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Manga / A Silent Voice

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How far will you go to make up for the mistakes of youth?
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Shoko Nishimiya, an elementary school-girl with impaired hearing, transfers into 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, the physical and emotional abuse escalates to the point where she is forced to leave.

The class and teacher refuse to take responsibility for their complicity in the bullying and instead push all of the blame onto a single participant: Shoya Ishida. He is ostracised by his former friends and becomes a victim of their bullying himself, forcing him to spend the rest of his schooldays alone and bitter. He falls into a deep depression and comes to realise the gravity of what he did to Shoko, attempting to make amends in his own small ways, such as taking a sign-language class.

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Years later as a high schooler, he happens to meet Shoko again and finally has a chance to apologise for his past actions. The story unfolds as Shoya and Shoko get to know each other as real people and struggle with the emotional scars of their pasts.

A Silent Voice (or Koe no Katachi in Japanese; literally "The Shape of Voice") initially started out life as a one-shot in 2008. It was later redone in the February 2011 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.

An anime film adaptation was produced by none other than Kyoto Animation and was released to Japanese theaters on September 17, 2016. The movie was directed by Naoko Yamada and written by Reiko Yoshida, with Futoshi Nishiya serving as character designer. The film is licenced by Anime Limited in the UK, who got NYAV Post to produce the dub and Madman Entertainment also has the Australian rights.

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The manga has been licensed by Crunchyroll; it can be read here. Kodansha USA has also licensed it for printed distribution in 2015.


This manga contains examples of:

  • Adult Fear: For both Shoya and Shoko's mothers: their children's respective suicide attempts. Shoya's mother also has to later contend with her son's coma after saving Shoko.
  • Adults Are Useless: The elementary school teacher for both Shoya and Shoko is incapable of stopping the bullying, and even at points is outright encouraging of it (laughing at Shoya's jokes about Shoko's deafness, then later giving the prompt that has the rest of the class turn Shoya into a scapegoat). The other regularly appearing adults aren't much better - Shoko's mother is extremely harsh although in her case, she acts that way in the hopes that it'll make Shoko a stronger person, while Shoya'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. It's even gone into some depth with Shoya's mother in Ueno's focus chapter - she's so overwhelmed by the situation that she doesn't know what to do, which unfortunately puts Ueno in the position of locking everyone else out of Shoya's hospital room.
  • Allergic to Routine: Young Shoya 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.
  • All-Loving Hero: Shoko Nishimiya, who forgives her former bully, and accepts his offer for friendship. Even after being tormented and even assaulted by Ueno, she insists she doesn't hate her and just wants to get along.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Shoko was bullied for being deaf, and the bullying would later on turn to Shoya because everyone else needed someone they can heap the blame on.
  • Ambiguous Situation: After Ishida's mother forces him to go to the Nishimiyas' to apologize for bullying Shoko, she returns with one earring missing and blood running down her neck. It's unclear if this is real and Shoko's mother ripped the earring from her ear, or if Ishida's just imagining his mother with a wound similar to what he did to Shoko, possibly as the start of his remorse.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Shoko to Shoya. 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.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Yuzuru does cause some amount of grief for Shoko, although Shoko generally doesn't get worked up about it. There's one time she does get worked up in an Omake though - Yuzuru is the one responsible for teaching Shoko what spoken language the latter can learn, and Yuzuru makes a point to practice saying "Moon" after Shoko's Anguished Declaration of Love was misheard as talking about the moon. When Shoko realizes, they start roughhousing. In the manga, Shoko gets visibly angry at Yuzuru after finding out that she took the photo of Shoya jumping off the bridge and posted it online to get him suspended.
  • Apologises a Lot: Shoko, a depressed Extreme Doormat who feels responsible when other people have a problem with her disability, and Shoya, who, well, has a lot to apologise for. They have some extremely awkward and apologetic conversations.
  • Art Evolution: The 2011 oneshot is far more polished than the 2008 one. Most designs are intact completely but teen!Shouya had something of a mullet.
  • The Atoner:
    • Shoya after the Time Skip. Following his years of being bullied himself, along with a lot of time to think and mature, he's become very, very remorseful for what he's done to Shoko in the past. The plot is kicked off by his attempts to befriend her, with the reveal that he's learned sign language the first sign that he's very serious about making ammends. 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.
    • Chapter 50 reveals that, strangely enough, Ueno is secretly this towards Ishida. Feeling guilty over the bullying that she did towards Ishida because she felt peer pressure into doing so after Ishida became The Scapegoat, the character in question has secretly been including Hirose and Shimada, the two former friends of Ishida that became the ringleaders in bullying him, into also helping with the movie, with the hopes that it would restore the friendship between Ishida and his old friends. There are hints that, because of this attitude, part of Ueno does realize just how badly she treats Nishimiya and does feel guilt over that as well, but her jealousy keeps her resentful.
  • Betty and Veronica: Shoya's two potential love interests: Shoko (Betty), the sweet and shy deaf girl who forgives him for having bullied her, and Ueno (Veronica), the Tsundere / borderline Yandere who can't express her feelings for him in the right way.
