A Silent Voice By Yoshitoki Oima

*This Review is Spoiler Free*

9781632360564

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Bullying, miscommunication, and atonement. This is by far one of my all time favorite manga series: 10/10 Unicorn Horns! I’d been a little hesitant to review this series, but this is such a powerful story. With the movie now out (depending on your region) I decided to finally review the manga that I found so incredibly moving. So in my unashamed attempt to convince you that “you need this series in your life“, here’s a link to the beautiful, short, spoiler free trailer of the movie- I CANNOT WAIT to see- on YouTube, and of my review:

A Silent Voice- Official Trailer

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Synopsis: In the first volume A Silent Voice (a.k.a Koe no Katachi), before jumping ahead 6 years, surrounds young and very adventurous elementary student Shoya. Jumping off bridges, play fighting, getting into trouble, Shoya is a typical crazy daredevil whose friends join him in his everyday “battle against boredom”. While trying to think of the next great adventure they get a new transfer student, a young girl named Shoko Nishimiya. Being new isn’t what catches Shoya’s attention, it’s the way she introduces herself- using a pen and notebook. Nishimiya is hearing impaired. This of course leads to a ton of curiosity from classmates. Unfortunately this lighthearted curiosity quickly begins to take a turn for the worse as misunderstandings build into a frustration that results in deeply scaring both Nishimiya and Shoya.   

Koe no Katachi

It is narrated from the point of view of Shoya, the one responsible for instigating the bullying and harassment that eventually forced Nishimiya to transfer schools. And that, the POV, is something that I found so incredible about this series. To be completely honest, as someone who has been on the receiving end, I may have never picked this up if I had known it would be from the point of view of the bully, but after some internal struggling I came to really like the 17yr old Shoya in spite of everything. 

This story manages to bring up a ton of important themes, strong emotions, and issues- depression, self-loathing, shame, a bit of social anxiety, etc.- but more than that I think this story is also about unheard voices. The rest of the story really starts when six years after the so very incredibly infuriating events in elementary Shoya, using the same sign language he scorned, reaches out to Nishimiya, making a tentative attempt to apologize for what he did. This leads to an emotional journey that had a real impact on me, where characters struggle to develop the ability to truly listen and to make their voices heard.

Through the diverse group of characters, personality wise, that come to surround Shoya and Nishimiya you get to see a side of each person’s painfully real and unique voice, as well as dive into the issues with human communication/ miscommunication and of bullying- primarily dealing with the aftermath of it. There wasn’t a single character, major and minor alike, that felt out of place or unrealistic in their emotions. I recommend this all-feels-train of a series to just about everyone.

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14 Comments

  1. I have seen the trailer for Silent Voice, and it really hit me. As one who has also been on the receiving end of bullying, stories such as these will probably always have an impact on me. It is great that stories like these are being told, as people indeed do not always realise how much impact bullying can have later on. Great review ! 😀

  2. Bullying had a huge impact on me during middle school and to this day I still am afraid to speak up or be different. So I blend in with the “normal” crowd and only share my geeky interests with close friends.
    It was hard reading this and I didn’t expect it would be but the way it was written just hit me like a truck.
    I want to watch the anime eventually but I think I’ll stick to the manga for now. Great review!!

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. I can relate to a lot of what you said. I’m so sorry to hear that you were bullied and that it still is negatively impacting you. It’s very hard to experience bullying and not be affected by that for a long time. I’ve only recently started to really look at and tackle some of those negative memories which is probably why it also hit me so hard when I read it. I hope that you continue to heal and love and accept yourself for the awesome, amazing geeky person that you are! ❤

  3. I haven’t read this one yet but have seen it around a lot lately. I’d been postponing because of the difficult subject matter and I just didn’t think I could stomach it. It just didn’t feel right.
    And I didn’t even know it was going to be from the bully’s POV, which sounds even worse.
    After reading your wonderful review, though, I might give it a try.

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