A Silent Voice Cinema Review 2
Date: 2017 March 6th Monday [15:35] | Posted By: Joe
We're all talking about A Silent Voice this week. This is the second of two reviews of the emotional roller-coaster anime film arriving in UK Cinemas on Wednesday 15th March 2017. Although Lee and I saw the same film we both came out with different opinions of the title. Rather than just mash it into one review, we've published both reviews for you to compare and contrast.
The number 1 grossing anime of 2016 was Your Name. It smashed all kinds of records globally, but what about the number 2 anime of 2016? That would be A Silent Voice. Adapted from the manga by Yoshitoki Oima it tells the tale of Shoya a boy who bullied Shoko a new deaf girl in his class. As the story unfolds, Shoya realises the error of his ways and seeks out Shoko to apologise and redeem himself a few years later.
The film gets off to a good start with a punchy sequence that sets the scene with Shoya as a boisterous lad, getting into scrapes, doing daring things and generally having a laugh with his friends (with The Who playing as background music too). It gets you on Shoya's side and sets up his life with his family. He's the class the clown. Sure he goofs about, but he doesn't mean and harm and he does it with his friends.
Shoko is a deaf girl who communicates with her class mates via a notepad. She immediately becomes a target for Shoya to bully for his entertainment and the rest of the class are willing to join in too. A lot of these scenes make you feel awkward and uncomfortable and show the careless cruelty of children. We won't tell you what happens next, as that's up to you to find out.
The film first gained attention in the UK at the Scotland Loves Anime Showings. People watching it came out emotionally drained. It's not easy viewing, nor is it supposed to be. It doesn't pull at the heart strings, it yanks at them unforgivingly. It walks a fine line between having an impact and making you feel like you're being manipulated.
As you'd expect from a Kyoto Animation production, it's very well animated. It has the KyoAni trademark character designs and high production values. However this is not a light-hearted piece like K-On (also directed by Naoko Yamada) or Chunibyo, but it has an extra layer of depth taken from the original manga.
The cast of supporting characters are well defined. You feel for them just as much as the main characters. Of course, this movie has a large serving of teen angst, but the way it's handled makes you feel for the characters and their predicament. It captures the intensity of teenage friendship.
The choice of music is great and also the lack of music has been cleverly executed. The absence of music is used to highlight that Shoya chooses to be isolated as a consequence of his actions, while Shoko is isolated because she is deaf.
One of the reasons I love anime, is that everything is intentional, someone has had to draw this and think about it. There are lots of clever little subtle touches to this film that makes me want to watch it again to see if there's anything I can pick up second time around. Stuff like background details, flowers (and the use of the language of flowers), subtle characters gestures are all something I want catch on a second viewing.
Afterwards you'll feel like you know a tiny bit of Japanese sign language too.
We saw this movie on cinema screen and suggest you do too. You get to see all the detail of the anime as intended, plus it means you won't get interrupted your whole focus is on this film, you'll give it the full attention it deserves. You should probably set some time to decompress after seeing this movie you'll need it!
We know Anime Limited / All The Anime will be distributing A Silent Voice, and we hope that their home video release has some sort of ultimate edition with artbooks and extras.
Just go out and see this movie, you won't regret it. Although once it's reached it's conclusion you will feel disappointed, it'll leave you wondering, why can't more anime be this good?
Catch it while you can
Anime fans in the UK and Ireland can catch a screening near them on Wednesday 15th March 2017, details are on asilentvoice.co.uk
Pre-order it on DVD and Blu-ray
Anime Limited have just announced that A Silent Voice is available to pre-order from Amazon.co.uk.
Or read the manga
If you're hungering for more of Shoko and Shoya's story you can get the original 7 volume manga from Kodansha Comics via Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. The movie follows pretty much the same story, but as manga has more time to explore the characters you'll get extra background details about their lives and also a few more chapters into their story together.