Tag Archives: Kyoto Animation

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.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

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If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

This Week in Anime: My Hero Academia, Overlord, and More…

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter.

I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things and get back on a consistent schedule, but that has been a bit difficult, mostly due to my own laziness. However, even though this is coming out a little late again, I do plan on getting back to giving you your weekly dose of anime news on Thursday once again. Apologies again for the inconsistency, and I hope you all will continue reading. Now, without further ado, here we go.

New Releases

Here are some of the new anime that will be coming out in the future.

“Karakuri Circus” Gets Anime This Fall

From the mangaka of Ushio to Tora, Karakuri circus will be taking center stage this Fall season. It was announced this week that Kazuhiro Fujita’s second work after Ushio to Tora will be getting an anime adaptation. The show will reportedly have 36 episodes and will be animated by Studio VOLN, who also produced the anime version of Ushio to Tora.

The story follows a young boy who wants to be a puppeteer. However, is life gets crazy after strange people start targeting him. He eventually inherits 18 Billion Yen from his dad and then runs into some people who agree to protect him.

Kyoto Animation Announces “20th Century Electricity Catalog” Anime

In a tweet from their Esma Bunko Editorial Department, Kyo-Ani announced their newest anime project: “20th Century Electricity Catalog.” The show will be a bit of new territory for the studio, as it will be their first ever historical fiction series. The story will be based on the novel by Hiro Yuki, who won an honorable mention at the company’s Kyoto Animation Awards.

The story is set during 1907 in Fushima, where Inako and her father, a famous brewer, live a very traditional life. One day, while visiting a shine, Inako meets Kihachi, a boy who is the polar opposite of traditional. When it comes time for Inako to get married, all she can think about is Kihachi, and just before her arranged marriage, Kihachi comes to rescue Inako and take her away.

“Overlord” Gets New RPG Game

Overlord RPG

In a new release using the RPG Maker software, “Overlord” now has a new game out. The game focuses Ainz and Nabe and their quest to get to Adamantine class adventurers. The game is currently available on Windows, MAC, and online browsers, and, as of writing this article, has two playable parts with more available in the future. The RPG Maker software has also been used to make other games such as Angels of Death, which has anime adaptation that is currently airing in the Summer 2018 season.

Article Shoutouts

Some weekly shoutouts for cool articles and awesome blogger friends.

My Hero Academia and Western Comics

Jennifer Hackett, a staff writer for Crunchyroll, wrote about the difference between My Hero Academia and western superhero comics. In her piece, she explains how fundamentally different the view on identity is between the west and MHA, and how that affects the stories. A fascinating read, to be sure. Check it out.

Butterfly Soup?

I’ve always loved reading articles from The Afictionado, largely because, as someone who is not in anyway apart of the LGBTQ community, her articles focusing on pop culture and LGBTQ representation are always insightful. Her review of the visual novel Butterfly soup is no different. For only being four hours long, she manages to go very in-depth about the game without giving away much in plot. Even if you’re not interested in the game, I would highly recommend reading her thoughts.

March Comes in Like a Lion and Mentors

Lastly, I had to share an OWLS post from a fellow member and unofficial member of the March Comes in Like a Lion Fanclub, Karandi. Karandi’s piece on the various mentor-like figures in March Comes in Like a Lion is very insightful, and I would highly recommend checking it out.


What do you guys think about this week’s anime-related news and featured articles? 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!

My Top 5 KyoAni Shows

Kyoto Animation is a studio that everyone seems to recognize universally, not only because of their high production quality but also because of their recent Moe influenced style. Many of their shows end up being the most popular of any given season, illustrated by this season’s Violet Evergarden being widely received. I decided to lay out what are my own top five favorite shows from KyoAni, who I have also come to love and appreciate. I will preface this by saying that I have not seen all of their shows, so this is not based on everything they have made. With that said, Let’s get it started.

