Possibly the most beautiful anime I have watched to date
With its beautiful visuals and stunning soundtrack, Koe No Katachi firmly places itself as one of my all-time favourite anime, and my current favourite anime movie.
There is so much about Koe No Katachi that makes it stand out. If you haven't watched it yet, stop reading this, go away and watch it, then come back and try and tell me that this review is anything but underselling this masterpiece.
With visuals that are so pleasing to see, a soundtrack which is so pleasing to hear, and a story and character lineup which is pretty much perfect, there is very little fault in the almost 2 hours of joy you will have watching this.
A Silent Voice
Episodes watched, and total episodes, are correct as of the time of writing this review, and takes into account all seasons and may include movies/OVAs/etc.
07/Jan/2018 at 18:13
You'll notice I gave the story and character scores 9/10, so let's address why this is.
The characters are extremely good, from the wonderful Shouko Nishimiya, who you can't help but love to the bully-in-rehab you have to feel sorry for; Shouya Ishida, the main character lineup definitely are 10/10.
However, there are some of the supporting characters who, well..., aren't as good.
We have Naoka Ueno who is horrible to Shouko as a child, joining Shouya in bullying her, but doesn't grow out of her horrid ways.
Then we have Tomohiro Nagatsuka. He means well, but he's just an annoying friend with stupid hair. Shouya befriends him after stopping his bike from being stolen, but every time that broccoli haired buffoon shows up, you know he's going to say or do something which makes you think "this is why you didn't have friends before Shouya".
But apart from the few bad characters, which get more screen time than they deserve, the characters are extremely good, and all have really good interactions and relations with each other.
(Potential spoilers from here on out)
The story is 10/10, apart from the one little thing about it that bothers me... Shouko and Shouya becoming friends. Maybe I'm just cynical, maybe I'm not forgiving enough, but if someone did any of the following, I doubt I'd forgive them, let alone forgive them and become friends with them:
Repeatedly broke my hearing aids
Made my ears bleed because they ripped the hearing aid out whilst wearing it
But putting that aside, the story is so beautiful. Not only is it about love or friendship, it's about overcoming the suicidal feelings that come from being isolated from those around you. Whether it's because you can't communicate with those around you, or because you have been ostracised due to your actions. I may not agree with bullying, but Shouya showed remorse, he went out of his way to learn sign language to apologise, and on the day he thought of commiting suicide went to return her communication book which she left behind when they were kids.
It may not have been the best start to a friendship, but it was a great friendship nonetheless.
Now onto what makes Koe No Katachi excellent!
A silent voice
The soundtrack features very little music which contains vocals, which really reinforces the silence that Shouko lives in.
I am not deaf myself, but I have been told that some people who are clinically deaf can hear sounds, but not well enough to make out words, unless they are spoken loudly and slowly, and having music with no words really plays into this very well. You can hear something, but you can't make out a single word.
The music is beautiful if you listen to it alone, but really adds to the scenes in the movie, without making itself obvious; if you weren't listening out for the music, you wouldn't notice it playing - even in scenes with no dialogue.
LIT (Copyright Kyoto Animation)
One of the stand-out vocalised tracks is the intro music, My Generation - by The Who, which is an amazing song on its own, but sets the scene for the first part of the movie; young kids without a care in the world. It may not fit in with the rest of the soundtrack, but I think if they had gone for something more mellow, the tone wouldn't have been set early on. After listening to the song you think the movie is going to be quite upbeat, and a bit of an adventure - if you're going in blind, like I was.
A true beauty
The artwork in Koe No Katachi is astounding! The attention to detail is incredible, and the colours all stand out without being overpowering. Whether it's the pink of the sakura or the greys in the rain, the colour schemes never have anything which contrasts, apart from Shouko's red hearing aid in one scene, and I feel like that was purposefully put there, as it shows she couldn't hear her own voice and how it sounded when she asks Shouya "Do I sound weird?"
Then there's the interpretations Shouya has of the people around him, he feels like nobody will talk to him, and those who won't talk to him are marked with an X on their face, which is brilliant as it shows how he feels about the people around him, and how they feel about him, without ever having to say a word.
Instead of talking about artwork though, it's easier to show off some great screenshots/gifs from the movie.
And with that, I am going to end my first review on this site. If you still haven't watched Koe No Katachi, what are you waiting for? If you don't agree with me, well you're a... you know what, why don't you tell them what they are Shouko...