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Koe no Katachi

Rather than romance, the greatest themes of Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) were friendship and redemption. It tackled the complexity of people and the struggle to fix fragile ties in friendship.

Note: This post is a revised (spoiler-free) version of the one I published earlier on thechaserofdreams.wordpress.com.

Synopsis

Nishimiya Shoko, a deaf girl, transfers into Ishida Shoya’s elementary school class. After getting tired of helping Nishimiya all the time, the class starts to bully her, especially Ishida. However, when the bullying turns extreme, the class begins to bully Ishida instead. Nishimiya tries to help him, but he retaliates and they get into a fight, resulting in Nishimiya transferring schools and Ishida being isolated by his classmates and friends. The two do not meet after that, but in middle school, Ishida decides that he needs to meet Nishimiya again to make up for his past misdeeds and be her friend.

Opening Plot

The beginning of the movie was quite painful to watch. We see Ishida in the present, getting his pay, withdrawing his the money from his bank account, and the crossing out of the calendar. A flashback to the past explains Ishida’s situation and his complex behaviour in the past. While Ishida helped to stand up for Nishimiya when some of his classmates (Ueno and Kawai) were criticising her, and even suggested that she should try harder to communicate with the class, he turned hostile after Nishimiya indicated that she wanted to be his friend. That was the start of Ishida bullying Nishimiya, and it got more extreme when Ishida started snatching and destroying her expensive hearing aids. Ishida’s complex and extreme behaviour was baffling to me as he switched sides so quickly, and even became the greatest bully.

Theme: Redemption

The movie portrayed Ishida’s growth in maturity as he learnt that suicide was not the key to removing the guilt in his heart. He kept Nishimiya’s ‘For Conversation’ notebook in order to return it to her and learns sign language in order to be able to communicate with her. After meeting Nishimiya at a sign language school by chance, Ishida tried to be her friend. However, he faced the opposition of Yuzuru, who sternly told him to stop going over to the sign language class if he just wanted to make himself feel better by doing so. That threw a deeply disconcerting impact. One’s efforts to redeem oneself certainly could be seen as a selfish act – to do something good not for the person on the receiving end, but in order to comfort oneself. Despite that, it was significant that Ishida did become friends with Nishimiya. His growth was evident in how he faces others – no longer did he see ‘crossed out’ faces, but obtained the courage to move on and cross the boundary he draws between himself and others. Ishida’s social circle gradually increased involving his middle school classmates, starting with Nagatsuka.

Side Characters

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From right to left: Sahara, Nishimiya, Yuzuru, Nagatsuka, Ishida, Ueno, Kawai, Mashiba Source:https://cinema.ne.jp/news/koenokatachi2016091016/

Minor signs of redemption could be seen in the side characters as well, though these tended to be quite messy. Perhaps it was because this was a movie adaptation of a manga that some parts felt quite rushed. For example, the ‘strange’ group’s trip to the amusement park was really weird. Sure, Ishida going with Nishimiya, Nagatsuka, Yuzuru and Sahara was understandable because they have started to know one another quite well. Nagatsuka proclaimed Ishida to be his best friend. Ishida became friends with Yuzuru and (perhaps) Sahara because of their connections with Nishimiya. On the other hand, Kawai, Mashiba and Ueno did not really fit. While Ishida did start talking to Kawai, it did not feel like they became close enough to be friends. Also, I felt that Mashiba was a random ‘extra’, being somebody who only knew Ishida in middle school, and not really a friend. He just somehow joined the group because he was Kawai’s boyfriend.

Ueno was the second most complex character, with the first being Ishida. Although she wanted to help stand up for Ishida as an apology of her past betrayal, she still hated Nishimiya. As for Kawai, I was somehow always critical of her. She seemed really superficial and constantly acted as the victim, despite laughing along when Nishimiya was being bullied. I was critical of her all the way until the end, when she gave Ishida the cranes. Personally, I found Sahara’s character very relatable. She wanted to help Nishimiya but ultimately ran away by transferring schools when she was bullied as well. As Ishida later pointed out, Sahara was still a coward despite acting like she was now brave enough even to enjoy riding a rollercoaster.

Despite the drama, Koe no Katachi did not forget about humour. The funniest parts were Yuzuru’s identity, Nyan Nyan Cafe and Nishimiya’s failed confession. The first two garnered the most laughter in the cinema theatre I was in.

All in all, Koe no Katachi reminds us to come to terms with our past and continue moving forward. It is certainly very thought-provoking. The complexity of the characters reflect the complexity in ourselves, like how we sometimes struggle between doing what is right and wrong, and suddenly decide to shut everyone out at times. The struggles and fragile ties in friendship are beautifully played out, making the movie very relatable.

Watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/9aRexOtovXY 

Note: The names I have used are the family names of the characters because they are more commonly referred to that way in the movie, with the exception of Yuzuru.


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Noragami Aragoto episode 10

<A Certain Desire>

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This is pretty emotional episode. Hiyori remembers Yato and Yukine after Yukine talks to her when she is on her way back home from school. She finds out that it has been a month since Yato has gone missing.

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Wow. Contrary to what I thought at first, Ebisu is not a bad guy. He didn’t create masked phantoms for his own selfish means, but for the sake of humanity. He wanted to be able to control phantoms so they could stop disrupting the human world, and a locution brush can help him. All the previous Ebisus have died trying to get one, and he hopes to achieve his goal. Unfortunately for him, the heavens have already decided on a capital punishment for him once he has been found.

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It turns out that Tsuyu isn’t a Regalia. It’s cool how she can communicate with trees, and because of that, she finds out where Ebisu is, and that a young god and a girl in white are following him, who Hiyori identifies as Yato and Nora.

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Failing to get out from the sealed exit, Ebisu feels like giving up, since he can reincarnate any time. Yato insists that Ebisu should make his own exit, which he eventually does, with the use of his newly acquired locution brush and the phantoms it can conjure. Unfortunately, in order to protect Ebisu, Yato gets caught by Iwanami, and is dragged back to her lair. At the same time, Hiyori and Yukine arrive at the entrance of the underworld, but are unable to enter it due to the seal.

The plot is heading towards where I stopped in the manga. Noragami Aragoto has 13 episodes, so it would probably end after the Ebisu arc. I can’t believe it’s ending soon after 3 more episodes! 😥

Watch Noragami Aragoto episode 10 at  https://kissanime.to/Anime/Noragami-Aragoto/Episode-010 


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Noragami Aragoto episode 9

<The Sound of a Thread Snapping>

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Yato enters the underworld with Nora and finds out that Ebisu is the conjurer. However, Ebisu is unwilling to get out, and insists that he needs to get the locution brush from Iwanami, the so-called queen of the underworld, who is extremely powerful. With that brush, Ebisu would be able to control his masked Phantoms. Apparently, Iwanami takes on the form of a person close to the person looking at her, which is why Yato and Ebisu see different appearances of her. It is quite funny seeing Yato and Ebisu initially bickering over the appearance of Iwanami, between a high school girl or an old woman.

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Iwanami says that in exchange for the locution brush, either Yato or Ebisu will have to stay behind to be her friend. Ebisu tells Yato to stay behind, and a fight breaks out.

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It turns out that this fight is actually part of Ebisu’s plan to distract Iwanami while one of his phantoms steals a locution brush. Enraged, she slowly reveals her true nature. It is surprising to hear Ebisu call Iwanami “Mother” at the end before he leaves. I’m curious to know why he is so keen on controlling masked phantoms. Is he hungry for more power, despite already being a god of fortune, and why?

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Hiyori is already forgetting the existence of Yato and Yukine. She goes on a “triple date” to Capypa Land with her friends. Argh, that ending. I’m so annoyed. I knew that Fujisaki was up to no good since he first appeared in the manga. Anyway, it’s time to catch up with episode 10!

Watch Noragami Aragoto episode 9 at https://kissanime.to/Anime/Noragami-Aragoto/Episode-009


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Noragami Aragoto episode 8

<God of Calamity>

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Takamagahara officially recognises Yato’s mini shrine (after he pestered the government office for days) and has granted him rights like access to Takamagahara and his own (extremely tiny) plot of land. Oh well, something is better than nothing right? noragami s2 8-3

Yukine is determined to learn invocation from Kazuma, which Bishamon had allowed. It’s nice to see him trying so hard, even though his first lesson ended in failure.

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A random schoolmate helps Hiyori when she trips on a can. Spoiler but this guy is not as kind as he seems! Yeah, Noragami is not meant to be a shoujo anime with flowery moments like these.

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Happiness is short-lived in Noragami Aragoto. With the Bishamon arc over, the Ebisu arc poses a much deadlier situation for Yato. Daikoku had previously raised questions of how a minor and unknown god like Yato has been able to survive for centuries. The title of this episode, God of Calamity, reminds us that Yato is a god of calamity, and he is now being forced to return to the darkness of his past. This is not uncommon, for Kofuku mentioned that Yato sometimes disappears for months, without informing his Regalias. Yato is forced to take up jobs that involves killing people, and has been gone for probably a month. When he flared up and protested that he wants to leave, ‘Father’ appears and grants Yato freedom once he completes one last job, which involves going to the underworld and rescuing a conjurer.

Oh gosh that snippet of the next episode… I remember reading that part in the manga! Indeed, absolute freedom is never granted without a price, and Yato’s new job will put him in the most dangerous situation he has ever been. Noragami Aragoto is here to bring more suspense and I can’t wait for episode 9!

