How far will you go, to make up for the mistakes of youth?
Five years ago, Shouko Nishimiya, a girl with impaired hearing, joins a class made up of mostly normal students. Although she tries to reach out to her classmates, her disability makes her an easy target for bullying. Eventually things escalate to the point where Shouko is forced to transfer out of the school.
However the class and its homeroom teacher refuse to take responsibility for this, and instead push all the blame unto one of the bullies in question, Shouya Ishida. Because of being turned into a scapegoat, he is ostracized by his former friends, and spends the rest of his elementary and middle school alone. Although he becomes both angry and bitter at how things unfolded, his years of isolation have also given him time to realize the gravity of what he had done to Nishimiya. Quietly, in his own way, he tries to make amends, but on some level sees the futility of it. After all, how can one make it up to someone, when he has no idea just where she was after all these years?
And then, as if by sheer chance, he runs into Shouko again. Shouya now has his chance, but will whatever he do in the present really make up for what he did in the past? He wants to find out anyway, and maybe, just maybe, finally feel the shape of Shouko's voice.
Translated as The Shape of Voice
, Koe no Katachi (聲の形) initially started out life as a one-shot in the February edition of Bessatsu Shounen Magazine. While it won the 80th Weekly Shounen Magazine Newbie Best Mangaka Award, its subject matter made it difficult for publication on any manga magazine until it was picked up after months of legal dispute by the August 2013 edition of Weekly Shounen Magazine. It's also sponsored by the Japanese Federation of the Deaf.
The manga has been licensed by Crunchyroll and released as A Silent Voice
; it can be read here
This manga contains examples of:
- Academic Alpha Bitch: Shouya sees Kawai as one, and he has plenty of reason to think this, considering that most of Kawai's actions are made with her academic reputation in mind.
- Adults Are Useless: The elementary school teacher for both Shouya and Shouko is incapable of stopping the bullying, and even at points is outright encouraging of it (laughing at Shouya's jokes about Shouko's deafness, then later giving the prompt that has the rest of the class turn Shouya into a scapegoat). The other regularly appearing adults aren't much better - Shouko's mother is extremely harsh although in her case, she acts that way in the hopes that it'll make Shouko a stronger person, while Shouya's mother is busy and mostly ignorant of what her son is up to - for example, she doesn't figure out that he was suicidal until a few days after he originally planned to kill himself.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Shouko was bullied for being deaf, and the bullying would later on turn to Shouya because everyone else needed someone they can heap the blame on.
- All-Loving Hero: Nishimiya Shouko, who forgives her former bully, and accepts his offer for friendship.
- Allergic to Routine: Young Shouya is in a constant state of fighting off boredom. The biggest flaw of this is that he tries to fight it off with no concern for the consequences either to himself or the people around him.
- Ambiguous Disorder: It is hinted that Kawai is pathologically Narcissist. Exaggerated sense of self-importance, strong need for admiration, apparent lack of genuine empathy. Now add a touch of martyr/victim complex.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Shouko to Ishida. Unfortunately, he completely misunderstood it due to her Speech Impediment. The result so embarrassed her that She didn't see him again for a couple weeks.
- The Atoner: Shouya after the Time Skip.
- Taken Up to Eleven in Chapter 43. He notices a scar by Nishimiya's ear, from when he ripped out her hearing aid when they were younger, and he wonders if he ever properly apologized to her for that. He does this while falling to what he recognizes might be his death, which happened because he saved Nishimiya from a suicide attempt.
- Berserk Button: For Mashiba, bullies. When he sees bullying happening in front of him, he seems compelled to throw something. Though he does at least only throw things on the ground when he sees younger bullies. A teacher that's fondly reminiscing about bullying, though, can take it in the face.
- Bifauxnen: Yuzuru, Shouko's little sister, makes such a convincing boy that Shouya actually believed her when she claims to be Shouko's boyfriend.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Post-Time Skip Ueno is seen working at a cat cafe and seems a whole lot nicer than before. The next few chapters brutally destroy that assumption as she tears into Nagatsuka for misinterpreting the love letter to Ishida and then proceeds to try and resume bullying Nishimiya. Ironically, Chapter 50 revealed that five years ago Ueno started seeing Nishimiya as this, believing she's using her disability to get Ishida's attention.
