everyone else by the end of it. It's gritty, it's messy, it's believable.
- As for story, Koe no Katachi is more of a 'let's put all these interesting characters together and see what happens' simulator than anything with a crazy, god-given plot. Suicide is a major theme and so is atoning for what you have done in the past. A bully is the main character, he picks on Nishimiya who is deaf, and the story starts from there. Everything past that is seen as a direct consequence of what happened back then, which eventually leads to the more suicidal themes as both main characters struggle with the realisation that many less people couldn't have been hurt if both of them had never existed. But this movie doesn't drone on. It's not preachy like that. Yeah, this movie will make you cry. But in a good way.
So did I enjoy Koe no Katachi? Um clearly yes. Go for it, you've got nothing to lose except all of your tears.
I was lucky enough to catch the very first screening of Koe no Katachi in Singapore's cinemas on March 9, 2017. This is also my first review, so please bear with me if my review layout is not great.
Please also note that my review of this will be Anime-only, as I have not yet read the manga. I do plan on reading the manga to get the full experience though.
- The story starts off with a young girl named Nishimiya Shouko, who walks in to a classroom and introduced herself in pieces of paper she wrote before coming in, then "I am deaf." was
written. Ishida Shouya and a few of his friends bullied her as her time in school goes by to the point where she had to be transferred out because they have been damaging her hearing aids -which is very expensive- and the teachers were suspicious of a potential bully in class. Shouya's actions then turned onto him and he has to suffer almost the same fade of bullying as what he did to Shouko. Many years later, both of them met again. Regretting his actions, Shouya tries to make friends with her in hopes of trying to reconcile.
This is a rather interesting story to me as not many manga/anime generally does not focus a story about a deaf character. It's fairly genuine in the Anime community and I really applaud the setting and effort being put into the movie.
- As expected from Kyoto Animation, it has one of the most vibrant and smoothest animation one could get. Comparing this to Tamako Love Story, the quality is about the same, if not better.
- First of all I must say that the ending song "Koi wo Shita no wa" by aiko is flawless. However, there are instances where the sound does not seem to fit with it's current scene/setting. Some of which threw me off in the cinema that I'd just prefer to watch it raw and without sound. Overall, there ARE still some music which really fits it's current scene/setting, but it's just that one or two sounds which were really unfit to be in there.
The voice acting is spot-on; especially the Nishimiya sisters, which was actually the main reason why I watched the movie. Saori Hayami did a perfect-close-to-flawless job in performing as Shouko and Aoi Yuuki's tone as Yuzuru is completely different from the other roles she took before this, which bewildered me because I almost thought that it's a completely different person. Miyu Irino's preformance is great as well.
- The only thing that left me a good impression while I was sitting in the cinema was Shouya's development throughout the movie. He makes a major change to himself in order to reconcile with Shouko. I really love his change and one can really relate (especially people who regret bullying their victims) to how he's doing his best to show his regret on his actions.
- Throughout this sitting I've never fidget at all and my eyes were glued to the screen for the entire movie. Fidgeting a lot has been a habit for me when it comes to watching shows in cinemas and I was really surprised when the movie ended. Hence why I gave my enjoyment the fullest.
- I'm not really a person who cries at a really touching scene but this movie takes the cake. It's a very enjoyable movie to sit back and relax and I highly recommend people who do that to watch this.
A young woman and a young man both on a journey of self-realization, and the latter half on his way to repentance and redemption.
"Koe No Katachi" is yet another masterpiece from the popular and ever-sensational studio, Kyoto Animation, and from its brilliant and rapidly growing author of its one-shot manga, Ooima Yoshitoki.
Koe No Katachi tells us a story of a young Ishida Shoya who was once a bully to a deaf young girl named Nishimiya Shouko and was doomed to being alone for the rest of his life until one day he decided that his life was more than just that and what he (and
Shouko) really needed was to understand each other. The story is vibrant and complex yet sometimes comes as vexing or frustrating, but in that sense it shows you the beauty and the sophistication of a simple story (and how it can be more than just simple).
