The Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima was published in 2013 and has won numerous awards since then. It fallow Shōya Ishida a boy who wants to redeem him self for bulling, Shōko Nishimiya in elementary school. Now in high school he wants to make him self better and rebuild his life, after almost killing him self, and his relationship with Shoko.
This in not a story that you read and feel good about your self after wards. It ends on a happy note, but there is a lot of sadness that has to come before it gets to that point. It’s very good story, but I don’t think I’ll read it again. It’s one of those things that is good but is hard to read or watch. I’ll recommend it but it’s defiantly something you might need a few tissues for or you’ll get angry at it.
I am very curious to see what younger or newer otakus or anime fans think about this story. My reason, many people when they first start getting into anime idealize and Japanese culture. They think it’s perfect and can do no wrong. The Silent Voice, doesn’t pull any punches it doesn’t sugar coat the reality. It’s not an idealized version it’s truth.
Mind you all my thoughts and ideas are from a western perspective. I live in america but I do know a lot about other cultures. That being said I am no means an expert and all my ideals are from a western perspective. I don’t see what happened in the manga escalating so much in a western environment. I say this because there are many laws protecting people with disabilities and different cultures in america and many other western countries. That being said, I am not saying that Asian countries not protect or take care of people with disabilities. What I am saying, is in many Asian counties being different is bad. Yes, in Japan there is many different odd sub cultures and fashions but people are expected once they become adults to be like every one else. How do you become like every one else if you can’t change?
That is what happens in The Silent Voice. Shoko can’t change. In the beginning all the other kids don’t realize that her being different is some thing that she can’t change and it’s ok. These kids have grown up in a world were every one else is the same. When some thing comes in to a kids world that is different, it’s no surprise that they are a little scared of it or attack it. At no point in this story does any one sit the kids down and say “She’s def, she’s just like you, she just can’t hear.” The adults just kind of throw her in there with the rest of the kids and expect every thing to be ok. That is the worst idea in the world.
The core of this story though is not about well your different, were every one else is the same. It’s more about, moving on from the past. You have accept that the past happened and know that you don’t have to be bond by it, that you can change from the person you used to be. Shōya does that, he regrets every thing that he’s done. At first he just wants to kill him self, which is a very Asian thing to do and think, but then he thinks better of it and wants to ch
ange. You have to keep going towards the future and can’t let the bad things now get in the way of what you’re going to do. You can’t forget all those bad things, that happened to you or did, but you have to movie on from them and grow up from them.
I really like the art in this manga. It has a very sketchy feel to it and it made my fall in love with it. Even though it had sketch book feel to it, it didn’t feel unfinished. That very thing gave it more personality. It made me like it even more.