- Let's not forget Kawai. Not only do we have the Wounded Gazelle Gambit below, but when Nagatsuka tries to intervene in a shouting match between her and Ueno, she calls him fat and disgusting.
- Blatant Lies: Nagatsuka is a habitual liar, and it's noted that he has a reputation for it. His lies are comparatively benign; he seems to lie solely to bolster reputations (his own and Ishida's). It finally backfires on him in Chapter 48 - he's completely honest about how Shouya's coma came about, which probably would bolster Shouya's reputation; however, nobody believes him.
- Break the Cutie: Shouko Nishimiya, a Cute Mute deaf girl spent her first year in school being constantly mocked, bullied and harassed, with her every effort to make friends rejected and destroyed without fail. Is a subversion , she's not the Cutie broken by it, one of her tormenters is. Ishida Shouya, ends up as the scapegoat for his entire class, taking all the blame for Shouko's torment and spends the next few years suffering treatment almost worse then Shouko at the hands of students and teachers, well also bearing horrible guilt over what he did to Shouko before she left school. He completely shuns his class and foresees nothing but a life of endless suffering ahead for him, which eventually makes him plan to kill himself early in the series.
- Played straight later on when, on a ferris wheel, Ueno tries to put things behind them by saying that she hates Shouko, Shouko hates her, so they should shake on it and declare peace. Shouko responds that she hates herself.
- Shouko's self-hatred takes a turn for the worse after Ishida ends up fighting with the group and consequently loses all of his friendships. She believes that nothing good will come of Ishida spending time with her, and eventually tries to commit suicide after spending her mother's birthday with him and her family.
- Breaking the Fellowship: The film crew dissolves after Ishida tears into each of its members. The later chapter set during the festival shows what each of the kids are doing during the fireworks display, and most of them are shown to be alone.
- Broken Bird: Ishida and Shouko. But specially Shouko.
- Brutal Honesty: When the topic turns to himself, Ishida does not mince words about his past errors and failures - this is made perfectly clear post-Time Skip, when he's completely up front with Nishimiya, including the fact that he hates himself.
- Ueno seems to believe that this is the best way to go about things compared to bottling up your true feelings.
- The Bully: A whole group of them, and boy were they nasty. What happens to them after Shouko leaves the school due to the bullying though sets each of them apart however. Five years on, Ishida had turned into The Atoner due to the guilt he felt for the nasty things had done to Nishimiya, and for a time was actually actively suicidal due to said guilt; Ueno has remained mostly unrepentant but now has Green-Eyed Monster on top of her already massive issues with Nishimiya; Kawai seems to have moved on, and doesn't think much of what she did during elementary; Shimada sees Ishida as a complete eyesore and does everything to completely disassociate himself from him.
- Butt Monkey: Nagatsuka, who sits behind Ichida in class. He's introduced as eating alone, and Ishida becomes properly introduced to him when defending Nagatsuka from some social bullying. Most others are outright dismissive of pretty much everything he says and still outright insult him to his face; he later confides that Ishida is his first friend.
- The Champion: Ishida is this for Nagatsuka. His idea for a movie is based on how the two of them first met, with him imagining Ishida as tall, athletic and heroic?
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Ueno. Not played for laughs, and actually borders on Yandere and Removing the Rival / a non-lethal variant of Murder the Hypotenuse. She is actually aware that her personality and her conflicts with Shouko just pushes Ishida further away, but doesn't know any other way to handle things.
- Cute Mute: Nishimiya Shouko is deaf and as such communicates, or at least tries to, with a notebook. This failed early on, because her fellow students saw her muteness and the notebook as reasons to mock and torment her. She is able to speak, but her deafness leads to her words being extremely strained and extremely hard to understand.
- A Day in the Limelight: Several members of Ishida's social circle get spotlight chapters after Ishida is hospitalized with a coma. So far, this includes Nagatsuka, Sahara, and Kawai.