Story: 8 out of 10; I really loved the show. I really can't say much, but there were actual plot holes which I wish were never there. (I guess I really just have to buy and read the manga.)
Art and Animation: 10 out of 10; I LOVE KYOANI. Period.
Sounds and Music: 10 out of 10; the sounds and the music were stunning. I felt moved after that last part of the movie. I had trouble holding back my tears, and part of that was because of the music.
Characters: 9 out of 10; The characters may come eccentric and weak, but it's a drama. What can I say? The characters were actually portrayed in a sensible and tangible manner and that makes them feel unique and alive - like real people.
Enjoyment: 10 out of 10; I personally LOVE dramas and emotional roller coasters. I love bawling my eyes out while watching even though I know it's fiction. In short, rhetorically speaking - Koe No Katachi is right in my strike zone.
NOTE: I truly believe that Koe No Katachi deserves more praise than the actual praise it gets now. Watch Koe No Katachi in the theaters! Support KyoAni and Ooima Yoshitoki-sensei! (I'm looking forward to more works of this exceptionally talented mangaka.)
May 10, 2017: Watched the full English-subbed movie on the big screen with my kanojo.
As someone who hasn't read the manga, I'm confused as to why some people rated the movie so low. The manga must have been a masterpiece, huh. Why can't people just review it as a standalone movie?
Story - 10/10
Rarely have I ever seen a movie/anime/book where the main character bullies someone and gets bullied back, effectively isolating him from his classmates. Do you know why? Because that doesn't happen in real life. Bullies become popular in high school and have a huge follower group. Despite this, I was glad that Koe no Katachi took a different route and made the bad guy into an even
more bad guy, then switched him around and made him a good guy. The plot was fresh, in my opinion, and I loved (well love isn't the right word, maybe "invested in", or "hooked on" would be better) every hill and turn of the rollercoaster.
Art - 10/10
Bright, vivid, and set the mood really well. Nothing less than expected from KyoAni.
Sound - 9/10
In the moment, the songs were great. The OP was enjoyable, though I was a little confused about what was going on on-screen. Anyways, that's not sound. The only thing stopping this from being a 10 is the fact that I'm not humming any of the tunes right now. Maybe that's just my harsh criteria.
Character - 9/10
I have to agree with most negative(ish) reviewers on this one. Aside from Mr. Main Character and Ms. Main Heroine, the side characters, save from Yuzuha, didn't get much development. I was a little perturbed as to what each of their motives were. For example (not in the movie, so not a spoiler), I didn't know that Nishimiya's mother caught a virus during childbirth, resulting in her daughter being born deaf and her husband leaving her. I only learned that by reading the character description page on MAL. That, and other information, would have enhanced the movie as a whole. The little side stories is what Koe no Katach is lacking.
Enjoyment - 10/10
I was *this* close to crying, and I'm disappointed that I didn't. This movie deserved it.
Overall - 10/10
Being a high school student myself, I feel that Koe no Katachi struck home with me, having dealt with bullies and may have been a mild one in elementary school. It really puts into perspective how important it is to have respect for others and not be a total douchebag. Or else you'll end up like Ueno, a distasteful, cold-hearted, jealous baka. I seriously hate that broad.