  • Bifauxnen: Yuzuru, Shoko's little sister, makes such a convincing boy that Ishida actually believed her when she claims to be Shoko's boyfriend.
    • Sahara as well, although it isn't really commented on in the story.
  • 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. Not coincidentally, Nagatsuka in the official translation even uses the trope name in talking about how some people hide their bad attitudes under false niceness, with images of both Ueno and Kawai in the background.
  • 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 Shoya's coma came about, which probably would bolster Shoya's reputation; however, nobody believes him.
    • Yuzuru, initially distrusting Shouya, would constantly say Shouko wasn't able to talk to him, even when Shouya could see Shouko further in the room.
  • Book-Ends: Near the beginning and ending of the first chapter, Ishida enters his sister's room where he meets his sister's new boyfriend while she is sleeping on the floor.
  • 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.
  • Break the Cutie: Shoko 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. Shoya Ishida, ends up as the scapegoat for his entire class, taking all the blame for Shoko's torment and spends the next few years suffering treatment almost worse then Shoko at the hands of students and teachers, well also bearing horrible guilt over what he did to Shoko 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.
  • Broken Bird: Ishida and Nishimiya. Ishida is a former school bully who has dealt with years of bullying himself, now overridden with anxiety and without a friend to speak of. By the time the story begins, he's contemplating suicide, and is only stopped by his mother. Nishimiya, meanwhile, has had to deal with being tormented for her disability all her life. Even though she and Ishida becomes friends and she and the others come back together, she's been contemplating suicide, too, since before the main plot. This drives her to jump off a balcony after the friend group disband from an argument on who bullied her and why. She's only saved by Ishida's interference, but then has to deal with him falling into a coma because of it.
    • Shoko's mother as well. With her ex-husband putting all the blame for Shoko's disability on her - as well as divorcing her for having a deaf daughter - Ms. Nishimiya has had the responsibility of raising two daughters, one with special needs, with only the assistance of her mother to get by while having to become a breadwinner. Halfway through the film, her mother dies, and a montage of Yuzuru dealing with her grandmother's loss shows Ms. Nishimiya crying in grief.
  • Bromance: Nagatsuka is Ishida's best friend, and he will get very angry at whoever says otherwise. Throughout the story, he is strongly supportive and defensive of Ishida, immediately getting angry at those who cause him trouble. When he finally sees him again after Ishida's coma, Nagatsuka breaks down in tears and begs him not to leave him ever again, even saying that he can't lose him.
  • 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. While she and Nishimiya are on the ferris wheel, she tells her plain and simple that she hates her and doesn't at all regret bullying her.
  • The Bully: A whole group of them, and boy were they nasty. What happens to them after Nishimiya 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.
  • Bully Hunter: When Mashiba 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.
  • Bullying the Disabled: It's a reoccuring theme in the manga. Many people, from her classmates to her own family, have bullied or looked down upon Shoko for her deafness. As a result she suffers from internalized ableism.
  • Bully Turned Buddy: Shoya becomes this to Shoko after the time skip.
  • The Bus Came Back: So, what ever happened to Pedro, the man who knocked up Shoya's sister? The last chapter finally explains: he's still with Shoya's sister; he's just been out job hunting, and the two are expecting their second child.
  • Butt-Monkey: Nagatsuka, who sits behind Ishida 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.
  • Cerebus Callback: Ishida often got in trouble as a child for jumping off a bridge into the water with his friends, which was treating as just a dumb childish thing he liked to do when he was younger. Later, after he saves Shoko from her suicide attempt, he falls into the river far below the balcony and is rendered comatose.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: One-sided on Ueno's case, who was Ishida's friend in elementary school. 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.
  • 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 Nishimiya just pushes Ishida further away, but doesn't know any other way to handle things.
  • Commonality Connection: Apparently, awful ex-husbands in the past for the mothers of both Ishida and Nishimiya. It allows their mothers to finally move past the awkward issues that have been between the two for years.
  • Contrived Coincidence: One coincidence was subverted. It seems contrived that Ishida is pulled from the water immediately after falling from Nishimiya's apartment, but in fact he was rescued by Shimada and Hirose, who followed him from the festival For the Evulz. That's also contrived, but less so.
  • Cool Old Lady: Shoko and Yuzuru's maternal grandmother. She's kind, patient, loving, wise, and practically raised the two girls while their mother worked to provide for the family. Speaking of which, she was the only person who stayed by Shoko's mother's side after her husband and in-laws abandoned her and Shoko. Her death profoundly influences all three Nishimiya women.
  • Cute Mute: Shoko Nishimiya 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. This includes Nagatsuka, Sahara, Kawai, Mashiba, Ueno, and Nishimiya.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen:
    • Shoko and Yuzuru's mother. Slowly, but surely after her mother's death, becoming a little nicer towards Yuzuru and Shoya.
    • Yuzuru towards Ishida. At first she would use Blatant Lies to keep him away from Shouko. By the end of the story she's a Shipper on Deck for the two of them.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Shoya 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.
