Although the one-shot Koe no Katachi won the 80th Weekly Shounen Magazine Newbie Best Mangaka Award in 2008, the vector of the content made it difficult for publication on any manga magazine until it was published—after months of legal dispute—in the February issue of Bessatsu Shounen Magazine in 2011, where it got first place in the questionnaires. Ooima Yoshitoki's debut became the manga version of Mardock Scramble instead of Koe no Katachi, for aforementioned legal disputes.
The one-shot was re-published in 12th issue of the 2013 Weekly Shounen Magazine.
What Koe no Katachi has really done is amazing. Evoking such a range of emotions in such a short amount of pages. It's bold and brave and so very real. Its tackles this issue of bullying head on without faltering, the pure truth. The ignorance of the adults, children blaming one another and all of it is so heartbreakingly real. The ending is a good one, though that may not always be the case in real life, but opens the eyes to readers the full impact and effects of bullying. A beautiful story that wouldn't take you even 10 minutes to read but beautiful
to the core.
It's rather rare for me to catalyze a motion of progress whenever I'm in a state of idleness. But having the thought of flipping a few pages of a sentimentally driven one-shot manga last night not being a bit of a drag, I astonishingly caught myself bawling inside.
Koe no Katachi is undoubtedly a work radiating with prominence. Being a one-shot written and drawn by Ooima Yoshitoki, a promising young mangaka, I marched my eyes forth to the manga without any excitement nor high expectations, only a neutral reading experience. And gratefully for that, my dwindling emotions suddenly underwent rapid maturation and eventually softened the walls
of my heart. This manga certainly doesn't possess anything that could thrust us to the edge of our seats the way sword fighting, intellectual skirmishes and bizarre brawls often do. However, this 64-page one-shot's density is solely held together by particles of varying emotions and souls; something that we seldom find in our reading media.
The beauty of this short read is engrossed at its plot at the very least, whereas the characters and art are also commendable but not as riveting as the former. Furthermore, the simplicity exhibited in the execution of events really enthralls me. The story is not actually that strong either, but if anything, it's Ooima's kitschy perspective in life and passion in writing which makes this piece of work worthy of all the praises it's receiving. Reading through the pages where Nishiyama Shouko is being ostracized and aggressively bullied for her hearing impairment utterly weighed everything down in my chest. Furthermore aside from bullying, Koe no Katachi tackles the dreadful corners of humanity where hypocrisy reigns. But ultimately, this manga refurbishes the hope overshadowed by the ugliness of human nature, which is quite well substantiated in Ishida Shouya's change of heart as he elaborately realizes his mistakes and reconciles with Nishiyama years after. Despite the bleakness exhibited, this manga is still strongly moving and at the same time cute.
I am indeed easily propelled (sentimentally) by mangas having similarities to this in terms of themes, although I prefer novels better as my reading medium. Also, I just can't neglect the notion inside me that Koe no Katachi is really really close to Onanie Master Kurosawa with the all the bullying cases, but less on the psychological department. In essence, Koe no Katachi is a promising one-shot capable of grasping every fiber of your emotions for a short duration. If you're the same as me who takes a peculiar kind of pleasure in bawling endlessly beneath a pillow, you'll surely love this as much as I did.
Note: I read this last night while listening to MAXIMUM THE HORMONE, and still, my tears ceaselessly fled from my lachrymal ducts. Koe no Katachi is THAT great.
I've never been so angry, sad and happy reading a manga. It really is a beautiful story, makes you think about your actions and what you have to thank. Without a doubt, the best one-shot I've ever read in my life. I believe that if there was a serialization history could be worked deeper and can take it for better or worse, the only hope left.
If you've read my review about the complete manga of Koe no Katachi, you can already predict the compliments that I make to the one-shot. I say that because, at least for me, the main problems I've found were results of the poor development through the 64 chapters, mostly after the first half. About this prototype, I think I can do a more positive analyse. Let's move on.
The story is about this deaf girl student called Nishimiya Shouko, that moved to a new school and finds herself into a hardcore bullying that includes exclusion, verbal and physical abuse. Major part of it comes from our
not-beloved protagonist Ishida Shouya.
Now, when we're dealing with a plot that is meant to appeal to emotional of an individual in search of his empathy, there's almost always that sense of artificiality. After all, our emotions aren't so superficial to be sell to any show with the intention of buying it. I'm human and I feel for someone that is a person just like me. The process of gaining value of a real individual is the key to a fictional character be worthy of my empathy, hate or whatever it be. But how can this be done in just 62 pages? Well, ask Ooinma Yoshitoki, Koe no Katachi's creator. Because she was able to do this fully in this short amount of space, using the main factor that led the work be recognized: identification. I and many others who have read the manga have suffered from this problem at some point in our lifes. Bullying is real and it's a serious stuff. So, by applying a very solid dose of realism to the story, without losing the charm of drama (as many shows do today by turning their plot into a forced snuff, gore, etc) it has captivated our hearts, making us feel pity, sadness, indignation and hopelessness in the right measure. I always emphasize the naturalness and the spontaneity as things develop itself, so I cannot fail to praise these two factors in this show.
In a manga based mainly on the tension between its characters, one of the things to watch out are their expressions and how you can identify the emotions of them. Face reading is one of the most effective methods of settle in a story. Koe no Katachi certainly didn't lose his graphic composure even with its longer version. The design of the characters isn't necessarily original, but the development of their expressions is fully compatible with all the situations that they experiment.
As for the characters, it's here where Koe no Katachi success factors are identified. I have always emphasized that the characters are the connection between the viewers and the events of the series. However, at least for me, identification only occurs with the presence of realism. Regardless of where they are, whether it's something I've been through or something that has never crossed my mind, the behaviour of the characters in a logical and realistically sensitive way is fundamental to the strenghthening of this link between me and the show.
We have two fundamental pillars throughout the series, Shouko and Shouya. The victim and the agressor. The sadness and sorrow for the main heroine is something I've been waiting for since the moment I realized that the bullying was going on. What I didn't expect was such a close look at the main "hero" and how we can somehow realistically see the sociopathic behaviour of a bully. The inconsequence and unreasonableness of the protagonist, running away from the idea that the motivation is always clear. Sometimes (most of it) there is no such motivation. Abusing is a choice. Trying to justify the evil deeds of one who chose to make others his toys to "escape boredom" wich is what Shouya cites as his reason for mistreating Shouka, is evil in the same measure. And in order to combat bullying and not justify it, Yoshitoki did a great job of actually creating a hateful and repudiating image not only of the main character, but also of all concealed figures who turn a blind eye to everything that is happening to the poor deaf girl.
The realism, density and differentiated concept related to the protagonist's motivation were really great points. I can safely say that it's one of the best manga that deals with the abuse theme I've ever seen. It didn't lost the charm from the first to the last page and I would certainly rommend it. Very good, enjoy it.