The story has many resemblance of teenagers life and i gotta say, this has caught my heart. i see this movie that gave tears of joy like kimi no na wa with a very beautifully written story with me keeping flashbacks about the same situation i have encountered once, and i am here with so much emotion being mellow and grateful thinking of my friends i have made in the yeras. i am no dissabled but i, we(maybe some) might experience this
The art has yet to impressive me because of how beautifully has this been worked on which makes me think that kyoto animation
might rival with ufotable in my opinion
This is the most emotional thing i have heard, the spiking, the beautiful and the dramatic OST has caught my ears ever since i watched the trailer and it almost send me to an immediate tears, they have spiked my body and has gave me so much emotion from this work
Characters are not perfect but very well played in their roles, the character development was amazing and how they bave shown their relationship and how it was resolved but to think of it that there are some being left out much but overall, their development and actions are both entertaining
My now personal favorite movie that i would like to watch over again. It have have joy, Laughs, Tears and on how these emotions has played in the movie was amazing, it feels like i was in there but sure some romantic parts are not serious but it is one of the best experience i had in a very long time
Flaws are always there but never i have ever gave a review with an overall ten because in my opinion, it is beautiful and no matter how many times i said it is beautiful, it is and this has quite gave an impact into my life right now and i will never forget this very soon
To start of my review, let me say that, as a simple fan of any british bands of the past decades or so, The Who's "My Generation" - which is the opening song of this movie - is pretty niche to be exact.
I was really surprised why they use it as an opening song. I was expecting to have a Japanese song for the opening for this movie (maybe Asian Kung-Fu Generation or ChouChou,) but instead, besides Radiohead(ED of Ergo Proxy) and Oasis(OP of Eden of the East), we got another british band to perform the Opening song
of Koe no Katachi makes me, I don't know, a very big deal for me for some reason. Plus, besides of that, the song really fits in on the first part of Shouya's backstory and his friends back then when he was in an elementary school. Telling how cool Shouya was, how rebellious he is and how he spend his glory days on his elementary school, thinking about his generation back then. While playing the song on the background in a riffing bass-guitar tune with fast beating drums. This is also the same as how Pete Townsend, who wrote the song and the lead-singer of The Who, feels about the british youths back then and how "rebellious" they were. It also expressed their feeling that older people just don't get it.
Anyways, the story is pretty much complicated but a bit candid from start to finish without even explaining some of the details that I've seen on the manga. Quite frankly, the anime is pretty rushed if you look closely at the story and then compare it the manga. Some of the plot holes I've seen were:
1. I've never seen in this movie on how Shouko's mother accepts Shouya without any proper explanation nor representation as to why they've put aside their arguments already to one another. The manga has a pretty great process for putting more effort to make their relationship somewhat satisfying by showing some progress on how Shouya tries to give more effort to Shouko's mother so that she could slowly accept him who he is now and forget the former rebellious, young Shouya from the past.
2. I've also seen a missing link where Shouya returns to his old elementary school, which it was already shown in the manga. Including how his old teacher back then expressed on Shouya's development. There's also a surprise plot twist also, which I'm not going to say it here.
3. They are also doing a short indie film movie that is going to be shown at their school festival in which Nagatsuka and the rest of the gang joins in. Which is not shown here in the movie.
4. The manga also shows why Shouko's little sister took the matters on her older sister's hands by cutting her own hair, and keeping her on-guard whatever happens. This, also, is not shown in the movie.
5. And how Shouko's mother's relationship status changed from a married wife to a divorced wife. Including how Shouko's illness was a result for splitting them up. Also, not shown in the movie.
Honestly, there's so much more they would cover in it if they would put it into a TV series rather than a movie. Which is kinda of a letdown as there are so many plot holes that KyoAni didn't cover in this movie.
Maybe I'm the one who complain for someone who just a part of the audience who watches animes just for fun and not a part of the developers who make the anime. But, well, I can't help it. The fact on how fair the story is pretty nice for some anime watchers to be watch in a big screen. But as a manga reader, I honestly say, I was a little disappointed to say the least on how they skip some of the important plots in the manga and turn it into somewhat incomplete and unsatisfied conclusion in this movie. I mean, yeah, when Shouya already accepts around of his surroundings and he finally listens everyone's comments about him, positive or negative, I found this ending kinda...blank or lost at some point.
But that doesn't mean my 2-hours of watching this movie is just taking a piss break to me. I admit, I was a little disappointed, a LITTLE, but it's not that worst nor great. But rather, a pretty decent anime. At first glance, I was satisfied before I read the manga. But looking back again as I read the manga, it really has so many missing links in the movie itself.
