Ghost in the Shell, Kimi no Na Wa, and Spirited Away. These are the only Japanese animated films I have ever watched and I’ve only watched these three in 2016. I am not really into anime. I may have watched a series or two but I am not an avid anime lover but the three films made me want to watch more. This time, I am more aware of anime films and early this year, A Silent Voice was released worldwide but didn’t manage to catch it on theaters since it was only screened twice in a cinema over one Saturday in our local theater so I just waited for a web release which was available a couple of months later. I have to admit that I had high expectations for the film given that I was exposed to three really A+ rating movies and thought that this was on the same league. I might sound disappointed right now but I have to talk about the movie first; or at least how I got it.
I was excited for this movie. I had two whole months to look forward to it. It had 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and I have just watched Kimi no Na Wa which for me should’ve got all the Fresh reviews. It’s not fair to match this movie with another one but I that’s how my brain did it so this might’ve been one of the disadvantage of the film for me.
So, I didn’t handle my negativity over there so this movie really is a disappointment for me. It’s not completely terrible and the 94% RT score is totally fine. The only thing that pulled this one down for me is, maybe, the hype that I built around it. If you are thinking about a more professional review of the film, this isn’t it but if you have experienced Kimi no Na Wa right before this one, we should be feeling almost the exact same thing.
The story is great. It’s new for me and that’s one of the many things that I totally love about anime. They produce great premises and story pitches. It’s both familiar and different. A Silent Voice’s story is a typical high school romance (this time, set in an elementary school) with a very different set of characters. We get Ishida, a typical high school bully who went over the line in bullying Nishimiya, his deaf classmate. The scenario is common but the approach and the release is new which kept me reading the subtitles for more than half the film. Before the movie, it promised a great story. Halfway into the movie, it made another promise of a greater turn. I did not assume anything but it really did promise a worthy outcome. The story moved rapidly right after the one hour mark and crammed obligatory elements such as a festival of some sorts and showcasing more of Japan. It didn’t bother me at all but after that, the story didn’t catch up. I think there should be a couple of chapters somewhere in the middle. I thought about it for a few hours and tried to figure out another way to interpret a certain event in the film. The one where Nishimiya tried to kill herself by jumping out of her balcony. I didn’t catch the reason why she tried to do so. I took the film where Ishida is our character and as a “silent” character where we have difficulties relating or communicating with Nishimiya, I guess that’s the whole point of it.
Throughout the film, we are given at least 8 different characters which include the two main leads and the rest have minor roles. Minor roles could be comedic relief for additional entertainment or supporting characters that can push the main plot slightly. The minor roles in this film did a great job for those things but the thing is they stayed minor throughout the film. They had a scene or two centered around them to do their scripts and then that’s it. The movie managed to deliver a message about listening and speaking up. It was delivered fine but I know that there’s a better version of it.
“Overall, it’s a totally fine movie with a great premise that delivered a good enoug surface.”
Would I recommend it? Not really, you should watch Kimi no Na Wa, Ghost in the Shell, and Spirited Away twice before I can recommend that you watch this though, I am still looking forward for Japanese feature-length films.
Featured Images Credit: