East Asian schools are somewhat infamous for the teasing, ostracizing and sometimes inhuman oppression students can inflict on their fellow classmates. This is not to say that educational institutions across the world, from preschool to graduate, are exempt from bullying in some form or another. It’s a universal phenomenon that crops up wherever social order exists.
Those who are doing the bullying may not realize the extent of the damage they cause (“We’re just having fun”) or otherwise justify it through the abasement of their victims (“he’s so weird; she deserves it”).
Those at the receiving end often “demonize” their oppressors and curse the world and
Very rarely is a victim able to smile and take it quietly.
“Koe no Katachi” is a story that is unusually mature and respectful of reality. It acknowledges Guilt, not from simple misunderstandings and circumstances but from foolish, painful, irreversible mistakes that can’t be undone by a thousand apologies.
It explores painful knots that aren’t easy to untie, life as unpolished and horribly complicated. It acknowledges the reality of ugly faces, bloodshot eyes, and even pimples.
But it doesn’t stop there. Ishida Shouya, after deciding to commit suicide, reaches out to the one he made miserable and took so much away from... and finds that Nishimiya Shouko doesn’t forgive him. She denies there was anything to forgive in the first place. That deafness wasn’t the reason she was staying silent. It wasn’t because she was weak, but because she was strong.
An “I’m sorry,” doesn't go very far, but as for how far it goes, the guilty must cherish every millimeter, every little step toward making that huge mistake right again. New friends are met along the way, and old “friends” and former accomplices have to be faced once more.
Sometimes the worst thing that happens in stories like these is that the harshness of reality makes happiness look foolish. Sometimes the mangaka views tenderness as a fault to be overcome and the art and story reflect it, turning everyday faces into grotesque caricatures.
This story doesn’t make that mistake. More cynically-minded readers such as myself may be tempted to see such a hopeful new start as “unrealistic” and “soft.” Because my life didn’t give me that kind of second chance. I wasn’t even able to think to be kind to the those (********) that made my life miserable. And the ones I looked the other way from? That I bullied in return? There’s no way they’d be to me.
But stories are a wonderful place to find hope. One must remember that there if there is a shadow, there is a light behind it. Nishimiya Shouko makes Ishida Shouya start his life over again, and, unknowlingly, invites the reader to do the same... or, you know, just cry their eyes out. But maybe that's enough for now.
If you were a bully, would you try to change who you were? If you were a victim of bullying, would you forgive your assailant? Koe no Katachi (literally translated “The Shape of Voice” in English) by Ooima Yoshitoki details the story of Ishida Shouya, and his growth from a savage terror in elementary school, concerned only with satisfying his own need for stimulation, to a young man with concern and empathy for those around him.
We’re first introduced to Shouya as a child, performing a “test of courage” with his friends. You see, dear reader, Shouya is afraid of boredom. School is boring, stagnating is
boring, living is boring, so he has to do something to cut through that cloud of drivel. What does he do? He jumps off of bridges. He pours salt on slugs. He eggs his two best friends on into getting into the same sort of trouble that he does. Shouya is a problem child, and this is made very clear from the very beginning of Koe no Katachi. When he meets Nishimiya Shouko, a deaf girl who transfers into his elementary school, he does not treat her like a person – he treats her like a tool to alleviate his boredom. He yells in her ear, pours dirt on her, and tosses out her hearing aids, not thinking for a moment that she is just another human being. No, she’s an alien from the planet Nishimiya, and she doesn’t understand human speech.
Still interested in this manga? Hopefully, you are. The first part of Koe no Katachi is written so realistically that we can only feel hatred for Shouya as he goes through the motions of his existence. His behaviour toward Shouko and his sudden realization that what he has been doing is wrong is portrayed so masterfully as to be simply exceptional. This primarily unlikable child, Shouya, is the main character of this story, and this story is about his redemption as he transforms from a bully into a good human being. We watch him as he ruins his life, and we watch him try to build it back up again. His development is handled marvellously. His desire to better himself and help his mother (as well as Shouko, when he encounters her again later on) is commendable, and his ability to face the facts and stand his ground despite the shame and hatred he feels toward himself is nothing short of amazing.
However, since Shouya is the narrator of our story, he is also an unreliable one. We don’t learn much about Shouko due to his influence. Now, some people may complain that it is because Shouko is poorly developed as a character. I disagree. I think it is more because we see Shouko through Shouya’s eyes, and Shouya himself doesn’t know very much about her. The only thing he can see is her expressions and what she says through her hands. That is all we can use to infer how she feels and what she thinks. And, for the most part, she is very expressive. It isn’t too difficult to guess what her emotions are based on the way her eyes blaze or which way her mouth curves – up or down. What about the more intricate thought patterns, you ask? Well, that’s all up to our own interpretation, and Shouya’s, too, which is where we begin making mistakes, and where the majority of the problems our hero faces stems from.
We have the same amount of information about the other characters in the manga (of which there are numerous), but these characters speak with their voices, which is why we find them to be more readily understandable (and Shouya as well, by extension). None of the characters fall into regular tropes such as tsundere or yandere – although it could be argued that Ueno has traits of both – and they all feel like very real people. They are likable and dislikable just like regular old individuals. Some of the most important characters we come across are Ueno Naoka, Kawai Miki, and Sahara Miyoko, all of whom were Shouya’s classmates when he was a child.
Ueno, at first, seems like a fairly pleasant girl, until we learn how bratty and spoilt she is. She joins right in with bullying Shouko, and indeed doesn’t seem to grow up, as she carries her hatred with her all the way into high school. While she is definitely a dislikable character, she is a well-crafted one. She understands her flaws and she wants to change who she is, but she doesn’t know how to and isn’t sure how to move forward. Moreover, her own motivations trump any sort of misgivings she has for her own behaviour, and while she may do a lot of things wrong, she also does some things right. She is forefront, honest, and blunt. She speaks her mind, and in some ways is a true driving force for the plot later on.
Kawai may be kawaii in appearance, but personality-wise she is anything but. Giving off the façade of a well-to-do honour student, Kawai breezes through life by doing whatever best benefits her and her vision of the world. While not as influential a character as Ueno, she certainly has her part to play in Koe no Katachi, as you’ll see once you read it. Sahara is a shy bookworm sort of character who warms up to Shouko the best in elementary school, although her attempts at making contact are ruined by peer pressure and psychological abuse. She is one of the characters who truly tries to make Shouya portray how much he has changed as a person.
