Tag Archives: A Silent Voice

Final Thoughts: A Silent Voice

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It is has been over three years since Kyoto Animation released what is probably one of their greatest works since the studio’s founding in 1981. While maybe not the grandiose, love story spectacle that propelled “Your Name” to its spot as one of the best selling Japanese films of all time, “A Silent Voice” is not only an arguably better film, but one that carries a lot more weight in its subject matter. Here are my final thoughts.

The Story of A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice tells the story of Shoya Ishida and Shoko Nishimiya. While attempting to kill himself, Shoya recalls the days of his elementary school. During those times, he was happy, had plenty of friends, and almost no problems, that is, until Shoko Nishimiya transferred to his school. It wasn’t long, however, before Shoko’s deafness made her stand out among the elementary school kids. Soon enough everyone was bullying her, Shoya most predominantly, but with everyone more or less sitting back and laughing. Eventually, it gets so bad that her mom calls, prompting everyone to sell out Shoya as the only culprit, leaving him angry at Shoko. This all leads to Shoko leaving the school.

Fast forward back to the present. Shoya, now in high school, is alone with no friends. Feeling some level of guilt, he decides to try and reconnect with Shoko as a way of apologizing. From there, the two of them slowly build their relationship.

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Hating That Which is Different

A Silent Voice’s central conflict comes from Shoya’s horrible past. At the beginning of the film, he feels so bad about his own life and the things he did to Shoko that he tries to kill himself, but stops at the last second. That horrible past, of course, was bullying Shoko because of her deafness. Because her hearing made it slightly inconvenient to communicate, the kids around her saw this as a reason to hate who she is.

Most important, the lesson to take from Shoya’s past is that the kind of hatred that treats people differently because of who they are is quite literally childish, and ultimately stems from an animalistic fear of that which people do not recognize.

On Redemption and Self-Hatred

Throughout the film, Shoya and Shoko approach their friendship from two very different places, but one that still leave them with self-hatred. Shoya sees his actions as a reason to not only reconnect with Shoko, but to keep himself isolated from others. In his view, the loneliness he feels after being shunned by his classmates is deserved. Part of this does come off as a bit of a martyr complex on Shoya’s end. He sees himself as the only person who should suffer, even though he knows that others also took part in bullying Shoko.

Shoko, on the other hand, almost seems to still hate Shoya for most of the movie. Now, this is understandable given that Shoya went out of his way to make her life horrible during elementary school. However, it is still really weird given the fact that she continues to hang out with him. This, combined her having romantic feelings for him likely created the turmoil which prompted her to attempt suicide.

Because both of them hold in these feelings of self-hatred for so long, it creates a toxic relationship that neither of them quite realize they are in until it is almost too late. Still, by the end of the film they understand each other enough to let these feelings go, which allows them to be true friends.

Sending the Wrong Message?

One thing that has been highlighted by writers and content creators much smarter than myself is the dynamics between characters and how they can reflect real life relationships. Someone who does really well is The Aficionado, so go check them out. As for A Silent Voice, its safe to say that the dynamics are a bit odd, at least for Shoko anyway. Having a former bully come back into your life wanting to be friends can be a bit awkward to say the least, and is, again, part of the reason why she attempted suicide. Now, its true that in the end the two do end up casting aside their guilt, but it is worth thinking about whether or not sending the message of accepting your abuser back into your life is a good thing.

Good Writing Things That are Good

There are always a few things that good stories do to set themselves apart from other good stories, to show that they are willing to go above and beyond in order to make the best moments even better. One such great moment is near the end of the film, when Shoko tells Shoya she is going to go home and study. Now, this alone makes it somewhat suspicious, but the film adds to this foreshadowing when Shoko, instead of signing see you later instead signs what I presume was simply goodbye. Then, when Shoya goes back to the apartment shortly after to get Yuzuru’s camera, he almost immediately recognizes what Shoko is going to do because he was planning on doing the same thing.

Another one of these moments is actually a fusion of writing and animation. In order to visually represent Shoya’s fear of connecting with and looking at other people, the film uses giant blue X’s which appear on the faces of those he either does not know or is scared to talk to. While it is not particularly complex, it does add to the overall presentation in a way that makes for more emotional scenes, like in the final moments of the film where Shoya overcomes his guilt and is finally able to see everyone for who they are, and so all the blue X’s that were covering his classmates faces then disappear.

