A Silent Voice - Koe No Katachi
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Posted 6/26/15
I saw this series in the Manga section of the site and just thought it would be a goofy rom-com focused around the inherent communication issues that would occur between friends when one happened to be deaf. Boy was I wrong! This series is intense! The following is my understanding of what makes this series great. Leave your own thoughts below.

[PLOT
The main character, Shoya, in his adolescent foolishness starts out as your brazen, trouble-making hero. Suddenly he meets this girl, Shoko, and decides to fool around with her because of her deafness. Like most bullying cases, he doesn't realize the gravity of his actions, he's just curious and insensitive. Things go as expected for a while, but as the teachers start trying to address the matter, and as the kids continue to encourage the bullying, that's when it gets real. The teachers don't really understand to how to help someone suffering from deafness to lead a happy school-life, and the kids are annoyed because they don't like having to put up with the natural inconvenience of communication between them and her. Finally, the police get involved and someone has to be held accountable, so Shoya becomes the scapegoat. Shoko eventually leaves for another school, but Shoya ends up being ostracized and bullied because of the reputation he gets for having lead the bullying. The poor fool can barely understand what's going on, but eventually he realizes that what's happening to him is the same as what he led people to do to Shoko. That's only the beginning!

Gradually, the realization of what he's done dawns on him, and his character transforms completely in an attempt to seek out absolution for his crimes. He even bothers to learn sign language and track down Shoko to talk to her. It was meant to be a goodbye, but to Shoya's bewilderment, Shoko wants to see him again! Now suddenly, Shoya has to navigate the strange world of human perception and bonding to try and understand the people in his life that he's become separated from: his old friends, new friends, Shoko, and Shoko's family.

THEMES
Bullying and Human Perception are a huge part of the story. Nobody wants to believe that they're at fault when bullying starts. Usually they aren't really trying to be malicious, but it means something entirely different to the people on the receiving end. Shoko and Shoya are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Shoya takes bullying as a challenge at first, but Shoko doesn't feel obligated to prove such things so she naturally doesn't try to fight back. Eventually both of them give up on trying to fight back and fall into despair, but Shoya tries to make a last stand to save Shoko that ironically ends up saving himself in the process.

Ego is a serious problem, which is to say how people see themselves and want to be seen. Several characters in the story are trying to be seen a certain way that is different from how others see them. Shoko and Shoya just want to be accepted as they are, and a few characters want to be seen as better than they are by denying any involvement they had with bullying. Shoko's Mom is a special case in the story because she's trying to become strong in a world that has made her a victim in the past. Ultimately they must find a way to put their ego aside to live in harmony.

Communication Problems happen between all of the characters, not just Shoko. Each of them has a different perception of how they have behaved and how others have treated them. They struggle to come to terms with each other even though they ultimately don't end up seeing things the same way and don't always know what it is they're trying to do in the first place. Since they don't exactly know what the problems is, they find it difficult to address them and settle them properly.

STAR POINTS

Shoya's character development

Shoko using sign language when she gets angry

Ueno's expressions when she gets angry

The Alternative Perspectives of each character


One Punch Mod
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Posted 10/21/15
Closed since it's been inactive for a while and a new thread has been started. See
/forumtopic-923973/a-silent-voice-koe-no-katachi
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