Seven months after its Theatrical release in Japan, A Silent voice has finally made its way onto Australian Screens and it was worth the wait. Yoshitoki Ōima’s amazing Manga series has been adapted by the famous Kyoto Animation studios into a movie that had the great misfortune to be released during the peak of fervor that surrounded Makoto Shinkai’s ‘Your Name’.
Anyone that has the privilege of reading the manga that the movie is based on can walk into the cinema happy in the knowledge that, while not staying 100% on the course of the original material, Director Naoko Yamada, was able to craft a beautiful version of events that led the story to an equally satisfying ending.
Kyoto Animation have often been lauded in the Anime community for all the incredibly beautiful work that they produce, often turning out the most visually beautiful works of any release season. With ‘A Silent Voice’ they put every little trick of storytelling and animation that they knew into play in order to present the viewers with the best possible experience.
The story itself is a unique approach to the typical high school drama and friendship types of story that are often seen in Manga and Anime these days. Instead of having a bumbling idiot, a lovable slacker or any of the other tropes we instead are given an ostracized ex-bully and the deaf girl that he picked on back in elementary school. These elements and the undertone of the story, that of friendship despite all that has happened in the past, make for a story full of moments that will stay with you long after the film ends.
There are several arcs of the manga that are noticeably absent from the film but even in the manga those arcs were just plot devices to drive forward a particular conflict or confrontation between all the interested parties. The Script writer, Reiko Yoshida and Director Naoko Yamada have managed to skillfully integrate all the essential key moments of the story into a natural setting that didn’t feel forced or overly expositional.
The emotional tone to the movie is both light-hearted and very heavy. With a solid mix of both painful and fun moments for the characters. Don’t go into this movie expecting a cheerful romp through Tokyo City, A Silent Voice will disappoint you in that regard. But if you go in looking for emotional growth and development of characters and their interactions then you will enjoy this movie perhaps as much as I did.
Overall A Silent Voice took a difficult to execute story and managed to not only pull it off but did so in a way that left me feeling confident for future manga to movie adaptations of a similar nature. If you enjoy emotional rollercoasters and great characters then you will love this film.