- Despair Event Horizon: Shouya crosses this after being abandoned by his old friends, and being bullied himself for five years. He has sunk so low that he contemplates on killing himself.
- The Dog Bites Back:
- When Shouya bullied Shouko several days before her transfer, she snapped and fought him back so relentlessly that the teachers had to break up their ensuing brawl.
- Mashiba sees some girls picking on another kid at a park by forcing the kid to hold their backpacks while they play. He responds to this by chucking their backpacks at them before telling Shouya that when he was younger he was in the same position as the picked on kid.
- Drama Bomb: While the entire manga can be very depressing, chapter 38 is where everything goes From Bad to Worse. To summarize everything up to chapter 44, Kawai exposes Shouya as the one who bullied Shouko when they were in elementary school which eventually leads to a heated argument that ends with Shouya disowning all his friends. Shouya tries his best so that he and Shouko can enjoy their summer together, but she is driven into a Despair Event Horizon, seeing herself as the cause for all of Shoya's misfortune. Then, despite Hope Spot in which he joins the Nishimiya family for a fireworks show, Shouko attempts suicide. Shouya is able to save her, but he ends up falling off the balcony and is rushed to the hospital. And while Shouya remains comatose at a hospital, Ueno beats up Shouko.
- Driven to Suicide: After being pushed deep into despair, Shouya attempts to do this, but after meeting Nishimiya again it becomes Happily Failed Suicide.
- Nishimiya attempts this by jumping off a balcony after Ishida loses all his friends again, and she feels responsible over it. Ishida saves her at a great cost.
- The reveal in chapter 45 is that Ishida had pretty much driven her to suicide in elementary school due to all the bullying.
- Dysfunction Junction: Most, if not all, of the main characters seem to have some form of mental issues. We have the protagonist Ishida, who has an almost suicidally massive guilt-complex and whose life is dedicated to make the girl he used to bully happy. Said girl, Nishimiya, is a disabled Extreme Doormat who hates herself because she thinks her presence makes things worse for everyone else. Their "friends" include a resident loudmouth who likes to show-off to hide his own lack of self-respect (Nagatsuka), a delusional narcissist who seems incapable of believing that she could do any wrong (Kawai), a seemingly normal but actually very bitter Bully Hunter who himself is a former victim of bullying (Mashiba), and a violently self-entitled Yandere who wishes to monopolize the protagonist's attention but is ultimately too passive to do anything to make the protagonist like her more (Ueno).
- Early-Bird Cameo: Mashiba appears, unnamed, trying to talk to Shouya after his suspension long before he becomes an important character. He also appears as early as chapter 6, as one of the few people who would make an effort the engage Shouya at his most misanthropic and suicidal (at the time, Shouya merely dismisses his hair).
- Easily Forgiven:
- When Shouya meets Shouko again after five years, she forgives him and even wants to be his friend. The problem is the girl's mother, sister and Ishida himself aren't so forgiving of his actions.
- Despite being one of the main people who caused his bullying back in elementary school, Shouya decides after talking to her a few times in high school that Kawai seems to be pretty nice person. Later on she joins his group of friends. However, after the Drama Bomb, he's far less forgiving of Kawai.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Shouya's old friends turn on him, the moment he becomes a scapegoat.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: On the chapters following her attempted suicide,Shouko wears her hair in an unkempt fashion, reflecting her current demeanor.
- Extreme Doormat: What Ueno and most others see Sahara as. Which makes her throwing herself inbetween Ueno and Shouko to stop the former's attack on the latter and standing her ground despite Ueno's threats that much more surprising and awesome.
- The Faceless: A lot of characters in the manga are depicted with "X"'s covering their faces, used to depict Shouya's disgust with and isolation from them. He sees them fall away one by one as they start to open up. In some cases, they come back, such as when Ishida sees Ueno attempt to bully Nishimiya again.
- Four Is Death: Ishida planned on killing himself in April. It looks like he planned specifically for April 15th, so that he'd be discovered the next day - four times four.
- Shouko's suicide attempt happens on her mother's 44th birthday.