But on the plus side, the theme about a bully who is now being bullied back then and now changing his own life by restarting is a pretty great feature. It's fine to say the least. And the character development was a bit dull here, but I would accept that because the story covers it all for them.
Overall, if you're just an anime watcher and not a manga reader, then watch it. It's worth a buck for this 2-hour binge-fest anime in your nearest theatres near you. But as a manga reader myself, I think it seems fair. But I might look forward to this series as it has so much potential to do a 12 or maybe 24 episodes as a TV Series. I still keep my heads held high for this one. But for now, in my opinion to this movie, I would honestly say that it was a rushed development to make it into a movie. I was entertained, yes. But I'm still in doubt if this is worth a cent to watch this movie. But, I would still support it despite of the letdown. Especially the manga, which is worth to read and reveals everything and everyone surrounding by it.
But, again, the movie is fine, the story is fair and the character development is kinda dull but acceptable. I'm kinda mixed to criticize at this movie. But... well, I think I'll gave it a fair 6/10 movie. It's not a very low score, and it's not a very bad adaptation either. But I think, at my honest opinion, I was kinda overwhelmed on how it was delivered from start to finish. But I think it is very recommended those who didn't read the manga. If only I didn't read the manga in the first place, I might give this one an 8 or a 9. But, well, because I already seen the manga and it's ending of it, and compare it to the movie. I'll gave it a 6. It's not worst, nor excellent. But rather a fair score.
The late Henry David Thoreau once said that this world is but a canvas to our imagination. The possibilities that exist within this stretch of life is endless. I would like to associate "A Silent Voice" or Koe no Katachi with Art. Because Art is something that is capable of bringing together the possibilities of life and the diversity of imagination as one. If I were to describe Koe no Katachi in a sentence, it'd be that its an amalgamation of various faux pas between art and life itself. I'll try and elaborate what I mean further ahead.
For reasons I won't specify, I'll look
at this movie solely from the perspective of a "who should've been" titular character, Ishida Shouya. One of the first theme explorations the film tries to convey us is the societal upbringing of a child. This however, offers a stark contrast to the early stages of Ishida's childhood. Being the polar opposite of growing senility, Ishida's youth attracted him to commit harassment; which gradually grew into bullying. The victim of the bullying, the pale and the sorrowful life of Nishimiya Shouko, a girl who is deaf. The eponymous character of Nishiyama offers an outlook which differs from Ishida. However no matter how much the film leads you to believe, this is not a tale of bullying later turned into romance, its more than that. The film cleverly overlaps to a scene where Shouya throws Nishiyama's interpretation notebook into a pool of water, but any proof of further bullying on behalf of Ishida is cut out when he feels an incomplete albeit innocent remorse of his actions. Ishida's action provide a perspective on the miscellaneous and point blank behavior of suffering. This greatly contemplates on what kind of a character Ishida really is. The self-loathing and remorse that the 'adult' Ishida feels later on is justified from his behaviours from before. Ishida has faced his share of difficulties in his upbringing living with his slightly 'edgy', if you will; elder sister. Though the film doesn't completely ponder over it, it does a great job portraying what sort of personality he has and that relates with your average viewer.