  • Determinator: In the finale, Nagatsuka. He affirms that his personality isn't going to change, nor is he going to stop making films about his favorite subject, friendship.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Since Shoko never got angry at the people who bullied her, Yuzuru believed she wasn't capable of feeling any sort of anger. That's why she was so surprised when Shoko got mad at her for framing Shoya and getting him suspended from school.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • You never see Shoko 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 Shoko's mother for giving birth to a deaf daughter.
    • Ishida's father is similarly never seen, though we lack specifics about what happened. Mrs. Ishida is briefly shown talking about how he walked out and was vain about his hair (the latter possibly related to the former), but not much is known beyond that.
  • Disney Death: The fall from the balcony looks like it would have killed Ishida given that we are treated to a My Life Flashed Before My Eyes sequence but the next scene reveals that he survived.
  • Distant Finale: Not too distant, but the last chapter takes place at the Coming of Age Ceremony when everyone's twenty.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • When Shoya bullied Shoko 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.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!:
    • Shoko occasionally tells off Yuzuru for being overprotective. Namely, she gets mad at Yuzuru for the Frame-Up in which she posted a video of Ishida jumping off the bridge to get Shoko's book.
    • Ueno refuses Nishimiya's offers of an umbrella when it's raining several times before finally giving in.
  • 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 Ishida as the one who bullied Nishimiya when they were in elementary school which eventually leads to a heated argument that ends with Ishida disowning all his friends. Ishida tries his best so that he and Nishimiya can enjoy their summer together, but she is driven into a Despair Event Horizon, seeing herself as the cause for all of Ishida's misfortune. Then, despite Hope Spot in which he joins the Nishimiya family for a fireworks show, Shoko attempts suicide. Shoya is able to save her, but he ends up falling off the balcony and is rushed to the hospital. And while Shoya remains comatose at a hospital, Ueno beats up Shoko, and Shoko's mother beats up Ueno.
  • Dramatic Slip: Ishida stumbles and falls when rushing to save Shoko from committing suicide. He still makes it in time to catch her Just in Time.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • After being pushed deep into despair, Shoya attempts to do this, but after meeting Nishimiya again it becomes Happily Failed Suicide. Prior to this, it was his mother who put two and two together, and made him promise not to do it.
    • 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.
  • Dude, He's Like, in a Coma!: Ueno kisses Ishida while he's in a coma at the start of her spotlight chapter.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked by the time Shoya is a teenager when Ueno suggests stealing Shoko's hearing aids again. He tells Ueno off because he has since become a better person, and also because by damaging Shoko's hearing aids as a child he had to work for five years to pay back his mother, who just burned the money by accident. Ueno doesn't get it, probably because she doesn't know how hard Shoya had to work.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Most, if not all, of the main characters seem to have some form of mental issues. We have the protagonist Shoya 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, Shoko 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 (Tomohiro Nagatsuka), a delusional narcissist who seems incapable of believing that she could do any wrong (Miki Kawai), a seemingly normal but actually very bitter Bully Hunter who himself is a former victim of bullying (Satoshi 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 (Naoka Ueno).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Mashiba appears, unnamed, trying to talk to Ishida 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 Ishida at his most misanthropic and suicidal (at the time, Ishida merely dismisses his hair).
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The one-shot pilot chapter is difficult to read (and had trouble getting the series published,) because everyone except Shoko and the main character at the very end is such an unrepentant rectal orifice. The main series rebalanced everyone's personalities, although a reader will still probably be rooting for several characters to burn in hell (at first, anyway).
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • When Shoya meets Shoko again after five years, she forgives him and even wants to be his friend after initially running away from him. 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, Ishida 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.
    • While he wasn't nearly as harsh to Nagatsuka, Ishida still insulted him and pushed him away during the Drama Bomb. Nagatsuka's response was to say that Shouya just had a bad day, and he was the one who tried to get everyone back together first after Shoya's coma.
  • Environmental Symbolism: In Shoko's spotlight chapter, all communication is shown as she hears it, and almost everything is in the same garbled speech that her own attempts at speaking come out as (Nagatsuka, at least, makes an effort to also write what he's trying to say to make it easier on her). Even the characters (like Yuzuru and Sahara) who can sign as well. The one exception? When she dreams of Shoya, she can understand him perfectly. Right down to the fact that she had figured out that he didn't care about his own life anymore; just that he wanted to make her happy. Just as she always wanted someone to understand her voice, she finally understands someone else's.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Shouya's old friends turn on him, the moment he becomes a scapegoat. This includes his best friends who assisted in the bullying they blame him for.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Shimada first begins to turn against Ishida when he rips Nishimiya's hearing aid out and makes her bleed, which he says was going too far. Considering all the bullying he does to Ishida and Nishimiya both, it seems his only line in the sand is physical assault.
    • When all the baggage comes out in the present concerning the bullying of Nishimiya in elementary school, Ueno is shown to have little patience for Kawai's Wounded Gazelle Gambit and calls her out on it.
    • Kawaii is a piece of work and a Drama Queen. She also rightfully tells off Ueno for barring everyone from visiting a comatose Shouya in the hospital.