- Frameup: Shouko's sister takes a picture of Shouya jumping off a bridge and a news story portrays him as a reckless delinquent, getting him suspended as a result. In reality, Shouya was jumping off to recover Shouko's notebook, but nobody is willing to listen since he did regularly jump off bridges for fun in his childhood. Plus, as Shouya notes, regardless of his reason for jumping off the bridge, doing so would result in a suspension.
- Foreshadowing: Early in the series, one of friends comments on how his habit of jumping off the bridge was going to come back and bite him in the butt someday. Although the frame-up is a Lighter and Softer take on the foreshadowing - Shouya's planned suicide was to be a jump off a bridge. Further, it takes a darker turn in Chapter 43, when Shouya's attempt to prevent Shouko's suicide succeeds, but the effort carries Shouya over a balcony's edge into water.
- A Friend in Need: Nagatsuka proves himself this in chapter 44. Despite the falling out described under Breaking the Fellowship, in which Ishida laid into nearly everyone, not only does he make the effort to visit Ishida when the hospital allows visitors, but he calls up everyone to get them to visit as well. Carried further in chapter 46, his spotlight chapter; he's the first one to reach out to Nishimiya and support her after Ishida's coma.
- Friendless Background: Shouya grows up with no friends once they turn their back on him. Nagatsuka similarly has no friends before Shouya sticks up for him. Mashiba reveals in Chapter 34 that he suffered from this in middle school; it leaves him intolerant of bullies to the present day.
- The Ghost: Ishida's older sister. She hasn't even been named yet, and two of her lovers and the daughter she had with the second one have had more screen time than she has had.
- Green-Eyed Monster:
- Ueno, full force. Showcased spectacularly during the group trip to the theme park, where she not only lays it on Shouko, but explodes on Ishida as well because of his concern for Shouko.
Ishida: It matters to me!
Ueno: Why does it matter to you?!?
- Played for Laughs with Nagatsuka, who starts acting like a jealous lover whenever Ishida talks with anyone besides him.
- Downplayed but present for Shouko as well. When she sees Ueno with Shouya (when the former's attraction is so obvious that even Yuzuru figures it out almost instantly), she changes her hairstyle and tries confessing her love to Shouya. Shouya completely misses it, though his attitude towards Ueno makes it obvious soon enough that Shouko has nothing to be jealous over.
- There are strong hints that Kawai is this regarding Mashiba. She decides to become involved with Shouya again almost immediately after he accepts talking with Mashiba. She makes an effort to be sure that no other girl gets paired with Mashiba (not too hard as the others, if they care about guys romantically, seem interested in Shouya). And when she sees that the girls in her class think little of her, she thinks it's because they're interested in Mashiba as well.
- Hates Small Talk: Shouya has this opinion towards other students before he meets with Shouko again, being disgusted with the things they discuss. Even as he starts gaining friends again, he doesn't initiate it.
- Heel Realization: For Ishida, when Nishimiya transferred out of his school. That's when he realized that her daily ritual of cleaning abusive graffiti from the classroom wasn't her attempt at dealing with bullying against her - it was her trying to prevent, as much as she could, bullying against him. And yet, he kept trying to bully her right up until her departure.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Ishida manages to save Nishimiya as she's jumping off her balcony, but ends up falling off that same balcony and is gravely injured in the process.
- Huge Schoolgirl: Sahara, a girl back in elementary school who transferred out after suffering constant teasing due to helping Shouko, became one by the time Shouko and Shouya reconnect with her in high school. The fact that she wears boots with what looks like three-inch heels to school just makes her even taller.
- Hypocrite: "Please, don't fabricate memories! Face the truth!" So says Kawai, who, unlike Shouya, refuses to accept her role in Shouko's bullying.
- I Hate Past Me: Shouya has heavy issues about this, to the extent that he imagines himself stabbing his kid self at one point.
- Ice Queen: Shouko and Yuzuru's mother, who is very authoritarian, very emotionally detached, and shows complete disdain for Shouya.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Slowly, but surely after her mother's death, becoming a little nicer towards Yuzuru and Shouya.