I might have heaps of praises for Ishida's personality, but its not exactly the same for the others. The other supporting cast along with Nishimiya are... well, a bit generic. Nishimiya is a necessary antithetical for Ishida. Her inane behavior and the fact that she's deaf and is bullied plays a focal role in the turning of events. But the very fact that she's exploited as a scapegoat also makes her a plot device. This is supported by how she readily accepts Ishida's attempt at apologizing. Ishida's characterization proved that his feelings of wrongdoings towards Nishiyama in his childhood made him grow feelings of guilt reflected in his anti-socializing personality. And you can argue that she had always wanted to be friends with Ishida who she particularly found interesting as a child, but its downplayed by the readily acceptance from Nishiyama who's conflicting behavior doesn't couple well with the feelings of Ishida. You can hate me for saying this but I really think Nishimiya is just a masochist. I mean, having feelings towards the person who once bullied the crap out of you and probably scarred you for life? BDSM anyone? Things take a turn to the worst when Nishimiya attempts suicide. The timing of it couldn't have been any worse and literally everything that happens afterwards seems like a farce. The supporting cast never reach that level either, with most of them like Sahara and Kawai having little relevance to the plot. Kawai's increasingly irritating behavior never ceases in the movie. And the group conversations led by her about how Ishida bullied Nishiyama feels like a childish topic at best. Mashiba is yet another character who has little to no relevance even after compared with the ones having little relevance. There's a scene where Ishida shuns him by calling him an 'outsider' and that just hits the nail in his already dead character. Nagatsuka is the one who has the most relevance on Ishida next to Nishimiya. He has an upbeat personality and a refreshing role in the movie, constantly influencing Ishida's actions. Yuzuru is another who has a somewhat relevance in the film. She's the younger sister of Nishimiya and extremely protective of her elder sister, so much so that when she crossed path with Ishida at first she shuns him twice from meeting with Nishimiya. The two form together a bond as the movie progresses that helps bring the main duo closer as well. Surprisingly however, Ueno is by far the best of the supporting cast. She's shown to have a firm viewpoint on Nishimiya and hates her. She's one of the culprit along with Ishida concerning the bullying of Nishimiya. Now you may call Ueno evil and I see that majority of the people have a mixed reaction towards her. However I feel that she has the most genuine character development in the movie. Shown to be harsh on Nishimiya at times, she's always supportive of her childhood friend Ishida, and often tries to help him out. The execution of Ueno's personality was done well in my opinion. Her behavior isn't taken too far but is kept mildly interesting throughout.
Miyu Irino takes center stage as the adult Ishida Shouya and delivers a top notch voice acting performance. His mild and laid back expression really emphasizes his feelings of struggle and guilt. The rest of the cast produce a praiseworthy performance as well. Ono Kensho's upbeat impression as Nagatsuka being a noteworthy one. The stand out among the lot however is definitely Hayami Saori's admirable presentation of a speech-impaired Nishimiya. The lucid and a coherent use of background music is befitting of that a slow burning romantic drama. A special mention the intro "My generation" by the band The Who. The softly samba dancing resembling Beat and Rock tune is a classic throwback to the old age blues genre. The visuals accompanying an energetic Ishida in his teens leaves a memorable note in the movie and sets the audience in and relaxed. The art is done by Kyoto Animation, a name not unheard of in the industry. Well known for their previous works of eye candy, KyoAni did an amazing work with Koe no Katachi. The visuals are stellar, the backgrounds are flabbergasting and there's a tinge of 3D. There are usages of mild symbolism in the art designs of 'koi', and the montages are showered with visual excellence. But as often than not, it comes to the case of taking it a little too far. While not to exaggerate, the animation is indeed excellent throughout with very few hiccups, but there are scenes where the film just likes to delve into daydreaming with surreal but less relevant illustrations. This affects and halts the storytelling from time to time but I wouldn't call it major; however these are little dark blemishes within the movie that would've been better rather left out.
I wouldn't call spending more than two hours watching Koe no Katachi a waste. The film offers a refreshing tale of self struggle and appreciation. While its not a movie you'd wanna tune in trying to hit off a few minutes sipping on a cocktail, the pace is slow and the film is lengthy, but if you're in for a good two hours of good old melodramatic romance drama then Koe no Katachi is a must watch. The film has its highs and lows, some of the scenes just seem childish and forced but eventually it pieces itself together pretty well. As for me, I wouldn't call this an emotional drama. I didn't shed tears in the movie but I was moved by the brilliant character development Ishida was given. I would go as far as to say that I didn't love the movie but I loved Ishida as a main character. And if you haven't yet realized yet yes, I am biased towards Ishida. He is the central figure and the moving force in the entire movie. That being said, he might as well be the most misfit main character in a film or anime in recent times.
