Japanese Voice Talent---
Mayu Matsuoka---Shoya at 12 / Miyu Irino---Shoya at 17
Ryan Shanahan---Shoya at 12 / Robbie Daymond---Shoya at 17
SPOILER ALERT>>>>>>>CONTAINS SPOILERS<<<<<<<
Childhood and Teen Development
Shōya Ishida (石田 将也 Ishida Shōya)
In the days of his early childhood, Shōya was an indifferent child, one who viewed his family members, his friends of the same age, and the fellow students in school as no more than a way of staving off his unending boredom. Shoya was raised in a single parent home. However, his mother owned and operated a hair styling salon as their means of income, and that business enterprise took up just about all of her time. The result was that Shoya and his older sister, for most of their childhood, was left to themselves almost all of the time, to do whatever they wanted to do. This was not good, because young Shoya was not creative by themselves, and was not motivated to search for things that would interest or uplift him or would beneficially occupy his time by himself. Therefore, he would turn to others for 'entertainment'; really anything that he would see them do, or anything that he could get them to do, so that they would be a source of interest and amusement to him.
Later in elementary school, Shoya had worked his way up to being a class kingpin and a notorious bully. This suited him well, as he was looked up to as a gang-style role model by other boys, and those other boys provided him with a purpose ( abet a skewed outlook ) in life. With little or no guidance or discipline over his course or direction of his life, there never was any reason, at least to him, to do anything more than run his gang, engage in weird or dangerous stunts, pursue being a social outlaw, and supposedly have fun in the process. This outlook served him well, until a thorn was stuck in his side, that sharp pain being the new transfer student in the person of Shoko Nishimiya. Shoya took no note of her the day that she was introduced to the class, but her presence became an increasingly troublesome irritant to him. She was everything that he was not, self-confident despite her disability, emotionally stable, self-motivated to accomplish all that she put her mind to do, eager to learn at school, and having a real purpose in life, even with being a deaf/mute. With no more effort than flicking a mosquito off of one's arm, Shoya came to think that he could dispose of Shoko in like manner, and continue on (supposedly) as the undisputed ringleader of the circus that was the classroom, the playground, the public square, and the home.
12 Year Old Shoya
Shoya at this age presents himself as an unkempt and uncaring adolescent. He is of average height and weight for an tween boy, although he is the tallest ( but not by much ) of his three member boy's gang. He has a square, somewhat flat face with a pointed chin. Shoya has narrowed, beady eyes of a dark grayish-brown color, with thick eyebrows. His short hair is jet black, always looking dirty and uncombed, that forms into many tiny spikes all over his head. With a pale skin tone that looks unwashed, it gives him an appearance of a somewhat darker skin tone all over. Shoya has narrow shoulders, and a flat chest. His arms and legs look spindly, like he might be malnourished (although in fact he was not).
Shoya wears anything that he wants to, mostly clothes that make him look sloppy and casually unconcerned. Many times his clothing would be wet, from jumping into the rivers or other bodies of water on the way home from school. Such appearance seemed to be awe inspiring to the boys in his gang. On the day that Shoko was introduced into the sixth grade classroom, he was wearing a maroon with black stripes long sleeved shirt, with a grimy black short sleeved t-shirt over it. The clothing tag on the back of his black shirt always would stick out. He had on a well worn pair of beige cargo shorts, and dirty gray school shoes.
At this point in his life, Shoya is on the verge of becoming a delinquent. He has very few redeeming values in his personality, and seems to be content to wander through life with the only direction being seeking thrills and recklessness that will somehow negate the so-called boredom in his life. Shoya has seemingly 'cool' traits that two other boys his age think that overwhelmingly makes him a role model. Thus, Shoya is 'Da Boss' over a three member boy's street gang. Shoya and his gang are not mixed up in hardcore troubles like drugs or weapons, but they are prone to stupid antics, like jumping off of bridges into the water below and becoming soaking wet. All three boys attend school, but Shoya, at least, is not interested in any academic activities whatsoever. He would rather play video games at home ( he does ), that ever think of studying for school.
