A Silent Voice, Vol. 1

A Silent Voice, Vol. 1 - Yoshitoki Oima, Steven LeCroy A very well written story, about a deaf girl who used to be bullied at school so she had to move out. Her main bully seeks her out to ask her for forgiveness. It is impossible not to sympathize with Shouko, the deaf girl. She is a wonderful character, so nice in spite of everything and everyone. Her classmates are awful, and don't let me even start with her male teacher. The mangaka is very good, can't believe she is younger than me! But her way of portraying the bullying was well done, to the point of being poignant instead of predictable and shoujo-ish.

I am not sure if we need to sympathize with Shouya, the bully. He is supposed to be just a boy who is bored and then comes this sweet, deaf girl to make his hours more enjoyable. How? By making fun of her and making his classmates laugh at her and with him. Consequently, after breaking her many ear devices, that cost a fortune, he becomes the pariah. Yeah, poor him. His teacher doesn't believe anything he tells him, his classmates make mock of him and he loses his supposed best friends.

Does that make him more sympathetic? No.

After a few years, now in high school, he seeks Shouko to ask for forgiveness. She chooses to run away. Does that make him more sympathetic? No!

I hate bullies. I don't care that they learn later and mature and so on. The pathetic excuse of "boys will be boys" is inexcusable. Bullies ruin the bullied person's life. Or at least, their childhood. Yeah, he may not wanted to be mean, he just wanted to have fun, but is that better? No.

The teacher at the school was not better, how an awful model figure. Schools need to be prepared for handicap people; teachers need to be there for handicap students. The teacher in this manga may be a realistic version of teachers in real life, when it comes to bullying and they do nothing about it.

So while the story and Shouko are wonderful and sad and at the same time, sweet, I hate bullies and people who watch this and do nothing about it. And I hate that after ruining her life in the past, the bully comes then to ask for forgiveness. I may have never forgive this a**hole Shouya, but since he is one of the MC, I guess he will redeem himself, and I am not willing to let it go.