Title: Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice)
Author: Oima Yoshitoki
Genre: Drama, school life, slice of life, romance
Publishing year: 2011
Price: $8 USD
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Translator: Unknown (If you know, please tell me)
Year published: 2015
Hello! I recently knew about this manga because of the animated film that was a success in the Japanese box office, I really want to watch it now that I finished reading the manga.
Koe no Katachi tell us the story of Shoya, a kid that tries to defeat boredom every day,
suddenly there is a transfer student in his
class, Shouko Nishiyama, she is deaf. Everyone in the classroom starts to bully
her, especially Shoya. They ignore her, write mean stuff to her, consider her a
burden, and break her hearings aids. One day the principal confronts all the
students because Shouko’s mom has complained to school about the missing
hearing aids, and they are really expensive. In that moment everyone accuses
Shoya as the responsible and the bully, and turn their backs on him. He starts
getting bullied by his old friends and now he knows what Shouko felt, but he
still hates her because he thinks everything was her fault. Shoya and Shouko
have a fight and she is transferred, but he is still being bullied by his
classmates. In middle school he is isolated because his ex-classmates told
everyone he was a bully; even in high school he still has no friends. Shoya
wants to kill himself, but before that he looks for Shouko to apologize to her
for everything he did… both will start a journey of friendship and forgiveness,
and Shoya will try to give her the things he took from her, to give her the
type of school life and friendship she could have had in elementary school.
|Shouko introducing herself.|
Everything I described in the synopsis happens in the first chapter, so it´s not a spoiler at all. I really don’t know where to start with this manga, there are several interesting things in it and I liked it a lot.
First of all, the story is something I’ve never read before, there are books and mangas with characters with disabilities, but I had never read about a deaf person and I think this story was a complete challenge for the author because, how do you draw sign language? There are several parts where Shouko and other characters use sign language, and even though the bubbles tell you what they’re saying, I think it’s awesome how the author drew the hand movements. Actually in the manga it’s said the author wrote the story under the supervision of the Japanese federation of the deaf, so I want to think the story involved a lot of research by the author to make it more accurate and real. The art style is not my favorite but it’s really unique and I liked the character’s design, it’s really easy to recognize the characters.
|Shouko and Shoya.|
The story touches several interesting topic and it’s even more interesting seeing how one leads to another. I really got frustrated a lot with the story because whenever I’ve read about characters with disabilities, everyone seems to be nice with them, so I thought it was the norm that everyone acted that way, and the fact that Shouko’s classmates bullied her just for being deaf made me really mad, even the teachers saw her as a burden that slowed the class’s rhythm, and even some members of her own family were harsh with her.
I thought this manga would be like Orange, it was a kind of sad story and the protagonist deals with his own internal demons of depression, guilt, and suicidal thoughts, but everyone was on his side trying to help him… but in this one everyone was mean to the main characters, Shouko and Shoya were bullied during a long period of time and to a really harsh extent that made them believe they were worthless, it was so much that in the end both of them couldn’t handle it anymore, they felt lonely and helpless.
I really liked how the main characters were all different, not only from each other, but from other stories I’ve read, they felt extremely realistic, they were all flawed and made mistakes, big ones sometimes. In the beginning the main characters are Shoya and Shouko, but some others tag along later, like Shouko’s sister, two of Shoya’s classmates, and three Shouko’s and Shoya’s ex-classmates. All of them had their own problems, but there are two characters I can’t stand, Ueno and Kawai,
those two were ex
classmates of Shouko and Shoya and bullied Shouko, and later turned their backs
on Shoya. I totally hated Ueno, she was the definition of a mean girl, and she
likes Shoya since elementary school, but still bullied him and ignored him. Later
on, when she finds out he and Shouko are friends, she mocks him and is mean to
him and his friends. She is jealous of Shouko for being close to Shoya and
literally hits her in different occasions and there is big fight between Ueno
and Shouko’s family (yes, she hits Shouko and her family when they try to stop
her), and despite all she did, she is still in the group of friends, I’ll never
|A promotial picture from the movie.|
Koe no Katachi is a manga that reflects real problems in schools with discrimination, bullying, and how much harm this can do to a person. I highly recommend this manga, it made me feel frustrated and angry, but I know things like that happen in real life. It’s a deep heartwarming story about overcoming the past and walking towards the future. If you look for romance you’ll be disappointed, there are hints about it, but it’s not a main thing, anyways, read it.