The sexual fires have not been lit in Shoya, yet, and he is ambivalent about girls. However, one girl, Naoka, is also one who looks up to him and desires intimate friendship with him. But Shoya is interested in only Shoya, so Naoko only bides her time by dressing attractive and alluring ( for a sixth grader ), and hanging on Shoya like a groupie. When Shoko, the deaf/mute girl, is introduced to public school, Shoya only ignores her, he being more interested in playing with a mechanical pencil that morning. But because Shoya is so self-centered, he eventually sees Shoko as an irritant, rather than an opportunity to help her become accumulated to her new school. Shoya is not above playing pranks in school, both to his 'homeboys', and later, to Shoko. He can be mean-spirited, as when he throws sand in the face of Shoko when she was on the playground.
Finally, a couple of somewhat good personality traits of Shoya, as rare as they are. He is loyal to his family and to his gang. Out of school and in public he is presumably obedient to his single mom, and the local civil authorities, though his shenanigans are often done undercover and with impunity. He depends more on his quick wits, than in carrying a weapon.
17 Year Old Shoya
In the five intervening years, not much has changed in Shoya's appearance, other than he is taller and somewhat thinner. He is of average height and weight for an teenage boy, although he looks somewhat lanky. He has a square, somewhat flat face, slightly hollowed cheeks, and is showing a pointed chin. Shoya has narrowed, beady eyes of a dark grayish-brown color, with thick eyebrows. This gives him a mournful, tragic facial appearance. His straight short hair is jet black, always looking wind tossed and uncombed, that forms into many tiny spikes all over his head. With a skin tone that looks gaunt and haggard, this gives him an appearance of a somewhat darker skin tone all over. Shoya has narrow shoulders, and a flat chest. His arms and legs look spindly, like he might be malnourished (although in fact he was not).
No matter what Shoya wears, his clothes always look ill-fitted, like they are just hanging off of his body. Most often he is seen wearing the male school uniform, consisting of a dress shirt that is not buttoned up at the neck, a loosely tied tie that is becoming undone, baggy brown pants, and a brown jacket that always looks wrinkled and well worn. His school uniform is also the outfit that he was wearing on the day that he was going to commit suicide. When not in school, then any other time Shoya dresses sloppy casual, such as in a shirt and work pants, or a shirt and worn-out cargo shorts. The only time he gives any attention to what he is going to be wearing seems to be the times that he is going on a date with Shoko, or will be with her for any period of time. At least then he will look clean, properly dressed, and somewhat presentable.
Given that Shoya's childhood and early teenage personality was such that they were very self-centered and uncaring regarding anything outside their immediate wants and needs, something akin to an earthquake or tsunami emotional or social event would seemingly be the only thing that would shake him out of his hardshell existence. And something like that did in fact happen to him with regard to his bullying of Shoko Nishimiya. His obnoxious personality traits that he had built up over his younger years came tumbling down when he was changed from a uncaring bully, to that of a target for other bullies to assault and insult. Shoya's reaction to this was at first one of isolation, that is, isolating and insulating himself from any and all influences on his personalty and life. He would in a sense, place an 'X' on the faces of people, so as not to interact with them. This situation went on during the intervening years from when he was 12, to when he became 17. He was in a crucible of loneliness, with now one else to blame for that situation but himself. One outstanding crystal trait that Shoya did come to have in his personality was that he had the capacity to become introspective, in a sense falling back to default mode, before he could begin to address his new, changed life's circumstances that he had created for himself, and had found himself in.
