My hearty thanks go out to everyone who voted in the poll in order to pick out what movies I’ll be watching. As of yesterday morning, these eight movies rank the highest:
- A Silent Voice
- The Boy and the Beast
- Millennium Actress
- Up on Poppy Hill
- In this Corner of the World
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Eve no Jikan
- Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works the Movie
Following those eight, the two movies I picked out of 2nd and Charles, Submarine Revolution 707 (2003) and Ex-Driver the Movie (2002) will appear on days nine and ten.
Starting in order of interest seems best. To that end, I watched A Silent Voice (aka Koe no Katachi) yesterday. Having previously read the manga, I was happy to hear that they had adapted the story into a movie. They did a remarkable job of compressing most of the manga into a two hour movie. The manga version of the story played out without any major adjustments. Sometimes, this strategy works; on other occasions, one ends up with a movie that feels tedious, like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. A Silent Voice boasts some beautiful animation and music, which really helps bring the action to life.
I might have appreciated the first part of the movie more if I had not read the manga. Neither the bullying of Nishimiya nor the psychological effects of the tables turning on Ishida strike me as forcefully in the movie as these events did in the manga. The black, grey, and white world of manga better conveys the characters’ grim mental anguish. Also, a printed medium like manga is far better at presenting a character’s thoughts than anime, and the movie divulges Ishida’s inner thoughts every two minutes. As one person described it, books are about what people think, films about what people do, and
light novels plays about what people say.
From the very fact that film’s forte is action, the second half did a far better job. One might call it perfect. I noticed that the director wished for every scene to be told from Ishida’s point of view. The manga did not focus on Ishida’s point of view so religiously, which made the movie’s treatment of Ueno and Nishimiya’s interaction on the ferris wheel fascinating. Ishida only knows what happened because Yuzuru lent her camera to Nishimiya and the camera recorded the interaction between Ueno and Nishimiya. That was very well done.
A lot of hate is directed towards Ueno, but I can appreciate this kind of hard-nosed, facts-driven, and disagreeable personality. It’s never fun to be in the crosshairs of such an individual, but they can reveal things about you the more people-driven individuals would never dare to say. Ueno highlights that Nishimiya is partially responsible for suffering so much in grammar school. Nishimiya refuses to confront her bullies or complain to the teachers, which enables the bullying continue.¹ The oppressed–to the extent that they are docile towards their oppressors–are guilty of their own oppression. The proof of my assertion is illustrated by the scene where Nishimiya becomes so outraged at Ishida’s conduct that she does give him a beating. But, she makes the mistake of feeling guilty about giving Ishida what he rightly deserved and leaves school!
There is not much more for me to add about this beautiful film. Even if it lacks the manga’s psychological finesse, it’s well worth seeing. On a side note, I highly recommend the video above on the meaning behind A Silent Voice. I had no idea that the virtue of perseverance, the primary virtue emphasized in the movie, is associated with koi fish. Perhaps my prior experience with the manga unduly affects this, but my rating for A Silent Voice is….
¹Yours truly was also picked on in grammar school, in my case for being an antisocial bookworm. The harassment would continue for days until I got fed up and started throwing these classmates around. (I studied Judo at the time.) Afterwards, I would have a measure of peace. Yet, I will admit that we cannot expect a little girl like Nishimiya to throw around her bullies!