It’s funny and charming despite its extensive length and it does give value for the invested time.

A Silent Voice, or The Shape Of Voice as a literal translation, is the new film from Kyoto Animation Studio. Ishida is a school bully who picks new girl Nishimiya as his target. With her hard of hearing he finds her an easy victim. It’s only years later when Ishida realises the mistakes he has made and tries to put them right.

The film’s ideologies revolve around acceptance and friendship. It’s a coming of age story in the most literal of senses. Ishida learns a great deal about human life and what is important to him, in a very visceral way. It isn’t about his passage to manhood, it’s his passage to humanity. Yet, this comes with the baggage of themes around bullying and suicide with really quite a dark lying undertone.


However, the animation struggles to convey some of these stronger feelings in the correct manner with a tone not quite connecting to the visuals on screen. The score, though fascinatingly diverse, doesn’t always enhance the story, just confuses it. Yet, the animation throughout is stunning, and its low key and sometimes experimental style works well. It’s vivid and vibrant and really does explode onto the screen, specifically in the more advanced sections of animation. There’s even a great segment with an egg.

It’s funny and charming despite its extensive length, and A Silent Voice does give value for the invested time. There has clearly been a huge amount of work and research behind the scenes and this is evident within the pictures on screen. The big heart and understanding really does shine through.


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