Tonight my daughter and I went to see The Silent Voice, a Japanese anime school drama film produced by Kyoto Animation, directed by Naoko Yamada and written by Reiko Yoshida, featuring character designs by Futoshi Nishiya and music by Kensuke Ushio.
We headed into Leederville’s crowded café strip. It is a bustling area, lit up by both fairy lights on trees and the neon lights of clubs.
At the Luna Outdoor Cinema, we picked up our tickets from the box office and went down behind the indoor cinema. There we found an area of artificial turf covered in large red beanbags. We settled down with our coats on and shawls as blankets, and waited for the movie to begin. Meanwhile, we were given complimentary pizza slices as the place filled up. Soon the body filled bean bags stretched out and together into a giant bean bag bed!
The movie was very sweet. In sixth grade, a popular boy bullies a new girl who is deaf. He pokes her, shoves her about, steals her hearing aids and refuses all attempts she makes at being his friend. Soon his friends join in in the teasing, and eventually the deaf girl is forced to leave the school. When his teacher confronts him, in front of the class, about his bullying, his friends quickly drop him. No longer popular, he becomes withdrawn and isolated, eventually leading to him attempting suicide. When this fails, he realises that he must make up with the deaf girl, who only ever wanted to be his friend. He learns sign language and when he is older, goes to find her. She has made a life for herself, but feels that she is a burden on those who love her and is struggling to find her way in a hearing world. Between them, they restore all the broken friendships of their childhood. But he doesn’t realise, she isn’t planning on hanging around.
This was a beautifully written, family friendly, movie about the long term consequences of bullying and the true meaning of friendship. It really tugs at the heart strings. The script was tight, characters realistic with good development, and the settings were familiar to all those who like to watch anime.
If you get a chance to see it, you wont be disappointed.