Koe No Katachi (A Silent Voice/The Shape Of Voice) – Anime Movie Review

Koe No Katachi (KNK from now on) is an anime movie produced by ABC Animation, Quaras, Pony Canyon and Shochiku by the Kyoto Animation Studio. It is based on a manga by the same name by Yoshitoki Ooima. Aired on the 17th of September 2016, Koe No Katachi tells a growing-up tale of two elementary school children and how their relationship progresses throughout life. It has a runtime of 2 hours and 10 minutes with a rating of PG-13 in most territories. KNK is categorized as a Drama, School, and Shounen anime.

My Anime List Synopsis:

As a wild youth, elementary school student Shouya Ishida sought to beat boredom in the cruelest ways. When the deaf Shouko Nishimiya transfers into his class, Shouya and the rest of his class thoughtlessly bully her for fun. However, when her mother notifies the school, he is singled out and blamed for everything done to her. With Shouko transferring out of the school, Shouya , at the mercy of his classmates. He is heartlessly ostracized all throughout elementary and middle school, while teachers turn a blind eye.

Now in his third year of high school, Shouya is still plagued by his wrongdoings as a young boy. Sincerely regretting his past actions, he sets out on a journey of redemption: to meet Shouko once more and make amends.

Koe no Katachi tells the heartwarming tale of Shouya’s reunion with Shouko and his honest attempts to redeem himself, all while being continually haunted by the shadows of his past.

My Review:

As always I would like to put a small disclaimer here. These are all my opinions and views on Koe No Katachi, I am in no way opposing any views anyone else may have about this movie. With that out of the way, let’s begin.

KNK paints the tale of Shouya Ishida, first as an primary school boy who bullies a deaf transfer student, then shows how his classmates who colluded with him turned on him after she left and depicts his life as he lives with the guilt of his actions and the weight of being used by his ‘friends’ as someone to put all the blame on for everything. It shows how this impacts his life and shuts him off from the rest of the world.

Story – 9/10

KNK has a story on the level of both Byousoku 5 Centimeter and The Garden Of Words and gets closer to a Kimi No Na Wa level story than either of them do.

It is a film with a story that you don’t find often in the commonplace of anime and movies. It is a story truly fitting of the Makoto Shinkai era (As I am calling it anyway). The story paces itself well and starts off with a rather dramatic turn after the initial portion of the movie with them in primary school.

The movie keeps a relatively consistent pace of storytelling, with a small number of time skips which only add to the impact of the movie over all and doesn’t take anything away from the movie as a whole as time skips tend to do when they are used incorrectly and inconsistently.

In total the story is a sweet and a well paced one. The plot itself is heart wrenching and beautiful and the way in which it is told and depicted suits the plot itself perfectly.

Art/Animation – 9/10

It’s hard to say anything has the perfect animation and art style, but boy does KNK’s animation studio come close to meeting that high expectation.

The animation in KNK is more wholly 2D animation than most other animation studios these days which use a hint of 3D animation aswell, something I call 2.5D animation styles.

The pure 2D animation style flows very well and has a very artistic and original anime style which is hard to find these days, but suits the story very well and the work of Kyoto Animation has really done well in bringing out the true effect of the story and the characters emotions and feelings with their 2D animation style for KNK.

Sound – 7/10

The Soundtrack from KNK is nothing short of forgettable.

Don’t get me wrong, the soundtrack and music works very well and suits the mood and tone of the entire movie very well and compliments the emotions and atmosphere of the movie like any good soundtrack should.

It is a beautiful soundtrack, even the individual themes for each character accurately represents the character’s personality, state of mind and emotion throughout the movie for each of the main cast, as well as complimenting their relationships and interactions and building feeling and meaning as the relationships grow, develop and change.

However in the end it is a forgettable soundtrack. It is not memorable or anything special in any case. I had to go on YouTube to re-listen to the soundtrack in order to remember it. The case of the music not sticking in my head or me being able to recall it, further adds to the fact that I simply did not want to hear the soundtrack again because it didn’t stand out to me, unlike soundtrack from movies like Kimi No Na Wa, which became my music playlist for the next few months on repeat.

Characters – 10/10

Characters is where KNK shines the brightest.

I am willing to go as far as to say that the characters built in KNK are much better than in Byousoku 5 Centimeter and even Kimi No Na Wa.

Our main protagonist, and in some ways also the antagonist, is one of the most basic and simple yet so complex characters that I have ever come across. Ishida goes through a lot over the course of the movie and the interactions he has and the feelings that plague him throughout really reflect in his character as you progress through the movie. We see the impact that each event and relationship in his life has on him. I have to say, Ishida is one of the best developed and interesting characters I have ever seen, anime or otherwise.

Nishimiya Shoko, on the other hand, does not have a very simple character but is still a brilliant character in her own right. As a deaf girl, Shoko’s interactions with other characters and figures in her life is very different than others we see traditionally in the world of any media. Her constant use of sign language and her enjoyment at learning that anyone else knows sign language really reflects upon her despair as an impaired person. Her determination and effort to fit in and speak really adds to her character by showing how isolated she had felt throughout her life due to her disability. These pent-up feelings culminate in one scene where she is shattered at not being able to convey something through her words because her speech is so broken and inaccurate that the other person could not interpret what she was saying. I’m not mentioning any names or specifics to avoid spoilers, if you’ve watched the movie then you know what I mean.

The other characters, such as Ishida’s family and Shoko’s family are also integral to the story and do not feel detached as many side characters feel. They feel as well developed as any main character and the same can , for everyone who plays a part in the plot of KNK. , on the other hand, is one of the things I love to bits about this movie, the fact that each character feels equally developed and integral to the story and the movie; however, the meaning and the two people the plot actually revolves around do still feel like the main focus of the story, which is wonderful. I honestly believe that side characters cannot be done better.

Enjoyment – 10/10

KNK has to be one of the movies I’ve loved watching from beginning to end. I don’t usually rate anything like 100% enjoyable as I am someone who seems to be able to nitpick on small things and become disinterested if one thing throws me off. However, I thoroughly enjoyed KNK from start to end and it kept me encaptured through the entire journey.

Final Verdict: 

Koe No Katachi is an amazing movie and one that I would recommend watching to everyone, even those who don’t watch anime. It has a great plot, insanely amazing characters, beautiful artwork, and a good soundtrack. It is something that you will not regret watching no matter what you could be doing in that time. I would like to mention that I do watch everything in English subbed and not dubbed because dubbed sucks. Anyway, go and watch this movie, cry, feel the emotions, grow attached to the characters, and have a great time, because when you are watching Koe No Katachi, it’s impossible to not enjoy yourself while watching it, even if you watch it at 1 am whilst utterly tired like I did. In fact, after I finished at around 3:15 am, I was so enthralled that I read the manga chapters that take place after the movie ends just for a little more of the characters I fell in love with. If you were wondering, I didn’t end up sleeping that night.

Final Score – A Class (45/50)

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Aviraj Newatia

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Plays Games, Watches Anime, Drinks Tea, Listens to Panic!, Writes Code, Writes Novels and Reads A Lot.

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