A SILENT VOICE: THE MOVIE
STORY ARC NO. 1
- WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, NOW THE BULLYING CAN BEGIN
( Program Note---This story arc tells the circumstances and events that lead up to and chronicle the cruel bullying and the social and emotional torture of the hearing impaired girl, Shoko Nishimiya.
- THIS STORY ARC MAY BE TRIGGERING TO SOME PEOPLE, AND MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN OR PRE-TEENS. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. )
For quite some time now, Shoya Ishida has been resoundingly unconcerned with the direction of his life, one might even say that he is turning into a juvenile delinquent. However, today promises some excitement from the seemingly unending boredom that plagues his existence, as rumor has it that a new transfer student will be introduced to the class during homeroom time.
While the students are settling down for the first period of the school day, the teacher is in the hallway. He is ready to usher into the classroom a new transfer student, an attractive, very cute twelve year old girl who is about to share an important concern with the class . . . .
Sequence of Story Arc No. 1
Begins with Shoko Nishimiya being introduced to the school class. Shoko's school experiences, both good and bad, are related. The bullying of Shoko intensifies. After many months of ill treatment, Shoya bullies Shoko and draws blood. Shoko tries repeatedly to offer friendship, but is ignored. Ends with Shoko in the school fountain, looking for her soaked notebook.
The Movie Continues
As the teacher, Takeuchi, walks into the sixth grade classroom, Shoya is not much interested, as he is playing with a mechanical pencil. Takeuchi calls for everyone to take their seats, as the girl sitting across the aisle from Shoya, Naoka Ueno, teases him with the information that the new transfer student is a girl. Like Shoya cares? Just then, a cute, shy girl with short, dark pink hair, wearing a pink pull-over shirt with a plastic badge pinned to it, a yellow and amber plaid mini-skirt, and carrying a full backpack in front of her by the straps, enters. Takeuchi introduces her, but she smiles, looks apprehensive, and remains silent. After a long, pregnant silence, the teacher finally touches her shoulder. The girl slowly opens the backpack, and withdraws a notebook entitled---
" Notebook for Conversations---For Written Communication "
As all the students look on intently, she opens the notebook, and presents a page to the class. Written on the page are the words---
"It's nice to meet you. My name is Shoko Nishimiya."
After a few moments, she turns the page to reveal---
" I want to be friends with and would like to get to know everyone through this notebook. "
Again, a page is flipped over, showing the words---
" When you want to talk to me, please use this notebook. "
And now with a big smile on her face, the last page is presented---
" I can't hear ! "
Many students are aghast ! Shoya has the impression in his mind of a video game dilemma, and shouts out an expletive.
Later, at noontime, Miki Kawai, the class student representative, is the first girl to introduce herself to Shoko via her notebook. Meanwhile, Naoka shouts out the question; if Shoko can speak Japanese ? She knowing all the while that Shoko can not hear the question. Shoko writes in her notebook---
" Could you please repeat that ? "
Naoka merely stammers an unintelligible answer. Kawai now writes in the notebook if Shoko has a nick-name? Shoko smiles, and writes " Shou-chan ". Naoka tells Shoya that there is another " Sho " in the class now. But Shoya is not paying any attention, because he has chubby Keisuke sprawled on the floor face down, and sitting on top of him. Later that afternoon, Takeuchi the teacher, calls out the assignments for homework, and the information that is going to be on the test. Of course, he pays no attention to the fact that Shoko can not hear the verbal assignments. Naoko pokes Shoko in the back, and takes her notebook so as to write the assignments down for her.
During after-class choir practice, the music teacher is conducting the opening sequence of music, with Kazuki playing the piano. Shoko has been placed in the choir with the other members, but can not hear the playing of the piano. So she estimates when to begin singing, and naturally, begins 'singing' off key way to early. Miki is next to her, and tells her to watch to see when herself begins to sing, that is the timing for the vocal part. Naoka makes the ominous comment to everyone; guess we won't be winning the upcoming choir competition this year ! Another replies, " You got that right ! "
One day, in the hallway of the school, Shoya is play-choking Keisuke, while Kazuki is looking on. All three of them overhear Naoka talking to Kawai as the two girls are descending the steps. Naoka is complaining that she can not keep up with what the teacher is saying, because she has to write everything down for Shoko in her notebook. Kawai offers to lend her own class notes for Naoka to copy. In the next class, Takeuchi scolds Naoka for doing public reading too slow. Naoka then taps Shoko, to let her know that she is next to read. Shoko, who can only speak with slurred speech and unintelligible words, since she can not hear words pronounced correctly, has her verbal reading completely ignored by Takeuchi. He then asks Shoya to read. In a loud, pronounced voice, Shoya blurts out unintelligible words, to mock Shoko. The teacher meekly tells him that that is not funny, and to sit down. After class, several of the girls, including Shoko, are assigned to clean the classroom. All the girls congregate around one another, talking and laughing, while they clean. But Shoko is left by herself, holding her notebook, and cleaning the windows. Being repeatedly left out of such social happenings, Shoko finally walks over to the others, with a shy smile on her face, to show them a message she has written in her notebook---
" Please tell me what you are talking about ? "
Not bothering to write anything down, Naoka bluntly tells her, " NO THANKS !!! " The half dozen girls who did the cleaning now go outside to the playground area and equipment. Several steps behind the group is Shoko, following them. They all socialize together resting the monkey-bars, but Shoko is kept at a safe distance away from them. The group then leaves, only telling Shoko, " Good-By ". Left to herself and in near tears, Shoko climbs up the monkey-bars, and after a while, jumps down. Waiting for her is Shoya. He begins throwing pebbles at her to get her attention. She walks over to where he is, only for him to make the comment---
" Ya know something ? All of us in the class are sick of you and your notebook ! "
Shoko can't really hear what he is saying, but with her ubiquitous shy smile and gentle eyes, she uses sign language to sign out the words---
" Can we be friends ? ", as well as trying to speak the words, " Kann ooohhee bee Furr-endz ? "
" What ? ", asks Shoya, as he eyes her for a few moments. Then he claws up a handful of sand, and throws it at Shoko, covering her with sand and dust, as he screams, " YOU ARE SUCH A FREAK !!! " Shoya walks away, as Shoko tries to wipe the sand from her eyes, hair, and clothes, and fight back the sorrowful tears.
Next day at school, an instructor from the Special Education Class, named Kita, introduces the class to 'Shuwa' (English: Sign Language), which means 'speaking with your hands'. She then proposes, with Shoko standing next to her in front of all the class, that the class spend three minutes a day to help understand Shoko. Naoka stands up and expresses her concern; can't everyone use Shoko's notebook to communicate ? Kita makes the point that it is easier for Shoko to use sign language rather than writing. Naoka objects, stating that it is easier for her to write in the notebook ! Tension in the classroom heightens, until a small, plain looking girl, Miyoko Sahara, stands up and offers to learn sign language, and to always be with Shoko, so that nobody else has to. At break time, Sahara sits next to Shoko, and writes in her notebook---
" Teach me how to say Miyoko Sahara in sign language ! "
Shoko signs out---
You are Miyoko Sahara, and I am Shoko !
Naoka and her gang of girlfriends is within earshot, so she turns towards the two, and shouts, " Goody Two-Shoes !!! " . Sahara is mortified. Later in the hallway, Sahara and Shoko are walking by Naoka and her girls. As soon as the two are past, Naoka shouts out an insult at their backs, " How Ugly ! Did you get dressed in the dark ? " At the last class of the day, Sahara is at her desk, but for the first class the following morning, she is gone.
That morning, Shoya notices that she is gone, too. He then directs his gaze at Shoko, sitting quietly at her desk reading a book. A diabolical plan is formed in his mind. After the last class is dismissed, Shoya, Kazuki, Keisuke, Naoka, and Miki hang around the empty classroom. Shoya then begins to write on the blackboard, and orders the others to help out. Soon, the blackboard is filled with words and phrases. Just a few moments after they are finished, Shoko enters the classroom with a pot of flowers, since she has been taking care of the school's flowers. She stands in front of the blackboard with astonishment on her face, as she reads---
" Congratulations, Nishimiya ! We lost the choir competition because of you ! And Sahara left school because of you ! "
With such a phony magnanimous gesture, Shoya erases the hurtful words, saying, " No need to thank me ! " Nevertheless, Shoko, while still holding the flower pot, takes the chalk and writes, " Thank You ! " on the blackboard. She then flashes her shy smile, which 'cuts him down like a big oak tree' ! Shoya only barks, " Let's go ! ", and pushes past Shoko, knocking her with is hip.
A few days later, in class while the teacher is reading a text, Shoya rolls up his workbook, and using it like a megaphone, shouts at the top of his voice a few inches from the back of Shoko's head---
" WWHHHHAAAAAAAAAAA !!!!!!!! "
Shoko sits there shocked and paralyzed. The teacher mumbles the threat of detention, as several in the class are giggling. Shoya has his face buried in his arms, laughing, and spits out a fake, " I'm sorry . . . . " Shoko covers her ears with her hands while the shock slowly wears off. After class, Naoka approaches Shoko, saying her name and, cupping her hands, lifts Shoko's hair from her ears. " What have we here ? " . Does this mean that you can actually hear ? ", says Naoko in a sour tone, as she sees that Shoko has two hearing aids in her ears. Devious Naoko asks to see one, so Shoko removes one and gives it to her. Shoya asks Naoko what those things are, and to toss it over to him. She does. Shoya, standing by an open window, shouts---
" EAR WAX ??? SO GROSS !!! "
and tosses the hearing aid out the open window !
From that day on, the bullying of Shoko gradually intensified. Her hearing aid would show up in the wastebasket. Once again she had an audible shock from Shoya's workbook megaphone. A hearing aid was thrown into the fountain on the school grounds. Shoko was deliberately tripped in the hallway. Her communication notebook was filled with cruel and offensive graffiti. Shoya approaches Shoko at her desk, pretending to say a greeting, only to grab her hearing aid and toss it across the classroom. Outside, while Shoko is tending to the flowers, Shoya grabs the water hose and gives her a real soaking.
One day, with several classmates looking on, Shoya sneaks up on Shoko from behind, only to cup his hands, lift up Shoko's hair, and forcefully remove both of her hearing aids. Shoko can only scream, put her hands over her ears, close her eyes and wince in extreme pain, as blood gushes from one ear, spills onto her shoulder, and runs down and drips from her right elbow. Miki comes up to her and frighteningly asks if she is O.K., and how she can help ?
Shoko has been treated for her injury in the nurse's station, she now wears a gauze patch on her right ear. That afternoon, preparing to walk home after school, the three boys are about to leave the school campus. However, near the school fountain, Shoko crosses their path, stops in front of them, and begins writing in her notebook, since both her hearing aids are now gone. Shoya mumbles " Get Lost ! ", as he begins to walk past her. As he passes by, Shoko thrusts her notebook in his face, with her hair swirling around and showing the gauze bandage on her right ear. Her notebook has these words written on it---
" I'M SORRY !!! "
Shoya's response ?
" You are pathetic ! If you want to say something to me, say it !!! ".
He grabs her notebook from her. Flustered, Shoko then grasps his wrist as a further sign of friendship, but he wrenches away. As he is taunted by his two friends, mocking that she wants to hold hands, Shoya begins to blush, then he is consumed in anger. Shoko then signs---
" Lets be friends ! "
with her hands, and offers him her traditional shy smile. This is met with rage across Shoya's face, but saying nothing, he tosses her notebook into the fountain's foul, stagnant water. He then mumbles, " Let's go ", as the three resume walking. Shoko is walking, too, but over to the fountain. She then steps into the foul water, to search for her notebook. But she can't find it. The three boys assault her with the final comments,
" She is crazy ! That water is gross ! ".