The rest of the haphazard group is composed of Nagatsuka Tomohiro, Mashiba Satoshi, and Nishimiya Yuzuru. Nagatsuka wants to become a movie director, and his attempts at making a movie are what draw the characters together in the first place. Mashiba is one of the people Nagatsuka drags in to his dream. Yuzuru, meanwhile, is Shouko’s younger sibling, and enjoys taking pictures.
No character roster of Koe no Katachi would be complete without naming Shouko and Shouya's mothers. Both are very well designed characters, Nishimiya especially, and they both showcase different forms of love to their children.
This manga is riddled with hints, foreshadowing, and seemingly insignificant or confusing phrases and expressions. Certain heart-tugging events that may leave you stunned and at a loss for words may seem very natural and even inevitable when you take into account the main character’s lack of understanding of the situation and the cryptic messages we were privy to earlier. The second part of the manga, detailing Shouya’s growth as a person while he tries to make amends to Shouko, mixes the genres of drama, psychology, and slice of life together in a wonderfully immersive tale. The third portion of the manga is just as well-written, if more drama-filled than the relatively tame second part. Nothing changes the fact that the author seems to have a very good understanding of the mind. While she certainly could have made this manga darker, it is very good for what it is, and realistic enough that it doesn’t need anything more depressing to be considered a masterpiece.
Ooima Yoshitoki is a very good artist. Koe no Katachi has stellar art for a manga published on a weekly basis, with very few inconsistencies and no deterioration in quality that I have been able to notice. Both characters and backgrounds are detailed, and each character has a distinctive design to make them stand out from the rest. Characters are actually fairly realistic looking apart from Nagatsuka. Screentones are used to their full potential and there are definitely no cuts and corners taken when it comes to the artwork.
What can I say about Koe no Katachi, in closing? It was certainly an amazing ride and I’m glad I came along for it. While it does have its issues here and there, one must take into account that this is the debut work of a very young author. It is truly an exceptional manga with the subject matter it tackles and the quality it is written, and I wholeheartedly label it a must-read for anyone interested in literature in general. Remember, kids, no matter what mistakes you’ve committed in the past, if you regret them and see them as they are, you’re a good person. Don’t be afraid of facing your fears, because that is only the first step of the journey you’re about to take. Growing up is a painful process – but we all have to do it. And at the end, you’ll reach a door. You know what you’ll find behind that door? Your future, yours to take into your own hands, as bright as you are able to make it. You can only help yourself as long as you are alive.
While reading this, I thought this would be the greatest thing since internet porn. You got a deaf girl who is getting bullied by some kids, you get a main character who is a bundle of development, and you get some good feels out of it. And then it ends. Abruptly like your mother slamming on the breaks suddenly without your seatbelt and you suddenly hit your head on the dashboard. Then you ask your mom "Why the hell did you do that?" And then she shrugs her shoulders.
Throughout the duration of this mango, it was a rollercoaster of kids trying to not get
eaten up by their past. Some force their way to overcome a self-induced obstacles haunting them. And that's about it really. The manga really just stagnated about half way through and never left that point. Nothing happened between the middle and the end before succumbing to a stop. Some characters don't get their limelight, some questions are left unanswered, and the feeling that it could have been so much more. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Koe no Katachi sensitized me. It kept thinking about it during all the time I read it, and also after. I'll try to explain why this manga is so powerfull.
We follow Ishida Shouya in his quest for redemption, because in his childhood he bullied a deaf girl, Nishimiya Shouko, then being he himself bullied. Many would say he does not deserve forgiveness, but yet, he is trying his best to make up for the time he ruined for Shouko. This journey is just so relatable and credible because ,just like live itself, it has its ups and downs, its happy moments and its sad moments.
Shouya's quest we face lots of diferents aspects of life. In the bullying theme, we get to see how lack of communication and comprehension, how jealousy and how the pressure of the society takes people to bully someone. Also its after-affects are greatly depicted. We see how bullying takes people to hate themselves and to devalue their own lives, to the point they wish to die. Nevertheless, many other themes are aboarded: we get to understand what real friends are and what gives one right to be friends with people; we get to see and understand family relations, like the love and protection between siblings and parents.
During the manga, Shouya tries to compensate for the time he ruined for Shouko. One of the ways he does that is by reintroduncing her to some of their childhood classmates, who she could have been friends with, if not for his actions, and by trying to get her to participate in the his activities, like the production of a movie . This aspects is good because, besides making Shouya face his past problems, it introduces lots of great characters. The side characters are great because they are all very credible and realistic, because none of them is perfect, all of them have or had their problems and suffering. It just makes us want to read more because, in my case, it made me curious and made me want to understand that character and what happened to him/her. Ueno is a troubled girl who suffers because by some reasons she despises herself; Kawai is an egocentric and manipulative girl but who hard-worked to get in her position, and for that hates not being recognized; Matsuba is someone who suffered bullying in the past and now expresses his anger mostly through violence when facing some bully; Nagatsuka is someone who does not have friends and who compensates his loneliness by being extremely energetic; Sahara suffers because she abandoned Souko in the past and because she tries to become someone better, but feels she can’t do it; Shouko’s mother is someone who struggled to raise her daughters, who suffers with the fact Shouko is bullied and who just wishes her daughter were strong enough to take it, although being too ; Yuzuru loves her sister and for that she also suffers when she is bullied and comes to hate the ones who made her suffer. Also, it is interesting because, with the experiences these characters pass in the story, little by little, they become able to understand and to accept themselves, which is a very interesting event follow.
About the lead, Ishida Shouya,. He is also far from being a perfect person, and that’s what makes him a great character. He is in many times insecure, in many occasions he gives up on what he wants/should do because he is afraid, and besides being his intention, in many times he does not truly tries to understand Shouko, he just “ intended to hear her voice”, which is a a great metaphor. Nevertheless, he is great developed. As the side characters, he learns how to deal with his defects and weaknesses, then seeing there is no reason to wish to die and being able to enjoy life .
Now to the most interesting character of the manga: Nishimiya Shouko. First of all she is a very interesting character because, for being deaf, her ways of expression are her communication notebook, sign language and her expressions. And OH MY GOD!!! What expressions she has and how well they transmit her emotions, because they are perfectly chosen and drawn. I couldn’t help feeling happy when she was happy, sad and sorry when she was sad and, most of all, feeling her pain when we come to understand the suffering she bears. All of that resulting in results in lots of crying. Also, she is the element which brings to discussion the heaviest and the most serious themes. Through her we see the suffering that accompanies those who are bullied, and how it takes people see themselves as burdens, to hate themselves and to wish to die. That is very well done because it happens in progression. We understand her like Shouya does, little by little. First, besides being bullied, we see her as a very strong character. Then, by the time of the climax (and what climax, my heart stopped for a moment; it just has so many feelings in it) we see her as someone who suffered A LOT. But then again, with her experiences and her interactions with the other characters(mostly Shouya), she learns to value her life, to see herself as more than a burden, to find happiness and to enjoy life. That journey of hers, through pain, suffering and happiness, is just so emotional I couldn’t help feeling empathy for her and, through all of it, loving her.