A Silent Voice is a VERY popular anime and I can see its appeal. This is an anime that is beautifully animated by the much beloved Studio Kyoto. It has a soundtrack featuring The Who! It promised to actually address the issue of bullying far better than previous anime and give it the serious look it deserves. It promised to be a beautiful redemption tale and love story all in one. This anime SHOULD have been amazing. Sadly, I was really not a fan of this film and was badly disappointed to say the least. I'm not trolling. I'm not being contrarian for the lulz.
I'm quite serious and I'll explain why.
Warning! There will be some spoilers!
Bullying and its portrayal in anime:
Before discussing the technical things like art and music, I really need to cover this topic. Bullying is a real world issue that effects millions of people around the world and contributes to suicide, depression, eating disorders, etc. Unfortunately, anime has a long and generally horrendous history in terms of tackling this topic. Bullies in anime tend to be like bullies in a Stephen King novel. They tend to be 1 dimensional bastards that exist solely to torment our heroes and eventually get their grisly comeuppance. When I heard about an anime that would finally give this topic the respect it deserved, I was thrilled! Finally an anime could help redeem over 40 years of the medium doing it wrong. Here are some reasons I feel this film fell short.
A deaf girl named Shouko transfers into a 6th grade class and immediately the whole class start tormenting her and treating her like shit. Our MC Shouya repeatedly yanks out her hearing aids and destroys them in front of everyone. He does this EIGHT TIMES in 5 months and even makes her bleed out of her ears. The teacher just ignores this abuse until Shouko's mother complains. The teacher then singles out Shouya and only Shouya to be the fall guy. Does he get expelled? Suspended? Detention? Nope. His mother is told and she scolds him. Shouya doesn't take his loving mother's lesson to heart and physically assaults Shouko. The school STILL doesn't do anything against Shouya. Kid doesn't even get detention. I know Japan is a different culture than America, but WTF?! This all seems absurdly contrived.
Firstly, this would be far more believable if it was a Kindergarten class and not fucking 6th graders. Kindergarten kids have no established morals and really will bully kids in overt ways for being different. I still remember when a little Asian girl transferred into my all White kindergarten in Indiana. We all did "Asian Eyes". We all called her names. One kid started doing monkey chants, so we all started doing monkey chants. It was fucked up and I STILL feel bad about it now that I'm 30. By the the 6th grade, kids are FAR less likely to universally bully a kid for being a little different and the ways in which they bully are different. By the 6th grade, kids will bully by not talking to an unpopular kid, shunning them, and maybe attacking them on social media. A whole 6th grade class being supportive of physically beating up a little deaf girl and making her bleed from the ears is pretty damn unlikely to say the least.
Secondly, a character needs to do horrible things in order to set up a redemption tale. However, we are typically given a REASON why the character begins the story that way. This reason doesn't justify their actions, but it makes the audience understand the hero and what is going through their mind. Let's take a break from anime and look at another popular redemption movie, American History X. So why did Derek become a Neo-Nazi? He was raised by a father who was pretty racist and instilled a bit of that in him at a young age. Derek's father was murdered in a high crime Black neighborhood. Derek angrily blamed minorities for his father's murder and looked for groups to channel his anger. He ended up finding one of the many racist groups that exist in America both online and off, which reinforced his beliefs and helped mold him into the character we see at the beginning. Shouya on the other hand, is an absolute monster towards the handicapped for no reason. He comes from a loving, middle class family. He isn't a natural born sociopath. He isn't the least popular kid in school and desperate to make 1 person beneath him on the totem pole. He isn't being persuaded by some warped ideology that encourages bullying the handicapped in order to transcend traditional morality and prove himself an Ubermensch. He goes way farther than anyone else in his class and at no point are we EVER given a modicum of why or what he's thinking. Shouya begins the story a complete monster for no other reason than to set up a redemption tale.
