[OWLS Blog Tour: Treasure] Accepting Yourself Is Not Easy (A Silent Voice)

[OWLS Blog Tour: Treasure] Accepting Yourself Is Not Easy (A Silent Voice)

Hello! I’m back for another OWLS blog tour! This month, we’re covering the topic of depression, suicide, and other mental illnesses, so if that’s something that bothers you, be wary. I will be discussing how the characters in this manga grew past it, but I also discuss the dark reality of the things they faced. The topic is “Treasures,” talking about the people in our lives that tell us we are worth something, and that we are something to be treasured.

For those of you unaware, OWLS is a wonderful group accepting all people regardless of age, gender, religion, sexuality, etc. We try to show everyone that they are beautiful and loved no matter what, through different anime and pop culture. If you’re interested in joining, feel free to go to our website and fill out a form! We’re always accepting new members!

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Onto the topic at hand.

If you’ve been reading my posts since the beginning, you may remember my post Best Manga I’ve Ever Read. In that post, I discuss the manga, A Silent Voice. Even though I wrote that nearly a year ago, I still believe it is my favorite manga/comic ever. Unfortunately, I still have been unable to watch the movie adaptation, but will when the Blu Ray comes out in America.

In that manga, there are so many rough topics covered. So that’s why when given this topic, I immediately thought of it.

The story is majorly in the perspective of Shoya Ishida, a third year boy in high school. But much of the focus of the actual story is on a girl, Shoko Nishimiya, who is deaf. Both of these characters are constantly dealing with self-doubt, for different reasons.

So I don’t get a bunch of angry people after me, there WILL BE SPOILERS in this post. If you have not read the manga or watched the movie, I recommend you go and do that before reading this. I must talk about a lot of vital points in order to do this topic justice.

The Deaf Girl and Her Bully

Shoya was a bully in elementary school. He pushed Shoko around, taking advantage of the fact she was deaf. Day after day, he picked on her. He thought that doing this would make him popular, and be accepted by others. And he thought it was working. He stole her hearing aids, and destroyed them. He grabbed the notebook she communicated with and tossed it in a fountain.

Shoko just smiled. She didn’t fight with him, she just pretended like it didn’t phase her. Of course she was mad. But she’s never been good at showing her true emotions. Only once did she lash out at him, right before she transferred to a different school.

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When Shoko left, Shoya realized that all of the things he did was not helping him gain popularity. When Shoko left, he saw nasty words scrawled on his desk. They all blamed him wholly for what happened to her. He now became the bullied. He now knew how Shoko felt, and started distancing himself from the kids in his class.

The Past is in the Past

Five years pass, and it’s the time the rest of manga will take place. Both Shoya and Shoko are now in their final year of high school.

Shoko still doesn’t have many friends, but attends a sign language regularly, and feeds the fish in the river on Tuesdays.

Shoya has been suffering from his past ever since Shoko left their school. He never tried to mend the wounds he’d caused in other people. They see him and can only remember the bully he was, or they never get to talk to him in the first place. This distance causes him to still hate himself after all these years. He is so harsh on his past self, and won’t let that go to live his last year of high school in happiness. He’s once quoted as saying, “I wish I could kill him,” referring to himself as a sixth-grader. This self-hatred becomes so toxic, brewing inside him for so many years, he completely gives up.

He decides that as his final moment on the earth, he’ll apologize to Shoko for what he’d done. And then he would leave for good. He finds out about her meetings at the bridge on Tuesdays, and talks to her. Well, signs to her, as he’d learned sign language during those five years of not seeing her.

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To his surprise, she instantly accepts his apology, and they decide they can become friends. All of his previous plans are completely shot. He finds the new meaning to his life, to focus on being friends with Shoko and mending the broken bond between them.

The Present is a Demon

Shoko, however, moves past what happened back then easily. That’s not her problem. After all those years, people still insult her deafness. Or they just don’t know how to get around it.

People still hate her simply for having a disability. One girl in particular, who was part of the group of students who bullied her along with Shoya when they were younger, is the main one who targets her. Her name is Naoka, and she is a major factor in Shoko’s later attempted suicide. This wasn’t purely Naoka’s doing, as the problems had been happening to Shoko for years.

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Naoka practically forces herself into the group of friends that forms throughout the manga. She confronts Shoya, and tells him that they are so similar, but that is not the case at all, and she wiggles her way into the group.