Then, I am going to finish this review reinforcing the greatest aspects of the manga, because I am pretty sure I said it by some point. This manga gathers amazing characters with dense, significant and touching themes and messages resulting in a very emotional piece of art, the most emotional I have ever read, I dare say, because if there is one thing ever present in this work is feelings, they being happy or sad feelings, reading Koe no Katachi will make you feel. That is why I love it.
Story/Enjoyment: Koe no Katachi started as a one-shot and evolved in to so much more.
The original storyline focused on the main character, Ishida Shouya and his interactions with the new girl in class, Nishimiya Shouko. Nishimiya is not just any transfer student, she is deaf. This fact is very difficult for Ishida, his class, and even his teacher to grasp.
The manga itself deals with very heavy topics, like bullying and suicide. Although the one-shot portrayed the bullying and its effects on not only Nishimiya's but Ishida's lives, the manga continuation of Koe no Katachi deals with the after-affects of bullying and Ishida's life a few
years down the road from when he first met Nishimiya.
I found myself crying throughout several chapters of Koe no Katachi. There are many aspects in this manga that make it relatable. It is both heartbreaking and heartwarming.
Art: Overall I feel that the art in this manga is fantastic. It is interesting to see how the mangaka incorporated sign-language in to the illustrations. I also love that all of the characters look like real people. There are no overly-attractive characters or females with huge breasts: the characters' appearances fit the tone of the story.
Character: Ishida Shouya is the main focus of the manga continuation. The mangaka does a great job of showing the readers Ishida's bad and good points. Ishida is by no means a hero, but I find him relatable. He is lost, confused, and looking for answers on how he should be living his life. I'm not sure whether I like him or not, but I do not dislike him.
Overall: I highly recommend this manga. If you choose to read it, I advise you to keep tissues nearby!
Here's the central problem of Koe no Katachi - the story ended. The prequel delivered it's message and there's nothing left to add. The whole point of the storyline was lack of communication leading to suffering and the protagonists figured that out. The end.
A sequel can't exist because Ishida and Shouko communicating properly would leave nothing to write about HOWEVER if the pair doesn't communicate there can't be a sequel in the first place. But for whatever reason we can only speculate on the mangaka took the challenge of breaking the roof and making the impossible possible. How does she attempt to pierce the heavens
with her pencil?
By freezing the protagonist duo in time and space and making the side cast do all the work!
So simple yet so brilliant. But before that plan can be pulled off two obstacles arrive - first the oneshot was ridiculously oversimplified, with every character being equipped with either black or white morals no gray zones in between and there were barely any other characters beside the main, since they served only to advance the plot without getting any development. So to fix these empty cardboards the manga resolves to retconning.
Retcons, the deadly sin of literature, and this manga by necessity uses it in overwhelming amounts. One-sided villians don't make interesting characters so they're given backstories to give them motivations to explore and look less despicable (I'm looking at you Ueno) and additional newold incidents (I invented the term just now lol) exhibiting interactions and significance to the main duo are added retroactively, if for no other reason then justifying their existence in the plot they've no place in.
Second problem, it would be quite boring if the main protagonists didn't interact at all, so they must BUT without making any progress at the same time, maintaining status quo is a live-or-die for this manga. The solution is to make Ishida a daft twat and transfer all traces of Shouko's soul to newly invented younger sister unit Yuzuru 01, leaving the crucial protagonist pair as blank husks. I'm not exaggerating here, Ishida is endlessly wallowing in repetitive guilt cycles (dear Madoka it's annoying) forever oblivious to the fact his redemption is long time complete. Shouko is a Stepford wife with Yuzuru becoming her Tyler ("I'm everything you want to be Shouko"). Upon introduction younger sister was obstructing Ishi-Shou meetings, the hilarious irony is that's forever her one and only purpose in the story! Even when she finally accepts new-and-improved Ishi she's still meticulously blocking their relationship, acting as Shouko proxy in all conversations, intercepting and usurping every single piece of character development that should belong to her deaf sister. In effect the protagonists interact with each all while not really interacting at all, and the entire immoblization of plot is covered by moving the focus to unnecessary side characters. Nice trick, very few readers noticed and only after many many chapter when the whole complete lack of progress got really transparent..
I must once again emphasize this - the side characters serve no purpose. Even if you argue there were more than one bullies, there's no point in expanding the side cast if the protagonists are put in a fridge. That's something you would do for a comedy spinoff, not continuation. Assuming all the heavy retcons justify the need for the support cast to go throught the same redemption process as Ishida as long as the subject of their bullying remains a blank Stepforder to their actions it all amounts to zero. If everything originated from her persona she cannot be left out of this process with a lame explanation like "she barely understands what's going on" like in that one lettter she wrote.. If the target of the harrasment is removed all that side cast bickering is just milking the drama in no direction. And Haruhi above us what an over-the-top soap opera it is, just the crazy amount of slaps alone is nauseating.
I won't even bother listing all of the wonders of backward writing, but the protagonist Ishida himself deserves a special mention, because his character was remade from scratch. Or should I say he was REPLACED COMPLETLY by a different person in the middle of the story. No, he didn't improve, he didn't repent his mistakes, he was replaced by an alien from Saiteihen Otoko. Ishida I know was the type of sociopathic scum that destroyed a very expensive hearing aid without seeing anything wrong with that, not even when his mom scolded him. Japanese Jesus Ishida who's completly selfless isn't that person. If it took years of bullying to break him to a point where he felt some degree of regret, then where's the process that led him to becoming a fountain of empathy? Please bear in mind he doesn't even see anything wrong with the process of bullying in the first place, just the reason he targeted her! With rationalizations so full of shit like that I don't see his 180 degree twist coming from anywhere. Because realistically speaking people don't change easy and what children learn by young age they take into adulthood.
The matter is cleared by the author with no sugar-coating once we reach the chapter where Ishida tenderly babysitted a cousin child (who teleported into the story completly out of nowhere naturally) just to show that all along he was a nice person so problem solved. Sorry but no, you can't do that and expect me to treat this seriously. I can't tell if the author is taking the audience for morons or just decided she doesn't give a crap anymore, but holy crap this is insulting to the reader.
Oh and since on we're on the subject of scumbags here's a curiosity - every single man introduced is either a pitiful looser (Ishida Friend), reformed asshole (Ishida) or just plain asshole (everyone else). The only naturally likeable people are women exclusively. Make of that what you want...
***MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD***
You know why did Shouko suicide attempt happen? Because that was the only way to break the locked cycle. You might think that's a very clever and realistical turn, since the lack of communication not in only a literal sense (Koe no Katachi = Shape of the Voice) caused this tragedy to unfold and thus was unavoidable
There's nothing realistic about the way characters act, Ishida being constantly "..duuuuh.." to his surroundings or Shouko acting like a mechanized doll, just recall the love confession chapters earlier. That's what R. Ebert defined as "idiot plot", a series of dramatical occurences that can only happen because characters are otherworldly dumb. The almost suicide twist was most certainly unavoidable but that's because the mangaka paved herself into a corner from which you can only escape with such a cheap ploy. That's not good planning, that's desperation resulting from a poor design.
***END OF SPOILER***
Faced with a faulty premise that does not allow any serious progress like a mature series would, it relies constantly on forced drama and shock to invoke interest from the reader. Pointless fluff to add chapters, ridiculous escalating behaviours, exaggerated tearjerkers, incessant slapping, through all those clumsy attempts to tug heartstring without heading in any particular direction it keeps burying itself even deeper and deeper in "The Dynasty" territory. Whatever message it was meant to have it's all burried under a flurry of cheesy theatrics.
The oneshot was a simplistic thing that delivered a sense of closure and it should've been left that way. Serialised KnK is an unecessary sequel that serves no purpose whatsover and is rather painful to read, and not because of the heavy subject involved. If you've a soft spot for melodrama it's enjoyable at least to a point, but if you're expecting something substantial then move along. Soap opera through and through.
I discovered Koe no Katachi by chance, and within a day had the entire story finished. It’s an absorbing coming-of-age romance, heavy on the drama with hints of comedy to lighten the tone. It jointly focuses on bullying, the issues of friendship and chasing after one’s dreams. Koe no Katachi has a unique twist though: the main romance is between a deaf girl, Nishimiya Shouko, and the guy who bullied her in elementary school, Ishida Shouyo. An odd pairing it is indeed, but the relationship is driven by the insecurities and weaknesses of both characters, questioning the limits and potential of catharsis to heal what
was an utterly broken relationship.
One of Koe no Katachi’s most noticeable features is how human the characters seem. The manga, although having started publishing in 2013, relies very little on the tropes that seem to dominate manga and anime today. Although certain characters do appear to fulfil popular archetypes (for example, Ueno Naoka, the classic childhood friend), it is not what defines their personality. It is instead a catalyst for the events that take place in the manga, and the actual plot and the development of the manga are by far more significant contributors to the personalities of the characters. Koe no Katachi displays its characters proudly, and rightly so, as they are a truly exemplary of what happens when a romance story can do things right.
Our main character, Ishida Shouyo, starts the manga as the cast’s most unsympathetic character, a shock for sure. His vile treatment of the eponymous ‘silent voice’ of the manga, Nishimiya Shouko, prompts her to leave the school, spawning hatred from the reader and even his group of friends, who have spent the years since Shouko left the school bullying him. The story of Koe no Katachi is therefore actually split into two: One the one hand, it is a story of Shouyo attempting to repair his ruined relationship with Shouyo, and on the other hand it is about Shouyo finding a place again in society. Through hanging out with Shouyo, Shouko too is helped to overcome her own disability. As many a romance story has done before it, Koe no Katachi portrays the lives of two high-school students who are able to create much a much happier place for themselves by working together and with their friends.
Shouko is the real heart and soul of the manga, her stubborn kindness extending even to the boy who made her elementary school life a living hell. Whether or not her character relies too heavily on this trait is tricky to say. The conclusion I came to was that, had I lived as harsh a life as hers, friendship is something I would crave more than anything else. Her pursuit of catharsis is not so surprising really taken in this light. I would add that it is Shouko’s openness and innocent friendliness that brings out the best in the other characters too.
While not featuring as heavily as Shouyo and Shouko, the support characters are certainly not underdeveloped. The focus is initially placed on the relationships of these characters with Shouya, and how he helps them to get to know Shouka better. By the midpoint of the story though, these characters act independently, contributing heavily to the direction of the manga, in particular the ‘Let’s make a movie!’ storyline that occupies a significant portion of the overall manga. At certain points even, the story focuses entirely on these side characters and their relationships with each other, such that, when Shouya’s and Shouka’s relationship returns to the forefront, the reader notices a much warmer ‘group’ feeling, and more developed relationships between all the characters.
Although the story is not a long one, spanning only 65 volumes, there is a remarkable breadth in the topics Koe no Katachi manages to cover. Early in the story, Shouya nearly resorts to suicide before meeting Shouka, and death is a persistent theme in the manga – Shouka’s younger sister Yuzuru has an uncomfortable obsession with the topic even, going so far as to nearly only take pictures of the dead animals she finds. Being set in a high-school, also addressed are common issues such as the future plans and careers of the cast, and what it means to be ‘normal’. However, Shouko’s deafness really helps set this apart from the way these topics are typically dealt with in the high-school genre. With her disability, the topic of her future is a very important, as is how she is considered an outsider by society. The author deals with the topics in a very capable manner that fully demonstrates his respect for Shouko, her disability, and having to lead her life at a constant disadvantage. Shouko’s deafness is obviously the major theme of the manga. Although I cannot speak for the accuracy of the sign language which is prominently featured in the manga, the author takes great pains not to make Shouko’s deafness a gimmick, but a fully realised and critical aspect of her interaction with the other characters, which anyone who has experience with a hearing impairment will definitely appreciate.
The manga’s art is both detailed and very lifelike, with not a disproportionate head or oversized pair of eyes to be found. This massively helps in reinforcing the drama of the story. One thing I would point is the mangaka’s ingenious visual representation for Shouya’s seclusion from his classmates. The faces of the people Shouya hates are all crossed out, and Shoya’s gradual development as a character is accompanied by the faces slowly being revealed providing a very effective visual means to portray the development of his relationships.
One other technique that popped out was the heavy use of honorifics to signal how the perception of relationships changes. Many of the characters distanced themselves by changing how they would refer to Shouya or Shouka, adding a –san for example. This blatant relationship development suits the manga style well, making situations with several characters and the numerous relationships involved that much easier to follow.
Koe no Katachi takes a very positive and optimistic outlook on handling a hardship which can never be truly overcome, only minimised. It’s a story that is wrought with drama but critically no melodrama. All the conflict is fundamentally human, and is dealt with as though it were a conflict taking place in real-life. I highly recommend Koe no Katachi to people looking for a good romance manga, and also to people looking for a very down to earth and personal story.
