“A Silent Voice” Uses Teenage Drama to Discuss Problems That Haunt Adults Too

 

Anime and manga are often perceived as entertainment for children. This is either because of the colorful animation or because the most popular ones in the West, such as Naruto or Dragon Ball, are aimed at younger audiences. But those with a stronger connection to this art form know the myriad of themes and different target audiences it can reach.

As the founder of the best anime subscription box ever (yes, it really is!), I receive suggestions and recommendations from my subscribers, introducing me to various shows. And they never cease to surprise me!

Among those suggestions is the acclaimed anime movie “A Silent Voice” (originally, “Koe no Katachi”).

A Silent Voice is an award-winning Japanese movie from 2016 based on the manga. The show isn’t about magic powers but still has loads of action. But I don’t mean fights to save the world or to be the strongest in the universe. A Silent Voice portrays the daily struggles of ordinary people in the millions for respect, acceptance, and peace of mind.

Let me explain. The story revolves around a young boy named Shoya Ishida, who bullies a deaf girl named Shoko Nishimiya in elementary school.

But Shoya isn’t alone in that. Classmates also enjoy watching and participating in all that mockery against Shoko. Teachers generally ignored the bullying… at least until Shoko’s mother took action.

When that happens, Shoko transfers to another school. Then, Shoya becomes the one being bullied and socially isolated.

Fast forward to their high school years, Shoya, now tormented with guilt and shame from his past actions, decides to reconnect with Shoko to apologize and make amends for the hurt he caused.

The movie explores themes of friendship and forgiveness. We also get to follow Shoya’s and Shouko’s personal development as they confront the past, attempt to overcome communication barriers, and have some warm teenage romance. (because why not?)

All those delicate issues and dramas of ordinary life are told through beautiful animation with captivating characters that help convey a strong message and incite complicated but needed discussion about bullying and resilience.

It’s a touching journey that lasts around two hours, and I doubt most people would regret watching it, especially those who have been through similar hardships.

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