Book Review: A Silent Voice Volume 4

A Silent Voice Volume 4 cover

I hope that everyone is doing well, and still enjoying their week.

Things have been going well, in spite of the usual troubles I have to deal with.

As most of you know, I ordered a bunch of books from Amazon around the end of last year, and most of them were preorders, so I have to wait for each one to be released, and I have covered all of the preorders that have arrived so far, which means the waiting continues.

Fortunately, I still have the series that I bought from Amazon after that large preorder, so I am not going to let this place languish for too long.

Today, I will cover another title from that series, which is called A Silent Voice Volume 4 by Yoshitoki Oima.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

Shoko has expressed her feelings for Shoya, but because he did not understand what she was saying, their relationship becomes a bit complicated.

However, complications in the friendship of Shoya and Shoko are not the only problems that they have to deal with, because Shoko's sister seems to have become depressed by something.

I really enjoyed this book.

For a fourth book in a row, the moment that I started reading this volume, I did not want to put it down for any reason, even though I do have to take care of the same needs that everyone else does.

While making one or two interesting books may be something that is easy for a talented writer, regardless of whether their grammar is good or bad and how many typos are present, but continually pumping out one book after another that holds a reader's interest, especially mine, from beginning to end is a rather amazing accomplishment.

After all, no reader is going to want to continue on with a series or check out the writer's other works if their interest cannot be held.

Then again, I remember hearing people continually complaining about Bleach and Naruto when they were still being published in Japan, yet they continued reading until the end, so the motivation to continue reading a work is not strictly based on whether or not a reader remains interested, since I too have read through books just be done with them, such as A Certain Magical Index Volume 2 and The Book Thief.

Still, that does not mean that Yoshitoki should not receive some praise for keeping the series interesting for as long as he has, since this volume completes a little over half of the series, since half of seven volumes is 3 1/2 volumes.

Serious, I would be a much bigger fan of writers that write series if they can maintain this kind of quality.

Unfortunately, many, but certainly not all, of the series that do get released over here, and does not get labelled as kid stuff, even if covers or includes serious topics like abuse, suicide, depression, etc., or, like Clannad, delivers an important message better than anything else I have seen that has the same overall theme, have a hard time doing that, so there is always room for improvement.

I also liked how Kodansha did not make me feel like I was left hanging.

Back in the previous volume, Kodansha forgot to denote that I had reached the end of the book, even though there was no content missing, as far I could tell, and I thought that I was about to start the final chapter.

Here, however, the end of both the final chapter and the bonus chapter clearly denote that I have reached the end.

This is what I wanted to see in the previous volume all along, and Kodansha finally delivers on this expectation.

Thank you, Kodansha, for not ruining a series because of your careless mistakes, like how Yen Press ruined Judge because of their shoddy release of the final volume.

Keep this up, and I might change mind on whether or not I want you guys to keep publishing manga where I lived, but you do deserve quite a bit of applause for doing this.

Another nice thing about this volume was how Naoka got mad at Shoko.

While Naoka, just like many of the other students in Shoya's class and the kids from the other schools Shoko attended, bullied Shoko because she deaf, and I do not really condone those actions, but hearing her explanation of why she did not like Shoko in the present or the past, and that she did not want to communicate through a notebook led me to understanding her position a bit more.

During the conversation the two had, which is only presented as a video recording in this volume, she said that she did not understand Shoko well enough, nor did she understand her.

Even though I still do not like how she came across, especially because she accused her of turning to adults, when the adults most likely just acted on their own, I feel like I understand her a bit better, because I have those same feelings towards some of the people that I interact with.

I just want people to understand me, because I am able to understand their situation a bit and leads me to avoiding people when I feel like I am not wanted by them or I suspect that they might not be doing things because they genuinely care as much as they claim to care, since they do not acknowledge either that I need more quiet time, with either myself or a small group, than they do, or that I, like a few other, recognize the issues that the group they associate with has these days, which I talked about in my review of the previous volume.

