Remember how I said Manga Monday would be Neon Genesis? Yeah, slight change of plans. I read A Silent Voice Vol 1 today and decided that is what we will talk about today.
A Silent Voice was written by Yoshitoki Oima and published by Kodansha. It started as a One-Shot back 2011, and has since been serialized. The series ran from 2013 to 2014 collecting seven volumes.
Spoilers: There will be slight Vol 1 spoilers. I do not know how the rest of the series pans out, so I dont know if this spoilers will “give it all away”, but they shouldnt.
Plot: Shoya Ishida is your typical preteen: dumb, reckless, and just all around clueless. He calls himself a daredevil and does stunts with reckless abandon all in the name of winning his war with Boredom. His best buddies grow up and tire of his behavior (they are now in middle school for crying out loud!) Finding himself slowly but surely losing his war, he must think of new ways to defeat his foe without his friends. Enter new girl. Shoko Nshimiya. A deaf transfer student. Shoya gets the idea that he must make her life miserable, and so he does. The rest of the manga plays out as Shoya tries desperately to convey to a deaf girl she is not liked. I want spoil if he is successful.
Characters: This manga has a lot of characters getting introduced quite early in the beginning chapters, but were focusing on two. Shoya and Shoko.
Shoya: As mentioned, his character is relentlessly mean and absent hearted and metaphorically blind. He can be funny and entertaining at times, but at most he is super stubborn and stuck in his hateful ways despite his teacher and parent’s endless attempts to get him to quit. He is also extremely unaware to the situation and what is truly going on at the school and classroom around him.
Shoko: The infinitely cooler one. She is deaf and uses a notebook to communicate to her classmates. She eagerly tries to make friends in spite of Shoya trying to convince everyone she is borderline the devil. One of the ironic moments of her campaign is an exchange between her and her mom and their hair dresser(Shoya’s mom) where Shoko adamantly denies her mom’s wishes to cut her hair like a boy. Her mom believes that will help her stop getting bullied? Anyway, Shoya’s mom refuses to cut because Shoko doesn’t want it. cut Shoko’s mom says “I do not need your opinion or Shoto’s”. This scene is powerful to me, because it shows, in a way, Shoko s getting bullied by her mom. Her mom makes her voice even more mute than it was. The image is super powerful to me. I really respect Shoko’s character because she is tenacious through and through. I cant help but think that her decision at the end of the manga was really her moms idea.
The World: Not much is made about the world. There is no treasure at the end of the sea, or no dragon balls hiding in the corners of the world. Most of the manga takes place at school or at his house. The rest of the world seems to not exist outside of Shoya and Shoko’s interactions.
Action: Barely any.
Romance: I feel like a relationship could be blooming here. It is hard to tell based off the ending of this volume though.
Plot: Shoya is all over the place, but the plot is easy enough to follow.
Characters: Pretty meaty characters for an opening volume. You love and you hate em.
The World: Could be fleshed out more, but I am not entirely sure what that would add to the manga as a whole
Humor: Solid, when used.
Verdict: Good read. It switches scene rapidly, keep that in mind. Altogether, great read if you can sit through poor little Shoto getting bullied for hundreds of pages.
Score: 7 out 10. Mostly because it seems like it has a hard time staying focused. Maybe it’s the authors intent because Shoya is all over the place. Otherwise, it’s a wonderful opening act.
Final Note (There will be spoilers in this part!)
The scene where Shoya arrives at school to learn his classmates had been writing on this desk all a long was a huge scene and maybe one of my favorites in any manga. I teared up a bit, because it makes you reflect on how mean Shoya was, but how Shoto defended him til the very end. A+ to this scene
Check the manga out yourself by purchasing it here
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