Things Naoka has done include: slapping Shoko, pulling at her hair violently, calling her “a blight” and “self-absorbed,” telling her she hates her, yelling in her face, etc. Shoko, being who she is, says nothing about the abuse Naoka puts her through. She smiles through all of it, acting as though nothing was wrong. As she does any time there is something bothering her. She actually reaches out to Naoka a few times, attempting to be friends even after what Naoka has done.

The event that puts her in the worst state of mind, though, is when the group gets into an argument discussing the past events of elementary school. Some blame Shoya for what had happened, and he retaliates with being so blunt with each of them, it hurts them. There is yelling, and Shoya physically sits away from the others.

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Because Shoko sees all of this, she is concerned for her friends. She doesn’t know what happened, since nobody was translating into sign language for her. She was completely confused, and walks away from the scene frazzled.

Yuzuru, her sister, later tells her the entire scene.

The group stays away from each other for the summer, but Shoya and Shoko continue to meet for much of the break. During the meetings, Shoko becomes even more unsettled due to Shoya’s strange behavior. He’s been thinking of what the others said about him, and makes him reconsider things.

Then comes the dreadful moment. During a fireworks display, Shoko leaves early to “study.” Her sister sees through her excuse and sends Shoya after her. He finds her seconds away from plummeting over the edge of their apartment building. He barely saves her, landing himself in the river below in place of her.

For about a week, Shoya was in a coma after this event. Blames were passed around. Who was really responsible for him falling? Answer: Nobody in particular. He did it to save his closest friend from dying.

The Future is what you Make it

The traumatic events of this manga are hard to swallow. I had a hard time reading it at moments, but it is so important to make it to the end. What happens to Shoya and Shoko could very well happen to anyone. Bullying and disabilities are something we must live with as a society. And, accepting them and addressing them is the most important part. Both of these things led to the main characters suffering with some sort of mental disorder, most likely a form of depression or anxiety, but I’m not one to diagnose.

Shoya’s fear over opening up to others crippled him socially. He was unable to accept himself, and believed that others wouldn’t either. He had to learn how to move on from the past that was weighing him down, and not let others get under his skin. He did this through confiding in Shoko and the others, and ignoring the harsh words others said.

Shoko felt like she was responsible for the others fighting. When she learned of what happened, she decided to jump, because she felt she was only causing them problems. Shoya worked hard to heal the relationships they used to have, so when things went badly, she felt she broke what he had built. The group had been working on a movie, but when the topic of bullying Shoko came up, they dismissed the project. She took that as being a nuisance, and the sole reason why they left. She felt this same way back when she was in elementary school. She was hated by people, and she took it all as there being something wrong with her. Even back then, she told Yuzuru that she wanted to die.

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I think the most important takeaway from this is to never drown in your emotions. Confide in others. Tell them what’s on your mind. Chances are, if they truly care, they’ll do everything in their power to help you back on your feet. If Shoko were to have told Shoya how she felt about the topic, things would have gone differently. He had no idea. Yuzuru was aware of how Shoko felt, and tried helping by taking pictures of dead things. Strange, but, she figured that if Shoko saw how ugly it was to be gone from the world, she’d never commit suicide. Unfortunately, this didn’t work, but it did keep her from doing it earlier.

The ending of the manga was a breath of fresh air compared to the bulk of it. Everything is calm. Shoko reveals her dream to move to Tokyo to Shoya, who reacts negatively. He doesn’t want her to leave him, since he would no longer be able to keep an eye on her to keep her safe. He’d dedicated the life she saved to living for her. He does let her go, but is wary of it still. The others are also pursuing their dreams, many of them also moving to Tokyo.

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If Shoko and Shoya never met, I doubt they would still be alive. Definitely not pursuing their dreams. The connection they created through their suffering was what gave them new meaning. As I stated before, it’s important to have someone to lift you up when handling tough situations.

My Experiences

Shortly after I read this manga about two and a half years ago, I began having these strange panic attacks before bed (the attacks weren’t due to the manga, they just so happened to start after I read it, no worries). They went on for a good long while before I could figure out what it was. It was when I had one during the day that my mom figured it out.

For the most part, I kept these hidden from others. I was fearful of what people would say if I told them. They could tell me it was fake, or I was overreacting, or I’ll get over it. Instead, my mom told me I may need to see a therapist or be prescribed medication. This was worse than anything other people could say. When I was told this, I thought there was something horribly wrong with me. It was strange I thought this, since for years my brother had been taking medication for his ADHD, and I never thought much of that.

