Book Review: A Silent Voice Volume 6

February 10, 2017

A Silent Voice Volume 6 cover

Well, this is kind of surprising, huh?

As many of you guys know, I have been reading through a series for about a week, while waiting on the last few preorders from Amazon.

So far, I have covered each of the seven volumes of that series and only two remain.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those remaining titles, which is called A Silent Voice Volume 6 by Yoshitoki Oima.

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

Because of what he found at the Nishimiya's apartment, Shoya wonders why Shoko would attempt suicide and where he went wrong, but little does he know that he and Shoko are not the only ones hurting, as his friends each begin thinking of the past while waiting for him to regain unconsciousness.

However, while everybody is letting out their pain or sorting things out, Shoko, who was somehow rescued from her suicide attempt, starts trying to get the gang back together and work on their movie, even though everyone is still suffering.

I really enjoyed this book.

Like each of the five previous volumes, the moment I started reading this book, I did not want to stop reading for any reason, though I do I have to satisfy the same needs as everyone else.

Things have been going awfully well to the point where somebody like me would suspect that things would go downhill eventually, even though I said in my review of the previous volume that I did not doubt that Yoshitoki Oima could pull it off.

Fortunately, she (sorry it looks like the author has been female all along, according to a page on Baka-Updates Manga) did not disappoint me and keeps holding my interest up through the chapters featured in this book, the penultimate volume of the series, which is what I want to see out of a series.

If I had to say why, it, like the second volume, continues off from a big cliffhanger that occurred in the volume that came before it.

In the last volume, Shoya, worries about Shoko during a festival, which eventually leads him to finding out that Shoko was about to jump from the balcony of her family's apartment, which would have 36 or so feet off the ground, since it is on the third floor, and it left me wondering why she decided to jump and if she would survive, and because Yoshitoki started off the chapters in this volume back at that particular moment, like she should have, helped me become immersed in this volume, though reading this only a short time after the previous volume may have helped too, since there have been moments in the past where my interested waned because I did not see the next installment soon enough, such as my experience A Certain Scientific Railgun S episode 3 when the series was still airing in Japan, which makes me glad that I did not buy this series in the late 2015 to late spring, or fall in the southern hemisphere, of 2016.

As a result, I am much more interested in checking Yoshitoki's other work, though still not as much as the original works of Jun Mochizuki and Hiromu Arakawa, and alone deserves some praise.

I also liked how I got to see how many of the characters were hurting because of what recently happened and what had happened the in past.

After finding out that Shoko had survived, and Shoya was hospitalized, Shoya's mother thinks that everything happened because Shoya did something and tries to tell Ms. Nishimiya that an apology from her was not necessary, but, later, it is revealed that Shoko jumped because she thought that she hurt everyone and those pictures Yuzuru took were meant to dissuade Shoko from committing suicide, since now was not the only time that Shoko felt like she wanted to die.

I and many others may consider suicide a cowardly act, but we do not always know what leads people to commit such an act, though there are a few reasons that are known in world of psychology, according to a blog post by Todd B. Kashdan on Psychology Today, and we need to not make light of people committing such an act because it is serious enough to affect other people, just like how Kakeru Naruse's death in Orange affected his five friends, who sent letters to the past to save him, and is a reason why suicide is considered a serious topic.

Not only were Shoko Nishimiya's reasons for attempting to commit suicide revealed, but we also find out what was hurting everyone, such as Naoka being angry because Shoko did not take the feelings of her friends into consideration, and that she thought she was the same sorry excuse for a human that Shoko's mother was, even though Ms. Nishimiya was only coming to her daughter's rescue, like a good and decent mother would, Tomohiro not being entirely happy in his life until Shoya accepted him and showed him what real friends, Miyoko being troubled by the fact that Shoko would not let her help her, wondering if she had really changed, and blamed herself for not trying to find Shoko like Shoya did, and Satoshi being able to kind of relate to what Shoko went through because she could not hear without hearing aids, even though he did not have any kind of disability.

Seeing all of these troubles being brought to light, the characters each felt more realistic and believable because they have gone through things that we all either may have experienced or will probably experience in their lives, and made me feel sad for each and every one of them, even though Naoka is still the one I feel the least bit sorry for because she still does not really come off as the nicest character, which makes me want to see how these friends will be able to come back together.

I am not too sure about you guys, but I cannot remember too many moments like this, outside of maybe Kotomi Ichinose's route and finding out what Tomoya Okazaki's family life was like in the After Story route of the Clannad visual novel, whose overall theme is the importance of family and what a family actually is, as opposed to what can only be proven by blood and paper, and seeing Yoshitoki delivering these kinds of feels, it makes me want to give her a big round of applause. Nice job, Yoshitoki, I hope that you make something just as good as you have here in the future.

Another nice thing about this book was how there was even less humor than there was before.

Now, some of you may be wondering why I would be praising a work that is categorized as a comedy, in addition to a romance story and drama story, though, like how I would not call Boku Dake ga Inai Machi a mystery series, I would not call this a romance story, for lacking in the comedy department, but people forget that unnecessary and/or inappropriate moments of comedy can ruin a work, especially when one is as close to the end of series like I am here.

Just like how the first volume started things off on a relatively serious note, the previous volume ended on a very serious note, and that meant that if there were too many comedic moments, or, like it was with Rewrite episode 10, inappropriate for the moment in this volume, this series would have not been as great as I remembered it to be.

Fortunately, Yoshitoki has stayed consistent with this series and shows that she knows when she can include humorous moments and when she cannot, which helps to make things feel little more realistic, though probably not completely realistic, as Digibro brings up in a video on YouTube, and makes me even more amazed with how well she wrote this series.