Unfortunately, Shoya's first knee-jerk reaction was to consider suicide, showing the depth of self-remorse and self-loathing that he had developed for himself, especially for bullying Shoko. However, thankfully, regret and sorrow had grown so strong in him that he began to see the value of rebuilding his personalty traits, rather than outright scraping them in the form of suicide. Once his realized this, redemption began to replace self-defeat, and Shoya began to rebuild his personality traits, this with help, whether he realized it or not, from Shoko. His shipping with her, as well as help and companionship from his only male friend, Nagatsuka, began to bear fruit. From the ashes for his former personality, new and perhaps better traits are slowly beginning to be inculcated into Shoya's personality, such as caring for others ( like Shoko and his Mom ), taking responsibility for one's own actions and behaviors, and learning the real value of friendships, not just having so-called fun with guys in an adolescent street gang. But perhaps the most important trait to be introduced to Shoya, and for him to embrace, was the learning of humility, and the acceptance of being teachable. From learning from his own mistakes, to learning from the interactions with Shoko, to being molded by the many of life's lessons, Shoya was being remade into a much different person, one better for all of the pain and suffering that he had to go through due to his wayward former self's actions. By the time Shoya had turned 17, he was beginning on his way to becoming the mature young adult that he should have been developing all along. Better late than never !
- With Shoko
On that morning when Shoya came to school, and was told by Naoko that a new transfer student ("It's a girl") would be introduced to the class, Shoya took little note of the whole incident. Shoko was like a bright ray of sunshine, unable to speak, but who's presence was nevertheless like the delightful warmth of a bright, sunny day. But most took her, eventually including Shoya, for a storm cloud gathering on the horizon. Shoya was always so intent on being the 'master of ceremonies' within the classroom, but over time, attention began to be given to Shoko because of her special circumstances of not being able to hear. When Shoya began to notice this, he first began to mock her, then to play tricks on her, and eventually this evolved into full-blown bullying of her. How could Shoya stand to do this to Shoko ? He viewed her, not as a fellow classmate like all his other classmates, but as a foreigner, an alien being from another galaxy, supposedly sent to his class to disrupt his gangsta leadership and royal rule.
Surprisingly, Shoya's dislike and opposition to Shoko was countered by her displaying kindness and offers of friendship. For every cruel deed done to her, she would 'turn the other cheek'. Even when on the day Shoya drew blood as he ripped a hearing aid from Shoko's ear, she did not retaliate, but continued her 'conquering the evil with the good'. Finally, one day a line was crossed. Shoya physically attacked Shoko such that a rumble ensued, with Shoko giving him a sound thrashing, to boot ! Shortly thereafter, Shoko was transferred out of the public school and into a private school for the deaf. Shoya would not see her again until several years later.
After several years of himself being bullied and ostracized, Shoya sought to reconcile with Shoko by apologizing to her, this before his own planned suicide. He finds her at a private school for the deaf. Shoya has at this time even learned sign language so as to properly communicate with Shoko. But a much unplanned encounter happened, with Shoya telling himself that he has to stay alive, for now, so that he can be further punished for what he did to Shoko. Shoko probably never knew or suspected this at this time, that her perseverance and steadfast benevolence was a factor in influencing Shoya. As Shoya consents to see Shoko with somewhat regular occurrences, a 'bury the hatchet' mood prevails, wherein a gradual sense of understanding and trust begins to develop between the two.
As old attitudes and feelings are reviewed and discarded, Shoya begins to date Shoko. Shoko, being ever so lonely because of her disability, likes the attention and consideration that she is being shown. He even takes her, along with a posse of friends, to an amusement park. Shoko tries to do a Love Confession to Shoya, but he misunderstands her, and does not realize the importance of what she is trying to do. But now it is Shoko who comes to feel that somehow she is or was responsible for much of the social distress that Shoya feels, and she thinks ( wrongly ) that the best way to rectify that is to remove herself from his presence by means of her own suicide. On the night of Shoko's planned suicide, Shoya saves her from a potential tragic outcome, but gravely injures himself in the process. Thus Shoya is coming full circle, from himself wanting Shoko to be eliminated in sixth grade, to him now saving her life as a seventeen year old teenager.
The next confrontation and revelation with Shoko is on the bridge where they used to feed the koi fish together. Shoko is there crying her heart out in the middle of the night, when Shoya, of all persons, shows up. He has just come out of his coma, and slipped out of the hospital unseen to be with her. A very profound shipping then takes place between the two of them, in the black of night, that portends that they now and in the future will be together through thick and thin.