    • Shimada and Hirose are cruel bullies who turned on Ishida once it was convenient for them, but they still pulled him out of the water when he was drowning.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Of all that characters who were bullies, Kawai doesn't understand why she should feel remorse for the bullying and wonders why the others felt remorse.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: On the chapters following her attempted suicide, Shoko 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.
  • 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.
    • In a much less symbolic version, the two times that Ishida's older sister appeared, she was shown from the shoulders down.
  • Fair Weather Friend: Once the class makes Ishida the scapegoat for Shouko's bullying, no-one stands up for him, not even Ueno, the girl who had a crush on him. The callous way Shimada and Hirose in particular turn on him suggests they never really cared about him in the first place.
  • Fairytale Motifs: Some of the main characters have various similarities with specific fairy tale characters.
  • Fashion Model: When Sahara meets Ishida again post-elementary, she is shown to be quite lanky. In the final chapter she is shown being hired to be a model.
  • 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 - Shoya's planned suicide was to be a jump off a bridge. Further, it takes a darker turn in Chapter 43, when Shoya's attempt to prevent Shoko's suicide succeeds, but the effort carries Shoya over a balcony's edge into water.
  • Forgiveness: Yuzuru finally forgives her mother when they take down her wall of creepy dead photos, since they didn't work to convince Shouko that suicide was not a good route to go.
  • Four Is Death:
    • Shoya 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.
    • Shoko's suicide attempt happens shortly after her mother's 44th birthday.
  • Frameup: Shoko's sister takes a picture of Shoya jumping off a bridge and a news story portrays him as a reckless delinquent, getting him suspended as a result. Shoko is not happy when she finds out. In reality, Shoya was jumping off to recover Shoko's notebook, but nobody is willing to listen since he did regularly jump off bridges for fun in his childhood. Plus, as Shoya notes, regardless of his reason for jumping off the bridge, doing so would result in a suspension.
  • 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: Shoya grows up with no friends once they turn their back on him. Nagatsuka similarly has no friends before Shoya 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 Friend Nobody Likes: Once Ishida's social circle comes together, it's clear that almost nobody has any respect for Nagatsuka. Ishida is the only exception at first, though it becomes clear as time goes on that the others do warm up to him.
  • Gaslighting: Kawai pulls this on Ishida. Her insistence on her innocence makes him doubt his own memories of her bullying. This is very close to how real life gaslighting works.
  • Gender Reveal: When Yuzuru reveals to Ishida that she is not Shoko's boyfriend but her younger sister.
  • The Ghost: Shoya's older sister. She is never named, and two of her lovers and the daughter she had with the second one get more screen time than she has.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Ueno, full force. Showcased spectacularly during the group trip to the theme park, where she not only lays it on Shoko, but explodes on Ishida as well because of his concern for Shoko.
    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 Shoko as well. When she sees Ueno with Ishida (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 Shoya. Shoya completely misses it, though his attitude towards Ueno makes it obvious soon enough that Shoko has nothing to be jealous over.
    • There are strong hints that Kawai is this regarding Mashiba. She decides to become involved with Ishida 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 Shoya). And when she sees that the girls in her class think little of her, she thinks it's because they're interested in Mashiba too.
  • Guilt Complex:
    • After bullying Shoko and subsequently becoming a victim of bullying himself, Shoya begins to blame everything that goes wrong on himself.
    • Shoko blames herself for the breakup of the group at the bridge and thinks that she's both useless and a burden on others.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Shoko's hair is a medium brown but quite a few official colors give her a red, almost pink, tone.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Miki Kawai , who tries to gaslight Shoya into believing that never happened and that he was the main bully to Shoko.
    • Shoko's paternal grandparents. They have their son leave Shoko when she's only 3 simply because she has a disability. They also don't hide their disdain towards Shoko's mother.
  • Hates Small Talk: Shoya has this opinion towards other students before he meets with Shoko again, being disgusted with the things they discuss. Even as he starts gaining friends again, he doesn't initiate it.
  • Heel Realization:
    • After Shoko transferred in elementary school, Shoya realized what he did was wrong as he became the class pariah. Especially when much later on he catches sight of a scar on her ear from when he ripped out her hearing aids.
    • Ueno in the manga ends up in a Troubled Fetal Position after it sinks in that she beat up on a deaf Nishimiya, whose arm was in a sling, and blaming her for Ishida's coma. She also beat up Sahara for getting in the way and stopping her. When Sahara comes to check on her, Ueno's apologetically saying they're not friends because what sort of friend would do that to another? Then she flashes back to how she never stood up for Ishida after he got bullied in turn, and her attempts to have him reconcile with his schoolday friends backfired horribly. Afterward, while she is still angry at Nishimiya, she doesn't stoop to such means again and is much more direct.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: On a ferris wheel, Ueno tries to put things behind them by saying that she hates Nishimiya, Nishimiya hates her, so they should shake on it and declare peace. Nishimiya responds that she hates herself Nishimiya'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.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Nagatsuka is this for Ishida. His idea for a movie is based on how the two of them first met, with him imagining Ishida as tall, athletic and heroic.