Ok, so they fucked up a little. At least Silent Voice still tackles bullying WAY better than other anime...right? Honestly, no it doesn't. Let's set the bar really low and see how A Silent Voice compared to Elfen Lied, an anime that is widely agreed to have done a poor job tackling the issue. The main bully in Elfen Lied is a little brat named Tomoo. This kid is a 10 year old orphan being raised at a chronically underfunded and neglectful orphanage. Nobody is showing kindness to him, so he torments others in order raise himself up. At least we can understand Tomoo and his motivations, so point 1 goes to EL. Now let's look at their targets. Shouko is hard of hearing, but is otherwise an ordinary little girl. She is extremely cheerful and extroverted. No matter how much she is bullied, she forgives with saintlike compassion and tries to befriend Shouya, who just laughs at her and beats her up more. Lucy has red eyes and demonic horns. She objectively looks like a freak within her own anime. Prior to snapping, Lucy responds to bullying with the same cold, disdainful glare. Lucy doesn't try to befriend Tomoo. Her defiant attitude, difficulty showing emotions, and introverted personality all end up contributing to further bullying, which is accurate to real life. Point 2 goes to EL. Now lets look at how over the top the bullying was. The worst thing Tomoo did was beat Lucy's dog to death. Now in America, we value dogs at almost the level we value humans. Killing a dog is an unforgivable act of villainy. In most of the world, constantly ripping out the hearing aids of a little deaf girl, destroying them, and beating her up over a period of 5 months for no reason is far worse than killing 1 dog. Shouya's unbelievable, over the top cruelty exceeds any action taken by Tomoo. Point 3 goes to Elfen Lied. Congratulations Silent Voice! You just got owned by fucking Elfen Lied. You overrated piece of horse shit!
Plot and characters:
After 30 minutes of our MC being the biggest douche in anime that is NOT Dio Brando, we flash forward to high school. The entire class immediately switched from bullying Shouko to bullying Shouya. I guess they have exactly 1 target at a time. Now Shouya is a good guy and wants to make things up to Shouko. We of course already know Shouko is the most forgiving character that isn't supposed to be a Christ character or represent the very best of humanity, so our only real obstacle is another girl from their 6th grade class named Naoka. We see that Naoka still HATES Shouko and is an absurdly evil bitch because she blames Shouko for Shouya being bullied...even though she herself helped bully Shouya. In the manga, Naoka has her own redemption arc in parallel to Shouya's and ends up really developing as a character. In the movie, they had to cut that out and she's just an evil bitch that adds NOTHING to this story. She isn't even the antagonist of this tale. An antagonist actually ADDS something to the plot! I'm not going to spoil the whole ending, but I found its sentimentality to be utterly ineffectual. We also can't have an effective romance because that requires TWO likeable characters. The only character with any development and depth deeper than a rain puddle is Shouya. It's like the film writer honestly didn't give a shit about anyone else.
Yes, the art is pretty and cute and Studio Kyoto is awesome. The X's over characters' faces when they are rejecting Shouya was a cool touch. I don't have anything to criticize here. It was good, but not good enough to save this from being a mess.
Well...at least we got 1 song by the Who. That's more than most anime.
I really wanted to love this anime like everyone else apparently does. This was honestly one of the more disappointing anime experiences I've had in a long time. The characters besides 1 are badly underdeveloped. The plot is a contrived mess that utterly fails at tackling bullying better than past anime. The romance is lackluster and I got very few genuine feels out of this one. The art and production values are spectacular. The premise on paper is great. Then it all seems to fall apart. Kind of like Joker Game in that regard, which I won't bother reviewing because I just basically did. I'm not going to warn people away and scream to "Not buy the hype". Maybe someone else will have a different experience and really enjoy this film. This was just my experience and my own thoughts. I hope Your Name ends up being better than this!