Koe no Katachi - Ooima Yoshitoki Whilst browsing through the anime/manga community like I always do, I stumbled upon this one-shot that has been causing quite a raucous recently due to it's content. It's about a hearing-impaired young girl who gets bullied at school for being just that: Hearing-impaired. When I heard the synopsis, I knew that this was something I just HAD to read. Being a victim of bullying myself, I wanted to see how something of this delicate nature was being handled in manga. After reading it, I can tell you I was NOT disappointed. It is such a heat-wrenching story with a beautiful art style and engaging, albeit, disturbing characters that will make you want to scream, cry, and maybe burn a few things down! (I know I wanted to for a moment! This one-shot just plays on all your emotions.) It was such a great story to read.

Yoshitoki did a fantastic job conveying what it's like being victimized by bullies in school. She knows how it elicit the right emotions at the right time in her story-telling, which is something I appreciate greatly. You can tell she is telling this story, not to entertain the reader, but to inform the reader that things like this DO happen. There are people out their that will use others, abuse others, for their own malicious gain. And sometimes, there's nothing to gain from it! They just do it because the victim is different or doesn't quite sit right with them. Yoshitoki made this one-shot without shying away from the truth... that there are people out their suffering from being bullied. That there are students in school picking on others because it's "a game" to them... and NO ONE is doing anything about. Teachers just stand by and let it happen because it's most convenient to them and they don't want to deal with such "baggage." He wrote this story to bring awareness to everyone that bullying is a huge problem and it needs to be dealt with, not pushed aside. I love this one-shot so much because it's inspiring. It's not something to just think about for the moment and just forget about. Bullying needs to be put to an end and I'm glad Yoshitoki had the gull to say it out right.

The characters were brilliantly used for this. Nishimiya was a kind and gentle girl who wanted nothing more than to make friends. She was sweet and, although I thought she was too sweet for her own good, she had a good soul. I adored her mostly because after everything she's been through, you can still see what a good heart she has. (She also stood her ground when facing her bullies which was awesome!) Ishida... well... he was a douche. Plain and simple. He was completely horrible to Nishimiya and, frankly, he got what he deserved. However, I do want to make one thing clear about his character that stood out to me. After all was said and done, he realized the mistakes he made. I don't want to say much because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read this yet, but he went through so much growth and by the end of the story, he gained my respect. I don't think I fully forgive him for what he did but... he does have my respect. The other characters in this story are just as horrible, if not more so, as Ishida. The teacher is the worst of all but I'll let you experience that for yourself.

That's all I can say without ruining the story for you. Koe no Katachi is a beautifully told tale with amazing artwork and interesting characters. You have NO idea how happy I am to hear this is getting serialized! It deserves it because the way this ended left a lot of the story open-ended. It was a satisfying ending for what it was... but you just want more! So, yes, I am excited to read the serialized version once published. I recommend EVERYONE to read this one-shot. You will benefit from it greatly. It will open your mind to the severity that bullying is and perhaps will inspire you to make a stand against it when, if ever, the need arises. I know it gave me a sense of power, in a way, to know that no one is alone in this and that we can prevent this harshness from spreading any further. Read it. It's a very good story.