Since then, I’ve been able to adapt to it, and accept it as part of my life. I know my brain functions in a way that is not the same as others, and I’m okay with that now. I still haven’t gone to a therapist as my mom suggested, though I know I should. Things have died down a lot since that first attack, and I haven’t had a random one in about a year. I still have problems with calling people on the phone, or approaching a stranger in public to ask a question, or calming myself down when my friends don’t answer my texts right away.

I found that telling my friends and family about it did help, since the attacks became fewer and further in between once I told people.

My experience is nowhere near the severity of what occurs in this manga, but I can understand where the mangaka was coming from writing her characters the way she did. Neither felt the need to burden others with their problems, and in the end, it hurt them more than if they would have spoken up.

 

Hope you enjoyed this post! I absolutely adore this manga with all my heart, and felt it needed a mention again. I had to reread most of it again to be able to write this, which I’m totally fine with. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. Even though I spoiled much of the plot in this post, it’s not the same as experiencing what happens. It’s so memorable, and I feel that every person should be able to read it at some point in their life. If you’re not fond of reading backwards comics, the movie should be released in America soon, and hopefully to other parts of the world soon as well. From what I’ve heard, it does a decent job of highlighting the important topics discussed in the manga, and the artwork is just stunning.

Make sure to check out the other OWLS posts this month! Matt-in-the-Hat’s post was before mine, and new member, Miandro’s Side is after me.

Also, OWLS is doing a giveaway! You’d be entering to win a copy of Lighter than my Shadow by Katie Green, a book that highlights some of the disorders focused on in our blog tour this month.  All you have to do is comment on one of the tour posts! To enter, use this link.

See you guys!

Follow me on Twitter: @letstalkanime1

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My Thoughts On: Tokyo Ghoul Manga

My Thoughts On: Tokyo Ghoul Manga

I’m a scaredy cat, I will admit.  I don’t like horror.  I can’t stand the thought of intentionally being scared.  So, why would I try to read a manga that literally has “horror” as the genre on the back?  My best friend of about twelve years loves it, and yeah, she can handle a whole lot more than I can.  But I was reading it over her shoulder one day, and I decided to give it a try.  As of now, I’m on the 42nd chapter, in Volume 5.  This would be nearing the end of season one, I believe.  And before you ask, no, I don’t plan on watching the anime.  I’ve decided that I can handle black and white still drawings better than colored animations.

So, don’t think I’m ignorant or something as I’m talking about it, since I have absolutely no idea how the show varies from the manga except for season two, but I don’t think I’m that far yet.

First thoughts: I’m probably going to cry a lot reading this thing.  When I began reading, I knew that things got a little insane later on in the series, but I just wasn’t thinking about it.  And now, I’m getting further and further in, and it’s getting pretty intense already.  When I began though, I immediately became attached to the main character, which was not a good idea.  I’ve heard a lot about what comes later, and I’m not looking forward to it.

Also, I forget almost everyone’s name.  Except the main reoccurring characters.  So sometimes I have to sit there and figure out who it is.  tg

But that doesn’t reflect on the story at all.  I love the concept.  It’s so interesting, seeing as you don’t know whose side you should be on.  The humans are portrayed as being evil and violent toward the ghouls, and seeing as almost all of the main cast are ghouls, you aren’t even on the humans’ side for the most part.  It’s a weird feeling.  I find myself thinking, “Ah, the humans were behind this!” or “Oh no, the humans are going to kill them!” It’s strange.  But of course, if you’re familiar with the beginning of the series, the main protagonist isn’t entirely either, so that makes it even weirder.

Overall, it’s a really great story so far.  It’s well-done.  I constantly want to know what happens next, and it keeps me on my toes.  I have a hard time predicting what will happen, which is a good sign.  I just wish I wasn’t such a baby about getting scared, or I would watch the show too.  I already know the order of what happens is different in the manga since I compared it to the episode list.  Episode 4 is WAY after some of the other stuff that happens in the manga.

Also, I’m aware this isn’t really a fleshed-out (haha) post but I just felt like sharing some of my feelings on the story since it’s so popular.

I’ll probably have a different post later on this week about Fullmetal Alchemist, which I meant to do on October 3rd in honor of Fullmetal Alchemist Day, but I forgot about it.  But it will be coming soon.  And then after that, it’ll be something about the movie Your Name.  Not saying what exactly because I’m not even sure yet.