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The Animation

There is not much to say about A Silent Voice’s animation other than that it is amazing. While it is true that the film is not action heavy like some of Kyoto Animation’s other projects such as Beyond the Boundary, there is still a lot of care put into the film’s animation. I already mention the blue X’s, but one other part that stands out is the character designs. Something that lesser anime projects can often suffer from are lackluster character designs that don’t inspire many to remember any of the characters. However, A Silent Voice has no problem with this whatsoever, and the character designs are noticeable improvement over the manga.

The Dub

As I re-watched the movie on Netflix for this post, I decided it would be a good idea to give the dub a try, since I had never heard it before. Luckily, the dub manages to deliver in spades. Each of the actors did a great job portraying their characters and made them all feel unique. Some of the best performances came from Robbie Daymond and Lexi Cowden, who voiced Shoya and Shoko respectively.

Conclusion

A Silent Voice is maybe not among my personal favorites, but it is a film that accomplishes everything that it sets out to do. Not only does it talk about important subject matter, but manages to do so with one of the most beautiful presentations in recent memory. It is almost guaranteed to live one in the hearts of those who choose to watch it.


How do you all feel about A Silent Voice? Let me know in the comments.

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30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 12: The Saddest Scene in Anime

Hello, Anifriends

Emotion is one of the most important parts of a compelling narrative and without it a show can feel stale and uninteresting. Today, I’ll be looking at one emotion in particular: Sadness. For day twelve of the 30 Day Anime Challenge, I’ll be talking about what I think is the saddest scene in anime.

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There are definitely a lot of contenders for this category, and honestly I’m still not sure this really the best choice. I could pick a scene from Angel Beats, or Your Name, or even Erased. However, one scene has stood at in particular as being a super emotional moment for me.

That particular scene comes from A Silent Voice.

Source: aroundakiba.com

The scene that is most sad to me would be the one where Shouka and Shouya are at in her apartment, and Shouka is getting ready to jump of the terrace. Shouya feels a sudden rush of helplessness, and meets in by just barely being able to save her.

This scene to me represents everything that the movie is about. Shouka, despite the support of Shouya, still feels like there is no point in going on. She feels so terribly about a world in which she has to continue to live that she resorts to killing herself. All of her pent up anger is to much to handle for her, so she tries to let it all go.

It’s also sad when you realize that she also now has to live a life where she failed to kill herself, and people who attempt and fail are also much more likely to try again.

So, yeah, bit of a depressing post, but A Silent Voice is a really powerful film. If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend.


What do you guys think is the saddest scene in anime? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

This Week in Anime: 1-25-18

Welcome, all, to this week’s edition of your need to know anime news. A lot of good announcements for Netflix viewers, as well as some interesting industry insight. I did not mean to alliterate there, but it happened. Anyway, another installment of This Week in Anime. Here ya go:

Naotoshi Shida Comments On the Relationship Between Budget and Quality in Anime Productions

Naotoshi Shida, a well-respected animator whose past work includes things like Dragon Ball Z, Death Note and Toriko, recently discussed the idea of the link between a show’s budget and its overall quality. Many would reasonably assume that the more money a show has, the more talent they can afford and thus a better show, but Shida disputed this, saying on Twitter “Budget and quality are not related, but if the budget is too low, staff will not gather.”

Even with a lot of the cost-cutting measures studios take to make production more cost-efficient, It often costs anywhere from two to four million USD on the low end, and that is for shows that are expected to do poorly because of the time they air on TV, generally between 11 PM to 4 AM. To me, this serves as yet another example of why the industry needs serious reform. Paying young animators well and fostering a talented environment will mean that studios in the future can do more with less.

Kakegurui, Children of the Whales Coming to Netflix Soon

With Netflix being more involved in the Anime Industry as a whole, many of the recent shows that are getting hyped up as best of the season are being made Netflix Exclusives. Two of those shows, Kakegurui and Children of the Whales are being released to the platform in a matter of weeks. Children of the Whales, a show that aired in the Fall of 2017, is scheduled to be released on March 13th, and Kakegurui, which aired in Summer of 2017, is scheduled to be released on February 1st.

Kakegurui

Children of the Whales

Personally, I’m excited. Both of these shows looked extremely entertaining when they were first previewed, and based on what other fans have said, they are definitely worth watching. So, I’m all in.