Watch Noragami Aragoto episode 8 at http://gogoanime.tv/noragami-aragoto-episode-8


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Noragami Aragoto episode 7

<How to Worship a God>

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Episode 7 shows the growth of Yukine after knowing his role as Yato’s exemplar. The episode begins with the heartwarming scene of the trio’s return.noragami s2 7-2

It was hilarious to see Daikoku and Tenjin’s reactions after knowing that Yukine changed into a Blessed Vessel for Yato haha.

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After episodes of horror and tragedy at Bishamon’s, Noragami’s comedy returns. I can’t blame their reactions though. Who wouldn’t want money?

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The day that everyone has always been wishing for – for it to rain money. I respect Yukine’s decision to put away his greed for money and to make this decision for his master. It is definitely not an easy decision, but he did it for the sake of his master. It heartens me to see that Yukine has grown to be more sensible in this new season.

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Yukine’s impersonation of Yato on point! XD

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If you thought you could have gone through this episode without shedding a tear, the ending is here to prove you wrong. Knowing how it has always been important to have a shrine of his own, Hiyori built a mini shrine for Yato, even though she got in the process. I read this in the manga and I cried, and I still cried watching it in the anime. Kofuku explains that having a shrine to a god is very significant because it shows the gratitude and appreciation the people have in them.

Right at the end of the episode, we see that Ebisu is actually involved with the masked Phantoms. I’m so excited to watch the next few episodes!

Watch Noragami Aragoto episode 7 at https://kissanime.to/Anime/Noragami-Aragoto/Episode-007


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Noragami Aragoto episode 6

<What Must Be Done>

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Kugaha insists that Bishamon is straying from how she is supposed to be.

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I was appalled when Yato cut off Kugaha’s hand. I’m still scared of cut off body parts even when I first saw some in Kuroshitsuji. *shivers* I really blanked out after I saw Kugaha’s hand drop to the floor with the blood oozing from it. noragami s2 6-3noragami s2 6-4

Bishamon releases Kugaha. Knowing her, it would have been impossible to personally kill any Regalia, even if he betrayed her. Bishamon the magnanimous. You’re too kind, really! At least Kugaha won’t be back again.

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I was really touched when Bishamon called the name of her oldest surviving Regalia. She had so many Regalias, most do not get called for decades. At last, she personally killed the Phantom that had eaten up her Regalias, even though she previously blamed Yato for doing the same thing. She had decided to face her own fears, knowing that this was the only way out, unless she wanted the Ha Clan to suffer from the same fate as the Ma Clan.

The ending of this episode was heartwarming, with the remaining Regalias living in harmony. I like the exchange diary idea – that’s so sweet of Bishamon haha. That way, she would be able to get to know her Regalias better, helping to resolve problems. There was no need to hide any feelings of sadness which could lead to hurt to both Regalias and Bishamon.

Watch Noragami episode 6 at https://kissanime.to/Anime/Noragami-Aragoto/Episode-006


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Noragami Aragoto episode 5

<Divine Acclamation, Imprecation>

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The thunderstorm that was ongoing while I watched this episode reflected the tragedy and Bishamon’s agony. The beginning was good news for Yato and Yukine, because Yukine did not die, but transformed into a Blessed Vessel instead. This makes him more powerful as a weapon. This is a very touching moment, since only very loyal Regalias can be Blessed Vessels, indicating Yukine’s strong bond to Yato.

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Afterwards, chaos breaks out at Bishamon’s manor while the two gods were fighting. Bishamon’s blight appears together with Aiha’s, causing her to be weak. This results in Bishamon’s weapon Regalias being corrupted, but she continues to fight. Kugaha’s masked Phantom killed the Regalias in the manor, starting from ‘useless’ non-weapons.

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Aiha tells Kazuha about Kugaha’s plan, so they free Kazuma and Hiyori. They return just in time to stop Yato from killing Bishamon, but Bishamon insists on continuing the fight. Ultimately, Kazuma pushes Yato out of the way, causing himself to be severely wounded. (I was really shocked at this scene, especially since it happens so fast that I had to rewatch the scene.) Kazuma confesses that he was the one who asked Yato to kill the Ma Clan.

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This is one shocking episode with some bloody scenes during the massacre at the manor and the fight, though I’m kind of immune to these after watching Shingeki no Kyojin. The comparison between Bishamon and her Regalias, and Yato and Yukine makes the latter’s relationship seem much more natural as a family. Not only had Bishamon been suffering all this while, her Regalias have been suffering by keeping cheerful appearances for the sake of their master.

Watch Noragami Aragoto episode 5 at http://kissanime.to/Anime/Noragami-Aragoto/Episode-005