The Silent Life

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Alexander Gray

Photo of the two main characters Shoya Ishida and Shoko Nishimiya (Photo courtesy of Alexander Gray).

When it comes to anime on Netflix in the US, it’s lacking a lot of great series and movies. Even their own Netflix Original anime is average at best. However, Netflix has found one movie in the anime genre that is amazing.

A Silent Voice is about a student named Shoya Ishida who bullies Shoko Nishimiya in elementary school for being deaf. Later in high school, Shoya tries to make amends for his horrible action in elementary school. The movie focuses on friendship and the effects of bullying, which the movie executes perfectly.

The movie does use a fair amount of Japanese sign language. Some of the sign language isn’t translated in the movie, leaving it to the viewer to remember the meanings of signs. This is executed well as it keeps the viewer engaged and adds foreshadowing. The viewer can even learn some Japanese signs from the movie.

When it comes to foreshadowing this movie contains a lot of it. All of it slowly builds up to the climax. Some of the things I didn’t even notice until my third viewing of the movie, so you have to have a keen eye while watching the movie to spot the clues.

The voice acting for the English version was great for the majority of the movie. There was only one part in the third act of the movie where the voice acting was not executed well, making the scene that was supposed to be sad, funny. I ended up comparing the English version of the movie with the Japanese and the Japanese version executed that specific scene much better. I prefer the movie in English still, mainly because the subtitles are way too fast in some portions of the Japanese version of the movie. However, this could also just be a problem with Netflix on mobile.

The animation in this movie was well done. I feel that it’s surprising because there are some scenes that use 3D animation. 3D animation can be annoying at times because it’s super noticeable in most anime. The movie did a great job of making the 3D animation less noticeable. There is one scene with a rollercoaster that I feel should have been focused on more to make the 3D animation less noticeable.

Just as a warning, A Silent Voice is rated TV-14 and does contain some themes of suicidal thoughts, though it doesn’t go over that edge. A Silent Voice is probably one of the most heartbreaking movies I have watched so far. I can’t recommend this movie enough. Even if you don’t like animation, I believe everyone will enjoy the message of this movie.

9/10 Great