  • Holding Hands:
    • During the school festival, because Ishida doesn't feel confident appearing in front of his classmates, Nishimiya offers to guide him while holding his hand. Since Ishida is Oblivious to Love to a rather extreme degree, he just feels embarrassed for imposing on her. Nishimiya, however, is obviously well aware of the romantic implications and blushes over the prospect.
    • In the last chapter, they hold hands when going into their class reunion, suggesting there's been some progress.
  • 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
    • Ishida's former best friends assisted and/or watched as he tormented Shouko relentlessly, but once it came time for someone to take the fall for it, they pin the blame all on him. On top of this, they bully him afterwards in much the same way. Ishida couldn't make friends because Shimada spread the word that he was a bully—this, coming from the boy who is also a bully.
    • Kawai heatedly calls out Ishida, Ueno, and other classmates for their bullying of Shouko back when they were children. When confronted with the fact that she also contributed to the bullying, she balks in offense.
  • Hypocrite: "Please, don't fabricate memories! Face the truth!" So says Kawai, who, unlike Shouya, refuses to accept her role in Shouko's bullying. Almost immediately after, at the bridge, she shouts that she never insulted anyone. When Nagatsuka tries to calm everyone down, Kawai immediately calls him a disgusting blob.
  • Ice Queen: Shouko and Yuzuru's mother, who is very authoritarian, very emotionally detached, and shows complete disdain for Shouya at first.
  • If I Can't Have You...: A mildly tamer and non-villain 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.
  • I Hate Past Me: Shouya has heavy issues about this, to the extent that he imagines himself stabbing his kid self at one point.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • Mashiba; his spotlight chapter reveals that he just wants to be treated like just another guy, and that he started hanging around Ishida because he thought it would make him look normal by comparison.
    • Unstated, but it's very strongly suggested that Shouko goes through feeling this way when Ueno re-enters Shouya's life, jealous that he might instead fall for the girl with normal hearing. She completely changes her hairstyle, and she insists on trying to communicate with Shouya via speech instead of signing, much to Shouya's confusion. As for how well this worked, see Anguished Declaration of Love.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: As to be expected, Shouko. Chapter 51 is her spotlight chapter, and she has an extended sequence where she imagines what she wished middle school had been - everyone friendly to her, Ishida only playfully teasing her, and smiles all around.
  • Imagine Spot: In Chapter 51, Shouko has one about what life could have been like if she wasn't bullied and if her father never abandoned the family.
  • Implausible Deniability: When Ishida calls out Kawai on having bullied and tormented Nishimiya, Kawai denies everything and claims she was completely innocent of any wrongdoing (which is complete bull, she was the primary instigator of most of Nishimiya's and Ishida's torments.) Furthermore, her point of view shows she actually believes with 100% conviction what she's saying. Her mind has retconed the entire incident to make her the heroine and Ishida the sole villain.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ironic Echo: Shimada and Hirose would always jump off bridges with Ishida when they were friends. When Ishida became the scapegoat, they started just throwing him off bridges. In the present, they were the ones who saved Ishida's life by pulling him out when he fell off a balcony into the water, although they don't want their role known.
  • 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. Her comments towards Nagatsuka in the finale suggest that she may be moving past it.
  • 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 granddaughter is deaf, blaming her mother the whole time.
    • The judge who watches Nagatsuka's film. He not only insults him, he insults everyone's else involvement with the film, says they all are just amateurs who think too highly of themselves, and doesn't even let Nagatsuka defend himself.
  • 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. He was also right that Shouya brought the bullying he was going through on himself.
    • For as selfish and cruel as she is, Ueno does bring up one good point at the bridge confrontation: they were all guilty for bullying Shouko and it isn't fair to blame it all on Shoya.
  • Jerkass 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Ueno, who at first seems like she's gotten better with age only to reveal that she's somehow become worse.
  • 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. The deaf Shouko was at first welcomed, albeit a bit awkwardly, into the class despite her deafness. Once Ishida began the bullying however, Ueno, Hirose, Shimada, Kawai and others happily join in on the tormenting until Shouko has to transfer schools again. When confronted with the consequences, all the blame is heaped upon Ishida, and he's subjected to the same bullying as a scapegoat.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: It's revealed that Shouya's bullying made Shouko suicidal. He finally shows he has redeemed himself when he stops her from jumping off a balcony, at the cost of falling, and survives landing in the water.
  • Latino Is Brown: Averted with Pedro and Maria, who are both visibly black (half-black in Maria's case). Brazil has a significant black population, but it is rarely reflected in most media.
  • Laughing Mad: Ueno absolutely cackles when she runs into Shoya and Shouko and correctly guesses that they're friends after Shoya's determination to make amends. It's implied that she doesn't actually think it's that funny and she's more upset that the two might be together.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Yuzuru keeps trying to give Shouko and Ishida time alone during the fireworks festival, even sending Ishida to their house when Shouko goes home early. It ultimately saves Shouko's life.
  • 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.
  • Maybe Ever After: There is no clear romantic resolution between Shouya and Nishimiya in the end - or, for that matter, anyone - and is more or less up for interpretation.
  • 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 Yuzuru 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.
