Have you ever watched a movie or TV show episode and almost couldn’t keep going due to seeing how powerful it was?
That’s how I felt when I watched Koe no Katachi (2016), or in English, A Silent Voice, a shounen drama (and i guess romance) film, based on the manga written and illustrated by Yoshitoki Ōima and adapted by Kyoto Animation.
Along with the extremely popular Kimi no Na wa, this was one of the critically acclaimed anime films of 2016 in Japan. Because of that, I had to see it for myself.
For the story, it’s a little hard to talk about what happened, because most of it is spoilers but this is basically it: we follow a sixth grader boy named Shouya Ishida, a constant troublemaker and a popular guy among his group of friends. One day, a girl named Shouko Nishimiya enrolls at his school. But, the significance of her is that she is deaf.
This makes Shouya think that she is weird and creepy, making him and his group of friends treat Shouko really harshly, or in a more common phrase, they bullied her. This makes Shouko and even one of friends have to go to another school because of it.
When Shouya got older and more mature, he realized his mistakes and absolutely wants to redeem himself with Shouko and life in general. This film revolves around that and all the nice moments and hardships that occur with these two, as well as their group of friends.
The story in this film, while it was really good and made me feel different emotions throughout, it still had some flaws. The director of Koe no Katachi is Naoko Yamada, who I just found out directed and was involved in a big or small way for a lot of Kyoto Animation’s shows and films like K-On!, Clannad, Hibike! Euphonium and worked a little on The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, another critically acclaimed anime film.
This movie definitely tackled most concepts of life in young individuals such as bullying, disabilities, creating and maintaining relationships with new and old friends and even someone they mistreated horribly in the past, and even suicide. I haven’t really seen much of Kyoto Animation other than the more kawaii side of the studio like K-On! and Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, and while they have more dramatic stories like Clannad, I feel like KyoAni took the drama to another level, in comparison to the rest of their works that I’ve seen.
But, as I said, I felt that there were flaws in it. But, that’ll be discussed more in-depth when I talk about the characters.
The art in this film was basically Kyoto Animation standards. But, they definitely made everything visually much more clear and crisp than what they do for a regular anime show. Honestly, I have nothing else to say about it, it looked good.
Wow, the music in this film, I thought was superb. The background music was very nice to hear and fit pretty well with the tone of the different scenes. As for the opening and ending themes, those were probably the stars of the music aspect for this movie. The film started out with the song, “My Generation” by the Who, a British rock band from the 1960s, which fit the scene pretty well due to us seeing young Shouya and his friends being troublemakers and fooling around.
But the ending song, on the other hand. Oh. My. Goodness. “Koi wo Shita no wa” by the Japanese singer, aiko, now that made me have chills and that person’s voice is like an angel. I’m actually listening to it right now while writing this review and I can’t help myself from hitting the replay button over and over again. Here, take a listen:
Now, this is where the flaws of this movie come in. I felt that the story was a little bit rushed and had some missing parts because of the characters. Especially the side characters like Miki Kawai and Satoshi Mashiba didn’t have a lot said about them in the film, which if they were shown more in depth, it would’ve helped me enjoy and understand the story a little bit more. I also heard that a lot of the story for the side characters from the manga was cut from the movie and that’s probably why they weren’t conveyed well.
Other than that, I really liked most of the characters, especially the main ones, Shouya and Shouko. The chemistry between those two, their impact on each other and their character development was expressed well. With Shouko’s character and the disability that she had, I felt like it was represented in a very organized and realistic way as well.
I really enjoyed it. As I said, a lot of emotions were present in my mind throughout the movie like happiness, joy, sadness and especially anger due to the bullying aspect of this film. Even though I wanted to strangle some of the characters because of how they were acting, that helped me appreciate this movie. After watching Koe no Katachi, it also kind of made me want to read the manga now.
In conclusion, this is a really nice film to watch. Kyoto Animation did a superb job telling us a story with serious issues that occur in the real world and how someone’s actions and behavior towards another person can change their life dramatically.
MyAnimeList Page: https://myanimelist.net/anime/28851/Koe_no_Katachi