Likewise, Naoka wanted Shoko to understand what she was going through, since she was not recognizing the burden that she was putting on everyone, even if Naoka should have just put up with the problem and treated her like a human being, since everyone with a disability of any kind wants to be acknowledged as a human being, not be acknowledged for their disability, even though people like me, who have disabilities, do have to acknowledge our disability, even though we do not generally want to think that we are disabled, regardless of the severity, because of the fact that people with disabilities have a higher risk of violence, according to a page on WHO's website.

Not only did it lead me understanding Naoka a bit better, but it showed that there are limits to what can be conveyed through text.

For much of the flashbacks that were shown back in the first volume, Shoko used a notebook to communicate with fellow classmates, because not everybody knew sign language, but text does not really do that great of a job expressing what a person is feeling, especially if it is short, and not the length of say a poem or book or these reviews of mine, and Naoka told Shoko that outright.

As much as I prefer to do written reviews, since I feel like I can express myself better than I cannot through video, not mention that it is easier edit a written work than a video, I know that there are times where I feel like I need to hear the words from a person directly, preferably in person, since speaking on phones does not make it easier to know what the person is talking about, and I have encountered situations like that because of all the troubles I have experienced doing stuff for that same church that I am now dissatisfied with.

After all, I doubt that too many people would not want something like what can be seen in the image below to happen after the troubles we have with the people that we cherish.

Shoko Nishimiya hugging Yuzuru

Because Yoshitoki included these events in the chapters found in this volume, it really helped to make the series continue to have some fairly emotional moments, even if it still is not quite up there with the scenes that I felt were the most emotionally charged, and it makes me want to give him even more applause for his work than I already feel like doing.

The thing that I liked the most though was that this book showed that people with disabilities are not the only ones that experience the challenges of having a disability, but those that are concerned about the disabled individual are also affected by it.

Now, this series has not been hiding that fact, since Yoshitoki shows Yuzuru getting bullied for have a deaf sister and Shoko's mother reported that some missing or damaged hear aids put her ¥1,700,000, or $14,000 USD around the time the first volume of this series was published where I live, since that is what Kodansha says it comes out to be, out of pocket, but this all due to the ill treatment that Shoko has received from other children.

In this volume, we find out that Shoko has been deal since birth, though it was not discovered until she was three, and that her father asked her mother for a divorce, with the father's parents blaming her for something that she had no control over and hiding the girl's defect, meaning that Shoko's mother and grandmother, from her mother's side, were left to tend to the kids themselves.

While I do not know if this is how Japan views people with disability today, since Internet searches turn up questions asking if disability is still a dirty word in Japan, I feel sorry for Shoko's mother and grandmother because Shoko's mother had no control over whether her daughter would be able to hear or not and neither do people with disability get a choice as to whether or not they become disabled, and it shows that the two women really cared for Shoko, just as they should as mother and grandmother.

People taking care those with disabilities have a rough life, regardless of whether or not that person with disabilities has a peaceful life, and they need just as much help as the person with those defects.

Unfortunately, not all cultures have compassion for those in need, whether they need a lot of help or only a little, so until human society as whole as becomes better in this regard, and not by being forced into it, like the LGBT issues that many people are complaining about where I live, people will just continue to suffer like Shoko and her family has here.

However, since Yoshitoki has decided to include this kind of subject matter in his work, and not in a way that glorifies it, it makes this series a whole lot more enjoyable than the other series of its kind, even if it is it one of its only unique features, it makes me feel like giving Yoshitoki some major applause.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked.

Because Yoshitoki has been able to keep the series interesting for more than half of its run and Kodansha seemed to do their job this time, as well as the fact that I got to see some of the things characters went through because Shoko is deaf, regardless of whether I felt bad for them, like Shoko's family, or not, this book was fairly enjoyable.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, nothing really seemed to bother me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that, yet again, there was more to like than hate, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of Yoshitoki Oima and A Silent Voice, though the latter might enjoy this more, since this volume finishes up roughly fifty percent of the series.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but since this volume marks the halfway point, it might be better to read the previous three volumes first.

What are your thoughts on A Silent Voice Volume 4? Did you like it or hate it? Did you find that you understood the characters more in this volume, like I did, or were you yelling at them? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

Use an app on your phone (e.g. Scan for Android) to capture the image above. If successful, you should be taken to the web version of this article.

Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.