- If I Can't Have You: A mildly tamer and non-villian version of this. In Chapter 50, Ueno claims that she would rather have Shouya never wake up from his coma, than have him pick Shouko over her.
- Important Haircut: In Chapter 31, it's shown that after Shouko got her hair cut by Shouya's mom, her mom was going to cut her hair that way she saw fit, believing that boy-length hair would make Shouko look stronger. In retaliation Yuzuru cut her own long hair right in front of her family, giving herself the boyish hairstyle her mom wanted Shouko to have and she's kept it ever since.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Kawai. She starts to break when she starts reading posts where other students talk bad about her.
- Insane Troll Logic:
- How Ueno interprets the situation with Nishimiya: it's Nishimiya's fault that Ueno and her cohort weren't able to understand her during elementary, which was why (Ueno) was fully justified in bullying her, and all the problems that came afterward for Ishida and herself were also Nishimiya's fault. Oh, and Ishida being close to Nishimiya and hating Ueno in the present? Her fault too!
- So why is Shouko without a father? Because her father was urged by his parents to divorce her mother because she gave birth to the deaf Shouko. What's more, they say the blame for Shouko's deafness lies either with Shouko's mother or Shouko herself in a past life. What is worse is that the reason Shouko's deaf is because of an illness her mom caught while she was pregnant. And the illness came from him.
- Interrupted Suicide: Ishida walks in just as Nishimiya is jumping off her balcony, he manages to grab her and save her, but is gravely injured in the process.
- It's All About Me: Kawai. To the point that she manages to make Shouya's accident and Shouko's suffering be about her instead.
- It's All My Fault: Both Ishida and Nishimiya blame themselves (not each other, though) for all of the difficulties in the lives around them. Ishida arguably is right about at least some of it (at least, the parts that stem from the results of his bullying years ago), although he actively blames his actions to the present if they're not perfect.
- Jerkass: Oh, aren't there a plenty. First, there was Ishida and his friends as kids. After he was bullied for several years, he grew out of it. His friend Ueno, did not. However, even worse than them is Shouko's father and paternal grandparents, who divorce her mother when they find out their grandaughter is deaf, blaming her mother the whole time.
- Jerkass Has a Point: For all of his shallowness, Takeuchi-sensei is right about one thing — everything that happened in the past did change Shouya for the better.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Ueno.
- Karma Houdini: After the major Drama Bomb in chapter 38, many characters end up suffering in their own way. Everyone except Kawai, the one who instigated the Drama Bomb to begin with!
- Shimada and Hirose suffer absolutely no consequences for bullying Shouko and later Shouya, especially when they go out of their way to make Shouya as friendless as possible.
- Kick the Dog: Ueno lays a severe beating on Nishimiya after she finds out Ishida is in a coma. Nishimiya does not even bother to defend herself.
- Kids Are Cruel: The plot was jump-started due to this.
- Love Letter Lunacy: Played more for drama than usual. Ueno tries to slip a love letter to Ishida in a pouch given out by the cat cafe where she works. It gets mixed up with the pouch that Nagatsuka got, which resulted in him briefly thinking that Ueno liked him. He ended up on the end of a fairly brutal verbal beatdown from Ueno for that. Plus, Ueno discovered that Ishida planned on giving the pouch to Nishimiya anyhow, which meant that her love note wouldn't have gotten to him anyhow, likely fueling her Green-Eyed Monster tendencies more.
- Mama Bear: Ms. Nishimiya in the last panel of chapter 44 and the beginning of chapter 45. After everything Ueno has done to Shouko, it's more than gratifying to see the elder Nishimiya fight in her daughter's defense. Also serves as Character Development; after asserting for so long that Shouko needs to stand up for herself and not accept help, she's finally aiding her daughter when Shouko is outmatched.
- Meaningful Echo: Chapter 1 begins with a brief scene in the present - Ishida seeing Nishimiya and noting how he hated her. In Chapter 6, the manga returns to the scene and briefly goes to Nishimiya's view... where she notes that she hates Ishida. Another echo happens when Nishimiya tells Ueno, who outright says that she hates Nishimiya, that Nishimiya hates herself - just as Ishida admitted to Nishimiya when he found her again that he hated himself a few pages after she mentally notes that she hates him.
