A Silent Voice *Spoilers*

A Silent Voice is a movie written by Reiko Yoshida and directed by Naoko Yamada about a young girl by the name of Shouko Nishimiya who was relentlessly bullied in school by a young boy, Shoya Ishida. Years later, Shoya meets Shouko again. He desperately wants to make amends after spending years of not being able to look at people and feeling as if those around him were judging him relentlessly. The movie beautifully portrays the determination of shaping trust and building friendship despite the struggles and obstacles that may come about through that journey. 

The plot line is a very intense one, throwing many fans through loops and an emotional roller coaster that no one honestly expected. They utilize the typical “mean girl” stereotype that are usually in the stories like these. There are characters they make you learn to hate by their voices alone. For examples, a character by the name of Naoka Ueno threatened Shouko continuously for hanging out with Shoya causing Shouko to be too scared to talk to him. Shoya, the typical bully who has found some type of solace, makes the audience emotionally confused because of the fact that they don’t know whether to hate him for the terrible things he did to Shouko, or forgive him because he is trying to make up for what he’d done. 

Shouko, though the typical innocent girl, came with many surprises along the way. With Shouko being deaf, she cannot speak that well. However, in many of the more intensely emotional parts, she uses her voice to talk to Shoya and express how she feels. Hearing her struggling with her words and emotions makes the movie very hard to watch without shedding some tears. She even goes as far as attempting to end her life because she feels that her disability is a weakness and a hindrance to everyone’s life around her. 

I think of this movie as a PSA, as well. It really portrays the struggle of someone with a disability and it’s sad to say that a lot of things that happened in the movie could definitely be something that happens in reality. People with physical disabilities are often discriminated against more than one would think. Countless times, people have been mocked for the way they talk and their mannerisms all because they are different. Shoya was cruel to Shouko when they were younger when all Shouko wanted was to be friends with him. The theme behind the movie is practically ‘do unto others as you would want them to do unto you’ or even ‘respect those who are different from you’. The movies shows that karma will come back to you when you are cruel to people and you can either run from fixing that situation, or you can pay the price and make the amends that you should. 

Overall, the movie was beautiful. The animation and art captures the audience in the way a fantasy would. The audience are always immersed and it is a movie that will have you at the edge of your seat. 

O R A N G E – Takano Ichigo

“An epic love story across time.”

Over the years, there has been on-going excitement in the anime community. On March 13, 2012, a well written and illustrated manga – Orange – debuted in Japan by mangaka Takano Ichigo. The manga is illustrating the story of a group of friends, Naho, Azusa, Hagita, Suwa, and Takako, sending letters to themselves in the past – their junior year – in order to prevent the suicide of their short friend, Kakeru. When Naho, the main character, receives her letter, she takes it lightly. The letter entails what she should and shouldn’t do on that day. She disregards the letter as a prank and goes to school. However, she notices that everything the letter said would happen that school day, happened – including that Kakeru’s mom would commit suicide if he were to hang out with them after school. Naho begins to take the letters seriously and reads them. The letters give her a daily task to do in order to stop the future that had already occurred once. As the story goes on, Naho and her friends – who also received letters – fight to make Kakeru’s life bearable. They want to take his burdens off of his shoulders. All the while they help him, Naho’s love for Kakeru grows stronger by the day and vice versa. It becomes an emotional roller coaster for the audience, for they don’t know what will happen next or if Kakeru’s life could be on the line at any moment. It’s a balance between personal needs/wants and sacrifice to help friends.

 The writing style is amazing and the art helps the reader become more invested in the story line. Instead of writing generic endings and conflict, Takano Ichigo allows the story to stray from the cliche situations as needed. It makes the reader become addicted to the story and want to know what comes next. The story fits under the “slice of life” genre of writing. It gives realistic situations somewhat unrealistic qualities and sends the audience on a journey of feeling as if we were actually in both Naho and Kakeru’s shoes. The manga does, however, deal with some very touchy topics that can be very difficult to write about. One topic is time travel. Science fiction is already a difficult topic to touch on. Although the genre wasn’t the main type of genre the author was trying to go for, the entire plot line evolved around it. They didn’t elaborate on the specifics of how the letter got to the past, which some were fairly disappointed in, but if the author were to elaborate, it would take away from the story. It also emphasizes the effects of depression and how those around a person suffering from poor mental health are affected. Mental health is taken fairly lightly in Asian countries, which is why Orange has become such an iconic manga. The only issue with the story was that the ending was very abrupt. It wasn’t satisfying. There were a lot of things said and planned in the story that seemed to guarantee and longer ending filled with what happened throughout the years. However, right after the climax, there wasn’t much of a falling action or a definite resolution. It was rushed and seemed to be thrown at the end almost as if the author didn’t know how to end it. 

Despite such, the manga is a very good read and is very intriguing. It definitely paved the way to a different type of manga genre.