Castlevania to Return in the Summer, Says Writer

Many were surprised and intrigued by Netflix’s Castlevania anime, and has since gained the approval of those who have watched it. Fans fell in love with its high production value and callback to a beloved video game franchise. Warren Ellis, a writer for the show, tweeted on January 19th that “We’re coming back this summer, for eight episodes…”

https://twitter.com/warrenellis/status/954460793814376448?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.crunchyroll.com%2Fanime-news%2F2018%2F01%2F20-1%2Fanimated-castlevania-to-return-with-season-2-this-summer

As someone who has only seen one episode of the show’s four episode first season, I am still excited about this. The show’s first episode was more than enough to give it my seal of approval, and this announcement is exciting.

No Anime Film Was Selected For The Oscars

Anime films often get snubbed in the west by critics and different award shows because of their just being different, and this year was no different. Out of the five Anime films that were up for a nomination, including In This Corner of the World, A Silent Voice, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Napping Princess, and Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale. Here are the films that were nominated:

I’ll be honest, I do not think all of the anime films that were under consideration this year deserved to be nominated. However, when The Boss Baby makes it into the nominations over A Silent Voice, we have a serious problem. In no way was a mediocre Dreamworks movie more deserving of an Oscar than one of the best things KyoAni has ever produced. The Academy really got things wrong here.


What are your thoughts on the stories this week? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos! Also, if you like what your reading, consider pledging to my Patreon to support this blog.

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12 Days of Anime #9: Posing an End of the Year Question: Your Name vs A Silent Voice?

2017 saw the explosion of anime’s popularity in the west, as it has been for the last couple of years. A lot of that attention, however, was focused on two particular franchises: A Silent Voice, which was released this year, and Your Name, whose popularity largely carried over into most of 2017.

To many, both of these critically acclaimed movies represent the best of what anime has to offer, and I would be inclined to agree. Both Makoto Shinkai’s newest masterpiece and KyoAni’s surprise hit both represent everything that anime can and should be. But I’m curious, which one do you think is better? Please leave your response and your reason in the comments. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

12 Days of Anime #5: Top 5 Best Shows I Watched in 2017

2017 ended up being a much slower year when it came to watching anime for me. I ended up stopping and starting new shows a lot more than usual, and that was mostly because of my school year. The second half of Junior year and the first half of my senior year were pretty rough, all things considered. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t watch some good shows.

5. Jormungand

Jormungand

If I were to ever do a What Else Should You Watch on Black Lagoon, Jormungund would be the first show on the list. It comes off as a more modern version of Black Lagoon, exploring the black market of weapon sales.

Indeed, Jormungand has a lot of high points. Its cast is large, but the show makes them feel fleshed out even when we do not know a whole lot about them as people. To be fair to Jormungund though, it does try to establish a backstory for the characters using some well-done flashbacks. Its animation, specifically when it comes to the show’s action, is extremely well done. Truly, its a show worth watching.

4. AHO-Girl

AHO-Girl 2

AHO-Girl is one of the best things I saw this year because it was honestly just a really good break from the stress at the beginning of the semester. Almost none of the classes that I selected were on my schedule, and turning my brain off to some really dumb humor was therapeutic.

This show has just the right balance of running jokes and new gags that keep things fresh. And yes, the low brow humor is obvious and dumb, but if its something you can appreciate even a little bit, then you’ll love it.

3. A Silent Voice

Koe no Katachi

A movie that needs no introduction, this year’s critical darling was a breathtaking experience that I would gladly watch over and over again. I can’t say that I have a personal connection to the show’s material, but it does feel like a fairly accurate portrayal of the life of a deaf person.

The bullying in the movie was a bit more relatable. Middle school me was a bit more on the shy side, and it was definitely hard trying to talk to people I don’t know. It’s become a lot easier now but still stings just a bit.

2. No Game No Life Zero

NO game no life zero.png

Unpopular Opinion: The No Game No Life movie was better than A Silent Voice. I haven’t read the light novel volume that No Game No Life Zero is based on, but it feels like a really good adaptation, and as a prequel to the original story, it does a great job at setting up the world and how Disboard came to be.

If you liked No Game No Life, you’ll like this.

1. March Comes in Like a Lion

March comes in like a lion 3

I watched the first season of March Comes in Like a Lion before I started this blog, and boy am I glad I did. This has easily become one of my favorite series of all time and will likely remain so for a while. Everything about the show just feels so relatable even when the events in the story seem so far off. I’m honestly not sure I can justify doing a full-on review because it will likely just turn into me gushing about the show for over a thousand words.


What were your favorite shows this year? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!