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A Silent Voice Vol. #02 Manga Review

3 min read

A Silent Voice Volume 2 CoverA Silent Voice’s second volume takes us into new territory: redemption.

Creative Staff:
Story/Art: Yoshitoki Oima
Translation/Lettering: Steven LeCroy
Editing: Ben Applegate

What They Say:
It’s been five years since Shoya Ishida bullied Shoko Nishmiya so badly she left their elementary school, because of one simple difference between them: Shoya can hear, and Shoko can’t. In the intervening time, Shoya’s life has changed completely. Shunned by his friends, Shoya’s longed for the chance to make up for his cruelty. When it finally comes, will he find the voice to tell Shoko he’s changed? And will Shoko listen?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I’ve talked a lot about redemption in my Angel & Faith reviews. That’s a comic that is largely about redemption. This is a different kind of redemption, and a kind I find much more touching.

Shoya is 17 now, he’s questioning what a friend even is, and everything he did to Shoko weighs heavily on his heart. Shoko’s mother says the best line though: “You can’t erase the pain you caused her.” Of course he can’t. No amount of being friends or kind acts is going to make up for what he did. Nothing really is, but a lot can temper what he’s done. Little things like learning sign language just so they can communicate and bigger things like jumping off a bridge and into the river to make sure she’s alright can go a long way.

Shoko’s acceptance of Shoya is almost ridiculous, but it shows what kind of person she is. Shoko is kind to a fault. It’s the only reason she’s able to accept Shoya back into her life at all. She’s also perceptive. These little actions say to her that Shoya is trying to change, and he is! But Shoko’s sister, Yuzuru, isn’t having any of it. She still remembers everything that Shoko went through as a result of Shoya—scenes that are, as of now, kept from the reader.

It doesn’t help that her mom is kind of a terrible person. She seems to not understand what being deaf even is, which is understandable to a point. But she also doesn’t seem to sympathize with her daughter almost at all. Her caring seems to only go so far as to try to find them when they’re missing, but she knows something at least: Shoko might go to Shoya’s. And she remembers where he lives. These are more little things that tell me that, while she might be outwardly ignorant or even cruel toward Shoko, she does care. There’s (hopefully) going to be a moment between Shoko and her mom that leads each to a better understanding of the other.

It is true what they say, that actions speak louder than words. The action that turned Shoko around seems to be Shoya learning sign language. The action that simultaneously turned Yuzuru and their mother around seems to be running around in the rain looking for Shoko, who is looking for Yuzuru. The woman who slapped Shoya square in the face almost thanked him for finding her daughter. Almost.

In Summary:
There’s still a lot of work for Shoya to do to earn Yuzuru and her mother’s trust, but he’s getting there…slowly, but surely. But this comic is hardly about redemption or trying to right what’s wrong. Shoya knows there’s no righting what’s wrong, but Shoko knows there’s no use dwelling on the past to someone who’s trying to make himself better. Lending the bicycle was the first little step outside of Shoko. His motives might not be entirely selfless, but who ever is?

Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: July 28th, 2015
MSRP: $10.99