Some time later, Shoya and Shoko attend the Summer Festival. During the festival, and with Shoko next to him, as they are again on a date together, Shoya makes good on his redemption to a new life, for all the bad things that he did earlier in his life. He reaffirms to Providence that he will do better in life, not only for himself, but also to take care of Shoko. Shoko is by his side, seeing for herself the change that is coming over him, a much needed change for the good. But most importantly, Shoya understands what is happening to him emotionally, socially, and spiritually, and is ready to greet life anew. He finally realizes the value of genuine friendship, with Shoko, and with others, such that he can look them in the eye, and greet them with a sincere heart full of self-confidence and acceptance !
- With Family
Nothing is ever mentioned about Shoya's father. Very little is related about that fact that Shoya had an older sister. The older sister had lived at home with him and mom, but later is shown to be living at home, pregnant, but with a daughter and an unemployed husband called 'Pedro'. All that is shown with any detail is that Shoya was raised by a single mom, who, unfortunately, spent a lot of her time taking care of her home business of hairdressing. Thus, Shoya was left to himself for most of his childhood, to do pretty much whatever he pleased. Shoya seemed to view his mom as a necessary but inconvenient person that he was stuck with until be would became an adult, although mom seemed to be somewhat of a 'free thinker and free spirit' herself.
Mrs. Ishida would, nevertheless, and from time to time, 'clean up the mess' that Shoya would invertibly create by his often obnoxious pranks and tricks. This is seen when she went to the bank, withdrew money, and paid Mrs. Nishimiya for the lost and broken hearing aids that Shoya had ripped away from Shoko. Mom probably mitigated things between Shoya and the school board over his bullying and physical altercation with Shoko. Her mild rebuke of 'just be a good boy' was hardly the needed discipline that Shoya would have to receive to correct his errant ways. It turned out to be life's circumstances, including a suicide attempt, that had more of a corrective influence and a positive direction on Shoya, than did anything that had come from his family and their examples or recommendations.
However, Shoya did have a measure of respect for his mom. He did, under pressure, tell his mom that it was him, indeed, that did most of the bullying of Shoko. And Shoya, prior to when he was going to commit suicide, sold all of his possessions, and took the money obtained and gave it to his mom. Paradoxically, it seems that the more that Shoya came to respect and honor Shoko, gradually, those good attitudes that he would come to understand, would also be displayed towards his mom. Toward the end of the manga, it is implied that Shoya, now trying to be molded into a mature young man, would eventually take over the family hairdresser business from his mom, him being the business manager, with Shoko being the hair stylist.
- With Nagatsuka
While Shoya had been friendless and alone for quite some time now, years in fact, quite by accident he comes across his first real friend, Nagatsuka. Shoya notices an altercation between Nagatsuka and another boy who is bullying Nagatsuka to let him have his bicycle. Shoya intervenes, offering the bully his own bicycle, which is promptly stolen. Later, Nagatsuka finds Shoya's bike abandoned in a rice patty, and returns it to him. Turns out that Nagatsuka himself is friendless and lonely. So when Shoya came to his aid, that played out as almost instant friendship and loyalty, at least as far as Nagatsuka is concerned. And Shoya did not mind a friend, being hardcore lonely himself. And so the cartoon 'X' that is on everyone's face, all placed there by Shoya, comes off of Nagatsuka.
When Shoya is confronted by a scruffy 'boy' ( who is actually Yuzuru, Shoko's younger sister ), it is Nagatsuka who runs interference with the 'boy', so that Shoya and Shoko can finally be together for a bit. Over time, Shoya comes to value his relationship with Nagatsuka, with the two of them meeting together and doing many things together. One time they end up at a McDonalds, with Shoya talking about his problems, and Nagatsuka playing the role of a psychiatrist and handing out life changing advice. When Shoya and Shoko go on a date to an amusement park, Nagatsuka, as well as a few other friends, go as a chaperone to the couple.
