Social Anxieties and A Silent Voice

Since this is my first post, I am planning to keep it sweet and to the point. Also, I am not writing about every detail in this movie- I will simply be focusing on one thing that has stuck with me and is my favorite part about the whole film.

When I first watched A Silent Voice on my own and not goaded to watch it by a friend nor have I heard about it before that moment, I was simply looking through a streaming service for something to watch. The preview for the movie grabbed my attention and the summary seemed very interesting. An animated film about a boy with issues from his past and a deaf girl struck me as very unique. So I clicked play and sat back to enjoy the show.

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The movie was extremely well done, but what made me fall in love with the film was the way they chose to depict social anxiety. Social anxiety is hard to explain to people who do not, in some way, suffer from it. I for one am one of those people that has problems with social anxiety and this movie is my go-to example to explain things to the more extroverted people I know.

Shoya, the main protagonist, suffers from severe social anxiety after being ostracized by his peers. Instead of out right saying he is anxious around people he isn’t close to, they show it by having giant Xs on their faces. He tries not to make eye contact with anyone and automatically assumes people do not like him. He also gets super nervous when meeting new people or having to associate with those he is not comfortable with. Shoya rehearses conversations he plans on having with people as to not mess up and he looks at the ground when talking to people. This is exactly how it feels to have social anxiety.

Though A Silent Voice is focused around Shoya and Shouko’s relationship being mended and Shoya making new friends, I found another major plot point that was compelling was that Shoya slowly builds himself up and starts to let people into his life. He is slowly being set free from the anxiety that is holding him back from being able to enjoy what is around him. The movie also shows how fragile getting over anxiety can be. Towards the end of the movie Shoya has a bad anxiety attack and relapses, which causes him to X out everyone he had opened up to. He did not want to hurt anyone, but he was scared of being shunned again. It was not until after he woke up from the unfortunate accident that he could finally open up to everything (and everyone) around him.

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It is the final scene of the film that really wins me over. After waking up, Shoya was extremely anxious to go back to his high school and faces all the friends he had pushed away. Shouko made Shoya go to the school festival the school was having. All of his friends came to find him, because they were all worried about him and they all were able to make up, even though Shoya though that was impossible. Now here comes my favorite part of the whole movie. As the group of friends are walking around the festival Shoya final feels a sense of peace and let’s his anxiety wash away. He looks up from the ground and all the Xs fall off everyone’s faces and he has finally opened up to the world. This really moved me with how much relief I felt for Shoya’s character.

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Thank you to anyone who read this. Sorry this is my first post. Thank you for supporting me being on Dillon’s podcast.

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