5. Kanon

Kanon

Kyoto Animation also has a history of adapting Key Visual Novels, including others like Clannad and Air. Unfortunately, since I have not seen either Clannad or Air, I left finding Kanon to be on this list.

That is not to say that Kanon is by any means bad. It would not be on my list if I thought that was the case. Kanon is great in a lot of ways. It most certainly hits the right amount of cute, and everything else is about the show is adequate as well.

The reason its number 5 on the list though is because it just so happens that It does not stand out as much as the other shows I have picked.

 

4. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The melancholy of haruhi

Haruhi is a show that represents what many consider to be the height of the weirdness of anime. The show stars the aforementioned Haruhi Suzumiya, an eccentric character who, to the dismay of our main character Kyon, seems to have an absurd amount of energy. Haruhi is bored with life and wants to discover the supernatural, but little does she know that inside the club she creates to find the supernatural their exists aliens, time travelers, and espers.

Despite the initial impression that the show might leave, it is honestly one of the most entertaining slice of life shows of all time. Not to mention, the dub for the show is actually exceptionally well done, with Crispin Freeman playing Kyon, and Wendee Lee playing Haruhi. Truly a marvelous production.

 

3. K-ON

K-ON

Another show that hits just the right amount of cute, K-ON inhabits a special place in my heart for being among the first shows that I watched when I started my journey through this crazy world known as Anime. Before K-ON, I had blown off Lucky Star as completely boring and uninteresting, but K-ON convinced me that the Slice of Life genre had a lot more to offer than Lucky Star.

In hindsight, K-ON does not really do a lot different than most Moe Blob shows, but the show’s earnest cast of characters and their pure love for music became a compelling reason to stick around.

2. Sound! Euphonium

Eupho

Sound! Euphonium is a show that I feel strongly enough about to say that I truly love this series. It had me in tears by the very end, and after I finished it I was legitimately sad that I could not see more of the characters that kept me around for so long.

It also inspired a lot of post ideas that unfortunately due to the spark of inspiration disappearing rather quickly never saw the light of day. Sound! Euphonium is a show that has affected me on a personal level, and it is one that I will remember for years to come.

1. Hyouka

Hyouka.jpg

Well, with a confession like that you might think it weird to only have Sound Euphonium as only my number too, but alas, another of KyoAni’s shows has taken my heart.

Hyouka not only has raised my expectations of what a Slice of Life show should be but has done so without my having finished the show. Even based on the 14 episodes that I have seen thus far, I am convinced that Hyouka will end up being not only my favorite KyoAni shows but has likely now supplanted itself in my top ten favorite shows of all time.(Expect this to be my first formal review in a while.)


What’s your favorite KyoAni show? Let me know in the Comments. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos! Also, If you like this post and would like to support The Aniwriter, consider supporting the blog on Patreon. It would be much appreciated.

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The New Trailer for Violet Evergarden Appears to be a Good Sign of What’s to Come

Kyoto Animation’s YouTube channel recently released a new trailer for their upcoming title Violet Evergarden and saying that this show looks good is a bit of an understatement.

A lot about the show’s plot has already been revealed. After a war between the north and south halves of the continent of Telesis, Violet Evergarden retires and starts work at the CH Postal Service. This is because she is facinated by the work of Auto Memory Dolls, people who can turn thoughts into words, and works to send those words to many different people.

We have seen in other trailers that Violet Evergarden hasn’t exactly had the easiest time after the war. We see her presumably returning to life before the war as she begins her new job and the many people she is going to meet while on that job. We also see the many painful reminders she gets of her husband being lost during the war, and that she is still very much affected by that loss.

The show oozes Kyoto animation’s extremely high production value, along with a beautiful color palette that emphasizes the fantasy elements of the show. The shows musical score also seems to be pulling no punches when it comes to emphasizing what seems to be the shows best elements. If this trailer is anything to go off of, then we might have already have a candidate for best anime of 2018.