Revisiting Koe no Katachi: What made it so good?

Shouya Ichida from Koe no Katachi

Koe no Katachi, aka A Silent Voice, is one of the gems of the anime community. Similar to Your Name, this movie touched millions of hearts when it was released. But what makes it so good? Why do people love this movie soo much? What did it do that was so ground-breaking that people couldn’t help falling in love with it?

All of these questions are what led me to write this article, and by the end of it, I am sure you will be satisfied with why it is such a great movie. I’ll delve into all the aspects that this movie catered to, all of the tricks this movie used to get a free pass to the throne in our hearts, and all of the reasons why this new generation should revisit this masterpiece.

Buckle up and let’s dive into it!


Koe no Katachi

Shouya Ishida meets Shouko Nishimiya, a deaf girl, in elementary school. As all elementary kids are, something out of the normal equation is a ruse for them to start bullying. And so it happened. He bullied her for days, and soon it came to light. He was reprimanded in a harsh way, even going as far as to involve his mother. This incident left a grave impact on his life.

Shouya and Shouko
Shouya and Shouko | Courtesy of Kyoto Animation

Koe no Katachi is Shouya’s story of redemption and making amends to the people he had wronged in the past. It is his journey to stop his past from haunting him by correcting himself in the present. A tale of reflection and tragedy twined together to make the best expression of how our past affects who we become in the present.

What did this movie do differently?

The movie had themes of bullying, and it did not show it in a conventional manner. Bullying is often associated with a bad home environment of the bully, the stress that builds up internally finds its mode of expression in hurting others. That is not how the movie showed it.

  • The movie made Shouya as normal a guy as he could have been, with a perfectly normal family.
  • He bullied Shouko as it was considered “fun” by his friends, one aspect of bullying that is usually never covered by the media.
  • When he was caught, he was left alone in the act. None of his friends took the blame with him, and instead were the ones who snitched him out.
  • After Shouko transferred to a different school, it was his turn to be bullied. A kid who is in the bad light of the teachers becomes an easy target to be bullied and Shouya fits right in the description.
His mom threatening to burn the money he worked hard collecting to repay her back
His mom threatening to burn the money he worked hard collecting to repay her back | Courtesy of Kyoto Animation

This is how the movie handled bullying, illustrating bullying in the most realistic way possible. The bully is bullied when the kid loses his influence is usually what happens. What happens after this? What happens to the kid who used to the spotlight, and now has been thrown into the shadows?

  • He exhibits extreme anxiety and loses all self-esteem. This has been well demonstrated by how he worked till he could repay his parents and then decided to off himself.
  • After coming to the realization that death will not solve things, he tries to find the girl he bullied, to seek forgiveness. And throughout his journey of atonement, he realized she never held it against him.
  • The movie goes on to show how he meets his friends and is slowly able to regain his confidence around them. Gradually letting go of his past actions, he smiles for the first time in years.

His signs of depression were clearly shown as he is unable to face others and has a cross on their face that helps him to communicate. The movie slowly shows his progress with himself and others as the cross fades out. This is a wonderful way of showing how kind unfortunate people really are and that not receiving forgiveness for what you have done can break you apart.

Shouya Ichida's lack of self-esteem to interact with others
Shouya Ishida’s lack of self-esteem to interact with others | Courtesy of Kyoto Animation

That is not all. The movie showed Shoko’s side of things as well. How her repressed emotions eventually led her to try committing suicide. The movie shows both sides of the coin, how the bully feels after he realizes the weight of his actions and how the one who got bullied feels when there is no one who understands her emotions. Shoko’s side has been explored very little, however, this also paves the way to express that most of us will forget to check up on the people who get bullied after the initial days.

The movie tackles mental health in ways that anime had not done before. Diving into the root of what was done and how that affects the individual is a perspective many lack, and hence, makes this movie a brilliant execution of its theme. It’s approach to how things actually are acts as a mirror to how things really are in reality, and demands that we pay attention to it. In recent times, it has only become a necessity for such movies to exist and to be known among people.

The movie uses bullying as a means to express that it is not the past that defines us, but the present. Our actions in the past are by no means insignificant, they shape who we are, but that is all it is. What we decide to do in the present shapes who we are and who we become.

That is what Shouya learns, that his past actions as a bully were significant only in the way that he makes amends for it. It is by no stretch a basis that will define him unless he chooses to ignore it. This is what makes the movie so well-written and one of the members of the Hall of Fame. This is what makes it so good.

If you like our analysis of the movie, be sure to subscribe to Spiel Anime’s Newsletter, where we carry out more exclusive analyses on all things anime from around the community, not once but twice a week. Don’t miss out!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top