KyoAni's movie has earned 2.2 billion yen ($19.34 million) over 11 weekends in movie theaters! A Silent Voice has become KyoAni's highest grossing movie of all-time, and just surpassed Madoka Magica: Rebellion in box office numbers.
The story follows a former bully named Shoya Ishida and his deaf victim Shoko Nishiyama. In elementary school, Shoya led his friends in bullying Shoko due to her disability, which causes her to transfer to a new school.
This event leads to Shoya being shunned by his classmates and teachers as punishment for his actions. While in high school, Shoya reunites with Shoko, a decides to re-connect with her in a bid to atone for his past actions.
While not record breaking like Your Name, KyoAni took a bigger gamble adapting A Silent Voice. At it's core, the movie is about the effects of bullying and the mistreatment of the deaf community, which are two social issues that are facing Japan.
According to a 2012 survey, there were 70,000 instances of bullying reported, but only 3,988 of them were investigated upon. An anonymous survey in 2014 discovered that 65.4% of bullying involves verbal abuse and social ostracism.
Even more concerning is that your risk of being bullied by classmates increases if you have a disability. Teachers are not properly trained on how to handle the situation, so it is up to the students to resolve issues themselves.
A Silent Voice also highlights the poor in-roads the Japanese education system has made to accommodate deaf students. Even in schools for the deaf, sign language is banned up until the high school level, leaving subjects to be taught orally and through the written word. This fact is highlighted in the movie.
Most other years, fans and the industry would be celebrating the box office numbers of A Silent Voice. While not recording breaking, the movie should still be recognized for the risk of focusing on contemporary social issues.
Aaron Magulick has been a fan of anime ever since being exposed to it in the late '90s. A fan of nearly all genres, he is not afraid to explore the creepier side of the industry. Feel free to connect with him on GoBoiano Social.