[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

Join OWLS!!!

 

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Black Butler Season One: Review

Black Butler Season One: Review

I’m a little late on this anime, I know. I just finished it a bit ago, and overall, I enjoyed it. I only began watching it because I had met Sebastian’s English voice actor at Youmacon last November. For some reason, I felt obligated to watch the show he is most known for, and I don’t regret my choice. In fact, I just got the DVD of season one in the mail a couple weeks ago. And I got to see Book of the Atlantic last week which was super weird and awesome.

It’s unique, definitely. It’s such a strange concept, and I honestly didn’t think I would like it. I’ve known of the show for years, but I’d always thought it was not for me. I got the first manga for Christmas and enjoyed reading it, so I continued to the show.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the show, it’s been quite popular for a while. But, I guess if you’re not aware of the concept, I’ll give a brief summary.

The main protagonist is Ciel Phantomhive, a twelve-year-old earl to the Phantomhive family and owner of the Funtum toy company. This is due to a tragedy that happened roughly two years before the beginning of the show. Someone set fire to his family’s estate, purposefully killing his parents. He is then tortured by a strange group of hooded people, forcing him to become vengeful and furious. He wishes to kill the people who killed his parents, but the problem is he’s only a child, and he needs extra help for this task. He forms a pact with a demon, whom he calls Sebastian. Sebastian becomes his butler, and will do anything Ciel commands him to do. When the people guilty of killing his parents is dead, Sebastian may have Ciel’s soul.

6Though this show seems dark and violent, it’s very lighthearted for the majority of the show. Nearing the end it becomes much darker and serious.

I’m not really sure what part of the show I enjoyed the most. I enjoy the comedy, historical setting, supernatural creatures, and action that it offers. There are many aspects of this show that are unique to itself, and that’s what makes it stand out so much. I can say for sure this is the only anime I’ve watched set in Victorian England, and has the youngest main character from what I can recall. The fight scenes are very interesting, due to the unconventional techniques Sebastian uses when fighting. It’s quite something to watch a butler throw butter knives into people’s heads.

The premise is weird, I will admit. There are also a slew of bizarre characters. Obviously, we have the revenge-driven twelve-year-old who runs an entire company, and a demon acting as a butler. But the other characters that work for the Phantomhive manor are Mey-Rin, a clumsy maid with terrible eyesight, Finnigan, a gardener with superhuman 1strength, Baldroy, a chef who burns anything he touches, and Tanaka, a butler who doesn’t do much but sit and drink tea. I think these characters are what keeps the show from being too much of a downer. Sebastian constantly has to pay close attention to their antics, and often must fix anything they fail at, which is almost every task they are assigned.

Other characters are Elizabeth, Ciel’s fiancee, Grell, a flamboyant reaper, The Undertaker, a not-so-serious grim reaper, Pluto, a werewolf (sort of), and yet many more. I wouldn’t say this show is heavy on character development, since for the most part, they all remain static throughout the show. Though, there are some themes that are thought-provoking.

Considering the entire end goal is revenge, there are a lot of branches of this topic that can be explored. If Ciel were to change his mind about avenging his parents, he would still be stuck due to the pact he made. It’s clear that this is not the best solution for his grief, but he is still a child, and to him, that was his only option. Throughout the show he is told that this may not be a good idea. He knows that going through with it will lead to his death, and he’s told he will be missed, but he doesn’t think he will be. He feels he won’t be happy living without his parents, or with the person responsible for their deaths to be living. He often says, “I forgot how to smile,” which is a strange thing for a child to say. He thinks he will never feel happiness again. It makes me feel bad for him until I realize how much of a jerk he is.

This brings me to my next point about the show: it’s hard to tell who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy. Yes, Ciel and Sebastian are the main characters, but when you look at their characters, they’re kind of terrible. Obviously, Sebastian is a demon, which automatically puts him on the bad side, and though Ciel seems like an innocent child, 4he’s far from it. He could be nice if he wanted to be, but instead, he chooses to boss those who work for him around more than he should. Practically to the point where he doesn’t end up lifting a finger. Yes, they agreed to work for him, but he doesn’t hardly give anyone a break. He’s constantly unhappy with their work, no matter how hard they try. He never seems to give a thank you or a chance for them to relax. I don’t exactly hate Ciel, since all people and characters have their flaws, but I do wish he was a bit more lenient. And, due to his past and age, it makes sense he would take advantage of them.

On to Sebastian. He’s a pretty cool dude, I’ll have to say, but this would be due to his immortality and demon powers. He is shown to be able to do practically anything, and when he gets hurt, he heals almost immediately. He has an extreme amount of patience 2for what Ciel makes him put up with. This is most likely due to being a demon, but it’s still somewhat impressive. Ciel is a nightmare to handle, along with the other servants of the Phantomhive manor. He basically has to run the place himself at some times. I ended up feeling sympathy for him, though he’s a demon.

One thing I want to say about Book of the Atlantic (don’t worry it’s not that much of a spoiler): at the end, after everything that had happened and Sebastian had saved the day (as he always does), Ciel tells him to take a break. Which is probably the most kind thing he’s ever said to Sebastian. I was honestly shocked when I heard it. This never happens in the show. Actually, Ciel is a lot more kind in the movie now that I think about it. I won’t say much more than that for those of you wanting to watch it in the future.

And, something about this fandom as well: I know a ton of people ship Ciel and Sebastian, but even if I completely ignore the wrongness of it, I still can’t understand 5where that makes sense. I feel they have an understanding of each other, but there’s nothing intimate about it. This doesn’t make me angry with the people who do ship them, but I just don’t understand it.

In all, I entirely enjoy this show in all of its silliness and uniqueness. I do suggest it to others, though I would say it’s not for everyone. And, it’s not my absolute favorite but it’s definitely near the top of my list. There’s just something charming about its quirkiness.

I hope you enjoyed this review, and again I’m sorry for not posting more, but for sure there will be a post on Friday, which will be my very first tour post with OWLS! If you don’t know what OWLS is, it’s a group of anime loving, kind people who accept everyone for who they are, what they believe, and what they like. There’s a blog tour every month focused around a theme and bloggers can participate in when they are part of the group. This month’s is TEAM in honor of June being Pride/LGBT+ month and I will be participating this month, along with next month, so look out for those!

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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