    • The dream that Nishimiya has about Ishida in Chapter 51. She imagines Ishida communicating with her clearly - the first time anyone does in the whole chapter - and his words mirror much of what she had been saying in the last couple of chapters. Namely, that he didn't care so much about what happened to him, that he just wanted to build things up so that she could be happy, just as she was hoping to bring the movie crew back together to make him happy when he wakes up from the coma.
    • One more with dreams. Shouya thinks about one dream he had while he was in a coma, and the scenes in it match up perfectly with similar scenes from Shouko's Imagine Spot of how she wished her elementary school days had gone.
  • 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.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: A mundane example - in Shouko's spotlight chapter, her first appearance is her looking at her own reflection. Since she's in a kimono, it looks like the right flap of her kimono is on top, which is traditionally only done for corpses. She just had failed to commit suicide and watched Shouya fall to what could have been his death to stop her - she had felt her whole life was shattered, and the one person outside her family that she felt close to might have killed himself to save her.
  • Misery Builds Character: Brutally. Shouko's mother believed this, and tried to encourage Shouko to stand up for herself and fight her own battles. It didn't work; Shouko prefers to Turn the Other Cheek and internalize the hatred directed towards her. Yuzuru as a result judges her mother for being strict and unsympathetic, even when Ms. Nishimiya does better. Meanwhile, while Shouya has become a better person since his elementary school days, he's also battling suicidal thoughts and doesn't believe in trying to live.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Maria, Shouya's niece post-timeskip, is half-Japanese, half-Afro-Brazilian.
  • 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.
    • Similarly, Mashiba openly questions himself in his own spotlight chapter, upset that the last time he had seen Ishida before his coma, he had punched him upon learning of Ishida's previous treatment of Nishimiya. It shows he's finally fully aware of not just what Ishida was, but what Ishida has become.
  • 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.
    • Mashiba's spotlight chapter has him confront his own narcissistic tendencies; his desire to feel normal is what he felt pushed him towards Ishida, and he wrestles with guilt over how shallow his relationship with Ishida was.
  • 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.
  • New Transfer Student: Nishimiya is introduced into the story as a girl who enters Ishida's class. Unfortunately, her time at the school doesn't last long, as the rampant bullying drives her to transfer again.
  • Nightmare Face: Kawai's reaction when she overlooks a student's text criticizing her isn't pretty...
  • No-Dialogue Episode: Chapter 52, when Shouko goes by herself close to midnight to the bridge where she would regularly meet Shouya, in the hopes that she could hold to their routine even though Shouya was comatose. The only speech in the entire chapter is at the very end: Shouya has a mental image of Shouko, and he awakes from his coma, calling for Nishimiya.
  • 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.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Zig-Zagged. Shouya as a child tossed Shouko's notebook into the water, ruining it, and damaged her hearing aids. When he encounters her again, and finally gets to talk to her, he tosses her notebook into the water again. Shouko realizes it was an accident, however, when they both jump off the bridge to get the notebook. On the other hand, when Yuzuru posts the picture of Shouya jumping, it gets him suspended and he did used to jump off bridges as a child.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Shouko's initial reaction when she encounters Shouya again. She runs away and ends up in a Troubled Fetal Position. Very justified, considering the last time she saw him, he was her worst bully.
    • Shouya when he sees Shouko step over the balcony rail, unable to hear him as she prepares to jump and commit suicide.
    • Heard but not shown, it's pretty obvious that Ueno was not even remotely prepared for Ishida to wake from his coma, and thus for her to face the consequences of what happened when he was out.
  • One Steve Limit: Played with; Shoya and Shoko's names sound very similar, but they're each written with different kanji. However, they're both nicknamed "Sho-chan" by their mothers. In the present, it serves to underline the similarities between the two, while in the past, it seemed to serve as one of the reasons that Shoya decided to bully Shoko.
  • Parents as People:
    • Shouko's mother has well-meaning intentions but by being overly harsh towards her daughters to toughen them up, she only caused friction between them, especially her younger daughter. She's mellowed since the Time Skip, but Yuzuru is still cold towards her.
    • Shouya's mother was too busy with work and oblivious that her son wanted to commit suicide. And when Shouya fell into a coma, she was so overwhelmed by the situation, she didn't know what to do.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • A brief moment comes up when Ishida is bullying Nishimiya. About partway through he tries to tell her that people are starting to resent her for standing out and inconveniencing the class. Nishimiya of course doesn't understand him (and it's still a cruel thing to say). And it doesn't stop him from leading the bullying against her.
    • Shouya's bullies save him from drowning but don't tell anyone.
  • Pillars of Moral Character: Much of the interaction with Ishida's and Nishimiya's mothers are fraught with the interplay of how each views what others are required under this. In particular, there's no small amount of awkwardness between the two after Ishida's coma. Ishida's mother still feels indebted to Nishimiya's mother due to the fact that she was responsible for her son's bullying and destruction of Nishimiya's hearing aids. Meanwhile, Nishimiya's mother feels indebted to Ishida's mother because, despite the cold treatment she had given Ishida, he saved Nishimiya's life.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Ishida gains a handful of friends over the course of the second act but loses them all by the third.
  • Prelude to Suicide: Shouya tries to make amends with Shouko before he kills himself. He ultimately doesn't go through with the attempt, though.
