Bullying is something everyone knows, even if just as an onlooker. It has has several reasons, and one reason was always that the bullied has some sort of disability or disfigurement.
But even though this is quite common, humans often avoid talking about it, especially in Japan. The some goes for the anime movie Koe no Katachi, whose original manga nearly would not have been released because the topic was so “delicate”
Stupid humans! How can get things better if you don’t talk about them?
The “hero” of the show is Ishida Shoya, who we see at the start of the film trying to commit suicide. The reason for this dates back several year, when he was in elementary school.
Because back then they had a transfer student, Nishimiya Shoko. Shoko is a timid girl, and she is (nearly) deaf.
She also gets to sit in front of Shoya.
Her being deaf creates some troubles, including for Shoya, who feels irritated by her and finally starts to bully Shoko.
Neither classmates nor the teacher do something against it. And Shoko, while being the victim, still tries to become friends with Shoya. But that makes it even worse.
In the end Shoya gets found out officially as a bully and someone who destroyed several of the expensive hearing aids.
It is now Shoya’s turn to get bullied. With time he decides to pay back the large sum his mother had to pay. And to kill himself afterwards.
And here we are back at the start of the movie! Instead of jumping to his death, the boy decides to live on, where his mother finds out about his plans and is, understandably, worried.
But Shoya can assure her that he will no longer kill himself. And then, one day, he chances upon a face he knows: Shoko. The deaf girl.
A story begins that will bring the bully and the bullied girl back together, and with them their old friends. A story of pain, doubt, sadness, hope, self-hate and many more emotions.
It’s the inside that counts
Maid-chan has long thought about how to review this one. A detailed recount of the story? Too much spoiler. A look into the emotions? While certainly central to the anime, those emotions are often not shown explicitly. It would probably spoil the feeling of watching the anime to talk about them before you watch the film.
In fact the anime works with a lot of subtle hints to show you the inner feelings. Looks, reactions and even silence.
As a result Maid-chan has decided to just give a basic look on what the movie is about.
Koe no Katachi is a very emotional anime that revolves around the feelings that people in contact of bullying have. That very strongly does not only mean the doer and the victim, but also all the others.
But that maelstrom of emotions can also mean that you, the watcher, might feel lost in the amount of character’s motivations or you might think you have missed something important.
The anime sports beautiful, sometimes too shiny graphics.
All in all Maid-chan gives this a 9/10 on the totally objective Maid-chan scale for the anime’s unusual topic.
And 0/10 points for that elementary school teacher, Maid-chan silently feels the need to add.