Blu-ray Review: A Silent Voice - The Movie | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, November 18th, 2019  

A Silent Voice - The Movie

Studio: Shout! Factory

Apr 03, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Bullying has been a hot-button topic for several decades, especially when looking at the percentage of chronic cases in grade school environments. While we continue to collectively extrapolate on its lasting effects and develop mitigation measures, we must remember that, according to the 2001 study Naturalistic Observations of Peer Interventions in Bullying that 57% of bullying situations (that were documented) stop when other students intervene, but that of those situations where peers were present to witness bullying, only 19% of situations led to any intervention. Yoshitoki Ōima’s acclaimed manga series Koe no Katachi (2013-2014) manages to encapsulate not only the nuanced social, family, and personal effects bullying has on adolescents, and dissect the social stigmas of disabilities in Japan, but also how the collective apathy or indulgence of a community toward bullying and ostrification can lead to even greater damage and pain. These elements serve as a baseline for bittersweet themes of accepting and propagating change as we age, forgiveness of others and of one’s self, and to understand how we determine and accept our place in the world and in each other’s lives. Adapted in 2016 by Naoko Yamada, A Silent Voice manages to breathe a more profound resonance into its source material through its highly inventive usage of sound, color, and utterly perfect voice acting, which more than makes up for its truncated version of the manga’s narrative.

Shoya Ishida (Miyu Irino, Mayu Matsuoka) was a carefree boy with friends, popularity, and a pigeonholed view of the world. After his new classmate Shoko Nishimiya (Saori Hayami), is discovered to be deaf, he begins a relentless bullying campaign toward her, spurred on by his classmates, brushing off her many attempts at friendship and consolation as creepy and weird. However, when he pushes the line too far (including the repetitive destruction of Shoko’s hearing-aids, eventually physically assaulting her), the friends and instructors who had ignored, enabled, or encouraged him all turn to alienate and isolate Shoya well into high school. He completely shuts off from the world, and with no plans for the future, he contemplates suicide before attempting to make amends with individuals he had wronged. While cautious, as both of them deal with crushing self-loathing and social seclusion, Shoko and Shoya begin a tenuous friendship while navigating their daily lives. As they search for who they really are (as seen by each other and themselves), their journey is supported and tested by a small core of peers, all with patchwork pasts littered with contrition and personal struggle.

As someone who was extensively bullied throughout all of grade school, the events in the film are so painfully honest that it affected me far greater than I had thought possible. Though the events of the movie are played through intensive melodrama, it’s all highly appropriate, as adolescents believe every aspect of their lives is heightened and vastly important. But when intensely adult situations demand maturity and observationalism (which they often meet with little efficacy) their struggles to understand and maintain their lives make the story all the more heartbreaking. We don’t fully understand the motivations of these characters because they do not understand them either, with almost the entire cast struggling with rejection, uncertainty, and aimlessness when confronted with their realities. However, these struggles are not fruitless or exploitive, they amount to progressions and connections renewed or freshly constructed between these people that help them grow and better understand who they are and how they live.

Without a doubt the use of sound in this film holds the greatest of its motifs, which often relate back to Shoya and Shoko’s abilities to connect to their surroundings, their families, their peers, and to each other. A Silent Voice also utilizes its impressive mix of diegetic sound and silence with that of the beautiful score by Kensuke Ushio, creating a cacophony of realism and style that encapsulates the multifaceted personalities of each character. These subtleties are echoed also in the stunning shot compositions that frame the movie, with many instances of separation and frame-within-frames to wordlessly address the barriers between our leads and those around them. Multitudes of offset angles and abstract cutaways mimic the main characters’ perspectives as they battle with their emotions and prejudices. Ultimately, how these characters view the world around them is how we directly perceive it as well, and if the characters’ perspectives change, the style in which we receive the story also changes.

While there are several stumbles in its story progression, as it attempts to shove sixty-two manga chapters into a two-hour feature, the painfully poignant acting, gorgeous colorization and animation, and its many powerful themes of communication, understanding, and absolution make this film one of the most affectionate movies of recent years. Shout! Factory seems to share in my sentiment, as it has released a Blu-ray/DVD combo of A Silent Voice for North American audiences. While equipped with both Japanese and English dubbing tracks, as well as English subtitles and closed captioning, few supplemental feature round out the disc. We get a small collection of promotional videos and trailers, Yamada’s “Speed Of Youth” music video (which serves as a companion piece to the feature), and the music video for the film’s theme song “Koi wo Shita no wa” by Aiko.

Beguiling in its sadness and sentimentality, firmly respectful of its subjects, and absolutely effective with its numerous complimentary themes, A Silent Voice is one of the most moving films ever put to animation.



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دیزل ژنراتور
April 6th 2019

Wonderful post. Thanks for the share.

May 27th 2019

its an amazing movie indeed, i watched it on cyberflix tv app which can be downloaded from here

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June 1st 2019

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