  • Pull the I.V.: The first thing Ishida does when he awakes at the hospital is ripping the IV from his chest.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: What Shouko resolves to do after Shouya falls into a coma because of saving her.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Due to damaging a good amount of Shouko's hearing aids in elementary school, Ishida's mother ends up having to pay Nishimiya's mother 1.73 million yen. Shouya then has to help his mother by earning that money; due to being a child, which limits his job prospects, it takes five years for him to earn back the amount, and even then he has to sell his bedding.
    • Shouko might have forgiven Shouya but he also traumatized her and made her suicidal. Thus when they meet as teenagers, her initial reaction is to run away.
    • Yuzuru by taking photos of dead creatures hopes to convince Shouko to not commit suicide. It doesn't work because people contemplating suicide need more than Tough Love to help them. Also on that note, she does her best to watch over her sister, but the strain of being on constant Suicide Watch wears on Yuzuru and makes her overprotective of Shouko. Despite her efforts, Shouko nearly does commit suicide.
    • Even though Shouya apologizes for bullying Shouko and tries to redeem himself, Ms. Nishimiya and Yuzuru don't immediately forgive him and tell him to stay away from her.
    • Any time that Shouko isn't wearing her hearing aids, she doesn't understand what people are saying. This is shown when Ueno steals them. When Shouya sees her preparing to jump, he screams her name, but she still doesn't hear him. It's not until he grabs her arms that she registers that he was there.
    • Also, Soft Water isn't in play here. Shouya drops from a great height into the water from the balcony. Even though he's saved from drowning, his injuries leave him comatose for two weeks.
    • Holding someone with only one arm, especially if you are not athletic or muscular, is a very difficult thing to do. Ishida just barely manages to keep a hold on Shouko while he's saving her from her suicide attempt, and is sweating and groaning in pain all the while. He manages to save her, but the force it takes to pull her up sends him over the railing instead.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech
    • Kawai tries to give one to Ishida in front of her crush and the other classmates, tearing into him for all the bullying and torment he put Shouko throughout the years. It doesn't work when he points out that she was also an instigator, which she balks at. She later tries it again when everyone is arguing, but Ishida shuts her down hard once again, and she leaves in a huff.
    • Ueno gives a villainous one to Shouko twice, once on the Ferris wheel and once after Ishida is put into a coma. She tells Shouko point-blank that she hates her, all the bullying is Shouko's own fault, and all the arguing and drama happening between everyone falls on Shouko's shoulders, too.
    • Ishida gives a quiet but harsh one to everyone in turn when they're all on the bridge. He calls out Kawai for acting like she had nothing to do with Shouko's bullying, Ueno for being a hateful person in general, and Mishiba for judging him for what happened despite only joining the group as of very recent. Unfortunately, he also goes for Nagatsuka, shutting down his unstoppable support considering he doesn't know him very well.
  • Redemption Quest: Ishida's main reason for coming back into contact with Nishimiya is to redeem himself for his actions in sixth grade.
  • Reformed, but Rejected:
    • Shouya hasn't been a bully in years, but he's still seen as such. Ms. Nishimiya hasn't forgiven him for bullying her eldest daughter and tells him to stay away from her girls.
    • Yuzuru and Shouko's mom has become more caring and protective during the time skip. Yuzuru still hasn't forgiven her mother for being tough on Shouko and makes her disdain clear.
  • Running Gag: Character's will have their faces crossed out with an X depending on Shouya's level of disgust with them. This is meant to represent him literally blocking them out from his view. While this is normally Played for Drama, Ueno's face will frequently bounce back and forth throughout the chapters she appears in.
  • Say My Name: After only calling her "Nishimiya" for the entire story, when Ishida finds her about to commit suicide he calls out her last name several times before finally screaming "SHOUKO!" In a surprising aversion of the usual dramatic expectations, her deafness still prevents her from hearing him.
  • 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. If anything, she's become worse. She now represents a lot of what Shouya hates about his past.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: At one point, Ueno teases the two protagonists about their suspicious relationship to which Ishida protests that he and Shoko are just friends.
  • 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, once she realizes that Shouya really has changed. This inadvertently saves Shouko's life; Shouya was only there to save her because Yuzuru had sent Shouya to get a camera, blatantly trying to get the two alone during a fireworks display.
  • Shonen Hair: Shouya's hair is very spiky both as a child and a teenager.
  • Soft Water:
    • Played straight when Shouya and Shouko dive into the water to retrieve her notebook.
    • Averted when Shouya ends up falling from a balcony after saving Shouko from jumping.
  • The Sons and the Spears: The teacher explains with chop sticks how the whole class is stronger if they hold together and include Nishimiya.
    Teacher: "This single stick is easily snapped in two. But if you bundle all the sticks we call "classmates" together, you'll create an unbreakable rod."
  • Speech-Impeded Love Interest: Shouko is deaf. Most of the time she uses sign language or writes in a notepad, however when she does speak she has a very pronounced speech impediment. Her Love Confession to Shouya is ruined by him misunderstanding her.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Sahara considering that as of Chapter 59 she seems to have a burgeoning career as a runway model.