Koe no katachi is a master piece and is one of the very few shounen manga which is routed to the ground with its realistic characters as well as situations. The manga deals with bullying at a young age and how it influences the characters in the story. It isn't a simple redemption story of a bullied bully as it goes through many different situations in life that we don't sometimes evaluate like what it means to have a friend, what it means to live and what it means to change.
Art: The art is very realistic as it's not the normal perfect looking people
in manga; these people are real with individual traits. Also the way in which the characters emotions are portrayed on their faces and through their body language are once again very realistic as it allows you to identify with these emotional(sometimes awkward) experiences which everyone has been through. Finally the way in which the author incorporates the sign language into the speech and illustrations is fantastic.
Story: The story is great as it feels genuine as everyone has been a part of bullying on either side of the line. Also the way the story goes is superb as it avoids the normal manga clichés.
Character:The characters in this manga make it as they are all relatable and well layered from the mains to the branch characters.
If you are a fan of manga I would highly recommend that you read koe no katchi as is amazing !!!
I'm going to be straightforward here. Saying that Koe No Katachi is one of the best mangas I have ever read would be a cop out because Koe no Katachi is THE best manga I have ever read. I find it hard to say because it's a shounen that has no swords, no titans, no Death Note; but it has me on my seat regardless.
The story is well told. The mangaka doesn't spam you with useless knowledge nor does he/she have excess dialogue that a lot of shounen manga have problems with. I don't want to say anything about the events that take place
because just telling you what this manga is about would ruin 5-6 chapters. I say 5-6 chapters because, if I recall correctly, that's how long the prologue of the story is.
Characters are far from cliche. Characters feel like they're human and their behaviors are not forced. It also creates an uncertainty of how you think they will act. This entire manga is about character development so they're designed to like most of them.
In summary, I really love this manga. It is a true masterpiece. Every chapter has me on the edge of my seat, wishing I had a time machine just so I could read the next chapter. I hope you liked my review and enjoy the manga even more than I do.
So... My first impression of Koe no Katachi was overall my generic reaction to the synopsis of a Slice of Life. It could go anywhere, be anything, turn out great or be something I wish I'd never read. Needless to say, what I got was not what I expected.
This manga, which I can best summarize as something along the lines of Bakuman meets AnoHana, greeted me with a punch right to the face. From the very beginning, I knew exactly what kind of manga this was going to be. Even still, I was beyond surprised by what I got.
While I feel the story
deserves a 10, I must acknowledge that it is more or less what can be expected when one thinks of Slice of Life. That still doesn't do anything to decrease the utter risks this manga takes with its story. It goes to great bounds to reflect the countless issues that surface from bullying and the lasting effects it can have on people. Not only that, but a huge undeying message is that no matter how a person acts, there is always something beneath that facade that people would be shocked to find. Including many sensitive topics such as suicide and how fake most friendships are, this manga takes it all and throws together a beautiful tale of a young man trying to right the countless wrongs he committed in the past while trying to find what it truly means to have a "friend".
There isn't all that much that can be said character-wise without spoiling a great amount of the story. However, what I can say, is that each of the main cast and even some of the far lesser characters get incredible development. Obviously, there will be instances of you wanting one or two of the characters to just drop dead, because they're horrible people. But that's the brilliant thing about Koe no Katachi. Each character knows exactly who they are, and... It tied directly into who they are. I really can't say more without aforementioned spoilers, but...
The artwork in Koe no Katachi is very unique. It is unlike any I've seen before, and it is wholly fitting to the tone that Koe no Katachi went for. Maintaining an air of realism, which was a huge part of what made this manga, the art does exactly what it needs to and plays a huge part in evoking the emotional response that a scene calls for. While it is unique, however, it is also more or less kind of what one expects to see in a Slice of Life. I know I'm really driving that point home, but it's true.
While Koe no Katachi was by no means perfect, I could not stop reading. Literally. When I wasn't messaging friends or taking care of something, I was reading it. It was to the point that I finished it within seven hours. It does exceptionally well in drawing the reader in with compelling characters and brilliant writing that all go together in creating a work of art that makes you care for everything that happens to each character.
As amazing as I think the manga is, I must continue to drive home the point that it is still a Slice of Life, and it goes to no great effort to hide that fact. While that isn't a bad thing, it also holds it back a bit from being something even better than what it already is.
This is only my second time to review anything here, and Im no expert in doing so but I believe this little gem of a story deserved my praise. Koe no Katachi was just something I stumbled upon searching through the tons of manga hoping to find something that would spark my interest. Not only did it do so, but it also struck me with such strong emotions. It made me realize how powerful the medium of manga writing can be. It's true that fictional works may not have happened (hence the title of fiction), but the emotions they convey to their readers are very
real. After reading the oneshot, I felt a swirl of emotions for both the main characters of the pain and suffering they've been through. I wanted to know more. I was glad that there was a follow up story to it, and I binge read as much as I could.
The story's art work at first wasn't something about it that I was really convinced with at first. I was not used to it and so at first glance, it didn't appeal. But later on I realized, how well it matched the entire story's atmosphere. I can see now it's perfectly attuned with it. The characters of the story are pretty good. The main characters in particular are the ones which will leave a huge impression on you. Their backgrounds are interesting and how they grow up as characters in the story are great. Some of the other minor ones aren't as interesting for me but they don't ruin the experience.
As a whole I thoroughly enjoyed the manga. It was definitely a roller coaster ride of emotion for me. I wasn't sure what was going to happen next and this is one of the things which hooked me into it. The story dealt with such topics such as bullying which causes much trauma to many children around the world. It shows how awful and damaging it can be to someone's life. It also tries to show how people deal with the damage done by it. The story then emphasises the importance of communication between people. Without it, we can never truly understand others, and their feelings. It helps educate people about these issues and hopefully their readers learn how to improve on communicating to others not only through their words but through their hearts, minds, and actions as well to others. I definitely recommend this story for not only manga readers, but anyone who would enjoy a great story with an emotional kick.
Actually, I don't want to spoil the whole story since it was a masterpiece of work (in my opinion) and the reader should be the one to decide it after reading the story but I just like to give you a simple thoughts.
If life is hard and complicated for a normal person, how do think it is for a person with disability?
as the synopsis suggest, this is a story of bullying and redemption.
but what is REDEMPTION actually?
redemption is 'the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.'
I guess to make the long story short, this series
will make you cried as you go along the way, tears will began to fall even though you don't want to, and while reading it, you will realized something that there are different types of people around the world that actually do this kind of things.
