It’s finally happened! I’ve watched an anime that I actually liked! I’m ashamed that I’ve had this movie queued up for so long because this is the best anime I’ve seen in at least the past year. A Silent Voice is about a teenage boy trying to find redemption after bullying a deaf girl as a child. This story isn’t something I can remember seeing before in an anime or even in a live action movie and I enjoyed it a lot.
I loved how the bullying felt so realistic because it didn’t just start out with the group picking on her, but it developed gradually as they got more fed up. You could see how Ishida, the main character, would do or say something then look for approval from his friends, and once he got that approval things escalated quickly. Most of the reactions of the characters felt so grounded in reality that never once did I roll my eyes and think, “That would never happen.” I will immediately contradict myself though and say there was one part in the movie that was so anime cliche that steam started coming out of my ears. Why does every anime assume that girls always look at other girls’ breasts and want to touch them? I am actually female and I can guarantee I never once discussed the size of another girls’ breasts at school or even entertain the idea of groping them. Can we please just stop with this stupid anime trope? That one cringe inducing scene aside, this movie deals with bullying in a different way by following the bully instead of the victim. I found it very refreshing and it gives you a chance to really step back and look at both sides. Is this guy unworthy of redemption for something he did as a kid? Can people ever really change? Would you forgive your childhood bully? All these questions ran through my head as I was watching this and I love a movie that can pull me in so deeply.
The part that stands out the most for me is that one of the main characters is deaf. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a deaf anime character before, and if I have, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one where they use sign language. I thought that aspect of it was awesome and it really warmed my heart when some of the kids wanted to learn it so they could talk to her easier. I loved her character because they really took the time to flesh her out. You get the sense that she believes she’s a burden to everyone around her and that’s why she always feels the needs to apologize and not complain. It’s heartbreaking as you learn more about her struggles and there were definitely more than a few times that this movie made me cry.
This is a gorgeous movie with an excellent, moving story that anyone who is a fan of anime should check out. I wish they’d keep making movies like this because I’d love to get back into anime again. Check this one out, if you like anime or not, it is definitely worth your time.
Verdict: 8.8/10 I knew that wasn’t a boy!