Koe no Katachi
Ishida was just another obnoxious 6th grade boy, until the arrival of a transfer student named Shoko Nishimiya. Shoko was deaf, causing her to have problems fitting in right away. Eventually Ishida began harassing Shoko, which escalated day after day with other students joining in. Shoko transfers schools after it becomes clear what's happening to her. Ishida is clearly the one who bullied her the most, but when called out for it no one else sticks up for him.
Ishida is labeled a bully by everyone in the class, and becomes an outcast and now they are the ones harassing him. After years of being shunned, Ishida finally has enough money saved up to repay his mom for the time when she offered paid to pay for the hearing aids Ishida destroyed. That finished, Ishida decides to jump off a bridge.. but can't quite go through with it.
The next day he decides to give Shoko a notebook he's had with him since she left. While she's initally afraid to meet him again, Shoko is shoked to discover Ishida now knows sign language. Ishida isn't sure if he can make things right between the two, but he wants to try. He's only a part of the picture though, as other things went wrong from the events of the 6th grade.
I hesitate to pick up an anime drama due to the ham fisted way it's usually done, then the disheartened feeling for giving it a pass because it's anime. However occasionally a show comes along with a well told story and drama that I feel a sense of relief that anime can really do it right sometimes. Such is the case with Koi no Katachi (Silent Voice), a film which expands on characters and story better in 2 hours than most 26 episode series.
The characters are realistic, making the direction of the story much harder to predict. This is showcased early on with the characters as children acting like actual kids. When Shoko is introduced to the class, things initially are only awkward due to her disability, but things spiral out of control with the kids being mean to her. It's truly heartbreaking to watch Shoko try her best to make friends but fail. This part ends with Shoko leaving and Ishida being shunned by everyone around him.
Anime characters are often simplistic, so some adjustments have to be made with the characters in Koe no Katachi where they feel like actual people.
With some parts being very relatable to me, I'm somewhat biased on this review Kids being mean, red X's on the calendar and how my family used to communicate with a great aunt of mine by spelling out words on the kitchen table (sign language wasn't available to her when she was young).
X: Friendship lies somewhere between things like words and logic.