Nagatsuka's big desire in life, at least at this time, is to produce and direct a home-made movie, then have it screened for the public to view. When a contest is arranged for amateur movie producers, Nagatsuka conscripts Shoya, as well as other friends, to help him do so. Shoya and Nagatsuka eventually become steadfast male friends, who work to help each other with all of life's problems.
- With Yuzuru
Years after Shoya had spent considerable time harassing and bullying Shoko, he finds her at a special, private school for the hearing impaired. As he attempts to contact Shoko in person in a classroom, he is prevented from doing so by a scruffy, rancorous, ill-tempered 'boy' at the door to the classroom. This 'boy' refuses to let Shoya inside, telling him that Shoko is not in class, even though he can see Shoko sitting at her desk. The 'boy' introduces themselves as " Shoko's boyfriend ", thereby giving Shoya the impression that Shoko already has a boyfriend, a gangsta style one at that ! Later, it comes as quite a shock to Shoya to learn that the mean-spirited 'boy' is not actually her boyfriend, and furthermore, not actually a boy, but Shoko's imoto ( little sister ), called Yuzuru !
As it turns out, despite their less-than-desirable first encounters, Shoya and Yuzuru soon begin to develop an uneasy but workable relationship. This occurs once Shoya has had sufficient time to prove that he no longer is or intends to be a bully or a threat to Shoko. Shoya comes to understand why Yuzuru was raised to be a boy, in order to watch out for and protect Shoko. As Shoya spends more and more time with Shoko, including frequently dating her, Shoya and Yuzuru form a loose alliance to watch over Shoko. When Shoya and Shoko had their date at the amusement park, and Yuzuru became suspecious of Naoko asking Shoko to go together on the Ferris Wheel alone, Yuzuru secretly placed a live cam on Shoko to record what took place in the Ferris Wheel car between Naoko and Shoko. Later, Yuzuru shared the videotape of the verbal abuse that Naoko had displayed, as well as striking her in the head before getting out of the ride's car. With this clandestine information, Shoko and Yuzuru discuss how to handle the social threat to Shoko. A friendship of convenience forms between the two that serves the both of them, as well as Shoko, in the future.
- With Naoko
Shoya had been good friends with Naoko since they were children. But when they both began to enter into adolescence, feelings began to change and evolve. By the time that Shoya turned twelve, he seemed to be content with the friendship he had with his gang of boys, and thus he treated Naoko as 'one of the boys'. However, as time passed, that role became unsatisfying, and did not sit with Naoko very well, as she began to yearn for more from her relationship with Shoya. Shoya, not interested in girls at this age, was oblivious to Naoko's feelings and her need of love and attention. He went about his daily antics and pranks, not suspecting that Naoko had begun to 'burn with Eros love' inside of herself. By the time that Shoko had been transferred to the public school, Shoya still did not perceive of the affection that Naoko had for him, and thus her feelings became an unrequited love. Naoko even went so far as to try and be the 'bad girl' as a counterpoint, and to have something in common with Shoya. She would share in the bullying of Shoko, but in a clandestine way, so as not to be apparent in her motives. She still had a shipping with Shoya, but it was that of 'best buds', and not the romance that Naoko had so craved.
Years later, not much had changed between Shoya and Naoko. She still loved Shoya, but he was no longer the 'bad boy' who she admired and looked up to, although she, to a degree, continued to be the 'bad girl', socially speaking. When Shoya had entered into the redemptive phase of his teenage life, he began to ship with Shoko, as he felt that he owed a social and emotional debt to her for his past bullying of her. When this played out, Shoya continued to ship with Shoko to rectify his past conduct. However, no past negative conduct was ever shown to Naoko by him, so there was no reason to ship with her, other than to be friends with her as they have always done. This distressed Naoko, but there was not much she could do about it, other than to blame Shoko on supposedly depriving her of Shoya. Eventually, Naoko had to look elsewhere for any intimate shipping and Eros love. She continued to be on good terms with Shoya, but always with a dash of melancholy, as she always perceived herself to forever be in Shoko's shadow.
