Wow…I didn’t expect this when I purchased the tickets.Before I get into this review I have one thing to say. And that is go watch this film! Go to your local cinema, find it online or better yet buy the dvd once it gets released. Because this anime is a masterpiece. I will honestly admit this film left me and my boyfriend almost in tears at parts and the only other anime we have both cried at is Angel Beats. It was so beautifully heartbreaking and moving!
The story revolves around mainly two characters: Ishida Shouya and Nishimiya Shook. In Elementary school, Ishida bullies Nishimiya for being deaf by making fun of her and pulling out her hearing aids. It is only once he starts to receive the same treatment does he realise his wrong doings and later on in high school does he try to redeem himself. This film deals with a lot of deep heavy issues on how bullying can negatively affect both the one being bullied and the bully themselves in some cases as well as suicide so be warned before you watch this film. Watch this short trailer below for a better sense of the story and the art work.
Visually this film is outstanding! While the artwork might not be everyones favourite, I absolutely loved it! The way in which things were presented visually were so imaginative. For example the big purple X’s over people faces as Ishida stayed away from everyone and didn’t look them in the eye or remember their faces but as he become friends with people the X’s peeled off their faces and I thought this was brilliant. It is a very creative way of showing how his character feels and acts in the world around him.
The soundtrack is minimal yet wonderful – if I remember correctly there is only one song with lyrics. Ever since leaving the cinema theatre I have had the soundtrack on repeat; even though it is mainly instrumental the music is beautiful put together and the scenes in which the music plays during the movie just adds to the emotional impact of the overall film.
Both of these characters, Ishida and Nishimiya, both attempt suicide in this movie as a result of the actions in elementary school. Nishimiya being the bullied victim, now says she hates herself when she is in high school and wishes to disappear and so she tries to jump out of her apartment landing. Ishida regrets his actions in elementary school deeply for what he did to her and believes he doesn’t deserve to live anymore; he quits his job and returns the money he owes his mum and prepares to die. The fact that all of the events that lead to how they are in the present, shows exactly how when kids are younger they don’t always realise the effects that their actions and words have on their classmates until it is too late. The film teaches you to not bully someone just because they are different and that you should learn to accept others differences – or at least that was one of the messages I got from this.
As to whether these two anime have any relation to one another I don’t know but in certain parts of the anime I got a lot of Anohanna vibes from it. (Anohana is an anime series; it is really good and upsettingly beautiful, go check it out!) As this film also tried to repair lost friendships between a group of old friends from elementary school age. Also the fact that both anime almost made me cry my eyes out!
There is so much more I wish I could say about this anime – I could go on for hours – but I don’t want to spoil it too much for people. Even though 2017 has barely begun, I’m almost certain that this anime -at least movie wise- is going to be my favourite for this year. Even if you don’t like anime, even if you despise it (if you do, then why are you on this blog to begin with?) please go watch this movie! Whether it is anime or not, the issues it deals with, the way these issues are presented and how they evolve into something new and just so much more! I recommend everyone to go watch this film at least once and I’m not just saying it because I love this movie.
I apologise if this review is all over the place; I am still struck by this movie. I might end up writing more to this at a later date once I’ve calmed down from this film, it left me speechless for a while. If it was playing in cinemas for more than one showing I would go see it as many times as I could! I can’t wait for the DVD release which has been rumoured for May this year but I can’t find it anywhere officially. I might have to just buy all the manga when I get my next student loan!
If you have been affected by any of the topics discussed, there is no harm or shame in seeking help. Remember, you are never alone.
For details on what do if you are experiencing any of this or if you have been affected by any of the topics , please visit the links below on who you can contact: