All About Japan

'A Silent Voice' Pulls at Heartstrings

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In June, anime fans got a see the first teaser for Koe no Katachi, also known as A Silent Voice. Now there’s an extended trailer for the film from acclaimed studio Kyoto Animation, which highlights even more of what’s in store for viewers of the movie about a high schooler trying to make amends for his childhood misdeeds.

A Silent Voice is centered on the relationship between male lead Shoya and Shoko, who meet when she transfers into his elementary school class. Shoko is deaf, and Shoya locks onto this as an opportunity to bully her, which the trailer shows a startlingly cruel example of.

But Shoya himself later becomes ostracized, and this experience leads him to have greater empathy for those who face difficulties socially connecting with others. So when his and Shoko’s paths cross again, he dedicates himself to being a good friend this time.

It’s no secret that anime marketing leans heavily on its voice talent, especially for major female characters. So it’s admirable to see, in the trailer, that A Silent Voice doesn’t try to portray Shoko’s difficulties in speaking by making her talk like a child. While she doesn’t seem to have extensive dialogue in the film, her lines that are audible in the trailer are voiced in a raw-sounding delivery that clearly communicates how difficult it is for Shoko to form spoken words.

Likewise, the preview includes several shots of Shoya and Shoko exchanges rudimentary sign language expressions. The scenes look to be animated with extreme care, in keeping with the sensibilities and respect A Silent Voice has shown by planning subtitled screenings for the hearing impaired.

A Silent Voice opened in Japanese theaters on September 17, 2016.

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