Silent Voice: what is this anime that denounces school bullying?

An animated masterpiece released in our cinemas in 2018, Silent Voice is now available in the DNA catalog!


Primary school student Shoya Ishida fills the boredom of school days by harassing his new friend, Shoko Nishimiya, who is deaf. Years later, he learns sign language and goes in search of the young girl in the hope of being forgiven.

Silent Voice – Available on ADN in VOSTFR and VF


It was very young when she became aware of deafness thanks to her mother, a sign language interpreter, that the author Yoshitoki Ōima decided to make it the subject of her second project. She was then barely 22 years old when she published A Silent Voice, first as a one-shot. Finally derived in seven bound volumes (published in France by Ki-oon), it is one of the first manga to address the themes of disability and bullying in schools.

Focused onijime above all (Japanese word designating the bullying suffered by those who do not fit into the “norm”), the story begins with the meeting of the two protagonists, at an age when children can be very cruel to each other, especially -to the difference. An introduction perfectly representative of this Japanese proverb: “the nail that protrudes calls the hammer blow”.

This subject is all the more taboo here because it is part of traditional Japanese society where conformity is preferred to independence. From its first minutes, Silent Voice then depicts the whole reality of the school environment where youth does not necessarily rhyme with innocence.

When Nishimiya, pure and naive, tries to fit in while remaining discreet, her impatient and incomprehensible comrades find it more fun to laugh, rather than help her. His handicap then becomes a source of questionable jokes.

Silent voice: what is this anime that denounces school bullying?

Kyoto Animation

Nishimiya and Ishida

At a time when we are terribly influenced, the work also exposes all the dangerousness linked to the pack effect. Because it is by following the movement led by his comrades that the young Ishida ends up becoming the main detractor of the little girl. But his actions and words, ever more violent, end up turning against him when it comes to naming a culprit. Nishimiya leaves school and Ishida is then accused of leaving and, in turn, manhandled and sidelined.

Through this turnaround, Yoshitoki Ōima explains the idea that anyone can become a victim. Becoming harassed after being a stalker, the boy becomes fully aware of his mistakes, which prompts him to learn sign language to apologize to Nishimiya.

A beginning of redemption which will also be questioned throughout the story: does he seek to be forgiven in order to appease the young girl or to relieve his own conscience?


Multi-awarded, just like the manga, the film adaptation of Silent Voice is appealing internationally. Praised by the master Makoto Shinkai (Your Name, Les Enfants du Temps, …), it quickly made its place in the top 3 of the Japanese box office during its first week of operation.

A visual nugget thanks to the work of Kyoto Animation studios, the film captivates with its pastel colors and its fine and elegant line, a direct contrast to the themes addressed. In true support of the fight against discrimination and prejudice, Silent Voice is now used as a reference for awareness campaigns on bullying at school.

Written and produced with great accuracy, the work stands out for its realism and its partiality. There is no question of judgment and the characters, far from being linear, evolve throughout the story, with a chance to get better.

Beyond an ode to tolerance, it is a call for forgiveness. The adventures of Nishimiya and Ishida exploit all the complexity of human relationships, without it being burdensome. And even if tears come to our eyes several times, the film is nonetheless full of humor and good feelings.

Silent voice: what is this anime that denounces school bullying?

Kyoto Animation

Nishimiya and Ishida

Two years after having caused a sensation in French cinemas, Silent Voice arrives in the ADN catalog in VOSTFR and VF this Sunday, August 22. The perfect opportunity to (re) discover this masterpiece.

And if you ever like Yoshitoki Ōima’s work, the animated adaptation of his third manga, To Your Eternity, is currently airing every Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. on the platform.

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