Even though it was a fictional story, you should PREPARE A BAGS OF TISSUES!
for me, it has a huge impact in our daily lives.
One good thing about the series is how the artist/author portrayed the 3 types of point of views:
the point of view of Shouya, Shouko and most importantly your point of view (the reader's PoV) on things like bullying.
How do people often react when a person is being bullied?
How does a person with disability react on this kind of things?
I'm sure you do have an answer for yourself, even without reading this Manga, but I'll assure you! after reading this you'll see a different views/visions on things like disability/bullying and redemption.
'A PERSON WITH DISABILITY', These are mere words to begin with but face the reality, life is cruel for those who have this.
Lastly, I'm sure if you are fan of drama genres with a little taste of romance you should enjoy reading this.
Well I don't write many reviews let alone manga reviews. I will admit my anime viewing list may be long by my manga one I can count on my hand haha. My friend suggested this to me due to my slice of life background.
I picked it up and in a whole day went through an emotional journey filled with wonderfully laid of characters and a relationship which started as something awful, blossoming into something beautiful.
Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) is about a boy Ishida being bored with school and hating upon a transfer student Nishimiya. The twist is however she is deaf and
he exploits that weakness to the harshest of extremes. She transfers out and the bullying then shifts over to him. He breaks down and isolates himself and years later decides to make amends.
I won't go into any of story details but the journey is sublime and well worth the read. The most impressive aspect of the journey were taken on is the characters themselves. Each person we saw was distinct and didn't feel tacked on. When emotions were high they were believable and that only made things harder for me to continue on.
By the end I felt angry, confused, upset, happy and amazed. I recommend this to anyone who loves slice of life or romance for that matter. It can be a tough read emotionally at points but it is so worth it.
~MAY CONTAIN MINOR SPOILERS!~
Honestly, I only started reading Koe no Katachi because I started learning sign language. At first, I thought was gonna be a good experience read a manga that have some elements of something I was studying, and I could also be learning something to my studies. The truth is, I discovered this story was more complex, dramatic and more related to myself that I could imagine.
It follows Shouya Ishida, a guy who had been in the position of someone who've made bullying, but also was bullied by the ones who have practiced with him. As he suffered these traumatic things after
have bullied a deaf girl (Shouko Nishimiya), he decided to make something to change what he have done in the past after a few years.
The interesting thing here is that the act - bullying itself - wasn't something restricted only to Shouya or Shouko, but also something that followed a lot of characters during the story, and how they share this with the others and try to find the so called peace and happiness, at the same time they try to forget it. But is this actually possible? Traumatic experiences aren't something you can simply forget or "cure" fast or without the help of someone, so the story also brings the many psychological problems the characters acquired during that time.
Talking about the characters, I think you can relate yourself with a lot of them, especially Shouya, the one who was the bully, the bullied and then the forgotten one. He also grew a lot in my opinion during the story, physically and mentally. While that, Shouko seems the strong girl, who at first seems to ignore all the horrendous things the classmates have done to her, but in the end you realize how weak she was all the time - also one of the consequences of someone who suffer from bullying.
Other characters also important to story such as Miki, Naoka, Tomohiro and Satoshi, I'll let you to read and find at your own what you're gonna think of them, since they may cause you different feelings and interpretations, but have in mind that they can also be related a lot.
Continuing about the story, and now talking about Shouko in special, I personally liked how they deal with the fact she's deaf, but in special how the family treated it, it feels very real to me based in the experiences I'm having right now, and I really liked how the author brought this theme in the manga. Had shown the reactions of kids but also adults while seeing someone like her make you have lot of feelings, but at same time make you think what you were gonna do if you were in a situation like theirs, and honestly this is something you can make in various moments in the manga.
Another thing that called my attention was in the last chapters, when they started talking about their future and what they were gonna do after the graduation, I think is very interesting since the characters have passed by some many things at this point, but they still want to be someone productive, someone that can make something for society and for themselves.
Anyways, Koe no Katachi was a very complete manga in my opinion, and I would totally recommend it to someone who likes drama and a story with very real elements; but also for people who are tired from their everyday shounen. It’ll sure make you put yourself in the place of lot of characters and think "what I was gonna do if I was in this situation?", which is also a very interesting thing.
Writing review again, i will try to not spoiler the story throughout my review.
Sorry if my grammar is wrong, because it is not my main language.
Do you ever feel betrayed by your BEST friend ?? someone you thought will always support you no matter what happened, someone who will always stand up for you whenever you get bullied ??
I gave the story 10 score because, the story where the main character bullying action, backfire to him, really catch my attention. At first, it seems the story is really boring because it just showed us a typical kids playing after school with their friends, until
someone who couldn't hear come to their class, and the main character relationship with his friend, gradually disappeared because they didn't want to take a responsibility for the bullying action they did together, and just blame everything on the main character.
Why i gave this manga's art 9/10 ?? i thought the design of the main character is really ugly. hahaha, just kidding, the art is not very outstanding but it fits the manga theme very well.
I definitely gave this manga's character 10 score because their attitude throughout the manga.
The main character attitude, at first was really bad. He didn't even think about his bullying target feeling at all, He act impolite to his friend and sometimes to his mother. But after the incident, he gradually change his demeanor and became a well mannered high-schooler. Main character friends, even though at first, they became a traitor just to save their life, they eventually repair their relationship with each other.
In the end, i really enjoy this manga. i never feel bored when i read this manga.
Overall, i gave this manga 9 score, because of its good story and good character.
Always cherish everything you have, especially your friends and your family. Don't do something that will hurt their feelings, always maintain a good relationship with them, because once they leave your life, you will regret it.
Warning: the following review cointains some spoilers and is meant to be read by those who have either some previous knowledge of the manga or have already finished it. If you don`t want to get spoiled, don`t read it.
Ok, before i begin, let me get this out of the way: this manga is great. It`s an extraordinary shounen/slice of life story and one of the best i`ve read. If you haven`t yet, go read it now!
I`ll start with what i think it`s the main point of this series (besides the bullying and the deaf people wake up call) - communication. How people communicate. How people
share their ideas. Their feelings. How they establish relationships. Love. Hate. Jealousy. Kindness. (Self) Awareness. Friendship. How they are able to connect to the world. How the world connects back to them. In other words, what shape has their voice.
Such is Koe no Katachi.
You see, communication exists because people interact with each other. They need to.
“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. ” - Aristotle
And people have their own circunstances. Different cultures, different upbringings, different life experiences. They are shaped by the good and bad things life gives to them. And then there`s society. There`s nothing worse than society. Society bleaches your mind with the things everyone think it`s good or bad. It limits your freedom and autonomy. Your way of thinking starts blending with the masses, you start losing your identity.
