After the large success of Your Name in Japan and internationally, I had no doubt that we’d see more anime come over to the US. During Anime Expo there was a showing of A Silent Voice and also the announcement for it’s run in the US. As excited as I was to finally be able to watch this movie, I was very concerned that this movie wouldn’t be able to deliver on what the manga initially presented to me. Hopefully, this review will help those like myself who are concerned about this adaption decide if it’s worth their time but also help those new to the source material determine if the hype is justified.
For those who know nothing about this series, A Silent Voice is a School Drama that revolves around a bunch of shit characters. Sorry, I’m still salty. A Silent Voice is centered around a young boy named Ishida Shouya who continuously battles boredom by doing ridiculous things like jumping off a bridge into the river. When his class has a new classmate named Nishimiya Shouko, everything changes. Nishimiya is deaf and wants only to be friends to everyone. Unfortunately, all of the students don’t feel as friendly as she is due to her disability being a burden they haven’t encountered. The majority of the class takes part in bullying her for fun while Ishida does things more openly so when the shit hits the fan, he gets thrown under the bus. Once Nishimiya transfers out of their school, Ishida is left to take all of the bullyings for throwing the blame at everyone, as he should. Everyone was wrong.
During his last year of high school, Ishida gets his preparations in order to commit suicide after being continuously haunted by what he did. After reconnecting with Nishimiya, Ishida goes to great lengths to redeem himself and keep Nishimiya happy with a new found reason to live.
Before I get too deep into this and start talking about the story, I do want to talk about the animation. This should be no surprise to anyone but the animation/art is gorgeous. The reason why it’d be no surprise is Kyoto Animation(or KyoAni for short) is behind this film. They’ve made a ton of great anime series that are continuously highlighted with great choices of bright colors and stellar animation. This movie is no different. Because this is a full-length movie you can truly see their full potential and see no attempts to cut corners. They truly brought this story to life and brought its art from the source material to a new level.
Everything that I’ve said can also be applied to the opening theme. This OP was an interesting choice. In regards to the music, I was both surprised and impressed to hear My Generation by The Who. There are so many options for an anime studio to choose for an opening. they can find the most popular artists in Japan and commission them to make a new song or they can see if an existing song with a high popularity is available. needless to say, the sound director, Youta Tsuruoka, had a message in mind and hand picked the perfect song to deliver it. Never thought a song from a UK band during the 60s would fit the opening like a missing piece to a puzzle.
As much as I love the animation, art and music selection for the opening, I have some minor issues. The spoilers will mainly be for those who read the manga.
You’ve been warned.
One of the biggest issues this adaption has is the lack of subplots. Some of what I think to be very big points in the story are completely left out. Some may say its due to a number of things they can fit into the movie, I agree BUT some things NEED to be left in. Your opinion of these characters will be skewed with the lack of the knowledge you would have with the manga. The average person watching the movie would’ve never know why Ishida went to confront Kawai after talking to Mashiba. You are left without real impact on crucial moments. Most of these characters, if not all except a very few, are terrible people. This is all brought into a microscope in Ishida’s perspective but gets watered down in the film. The bridge scene where Ishida addresses every issue each person has is underwhelming because the film leaves out so much. Yes, I am frustrated but they had to fit a lengthy story into a movie. I just hope that everyone that goes out to watch this movie also take the time out to read the manga.
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Is A Silent voice worth your time? YES! It is a great film. It’s definitely deserving of all the praise it’s receiving. I and few friends are still trying to determine whether it’s better than Your Name or not. Either way, it’s a great time to be an anime fan with all of these movies being brought to the US for theatrical releases. I can only hope to see more quality films. My expectations are pretty high with the return of Hayao Miyazaki. Hopefully, there will be more of a competition between directors/creators like Miyazaki and Makoto Shinkai. Healthy competition brings the best out of everyone.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll hate some characters. The perfect formula for a great anime. I would love to hear what you think about this film if you got the chance to watch it. Let me know in the comments below. If you’re anxiously waiting for it to come to the US, the film was licensed by Eleven Arts and will be coming to a theater near you October 2017. Thank you so much for reading this review and leave a like if you enjoyed it.