- With His Gang of Merry Men
So unlike Robin Hood and his Merry Men, Shoya and his Merry Men had no useful purpose for their gang's existence, other than to create pranks and tricks, and then to extract as much fun and entertainment from their efforts as possible. Shoya Ishida, and his "boys in the 'hood", Kazuki Shimada, and Keisuke Hirose did just as they pleased, whenever and wherever they wanted to. Although they probably never did anything where they could be blatantly arrested for, nevertheless, they just did stupid and inane things, like jumping off of the bridge into the river, just to get soaking wet. Shoya was always the 'Gangsta Boss', with the other two always going along for the ride. Best buds all around, with seemingly nothing that would ever come between them.
But something did. The two Merry Men probably took note of the first attempts to bully Shoko that Shoya had begun. But as time went by, and the pranks and tricks put upon Shoko became more and more frequent and severe, both Kazuki and Keisuke both began to question the validity and necessity of what was happening. Finally, when Shoko was bullied and tortured to such a degree that she was transferred out of the pubic school, and an inquiry was made to find out what had been going on all this time, Kazuki and Keisuke turned on Shoya, and 'turned states evidence' that Shoya was the genesis of much of the bullying. Only a day had passed when the two Merry Men confronted Shoya, and meated out their own version of justice and punishment, when they threw Shoya and his backpack into the filthy school fountain, the very same fountain that Shoya had pitched Shoko's communication notebook into !
Many years later, Shoya would run into Kazuki at the amusement park wherein he had taken Shoko on a date. Kazuki was working a booth, but did not want anything to do with Shoya, other than serving him as he would any other customer. However, on the night that Shoko had decided to commit suicide, the same night that Shoya followed her to a third story balcony where she was prepared to jump from, unknown to Shoya was that Kazuki and Keisuke had followed him. They were going to play a cruel practical joke on Shoya to punish him, however, instead they saw him fall from the third story balcony, and were the ones who fished him out of the pond that he had fallen into. Shoya never knew this, never knew that it was those two that came to his rescue then, not until Naoka, who had promised never to tell, actually told Shoya much later what exactly happened that faithful night. Many more years later, Shoya would see Keisuke at the Coming of Age Day celebration. But by then, Keisuke was already married to a nice girl, and had produced a daughter with her.
Shoya seems to be a person who, due to life's circumstances, had been kicked into the 'dry well' of unrestrained self-gratification leading to emotional and social debasement, but was eventually able to climb out of such circumstances on their own sheer willpower and self-judgement of guilt, a remarkable feat in and of itself ! The movie does not tell about the circumstances surrounding Shoya's mom, Miyako Ishida, who came to have two children, an older girl and a younger boy, and with herself as a single mom. Plus Miyako had to provide for her children, this by her own business of hairstyling and running a beauty parlor. Whether by choice, or be default, Miyako seems to have provided little in the way of time and attention to Shoya during his childhood, leading to him being alone to do as he saw fit. Without much parental guidance, Shoya is left to entertain and occupy himself as best as he could, and he ends up doing it in the most cruel and debased way---bullying others, as well as treating himself to stupid pranks and goofy tricks played out upon himself. All this just to pass the time, to fight boredom, and to entertain himself and the Merry Men of his youthful gang.By the time Shoya was in the sixth grade, he was the 'king of his kingdom'; what with a gaggle of gangsta boys to command, a girl ( Naoka ) who looked up to him as a prospective 'boyfriend', and a self-autonomous status that allowed him to do as he pleased, both at home, at school, and out in public. But during that eventful school year he finally acquired a 'thorn in his side'; a person who would not 'knuckle under' to his bullying, a person who would return kindness to his cruel pranks, a deaf/mute girl of all persons ! Beginning with simple insults, Shoya ran the gambit of his bullying tricks, but surprisingly with little or no effect on Shoko. As the weeks and months would go by, his bullying would intensify, each prank and joke on Shoko becoming all the more intense and debased. Still, no discernible effect on Shoko, other than she would continue to treat him with mildness and patience. However, Shoya had one more 'ace up his sleeve' --- physical violence. He played this card on Shoko, and to his surprise, she returned the effort with the same, giving him a sound thrashing, to boot !
