A Silent Voice (Koe no katachi) by Yoshitoki Oima is a drama manga following the main character Shoya Ishida. The first book starts off by showing the present time and then telling Shoya’s past and explaining where he is currently. In elementary school Shoya was never interested in what school had to offer, and was constantly bored. He decides to beat this boredom by doing dangerous dares and games with his friends that sometimes lead to physical fights, eventually becoming known to the school as a bully.
One day it’s announced that a new student will be joining Shoya’s class and this new student is Shoko Nishimiya. Shoko is deaf meaning that she can’t hear and can only communicate by writing in her notebook and using sign language. Shoya decides that she is his new target for mischief and he begins to bully her in any way possible. Shoya suddenly is surprised when he learns that everytime he bullies her she doesn’t react or get angry, making him determined to get a reaction out of her. This goes on for good amount of time until one day the teachers tell his class that Shoko had transferred to different school. Now years in the future Shoya is still incredibly guilty about how he treated Shoko and is determined to apologize to her.
I am currently on the 4th volume out of 7 and a huge fan of this series! I like the story a lot because it is very original and doesn’t have a lot of the cliches you see repeated in other mangas. The characters are also amazing and the author did a really good job of expressing the emotions the characters feel. For example, for most of the first book I kind of hated Shoya for what he did to Shoko but in the end I just felt really bad for him. The only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 is because I didn’t like how the teachers were portrayed. While teachers don’t always know what to do in certain situations I still was annoyed with how in the story they just let the kids keep bullying. Even when they did try to make the other students stop, they basically admitted that they also found Shoko annoying, which I didn’t like.
I definitely recommend this series to anyone who anyone who enjoys manga and it’s also a great first manga to read. The series was made into a movie, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be available to buy anywhere I’ve looked.
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