- A more pleasant example is that Nishimiya tries to make a particular sign to everyone, including Ishida, during the flashback. In the present day, it's finally explained which sign it was - asking to be friends - when Ishida uses it to Nishimiya. It's the first indication that he does understand Nishimiya's "voice" and is able to see things from her view.
- The first meeting between Ishida's mother and Nishimiya's mother involved the former forced to bow in apology to the latter, after Shouya had destroyed several of Shouko's hearing aids (to the tune of 1,700,000 yen of damages). Years later, Nishimiya's mother fully takes the Pose of Supplication to Ishida's mother, after Shouya saves Shouko from a suicide attempt, but the effort causes him to fall and slip into a coma.
- Memento MacGuffin: Shouko's notebook from elementary school serves to represent her experience and memories from that time. While Shouko's mother interprets the notebook as being full of pain and suffering (she's not far from the truth), Shouya and Shouko think otherwise.
- Mixed Ancestry: Maria, Shouya's niece post-timeskip, is half-Japanese, half-Afro-Brazillian.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In chapter 45, in the aftermath of the fighting, Ueno breaks down in tears and admits that all the things she's done just push Ishida away from her, and that her most recent move (attacking Shouko when the latter has a sprained or broken arm) might be final impetus for him to push her away for good.
- Name's the Same: In-Universe, nicknames, actually - Ishida and Nishimiya are nicknamed "Sho-chan" by their mothers. In the present, it serves to underline the similarities between the two. In the past, it seemed to serve as one of the reasons that Ishida decided to bully Nishimiya.
- Narcissist: Kawai is basically a textbook example and comes off far closer to the real life version, an actual personality disorder, than the more common fictional version of simply being in love with oneself.
- Nightmare Face: Kawai's reaction◊ when she overlooks a student's text criticizing her isn't pretty...
- Never My Fault:
- Ueno is utterly unrepentant of what she did during elementary, and what's more, blames Shouko for everything. Also, as shown in flashback, Shouko's father - when it's pointed out that Shouko's deafness was due to an illness that her mother caught from him, he says that she should have been vaccinated rather than take any responsibility.
- Most of the key players in Shouko's bullying definitely suffers from this, but none more so than Kawai. While Kawai didn't instigate the bullying like Shouya and Ueno, Kawai did nothing to help Shouko and laughed along with them, but refused to acknowledge she had any part in the bullying and it's even her crying when Shouya points it out that gets him labeled as the class' scapegoat. Years later, she still refuses to believe she had any part in Shouko's bullying. Chapter 48 shows that it's practically pathological.
- Nice Girl: Sahara is far and away the nicest, most understanding character in the series.
- No Place for Me There: Ishida wants to do right by Nishimiya, but he questions whether he truly has the right to be happy as well, due to the fact that he feels responsible that she didn't have such good times in the first place.
- Oblivious to Love: Ishida has consistently been ignorant of female attraction. When he was in sixth grade, he was likely just too immature to realize that Ueno was crushing on him. In the present day, Ueno and Nishimiya both have feelings for him. While the fact that Ishida can't stand Ueno anymore likely greatly contributes to his ignorance of her attraction, his obliviousness about Nishimiya likely stems from his own self-loathing.
- Odd Friendship: Seriously, did anyone expect that Sahara and Ueno would become friends come high school, especially since both are on opposite sides of the equation with regards to Nishimiya?
- Parental Abandonment: You never see Shouko and Yuzuru's father. And when you do see him in a flashback in chapter 32, you find out that it's because he was urged by his parents to divorce Shouko's mother for giving birth to a deaf daughter. Although it hasn't come up yet, Ishida's father is similarly never seen.
- School Bullying Is Harmless: Averted. The manga goes to great lengths to show the brutally realistic depiction of bullying, not only focusing on the students but also on everybody that participates in it, including teachers that acknowledge the situation but do nothing to resolve it. In fact, the reason why it took so long to be serialized was because a group attempted to raise a legal dispute on the grounds that it showed a negative side of Japan's society.
