“A Silent Voice” holds a heartfelt meaning

By Yoeli Romero

Staff Writer

“A Silent Voice” has received praise from many fans and critics because of its amazing visuals and plot. Yamada and her team released an amazing and beautiful film.

In “A Silent Voice”, we are introduced to two adolescents named Shoya Ishida and Shouko Nishimiya. Nishimiya, a student with impaired hearing, was continuously being tormented by Ishida in grade school until she transferred. Years later, Ishida searches for Nishimia in hopes to redeem himself.

Naoko Yamada is a famous Japanese animator who has directed many animated films and shows. “A Silent Voice” has become very well-known not only in Japan and America but also around the world. An English dubbed version of “A Silent Voice” has been released out to the public globally, but many people would rather prefer watching the subbed version, like me. 

Yamada has worked on other pieces besides “A Silent Voice”, such as “K-On!”, which is an anime series. “K-On!” is about a group of teenage girls who met via the Light Music Club. In the show, we follow them through their journey of high school as a group of musicians. Throughout their years in high school, the girls develop their music skills and their bond.

Yamada’s hit movie, “Koe No Katachi” is better known as “A Silent Voice” to international fans. In an interview with Manga Tokyo, the interviewer asked Yamada if she had a certain phrase that stuck with her while producing the film, which she replied with “Humans generally fail, hurt someone or get hurt in order to live and end up in a situation that can’t be helped. I wanted to portray the hope that we can and may still live on.” Yamada was able to achieve that idea of hers through Ishida in “A Silent Voice.” Even though Ishida had hurt Nishimiya in the past, he was able to grasp the string of hope and redeem himself. 

Yamada touches on multiple topics with this movie, such as physical disabilities, bullying, suicidal thoughts, friendship, forgiveness and much more. For example, Yamada touches on the topic regarding people with disabilities and the struggles they have to go through. Many people with disabilities may grow up getting bullied because they’re “different,” which is shown through Nishimiya, who was only a young child. 

Yamada was able to direct a fantastic movie that even talked about the struggles some might face in this world, which is why critics praised it so much! The movie might be an emotional roller coaster but it’s definitely worth watching!

Yamada knows how to make really good productions that make the viewers want to watch more. Her series and films seem to reflect her producing skills since each and every piece comes out smoothly and perfectly.

“A Silent Voice” has many powerful visuals, voiceovers, and tracklists within it. The viewers can see how much time Yamada and her team took to create such a visually appealing film as the movie plays out.

The glimmering water and the falling cherry blossoms depicts how satisfying the animation is throughout the whole film. Every little detail and every little shot has a purpose in the film. Without those scenes from their elementary school years, the film may be chaotic and hard to understand.

The diversity of personalities and looks is very important to keep in mind while producing a movie since these are the characters the viewers are going to be sticking with the entire time. It seems as if movies always end up coming out better if each character isn’t just a carbon copy of another.

Yamada did an incredible job when it came to casting voice actors for each character – especially the lead characters. The voice actors did an amazing job when it came to creating a mood for a specific scene; whether it was a serious, happy, or suspenseful scene, the voice actors did a superb job. 

Kensuke Ushio composed “A Silent Voice’s” tracklist and created many emotionally grasping melodies. All these melodies emphasized the emotions each scene tries to convey, which gives each individual scene more feeling. The tracklist was made specifically for this movie, which is why all the songs are able to fit perfectly into this puzzle. 

Skip this single paragraph because I’m about to give a spoiler, so skip to the next paragraph. In the balcony scene when Ishida sees Nishimiya standing at the top of the railing of the balcony, the track that they used for the background music started to build up as the scene became more intense, which fit perfectly. The soundtracks were tailored specifically for this film which is clearly shown by the scenes the songs go with. 

The music that’s found in this soundtrack has a lot of layers to it. It was composed in a way that’s able to convey the complex emotions that the characters were feeling, such as happiness, sadness or guilt. My top two favorite tracks off of the film are “Lit” and “Your Silent Portrait.” 

On the other hand, it might be a bit difficult for some viewers to understand the first part of the movie as we switch from Ishida’s years in grade school and his years as an adult. The scenes seem to be mixed instead of it just following a whole timeline in chronological order.  Although the first scene might be a bit hard to understand at first, it does play a big role in understanding when it comes to the present shots. 

In addition to the confusing chronology, character development was another weakness the film struggled with. It did show some character development with Ishida but it never focused on the other characters. The other characters didn’t even seem to play much of an impactful role in the film, they were more like extras who were there at times.

These next two paragraphs will have a bit of spoiler in them, so if you have not watched the film and are planning to, I recommend you skip these two paragraphs for now. In elementary school, Ishida didn’t care for other people but only cared about how others perceived him. As he grew up, he stopped caring about what others thought of him and he started to isolate himself, making him fall into depression. After Nishimiya came back into his life, he wanted to redeem himself and he started to become considerate of others – he even learned sign language just to be able to talk to Nishimiya. After all the struggle, he was able to see other people as individuals and he finally accepted himself as well. 

Nishimiya was one of the characters that seemed to have no development. She was always considered the “outcast” or the nice girl to some, but she didn’t change much. She always wanted to be friends with Ishida in elementary school and even caught feelings for him after they had reunited, but other than that, she seemed to have no character. There was some point near the end of the film where the producers attempted to give her character a bit of depth by making Nishimiya depressed and suicidal, but other than that, she had no character. 

As mentioned before, Yamada directed “A Silent Voice” as a way to show people that there still is hope in this world, we just might have to struggle a bit to finally get a firm grasp on it. Her film has touched many people’s hearts with this deep and wonderful story, including mine, which is why I chose to write about this certain film.

All in all, I’d recommend this breathtaking film to just about anyone, young and old. Although many people around the world may not enjoy anime, I’m sure that they’ll enjoy the deep meaning behind this film. 

Additionally, if you do enjoy “A Silent Voice,” I recommend watching Makoto Shinkai’s “Your Name”. Both movies have amazing visuals and meanings, which is what captures a general audience’s attention, like mine. 

Featured image (at the top of this post): This is the official poster for “A Silent Voice.” PHOTO CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons

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