Koe no Katachi review

Apr 17, 2021
Personal Rate: 10
Rate based on the different characteristics: 9.75 rounded up to 10

I came to read this manga after having watched the movie which I loved to bits. Slice of Life series usually get at best a 7 in my books because I just tend to get bored easily. I personally think it's one of the most difficult genre since, it is difficult to avoid giving the feeling that the story is getting nowhere.

If you haven't watched the movie... I'd advise to watch it first... because you're bound to find the movie lacking compared to its manga version. I had the chance to love the movie before trying the manga and I'm glad it was such. The movie's wonderful really... but yeah, the manga is even more.

Maybe it's because I've been the subject of bullying myself that the story struck a cord so vividly I don't know... But overall, I do think this is a series that should be read by teenage kids... And here goes why:

Story: 10

We follow our main character's journey to redemption after he's bullied and been bullied for what he did in the past. The story isn't so much about the fact that the girl he bullied is partially deaf but rather this character trait explains why she was such an easy target. This being said, it's made clear that anybody can be the subject of kids' amusement, it's mostly a matter of bad luck.

There is not much to the story itself, after all it's slice of life... But it is handled with such care that no scene feels empty or devoid of meaning.

Art: 9

It's gorgeous. It took me a me a bit of getting used to, but it's pretty and contributes to the serene atmosphere throughout. I bought the French edition so I don't know how it's published in the US or in the UK, but the French edition chose to publish the colored pages in black and white... which is a pity because I'd rather have paid some extra euros to get them in their pretty version.

Character: 10

That is definitely Koe no Katachi's strongest asset. Its characters are flawed but real. In fact, I could even tell who was who is my own life reading it.

Shouya is a one of the most compelling character I had the chance to read about. Yes he was a bully, but his repentance and his own self-hatred is very difficult to watch at times. Very early on, it's made pretty clear that Shouya's biggest problem isn't getting forgiveness... It's that he just can't forgive himself which is made even more difficult by Shouko, the girl he used to bully, because she never got/gets angry or blamed/blames him.

All the secondary characters felt real and palpable from Shouya's best friend who hides his hurt behind a fake bravado to Satoshi Mashiba who cannot get past his own hurt and gets angry as soon as he sees someone getting the same unfair treatment he did.

Nobody gets Scott-free either. The silent witnesses, those who wanted to go against the flow but got bullied for it and those who participated although they were uncomfortable doing so. Even the home teacher is open to judgment. He's not judged per say, but his attitude and comments speak for themselves. Unfortunately, I could also relate to that, I've had the bad luck to meet the same type.

Naoka's character is the most difficult to like and excuse... but it is also true that sometimes you just can't get along with everyone. She's a difficult person, and we've all met people that we just can't get to like even if everybody says they're nice.

If I had one thing to complain about, that would be that we don't get a closure for Shimada and Hirose, Shouya's former best friends who turned against him. It's true that in life, well you have to let bygones be bygones and in that sense it's realistic. They've moved on with their life, probably thinking of what they've done from time to time without having the chance to get a real closure. It's the same for Shouya. It would have been nice, if they could have at least talked but the open ending leaves that to the imagination.

Enjoyment: 10

Needless to say, I've enjoyed immensely. I was surprised at how much I wanted to see what followed. I wanted to root for Shouya and for him to forgive himself. I found it even more difficult when some that were partially to blame as well were happy to let him bear all the guilt on his shoulder. It was unfair and he never tried to get away from it.

Overall: 10

It's been a while I haven't loved a slice of life story so much. Of course, we all have different stories but whether you were bullied, or were the ones bullying or observing silently stressing about being the next target, the overall message is that as long as you try to use these experiences to move forward as a human being, you've got the right to forgive yourself just as forgiving others is the only way to move forward as well.

If you've started life on the wrong foot, keep striving forward. That is very simple and sounds cliché but Koe no Katachi manages to show you how such a simple thing is really difficult to achieve when you're really trying hard.

I wish I had the chance as Shouko did to meet my former bullies. At least if I saw they changed, I'm sure I could leave this bad aftertaste behind. No such luck unfortunately.

Anyway, must read. Really. And I think this author just moved up to my "to-buy" list.



Koe no Katachi
Koe no Katachi
Autor Ooima, Yoshitoki