And yet you still need it and can`t live without it. You need to associate with others because you`re a social animal with basic social needs, it`s something that`s inherent to being human. That`s why society is there. And there`s nothing better than society.
Koe no Katachi works with that notion and explores the idea of communication. Precisely because people are different and have their own circunstances, some communicate better than others. Some need help in order to communicate because they can`t do it normally, like Shouko. Others just can`t bring themselves to communicate through normal means, so they got to work extra hard to do it while still following their own convictions, like Shouya.
I`ve got to say that i like how much Ishida grows throughout the story. From being a childish bully to an independent, completely mature young man. How he tries to make up for all the shit he did against Shouko, how he tries to deal with his "old" friends, who betrayed him and let him get all the blame. How he battles against own his self-loathing attitude and his self-imposed moral impossibility to be happy after having done what he did to Shouko. How he fights his own flaws and insecurities and, especially, how hard he works to do that. Hell, even his denseness towards both Ueno`s and Nishi`s feelings for him were kinda endearing and funny to watch. From the 1st chapter to the last one his development was brilliantly done and there`s was only two minor things i didn`t like in there. On one hand, it was his career choice. I hoped he would become a person who would work with deaf/disabled people, i always thought that would be the most logical choice, event though i completely understand why he chose to be a hairdresser); on the other hand, it was his behaviour towards Nishimiya. Sometimes (not always, only in one or other chapter) it felt like he was trying too hard to be her friend and to be friends with everyone else to the point of being almost obsessed with it and i didn`t like that.
Actually, that edginess in the characters behaviour at certain points in the story is the main criticism i have for this manga. Sometimes, you could feel a certain edginess not only in Ishida, but also in Nagatsuka, Kawai and Ueno. And that holded back my overall enjoyment and their own characterization quite a bit, to be honest.
Aside from that and back to Ishida, his development was flawless.
And speaking of flawless character development, we have to mention Shouko`s little imouto, Yuzuru. What a great character she turned out to be! The kid suffered as much as her sister, yet she matured so much over the course of the manga, it was one of the most pleasant things in the entire story, to see her grow up for the sake of her sister and for her own sake. Yuzuru is probably my second favorite character in Koe no Katachi, only second to Ishida.
In fact, both siblings were great. Shouko was one of the best female leads i remembre seeing in shounen manga. Extremely likable, a superbly mature and kind kid who deserves all the happiness in the world because she suffered way too much when she was a kid, to the point of wanting to die. Those chapters when her depression hit the highest point and she attempted suicide (as well as her suffering after Ishida went to the hospital right after saving her) were heart wrenchingly beautiful, so realistic and sad it almost moved me to tears. With Ishida or without him in her future, she build up something special with him, something that goes way beyond regular friendship or even romance. Something that won`t change forever, no matter what.
You see, Koe no Katachi is great because it delves deeper than most shounen manga in delicate themes, which are poorly/irrealistically portrayed more often than not. Fortunately, KnK isn`t one of those cases and naturally challenges upfront complex themes like love and hatred, bullying and depression, and most proeminently, friendship.
In the complicated human relationships that are established here between the characters lies the driving force of Koe no Katachi. For me, characters are always the ones who should drive the plot forward (and not the opposite) and that`s what happens here.
Personally, i really liked Ueno`s character. She was indeed a “hurricane”, like Ishida rightly says in chapter 61. Even though i didn`t like certain things in her character development, she was one of the main reasons why i love this manga. She`s strong yet emotionally fragile, determined yet insecure. She hates the world as much she hates herself and, most importantly, she knows Ishida better than anyone else and is quite similar to him in many aspects, which is something she bluntly tells him and something he rapidly acknowledges. In a way, she is what Ishida would have been had he not been punished by what he did to Shouko. Luckily for her, she was still able to meet Shouko again and most importantly Sahara. She grew up while realizing that what she did was wrong and even if felt like a slow change, it`s still there and we`re able to see that change in the ending chapters, pretty much ever since Ishida got out of the hospital.
As for the rest of the characters i still haven`t mentioned, i must say that while they were interesting, they fell kinda flat in comparison to Ishida, Yuzuru, Ueno and Shouko. They were still pretty good characters. Nagatsuka was annoying sometimes but it was still entertaining for the most part, Mashiba was plain weird and Kawai was one of the biggest bitches i`ve seen in manga. Sahara is a really kind girl. Shouko`s mother and Ishida`s mother were totally awesome. Maria was the cutest thing ever and i`m still pissed we never saw Ishida`s sister face.
Lastly, a short mention to the Ishida/Nishimiya relationship in this story (once again, heavy spoilers!).
Before you guys jump on me and burn me in a stick while throwing me stones at the same time, i must admit that a part of me didn`t want them to end up together. A part of me would rather have them keep being friends, in a "more than friends, less than lovers" kind of relationship, you know? Just like Kasuga and Nakamura. Or Kurosawa and Kitahara. Chapter 54 made me realize that when Ishida said to Nishi "I want you to help me live." I feel that those words feel 100% more powerful and meaningful than a simple - and i daresay clichéd - "I love you".
You see, i`m one of those people who doesn`t think that a story needs to have the two main characters absolutely ending up together. KnK is one of those cases.
Even though i still think that in this case those two ending up together is obviously a 100% legit outcome, i still think that their relationship is so much more than that...we`re talking about something more essential here, something deeper than love to the point it disappoints me to stop there, at the "love" part. That`s why i think Aku no Hana or Onani Master Kurosawa are perfect examples of this, both authors in those two works understood that perfectly and, to me, they`re the quintessential examples of what a coming of age story truly means - which is to grow up, to become an adult and, most importantly, a better human being. And I can`t be more happy because Koe no Katachi understood that just fine.
Anywhere we go in the world. There is bullying although it may only seem to apply to children but anyone can be victimised, forgotten which can make them angry, sad, depressed or even TAKE there own lives. We can not stop this completely as its integrated into are society however we can make the world a better place. Ask yourself this question if you are bullying someone. "Why do I do it?, How does it make me feel?". Of course the awnser might be obvious but the action is completly different. "You can change things in this world, however one thing you cannot change is
the past". I am pretty sure anyone has regrets in there life and maybe there will be more in the future. That's why it's better to take action now the later cause I am sure you will suffer in silence. You can ask for forgiveness from the victim but you cannot take his/her past experiences. It's an engraving which has been permanently marked into their memory. The solution to mask this is by creating memories with laughter and happiness.
For people to bully others. There must be a reason why try do it?. Of course there are complete idiots in this world who think nothing and feel nothing. Anyone must have experience this in school and even saw it happening. Most humans are kind and respectable but there who look a blind eye and turn around walking away from the scene.
When we are bullied we either ignore it and suffer in silence or take action. This in turn effects our behaviour and furthermore effects the people around you.
Koe no Katachi or the silent voice (In english) takes the above points and gives a story by giving amazing depth into characters, plot and most importantly development.
The manga artist sure knew how to make reality into non fiction. The emotions, setting, characters and even down to there appearances. All were a mirror of life in motion.
But it doesn’t stop there. Ishida Shouya knew his mistakes and he made himself go under heavy change just to meet and pay back what he has done to Nishimiya Shouko. He worked hard to the best of abilities to ensure he has no "Regrets".
Although he knew an apology would not get him anywhere he would try his best to ensure he will compesate his past.
Knowing your realtionships with friends, relatives and any other person is a key factor in your life. You can either be sad or happy choosing one will lead you to your goal but choose wisely as this is your ultimate descion.
You will look at your past one day and see that a better future might be waiting for you. If you cant change the past please remember that you can STILL change the future.
This story will carry your emotions and your soul. Get ready for a ride which gives you a greater or even a little more view of the world.
#100% spoiler free
"Koe no Katachi" or "A silent voice" or "The shape of voice" is a very unique and appealing story.
The title itself makes you wonder about the context of the story.
If you like reading shojou or highschool or slice of life romance and want to try something new, then just go on try this, just read the first chapter or the one-shot, and try to make yourself not read the rest of the story.
We all know how terrible and horrifying school bullies are and on top that bullying a deaf girl(sounds really far-fetched, i know right) , and yet sensei has
made such a beautiful masterpiece out of these dark elements. I got to know from various sources, that his work got condemned and criticized my many top shot editor as they didn't know whether to publish it or not, because they may had to face troubles in the future ahead. But regardless of anything he still got it done and sold more than 4mn copies.
I liked the story because i like stories which are based such themes which are based on actual human nature. The story is not only focused on "school bullies" but also on how self centered we are and jut how easily we want to give on everything and how mighty and powerful "love" is which wins over all such dark human entities and change you.
So, do read it and don't forget to enjoy! 😊
P.S. this was my first review and i know this was different from other reviews but i'm glad i did it.
I read Koe on Katachi after having watched the movie, and I must say that I am disheartened at the fact that I will have to give two separate ratings for the same work of art being displayed on two different mediums. To be fair to the movie, it had a lot more pressure on it, considering that it hard to work on cinematography, transitions, and other aspects of production that a manga doesn't have to work on. Nevertheless, I am here to review the manga, and I shall do just that.
Koe no Katachi's power comes from the different nuances that come
to the fore with each new chapter. Character development is really strong here because all of the scenes give us greater insight into how each of the characters became who they are, allowing us to empathize with them. Even if I was opposed to Ueno's perspective vis-à-vis Nishimiya, I would be lying if I said that I didn't understand WHY she felt that way. What I love about Koe no Katachi is that it is a manga series that gives each of its characters a "voice": while Nishimiya San is the one who has an obviously "silent" voice, it can be argued that the other characters were also silent in the way it took time for them to be able to flesh out their narrative, and eventually come to terms with their respective past. The symbolism of Nishimiya's voice becomes very powerful when juxtaposed to that of the secondary characters, and this is something that the manga series has that the movie fell short of delivering.
It's hard not to get teary-eyed at the monologues of Ishida, especially since they can be very relatable at times. Feeling alone, question what others think of you, and all these all-too-familiar questions. The process of overcoming his guilt over his dark past with Nishimiya has been both an excruciating and a rewarding process, both for Ishida, and for the readers of this manga to witness. It is this for this very reason that this manga series has this allure for me: we eventually come to love (or at the very least understand) the characters for who they are, and how they are being presented to us.
This manga series is a rare gem, and I do hope that more people will come across it and read it. 10/10
Malice. Guilt. Regret. Human beings are ugly on the inside. As much as we like to preach about love and affection, there is an equal amount of hatred and envy lurking in all of us. And when that dark side is unleashed, the line between human and animal is quite easily crossed.
Bullying is one of the most prevalent cases of just this type of behaviour, and is something that is almost unavoidable in any place that has some sort of social order. The offenders normally try to laugh it off as some sort of joke, or as if it's not really a big deal. For
the victims however it can by a life changing and traumatic experience unlike any other.
Koe no Katachi is one of the most mature, painfully realistic and heart wrenching coming-of-age manga I've read in quite some time. It shows how actions always speak louder than words, and that there are some things in life that quite simply cannot be forgiven, no matter how many times you try to apologize. An impulsive action can end up becoming an irreversible mistake that you might regret for the rest of your life.
The story follows a deaf girl named Nishimiya Shouko who repeatedly gets bullied and isolated by most of her classmates until she one day transfers out of school. Following this, Ishida Shouya, the ringleader of the bullying gets betrayed by his fellow accomplices, and is made out to be solely responsible for the whole ordeal. For the next five years he has to suffer being the bully victim himself instead, and for every passing day he more and more regrets the sins of his past.
After being on the brink of committing suicide, Ishida eventually reunites with Nishimiya and begs her for forgiveness. He no longer believes he deserves to live an ordinary life. He seeks redemption. But no matter how much you apologize, you can never give someone back their stolen childhood.
However Nishimiya just smiles and says there is nothing to forgive in the first place... because she's strong.
What follows next is a spiraling rollercoaster of hatred and regret, involving not only the pair of them but also many other people involved in the bullying incidents of their childhood as well as their new classmates. This manga truly brings out some of the most despicable and animalistic sides of human emotions; "I hate you, therefore you hate me, therefore I hate you, therefore you hate me"... and so on in an endless circle of negative thoughts.
What I must truly applaud the story for is just how much it makes you feel for the characters involved. The level of realism is incredibly high, and the victims are very sympathetic. It should also be noted that there are some *really* nasty bitches in this manga. If you thought School Days had characters which made you want to punch them in the face, I have to say Koe no Katachi have some that are a hell of a lot worse. But this is exactly the type of emotion that the manga is trying to bring out of you as a reader... because that is exactly what it feels like to be bullied. If you've ever experienced being a bully victim in life before, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
It's rare to find a manga that makes you care for its characters as much as Koe no Katachi does, and that fact alone is testament to just how well-written it truly is. It shows that you don't need far-fetched and fantastical elements in order to make a story truly gripping. Rather instead it manages just as well simply by unveiling the cruel nature and harsh reality of humanity and life itself.
If nothing else it certainly makes you reflect on your actions and think about just who you are as a human being.