Anyway, just wanted to update on what’s to come after my hiatus that wasn’t planned.  Sorry about that.  Just been busy.

Thanks for reading my ramble!

Follow me on Twitter: @letstalkanime1

Both pictures from pixiv.com

Review: Fruits Basket

Review: Fruits Basket

I am genuinely sorry about the long, long wait.  I started working last Wednesday, and everything has been hectic since then.  I may need to cut the updates down to either once a week or once every other week just because of how busy I am and my lack of time.  But hopefully, I’ll have a cool post next week, since over the weekend I’m cosplaying at my local convention.

Just so you are aware, I’m writing this on a time limit.  I have about 45 minutes to complete this before I leave school and then I have a ton of stuff to do at home.

So, let’s see how this goes.

I chose to talk about this anime in particular because I have memories about it.  About 4 years ago, my friends came over to my house for a sleepover.  My friend had just started watching anime, and she knew one that we would enjoy watching.  It was on Netflix at the time, and I was kind of wary, since my parents had no idea that we would be watching anime.

But, we watched about three episodes and then my mom came in the room.  She watched

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Yuki Sohma

an entire episode with us and determined that whoever thought of it was high.  (She still thinks this and I don’t understand why)  Anyway, my dad also came upstairs and his literal words were, “Is this a ‘pretty boy’ anime?”  For those of you who don’t know the characters, Yuki was the one on screen, and here’s what he looks like.  It was a pretty safe guess on my dad’s part.

During that night we watched eight episodes.  And in the morning, we watched more and my brothers were in the room.  They loved it.  At the time, they were probably about 7 and 9 years old.

Not only was this show one of my first animes, but I have a very vivid memory of when I first watched it.

Onto the actually show itself, not my sentimental memories of it.

This show aired in Japan in 2001, and is now considered a classic according to Funimation’s website.  It’s very likely that you’ve never heard of it, I probably never would have if it weren’t for that day 4 years ago.

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Screenshot I took

At this point, I’ve watched every episode around three times, and I’ve read the manga all the way through once, along with reading some chapters multiple times.

Now, you may be asking why I didn’t put this on my My Top 5 Animes list, but I did that based on how often I revisit that show.  I also thought of putting this on my Top 5 Comedy Animes list, but I think there’s a better list for this show.

The show is very funny, but it’s probably equally sad, and character driven.

I’ll give a basic summary, since I’m sure some of you have never seen this show or even heard of it.  But at the time I’m writing this, I have about 15 minutes to complete this post.

Tohru Honda (the girl in the photo), was recently orphaned when her mom died in a car accident.  Since then, she lived with her grandfather, until the house needed work done on it.  She began living in a tent in the woods by herself.  One day, she found a house and was greeted by Yuki Sohma, the prince of her high school.  They walked to school, and she began to talk to him.  Later, as she emerged from her tent, him and his cousin find her and offer to let her stay at their house.  She starts living with them and finds out that their family has a curse placed on them.  She has to swear to never tell anyone else about this, since they are all ashamed by it.

As she lives with them for longer, she meets more members of the Sohma family and she discovers how strange of a family they are, not just because of their curse.

I know this doesn’t give a whole lot of information, but I don’t want to spoil much.  I’d rather you be surprised by what the curse is and everything, though by looking at the banner photo, you might be able to figure it out.

Oh, before I leave this, there’s a new manga the author started recently that picks up probably about 20 years after the manga completed.  Though, don’t read it if you haven’t read the manga, you’d be helplessly lost, there are a lot of new characters in the manga that aren’t in show.

The manga is Fruits Basket: Another, written by Natsuki Takaya, same mangaka as the

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Fruits Basket: Another cover

original Fruits Basket.  I’ve only read the first eight chapters but it’s decent, and makes me pretty happy since I loved the manga more than the show.  I shouldn’t say much more, since even the premise kind of spoils the original manga.  Anyway, just read the original, then the new series.  It’s all great, hope you enjoy it.

I’ve got about 5 minutes now, so I’ll update my new post asap, and I hope you enjoy this one.  Sorry about the entirely too long wait, I promise I’ll say if stuff changes.  For now, enjoy what I’ve put up.  Next post should be cool.  It’ll include pictures of my cosplay making process, plus hopefully some of my full cosplay.  Bye!