- Self-Serving Memory: Nagatsuka's first script draft plays out like one of these, with the pivotal meeting that led to his friendship with Ishida turning from the latter meekly trying to deflect a bully's attention and scorn from the former into an action-filled sequence, complete with a Take That against Ueno for scorning Nagatsuka's feelings. It even turns Ishida's meek distraction, "Uh... you can borrow my bike," into a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner (albeit about a car). Played with in that it primarily tries to make Ishida look better instead, although Nagatsuka does look cooler in the story.
- A version that isn't Played for Laughs like the above example is Kawai in Chapter 48 - her memories of past events include her being completely supportive of Nishimiya, trying to stop the bullying against her, being bullied by Ishida herself, later being bullied by Ueno, and in general being the perfect child. Even if you accept that she wasn't actively bullying Nishimiya in middle school, she did laugh along with the bullying, has been a complete Jerkass to Nagatsuka (including refusing to back him up when he asserted Ishida's bravery and both hitting and belittling him when he tried to prevent a fight involving her), and slaps Nishimiya when the latter is trying to think of a way to make things better.
- Shadow Archetype: Shouya has changed, Ueno hasn't. She now represents a lot of what Shouya hates about his past.
- Not So Different: Shouya realizes that Ueno trying to get him to make up with a former friend of his, Shimada, is exactly what he did when he helped Sahara and Shouko meet up after years and become friends again. This realization doesn't please him.
- Shipper on Deck:
- Easy to miss, but Kawai seems to be actively pushing Ishida and Ueno back together. Which is... disturbing, when one remembers what they did as a group several years before to Nishimiya, and especially now when Ishida and Nishimiya are getting closer.
Kawai: (after Ueno runs off in anger from the theme park) Geez! I went to the trouble of taking her here on purpose!
- Yuzuru makes her attempts at trying to get Shouko and Shouya together not at all subtle.
- Stepford Smiler: Shouko. Chapter 44 reveals she was this between her bullying by Ishida and her actual suicide attempt. She might not be this anymore.
- Switching P.O.V.: The majority of the story is told from Ishida's perspective, but after he ends up in a coma, it changes into a series of rotating chapters told from the perspectives of each of the other kids.
- Time Skip: 5 years.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: In a manga where a character is either a Jerk Ass or The Woobie, Shouko and Yuzuru's grandmother is one of the few truly good characters in the manga who lends moral support to her granddaughters, especially Yuzuru. Sadly, the last time she's seen is in a framed picture on top of her coffin one chapter after she's introduced.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Ueno. Five years on, Ishida can't stand the sight of her, and what's more, is clearly attracted and openly defending the girl whose life she utterly wrecked years before.
- Unstoppable Rage: When Ueno finds out that Shouya was sent to the hospital for trying to save Shouko for an attempted suicide, Ueno lets out all her rage on Shouko both physically and verbally and doesn't stop despite pleas from Sahara, even taunting her after she fails to move aside. It takes a slap from Shouko's mom to get her to stop.
- What You Are in the Dark: Sahara struggles with this question in her spotlight chapter. For all that she is unquestionably the nicest peer Shouko had in middle school, Sahara was hurt so bad by being taunted by classmates that she just hid in the nurse's office for much of the year, as opposed to standing up for Shouko. She also feels guilty that she never sought out Shouko after the latter transferred or asked Shouko how she was holding up. She explicitly compares herself to Shouya, who she felt made that effort in the present day despite what he had done. She also questions herself as to what would have happened if she had been there instead of Shouya when Shouko attempted suicide. She doesn't have a satisfying answer to that.
- Work Off the Debt: Shouya ends up having to work for 5 years to pay for the hearing aids he took off Shouko. And then his mom burns it by accident.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Kawai's main tactic. When everyone turned on Ishida in elementary school, she immediately turned on the tears when he tried to bring up how she let the bullying happen. In a later chapter, when Ishida again brings up how she was just as bad as him, she turns on the tears and announces to the entire class that Ishisa was the one who bullied Nishimaya.