  • 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.
  • Suicide Watch: Yuzuru has been watching her secretly suicidal sister for years. It ultimately doesn't work as Shouko tries to jump off a balcony anyway
  • 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.
  • Symbolic Mutilation: Shouko's right arm is in a sling after the events of Chapter 43. Since she normally uses sign language to communicate, plus that's her writing hand, it renders her communication even more difficult mechanically, representing how she had quickly grown cut off from everyone else.
  • Take My Hand: How Ishida saved Shoko after she jumped off the balcony.
  • There Are No Therapists: As mentioned under Dysfunction Junction, most of the main characters are suffering from mental issues, but they do not receive the support they need. It doesn't help that the majority of the adults are useless.
  • Thousand Origami Cranes: Kawai creates them for Ishida upon his return to school at the end.
  • Time Skip:
    • The series starts in Elementary School and skips to five years later in High School in Chapter 5.
    • The final chapter is two years in the future, when the gang is twenty.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: In a manga where a character is either a Jerkass 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.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Nishimiya's mother assaults Ueno after Ueno attacks Shouko, her face seems frozen in an almost sad expression. She barely even registers when struck, and she's silent the whole time. This does not detract from the sheer fury of the assault. This is in stark contrast to when she struck Ishida earlier in the series for talking to Shouko, when she was quite visibly angry and ready to viciously put him down verbally as well.
  • Tsundere:
    • Ms. Nishimiya is a non-romantic version towards Ishida after he helps track down Shouko during a rainstorm. She treats him brusquely, clearly not quite forgiving what he did in the past, but she's willing to tolerate him for the sake of her daughters. She starts showing him some warmth after her own mother's death, and she drops it completely after Shouko's suicide attempt.
    • Ueno is an extremely messed up (bordering on Deconstruction) version. She likes Ishida but her attempts to win him over either fall flat or backfire completely, her Can't Spit It Out tendency confuses him and her abrasive attitude pushes him away. Her failure makes her frustrated and angry which she channels into lashing out at the world in general and bullying Nishimiya in particular - which pushes Ishida away further. It's a vicious cycle.
  • Turn the Other Cheek:
    • Shouko rarely lashed out at the class for being bullied, and she was even wiping hateful graffiti off Shouya's desk without complaint. This frustrates Ueno, who doesn't understand it.
    • Yuzuru at first refuses to let Shouya talk to Shouko, posts a picture of him online that leads to his suspension, and blatantly calls him a Hypocrite who is out to hurt her "girlfriend" (Yuzuru claims she is Shouko's boyfriend). Shouya, rather than feel upset, admits that he deserves all of this and invites Yuzuru to dinner. This convinces Yuzuru that Shouya has really changed.
  • 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, and even then only a while after trying to attack her as well.
  • Villain Protagonist: Shouya in the one-shot pilot, until his Heel Realization at the end. In the main series he's less malicious, although still rather amoral at the beginning.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ueno and Sahara of the "it's mainly one spewing the vitriol" type.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Virtually every relationship is either this or an inverted "We Used To Be Enemies." This is mostly due to Ishida becoming everyone's scapegoat for the bullying, justifiably severing ties.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 43. Ishida has just caught Nishimiya, who had attempted suicide. He questions the foolishness of his own actions, and whether he truly ever benefited anyone. And he resolves to listen to everyone's voices, if he's given the chance. And just as he finally gets Nishimiya up to hold onto the railing, the force of the effort sends him over. He sees Nishimiya's panicked and tear-stained face reach for him as he falls, while he stares at a scar he gave her years ago and wonders if he's done enough for her. The chapter ends with Ishida's mother at the hospital, crying on her knees.
  • Wham Line: In chapter 6, "I wanted to give this to you." The wham isn't from Shouya's words, it's from the fact that he signed it - it's the moment where it's made clear that Shouya's desire to make up for his misdeeds is more than passing fancy. Shouko is so shocked that she ends up bringing Ishida with her to hear him out more, despite affirming just a few pages prior that she hates him, possibly more than anyone else in the world.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • The boys that followed Shouya at the festival save his life when he falls into the water and the impact knocks him unconscious. They don't tell anyone, and when confronted they claim I Was Just Passing Through.
    • 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.
  • 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 Ishida was the one who bullied Nishimiya. She also claimed he threatened her to keep her quiet when he didn't do anything close to it.
    • Ueno suspects that Nishimiya's been attempting to perform this ever since middle school. While she initially started teasing Nishimiya because it got Ishida's attention, the fact that he didn't notice her affection while focusing on Nishimiya made her think that Nishimiya was playing for pity and that Ishida was teasing her because he couldn't express love towards her otherwise. This was the core cause of Ueno's Green-Eyed Monster attitude. Keep in mind that she was remarkably wrong about all of that; however, the way things have progressed make her think that she was completely correct.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Shape Of Voice, Koe No Katachi

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Shoko Nishimiya

Blaming herself for Shoya being admitted into a hospital after falling into a coma saving her, Shoko tears up, stating how the situation was all her fault.

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Main / TearsOfRemorse

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Main / TearsOfRemorse

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