*I’m cosplaying as Maka Albarn from Soul Eater in case you didn’t know. :)*

Best Manga I’ve Ever Read

Best Manga I’ve Ever Read

Hello!  I’m starting to get the hang of this, so I have an idea of a schedule now.  Notice, I posted this on a Monday.  Last week it was Sunday, but I’ve decided that Mondays and Fridays will be my update days.  This may change depending on school, homework, and if I get the job I’ve applied to.  I’ll be updating on off-days if anything changes, but I promise I’ll give content to you.

That was just an update for you guys so you aren’t left in the dark about scheduling.

So, I know that this isn’t anime, but I’ll probably be talking about manga a lot as well.  And I seriously need to tell you guys about this manga if you’ve never heard of it, it’s insanely powerful.koe-no-katachi-2

The Japanese title is Koe no Katachi, which translates into A Silent Voice.  You can probably guess what it’s about just by the title.  A deaf person.  Which is correct, but it’s so much more than just that.  The deaf person isn’t even the main character.

This is Shoya Ishida, a third-year in high school.  When he and the deaf person, Shoko Nishimiya, were in elementary school, he bullied her.  At first, it was the whole class picking on her for being different than everyone.  As time went on, the rest of the class stopped and he was tshoyahe only one left picking on her.  Nobody liked him anymore.  He had a group of friends, but they abandoned him.

Shoko never hated him exactly, despite what he did to her.  She tried to be friends with him, but he declined harshly.  He stole her hearing aids and smashed them, causing about $14,000 in damage.  He threw the notebook she spoke with into a fountain.  He threatened her multiple times and started a fight with her.  But yet, she never wanted to bully him in any way.  She helped him when all of his friends began targeting him instead.

Eventually, her mother forced her to transfer to get away from the bullying.  And Shoya became the target.  He realized how horribly he treated her for something she couldn’t help, and endured all of the bullying.  He didn’t have any friends for five years after she transferred.

When the story comes to the present, he is still regretting everything he did to her.  He finds out that she comes to a bridge every Tuesday to feed the fish, and shokohe plans to come to her and apologize for it all, then leave and kill himself.  Fortunately, things go better than he plans and he becomes friends with her.

The story after this is him learning how to be friends with her and slowly gains more people he can trust.  There are multiple bumps in the road and he says rash things to his friends.  His friends aren’t exactly accepting of Shoko, so that’s another problem that appears multiple times throughout the story.  There is one girl in particular that I never liked but was accepted in the group anyway.  She really didn’t like either Shoya or Shoko at any point, and attacks Shoko at one point.  She’s one of my least favorite characters ever.

Basically, the story is amazing.  It’s quite realistic and sad at a lot of times.  Seeing the two main characters gain friendship is the most amazing thing, since the beginning was rough.  It’s definitely a feels-filled manga, I cried probably three or four times.  And like I’ve said, it’s very realistic, so if that’s not your thing, you don’t need to read it.  But I seriously recommend it to everyone.  You need to experience it.

Bullying is such a huge problem.  And people with disabilities are very common, and I feel they don’t get treated the way they should.  Shoko represents every kind person who has a hard time making friends.  She reminds me of my brother a lot.  He shows extreme kindness to absolutely everyone, but for some reason most people brush him off and ignore him.  He doesn’t have any disabilities, but normal people experience the same thing.  And some people with disabilities don’t have this problem.

So please, give it a chance, and if you’ve already read it, please tell me about your experience with it.

For those of you who don’t exactly like reading mangas, good news for you.  The movie version of the manga series is coming out on September 17, this year.  In only five days.  I don’t know where you could watch it, but if you get the chance, please watch it or even read it.  I know I’ll be searching for the subbed movie when it comes out.

For the pictures I used, the banner was the first cover for the manga, featuring them as elementary schoolers, and the others were from the new movie coming out.  I’ll put a panel from the the second manga down below.

That’s all I have for today.  If you want to tell me how you felt about the manga or if you have any other feedback, I’d love to hear about it.

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Chapter 6

 

I’ll probably post on Friday, to give me enough time for school, homework, and deciding on my next topic.  This will probably be the set schedule, but like I said, it may change, and I’ll tell you if it does.

Bye!

Koe no Katachi was written by Yoshitoki Oima and the movie is done by Kyoto Animation.

Pictures in order:

Banner: capsulecomputers.com.au

Movie poster: otakutale.com

Both character profiles: myanimelist.com

Manga page: moonlightmanga.files.wordpress.com