Shoko became to Shoya an emotional fortress that can be torn down, but never defeated. When finally exposed for how he really was---a merciless bully---Shoya was the one who was defeated. Not only did Shoko survive his ploys, but his gangsta boys, his friends at school, even the teachers turned on him and ostracized him, dispensing the same emotional and social pain and torment that he had foisted onto others, this for many years to come. The social and emotional quarantine was so effective, that Shoya would place a cartoon "X" onto the faces of everyone, to remind him that he was an outcast, undeserving of even common manners and favors. It is no wonder that Shoya was lead to eventually contemplate suicide !
One personality trait turned out to be the saving grace for Shoya, one spark that could ignite a change for the better in a boy that was supposedly incorrigible, was buried in Shoya for such a long time. This was a secret, innate sense of justice within himself, a justice that could either condemn a person, or offer a redemption to that person. Shoya mentally chose the condemnation, to be sealed with a suicide. But because of what he had done to Shoko, and the desire to 'set matters straight' towards her during the last time that he would see her on his fatal day, he reversed himself, and chose to give himself time to try and redeem himself, at least in her eyes. This 'tilting of the scales of justice' for the better began to take place as he had learned sign language so as to communicate with Shoko, and spend more and more time with her, and eventually beginning to date her. As former bully and victim became closer and closer to one another, a special shipping began to blossom. A special friendship with a girl that was so foreign to Shoya. Shoya's redemption was authenticated when he chose to sacrifice himself to save Shoko from her suicide attempt. Redemption was offered and accepted in Shoya's heart; it was now a done deal !But could this deal, namely redemption for past mistakes and bad conduct, be repeated with other people, such as his former friends and schoolmates ? It happened for the good with Shoko, but could it happen with the other people he knew from the past ? Shoya and Shoko set out on a mission to find out, by contacting the old friends, one by one, and offering a 'peace pipe' to compensate for past misconduct. And to Shoya's surprise, most of the former friends accepted his offer of 'turning over a new leaf', and were willing to give him a second chance at real friendship. Even Naoko, who has always been infatuated with Shoya, but who was always in the shadow of Shoko, gives him a 'piece of her mind' to help him move forward in his social endeavors. These old but new friends can also play a role in helping and offering encouragement, and reconnecting with them can work for the better, despite less than desirable past happenings. Shoya can not undo his past, or the cards that were dealt to him by life, but he can play with the best of intentions, and know that Shoko will be by his side, as an intimate companion and lover for the rest of his life.
Commentary and Opinion
The theme of time travel has been used in many anime and manga stories. Although time travel in not used in A Silent Voice: The Movie, it is nonetheless interesting to suppose what would have taken place had 17-18 year old Shoya had been able to travel back in time and have a heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul discussion with his 12 year old self. Would 12 year old Shoya have even paid attention, listened, or taken to heart anything when told of all of the things that his choices in life would bring to him in later years ? One could never know for sure, all things considered. But one thing is certain, one can not undo the past, but the future is always a blank sheet, and always there for your beckon and call.
At the end of the movie, or at the end of the manga story, it seems to me that both Shoko and Shoya are beginning to have some degree of spiritual perception, and how it can relate to and effect all aspects of one's life's circumstances. Whereas Shoko seems to have come upon her spirituality early on in her childhood, and subsequently decided to live by her own moral and spiritual code, Shoya, by contrast, had to have such inclinations beaten into him by the various life's circumstances that he experienced in his teen years. But the result turned out to be the same, that is, two teenagers---a boy and a girl---were able to find one another and eventually sync with one another on an emotional, social, and spiritual level. Seeing this happen, even if it was so slow to manifest itself, and even if it seemed unlikely that such would happen to any meaningful degree, is enough, I feel, to imply that Shoko and Shoya will eventually marry, and continue to share their insights with one another. This remarkable feat would seem to be even if they had evolved from two completely separate social settings and personal beliefs. And that means that this tumultuous love story would have a happy ending after all !