‘A Silent Voice’ Speaks To The Heart

by Tito W. James

A Silent Voice is tale of isolation and redemption as we follow the journey of Shoya Ishida who bullies a deaf girl, Shoko Nishimiya, until she transfers to another elementary school. Years later, Shoya seeks out Shoko to atone for his past behavior and an unlikely friendship occurs.

The Bad

You have to be in the mood for a slice of life anime to enjoy A Silent Voice. The film doesn’t follow a traditional plot-based structure but instead delivers a series of touching scenes. While there are some great emotional beats the ultimate romantic arc was anti-climactic.

The Good

You can tell by the trailer alone that the art and animation are phenomenal. Everything has a rarefied level of detail to the point where real life appears dull by comparison. The characters sell the film with their personalities and believable dramas. Yuzuru in particular really stole the show.

Director Naoko Yamada (K-On!) shines in her ability to evoke emotional performances from these hand drawn characters. If this were a live action film it would have been riddled with teary-eyed close-ups. Yamada however, can render a heart-wrenching scene with characters facing away from the camera or only focusing on their legs.

The Verdict

A Silent Voice is a beautifully animated, touching story with richly layered characters. There were some moments where the film tugged a little too hard on the viewer’s heartstrings, and the lack of a traditional story arc was disappointing. This is a film that will definitely appeal to fans of Your Name. Even though I think the latter film was better executed, the amazing art and characters make A Silent Voice a film worth listening to.

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