A Silent Voice Is More Than Just A Movie About Teenagers.
In the past few years, the anime industry has exposed fans to a lot of films and shows exploring surreal situations. However, of this plethora of action driven, monster-filled anime series, there are a few that touch the hearts and minds of its viewers. With a few of them highlighting some of the topics that we ignore and accept, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Films such as Your Name and Spirited Away illustrate that viewers are not only interested in global apocalypses or ninjas. That audiences also show interest in more complex and realistic themes and motifs. So, why not continue this trend and watch a film that portrays those elements. A Silent Voice does precisely that and here are 5 reasons why you should watch it.
A Female Voice In A Male-Dominated Industry
A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi), is a Japanese anime school drama directed by Naoko Yamada (K-On!) and written by Reiko Yoshida (K-On!, Digimon Adventures, Violet Evergarden). The film is based on the manga of the same name, which is written and illustrated by mangaka Yoshitoki Ōima. And they all happen to be women leading the creation of a film, which happens to be somewhat of a rarity.
It's not unheard that men dominate a lot of branches and fields. This notion is also true when it comes to the anime industry. Men, almost entirely lead popular series and films, for example, Naruto and Ghost in the Shell (1995). Fortunately, this male-dominated industry is slowly fading away. For instance, all-female manga artists group Clamp (xxxHolic) and directors such as Hiroko Utsumi (Free!) and Rie Matsumoto (Blood Blockade Battlefront) are making way for female voices.
More Than Just Teenage Drama
A Silent Voice follows Shōya Ishida, a bully who along with his friends, pick on their new classmate Shōko Nishimiya, who happens to be deaf. Due to the unrelenting physical and verbal abuse, Nishimiya transfers schools and the blame falls on Shōya. Subsequently, everyone – friends, classmates, and even teachers —turn against Shōya, making the bully now the victim.
While the premise of many drama anime — including A Silent Voice — are about two people fated to meet. A Silent Voice achieves this connection in a peculiar and somewhat realistic way: by the bully and its victim switching roles. Thus, illustrating the raw and intricate emotions that they both go through.
Raw and Simple Visuals
Films such as Your Name and Spirited Away use their visuals to convey an extra layer of depth to the story and themes, which have earned them much critical acclaim. However, unlike them, A Silent Voice doesn't transmit such beauty and depth. Instead, it visualizes the raw and intricate emotion that Shōya goes through in a simple and relatable manner. One of such visual emotions are the blue crosses that cover the faces of the people Shōya has difficulty interacting. Highlighting his social standing with others.
Reflects A Bullying Culture
The premise of A Silent Voice takes the audience on a journey of the physical and mental punishment that a victim of bullying goes through. Illustrating the consequences of bullying and how bad it could be for the victim and those surrounding him or her.
Whether you have taken part in it or not, bullying is daily torture that many of us endure. This bullying culture is no different in Japan, – or in other countries – which has become quite notorious and secretly accepted. Those who go against the form or stand out run the risk of being shunned or worse, psychologically (or physically) tortured. Consequently, leading to another major societal problem, suicide.
The story of both Shōya and Shōko reflect a serious issue. From Shōya's attitude to Shōko's disability, viewers can learn a lot from their journey. A Silent Voice teaches us how to be empathetic to those that "stand out" or need help. Furthermore, the film also conveys that it's not wrong to ask for help like Shōya said: "I want you to help me live."