Manga of the Month: A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima

narutaki_icon_4040 How long should one punish themselves something they did as a child?

Ishida is an ex-bully, who became bullied himself during elementary school, who has now isolated himself as he drifts through high school life.

Shoko is the girl Ishida and his classmates bullied due to her hearing impairment.

Ishida seeks Shoko out, all these years later, in order to apologize before ending his life. But when he does, he suddenly finds himself making a meaningful human connection and that snowballs into another connection and another and another all which change his outlook.

Despite how serious all of that sounds, and by all means A Silent Voice is thoughtful in the burdens all of its characters carry, the series creates people who aren’t simply downtrodden.

The beginning of the series is an angering and painful few chapters as you watch Ishida and his friends bully Shoko. It is kind of hard to believe that you will empathize, believe in, love Ishida.

But you will.

This series is lovely and brilliant; poignant and surprising. There is light and hope in the series in such unexpected ways. Each character has darkness lurking, but the series creates fully realized characters that are more than a sum of their problems. The ability to connect so fully with Ishida is testament to the writing. The people from Ishida’s past, and his mistakes and how he deals with them, are incredibly complex. It isn’t so easy to dismiss people or to rebuild your life, and it is doubly hard for a boy who doesn’t truly believe he deserves better.

A Silent Voice is a hopeful, buoyant story about changing, forgiving, and accepting yourself and others that doesn’t runaway from creating characters with very real problems.

~ kate

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