Just recently, Mr. Coffee and I had a movie date from a film that we were waiting for a long time. We had both read the manga and shared tears together reading it, and while waiting for it, we both wondered how the movie would go. Along with our questions together, whether what will be included, and what will be excluded in the movie from the manga. How will the story go? Will they be able to portrait the manga well? Or will they use a different approach? The story that I am talking about was a movie entitled “Koe no Katachi” or most commonly known in its English translation is “A Silent Voice.”
With a current score, as of writing, on Rotten Tomatoes of ninety-three percent (93%), Koe no Katachi is a very well made, and emotional roller coaster movie with a great, vibrant animation, and most of all, used music really to portray not only the characters’ lines but most of all, the very story of the film.
Slice of Life
The tale of the bullied and the bully, who in turn got bullied, is one of the most controversial aspects of human life. Especially when a person undergoes the stage of being a kid until he grows into his teens. It happens to all of us and has different sides of how one can be a bully, or how a kid can bu bullied. In a few words, the story of Koe no Katachi is definitely a story of bitter truth.
Some may relate to the message of the story, and some may not. yet for those who cannot relate for being bullied or being a bully, they will know how the message of the story can give a big impact on the lives around them. And not removing the very essence of the story gives out a major impression about the story.
Shoya Ishida was just a normal, lively, and notorious kid, but with a simple life. But it gets out of turn, when a deaf girl, Shoko Nishimiya, joins his elementary school class. It’s not long before his curiosity, plus his classmates turn that into something. Unknowingly, they started to make fun of Nishimiya at first, and it got nastier as the story goes. When the fun got out of control, Nishimiya eventually has to transfer to another school again, and the blame has been pinned to Ishida.
The reactions that Ishida had and the animation that follows it, shows a lot of things from the images from the frames that was shown to us. The regret can be seen in his eyes. The surprise of the turn of events can be seen from the face of the young kid, who is just having fun. Worst, the events that had transpired reverberate through the lives of all those involves for yeas to come. Until the moment where Ishida runs into Nishimiya again.
What captivates us in this part of the story is that Ishida is trying to get redemption again. Because the effect that imprinted to his life. He has been incredibly isolated from other people and it was not only depressing for him, but for a lot of people. It was to the point that he no longer knows what the word “friends” mean and how to normally interact with other people.
It’s a nuanced approach that’s taken with all the characters who orbit the central pair. There’s far more to the stereotypical “mean girl”, “smart girl” and “nice girl” than first appears, but they are also true to those stereotypes, for their own reasons.
But, despite how good the story was, It missed a lot of crucial things that could make the viewers cry for more and know the story more, not only from the perspective of our Ishida Shoya but also from the different character as well, especially Nishimiya Shoko. Too bad on that side. It’s saving grace was that they had a strong characterization and great character development within the aspect of redemption from a high school drama, as it skips or totally avoided the stigma that there will always be an easy solution to every problem approach. It made the story more lifelike and close to the reality.
The animation choices of vibrant color and strong facial expression helps that the film is beautiful to look at. The animation is top notch but it’s matched by very some interesting choices in setting and framing. With Ishida too ashamed to look people in the eye, there are plenty of shots of people’s feet or the sky. It happens so often that it becomes almost a visual shorthand for the audience to understand characters feelings, almost more than any dialog ever could. There’s also a very clever visual treatment which shows just how open or closed Ishida is to those around him at any time.
Now, this is what surprised the both of us the most. First, we do not expect the voices of the characters to be like that. We understand that Ishida Shoya’s soft-spoken comes from trauma. But some other characters are a surprise. Plus we finally heard the voice of Nishimiya Shoko, which gave us a sense of experience on how a deaf person speaks. Not that I have not been able to listen to others in real life. But giving more life through voice acting a character from a manga is just amazing.
What gave the movie more life in our opinion is that the music gave more meaning to the story. soft piano and orchestral score really suit A Silent Voice’s story of intense highs and lows. It never made the film boring, but it gives a sense of life and more thoughts about how the story will go. Good choices of highs and lows in the setting.
Though there are a lot of things that were not included in the manga to the movie, it still gave us the true sense of the movie’s story that it wants to deliver. If only we have an unlimited money and more time, we are not going to watch the movie just once, but also a lot of times until the story is engraved in our mind.