Shoya Ishida once had what he believed was everything. In elementary school, he was a cool kid who didn’t let anything stand in his way of life. Until one day a deaf girl named Shoko Nishimiya, transfers into his school. Shoya’s whole world flips upside down once Shoko tries to befriend him. Confused and scared of Shoko and her disability, he begins to bully her. Shoya eventually gets some of his classmates to bully her with him. But one day the tides turn and Shoya becomes the victim of bullying. Since that moment, Shoya has lived his life as a social outcast. Afraid and socially awkward, Shoya has accepted his punishment for his past. One day, Shoya decides to make amends with Shoko and finds her. The two embark on a friendship that reconnects not only them but their past classmates. As Shoya moves forward in life, his past begins to creep up on him.
Behind The Anime:
Original Creator – Yoshitoki Ōima (To Your Eternity)
Animation Studio – Kyoto Animation (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, K-ON!)
Director – Naoko Yamada (Tamako Market, K-ON!)
Script – Reiko Yoshida (Yowamushi Pedal, D.Gray-man, Bakuman.)
Character Design – Futoshi Nishiya (Hyōka, Nichijou, Free!)
- The concept is unique and a breath of fresh air in anime.
- Shoya is a strong, wonderful, deep, lovable, and relatable protagonist.
- Most of the characters felt authentic due to their dialogue and interactions with the world around them.
- All the characters felt genuine and familiar but not anime archetype familiar. (E.G. Shoko is a deaf girl who just wants to get along with everyone, she’s not some energetic moe girl who always say “Kyun”. Then there’s Shoya, he can easily seem like the anime protagonist who says “Let’s do it” and storms into whatever, but instead he is a character who is cautious, scared, yet willing to change.)
- The connection between Shoko and Shoya is compelling and winning.
- The friendship between Shoya and Tomohiro is hilarious and nice.
- Many of the subtle things that the characters do feel realistic.
- The story tackles on things like depression, suicide, bullying, and disabilities well.
- When tackling on cliches, the story does it right and does not fall down while doing so.
- Everything the characters face, from social anxiety to depression all felt convincing and thought provoking.
- The moments of conflict were tense and shocking.
- The emotional sequences hit like a wave of heart aches. With some even making you feel like you need to cry and yell “SHOKO”!
- The dialogue exchanges between the characters all felt genuine.
- The funny and cute scenes are charming.
- The moments that Shoko and Shoya share were some of the most enjoyable.
- The usage of symbolism was effective and not over done.
- The conclusion felt right and for some reason melancholic yet warm as well, but also mixed with feelings of fulfillment and emptiness.
Directing, Illustrations, and Animation
- The opening visuals with the song, “My Generation”, by The Who was a fascinating and eye grabbing start to the movie.
- The camera work was never short from impressive.
- Visually every scene stayed engaging and never felt boring.
- Small subtle things that captured how a character felt to large emotionally things that weighed down on a character were perfectly conveyed through the camera work, music, and effects.
- The character designs are appealing and each character has a distinguishable look.
- The bright sun, the gleaming water, and just overall world looked amazing.
- From smiles to tears, the character’s faces were drawn with so much care and detail.
- The color pallet is beautiful and very fitting.
- About 99% of the animation was top notch and never faltered.
Music and Voice Acting
- The background music helped to develop the scenes into special, breathtaking experiences.
- The ending theme, “Koi wo Shita no wa”, by Aiko is both heart breaking and heart warming at the same time.
- Voice actress, Lexi Cowden, who played Shoko for the English Dub, portrayed her character greatly and with authenticity because she also is a person who has the same disability.
- Voice actor, Robbie Daymond, who plays Shoya for the English Dub, performance was amazing and nearly blew me out of the water during the emotional sequences.
Writing and Directing
- Many of the side characters who play a pivotal role in the story, specifically Shoya’s classmates and ex classmates, didn’t feel like they were fleshed out enough nor did I care for them as strongly as I did for Shoya and Shoko.
- Some emotional scenes were undeveloped so the delivery was a bit off. (E.G. There’s a scene that involves all the important classmates confronting one another but it didn’t work out due to the weak build. And unfortunely, even Shoko’s confession to Shoya was undeveloped.)
- There’s one scene in particular that doesn’t make sense. Not to spoil it entirely, but I’ll say it involves Shoya weakly running in the middle of the night.
- Even with the lengthy 2 hour run, I felt that the story wasn’t able to provide enough content. It’s understandable because they had to compress a seven volume manga into one film but it’s still a flaw.
- The linear structure becomes a bit skewed at one point because of some side plot interference.
- There were a few things I wished were elaborated on more.
- The story feels more at times like a coming of age than a romantic drama.
- The story felt like it was slightly rushed after a strong turning point in the late middle of the movie.
Just when you think anime has declined, this anime comes in to remind you that there is hope out there. This is the breath of fresh air that anime needed. It’s emotionally compelling, thought provoking, well written, and best of all, hopeful. I had my doubts about this movie and i’m glad my previous judgement was completely wrong. I turned around and faced the strange, which A Silence Voice was for me. But now i’ve embraced this story and have seen the beauty in it. Now, I will stop my attempts at being poetic and gooey. So let’s leave this off with me saying “Go watch this amazing movie”.
(Reference Source for “Behind The Anime” – Anime News Network)