Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > A Silent Voice, Vol. 2

A Silent Voice, Vol. 2

Well, I missed a week. Apologies for that, but better late than never? At any rate, here’s a Manga Monday review of A Silent Voice, Vol. 2, plus a few news items that caught my eye.

And now, onto this week’s review of A Silent Voice, Vol. 2!

SilentVoice2A Silent Voice, Vol. 2
by Yoshitoki Oima
Kodansha Comics, 192 pgs
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

Yoshitoki Oima’s touching drama about bullying and it’s affects on both the bully and the bullied returns. Shoya Ishida has finally tracked down Shoko Nishymiya, the deaf girl who was the target of his bullying several years ago in the hopes of somehow making amends. Does Shoko Nishymiya want an apology though?

Unsurprisingly, she doesn’t want an apology but is ok with his attempts to befriend her. What ensues is not only the beginning of their friendship, but Shoya Ishida’s discovery that he can make friends and has reasons to live, that there are people who love him, care for him and believe in him. It’s fairly touching and feels very honest in places, with Shoya’s mindset at the beginning of the volume being all too relatable and genuine. That said, it’s hard to not notice how even this well done series is already falling into certain shonen drama cliches. Shoya’s journey of making a friend in Shoko and his ensuing bonding with others in his class or those connected to Shoko is eerily similar to that of the heroin’s of Say I Love You or even My Little Monster. All are well done and handle the material a little differently, but not differently enough for it to be entirely invisible.

Thankfully, while the originality of the plot isn’t terribly exciting, the characters are interesting and complex enough that it doesn’t really matter. Shoya Ishida is shown to be conflicted about his need to better himself and change his life, yet feeling like he doesn’t deserve to. It brought to mind a line from the HBO show The Wire, “Shame is some tricky shit. It makes you want to better yourself, then beats you back down when you think you can.” He constantly swings between hoping that he can make amends with Shoko or help his mother, and feeling like he doesn’t deserve to live or be happy or even try to better himself.SilentVoice2Page1

Since Shoko is the lead and our point of view character, Yoshitoki Oima engages in some interesting visuals to help reinforce his emotional state. Chief among them is the X’s that appear of nearly everyone’s face early on in this volume. Obscuring the face and indicating that the characters are some how off limits to Shoko helps drive home his sense of isolation and his inability to connect. The visual continues to the point where making a friendship literally causes the X to fall off of a character’s face. The rest of the visuals are solid and I was surprised by Yoshitoki Oima’s choice to try and render the individual signs of the sign language used. At times it looks a little silly, with some characters having multiple arms and looking like an Indian god or goddess, but at the same time it helps reinforce the sense of separation that Shoko feels and to a degree, the way it makes them stand out amongst a crowd.

With a A Silent Voice, Vol. 2, Yoshitoki Oima’s series starts to enter territory that feels more than a little familiar. Thankfully the strong characters are relatable and real enough make it possible to get past the more cliched bits. The end result is a touching and highly enjoyable story!

A Silent Voice, Vol. 2 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. September 18, 2015 at 4:17 pm

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