Honestly, if more of the people behind the anime and manga everyone likes could balance things out this well, there would be a ton more titles that are deserving of the hype they get, though that will not change if the tone changes end up being as bad as what Digibro complains about what is seen in Gate, which does not seem to be too problematic in the young adult fiction published where I live, even if it has its haters like anime and manga do.

Then again, the Japanese entertainment industry has its own problems, so I do not see if things will be able to improve in this area.

There were two things that I liked the most though.

First, I liked how there were places that were difficult for me to understand what was going on or being said.

If the backlash for praising a lack of comedy or saying that a work caught my interest quickly, with the excuse, yet still accurate accusation, of me being a fan of the series or people behind it, can crop up, which I thankfully do not have to deal with much, except for the times I have criticized the first volumes of Sword Art Online and A Certain Magical Index, this one will probably really spark some hatred because of how I judged works of fiction in the past.

However, I try to judge works based around the context and what is happening, which will give it an assessment that is as fair as possible, regardless of whether I have a positive bias or negative bias towards the work, and the moments that I have had these issues were all situations in which I would expect them to occur.

For most of the volume, I could understand what was going on and being said, but when the penultimate chapter of this volume started, it became really difficult to do that.

The reason why this impresses me is because I get to see things through Shoko's perspective, and because she is deaf, she has a hard time understanding what people are saying and what is going on, so things coming from her perspective need to match the experience she has throughout the whole story, with only her thoughts making complete sense, as everyone can understand themselves when they think through things.

By seeing how Yoshitoki made wrote things like this, it seems that she has done quite a bit of research on what life is like for a deaf person, even if she does continue pushing a few of the same myths and misconceptions that every person believes, since it is not possible to understand what life is like for every deaf person, just like is not possible to know what life is like for every person with a disability of some kind, and really helps me see both Shoko's joys and sorrows, as she tries to restore what she believes she took from everyone.

Then again, this kind of thing really only works well in a comic, like Japanese manga, because the images help to show what is going on, while the text conveys the thoughts and feelings of the characters, which is important in a work this like, whereas the prose fiction published where I live and live action movies cannot give me the complete picture, and would have annoyed me to no end, instead of being one of the best things about this book.

This is why a work of fiction should not be denounced just because of the medium used to present the story.

After all, just because one medium worked great for one story, it does not mean that every story will work with that same medium.

Unfortunately, there are people that will not touch something because it is a comic, or even a comic that comes from Japan, and, until that changes, I will feel sorry for them because they will probably miss out on some of the pieces of fiction that truly deserve to be called classics.

The other thing that I really liked was how Kodansha included an interview between Yoshitoki Oima and Kasumi Arimura, a well-known television actress who read the second volume of A Silent Voice before the interview.

As some of you guys know from my review of Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 10, it can be fairly interesting to hear from the writer behind a work, depending on the topic, and the interview between these two people about this series really caught my interest.

What really made this stand out was how Kasumi said there were many scenes in A Silent Voice where she did not how she would act and felt bad for Shoya to go from being a bully to the one who gets bullied.

This caught my interest for two reasons.

First, it seemed like Kasumi had the same feelings that I had around the beginning, except for possibly feeling like Shoya deserved what he got, since she states that she has seen and/or experienced what has happened in this series in her own life.

While people can have their own opinions of works of fiction, it really says something when one or more individuals have the same feelings about the work, and it looks like I was not the only one that noticed how sad things truly seemed to feel in this series.

This series does a fairly good job in this department, and by hearing the thoughts of somebody who has actually seen these kinds of things occur in real life helps to illustrate how different things are in real life, compared to what we seen in a work of fiction.

This makes me wish it were possible to find out what kinds of things influence a writer's decision to write a story the way that they did and what they are trying to say.

Unfortunately, the people that do such a thing based on what can be found in things like newspapers and the works of a writer have a track record that is probably just as bad as archeologists who study history, since somebody I know who has worked in the field of archeology has confirmed that all they do is create a story around what they find, much like purposely burying a soda can, leaving it for a few decades, then digging it back up and creating a story around it, so I will just have to accept my own suspicions that I get from the common elements in the writer's works.

The other, and biggest reason that this caught my interest though was how Kasumi freely admitted that she did not know for sure how she would act in the same situations that happened in the series.

Throughout my life, I have seen a lot of people say that they would without a doubt act in a way contrary to what some person or character did, as if they know what the right thing to do is.

However, they do not really understand why those characters or people did what they did, and, in the case of Satoru Fujinuma in Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, do not realize that we tend to get caught up in the moment and make the same mistakes that we thought we would not make.

This is why I acknowledge that there are things that I do not know about myself and even try to understand people, rather than just calling them a friend when I know nothing about them and downplay their struggles, like many of my peers and elders seem to do.

And by seeing somebody else acknowledge this right in this book, it makes me like the series a whole lot more than I already do.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that can stand on its own.

Because questions from the previous volume were answered, which helped to capture my attention, and that we get to see how characters other than Shoya and Shoko are suffering, as well as the fact that Yoshitoki made things hard to understand only when necessary, made this one of the best books I have read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

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

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

Considering that there was a lot more to like than hate, this was definitely worth reading.

I only recommend this to fans of A Silent Voice, because they will be able to enjoy this the most and this is the penultimate volume, though I highly suggest that you read this volume as soon as you can after the previous one, so that it can be enjoyed to the fullest extent.

If you read this book, what are your thoughts on A Silent Voice Volume 6? Please leave a comment and let everyone know why you liked or hated it, especially if your reasons are different from mine.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, so that I can continue writing reviews for not just this series, but other titles as well.

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