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The Dramatic Anime Hidden Gem Everyone's Watching On Netflix

You don't necessarily need a subscription to a dedicated anime streaming service such as Crunchyroll to watch some fantastic anime these days. Mainstream platforms such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix have plenty of fantastic anime movies and series to watch. One such movie is "A Silent Voice," a powerful and beautiful story of two high school students learning to cope with the difficult hands they've been dealt.

The film centers on Shoya Ishida (Miyu Irino and Robbie Daymond) and Shoko Nishimiya (Saori Hayami and Lexi Cowden), two students at a high school in Japan. Based on Yoshitoki Ōima's manga series of the same name, which ran from 2013 to 2014, the 2016 film by director Naoko Yamada follows the two students as they navigate their early lives. Shoko is deaf, and Shoya must come to terms with the way he bullied her for her disability. The film is a powerful exploration of themes such as disability and alienation, all set to an enchanting soundtrack by Kensuke Ushio and gorgeous visuals by Kyoto Animation.

A Silent Voice tells a powerful story of redemption, exploring themes of disability and mental health

Contrary to popular belief, anime isn't just for kids. Part of what makes "A Silent Voice" so beloved is that it's willing to go to some dark and relatively unexplored places, while still carrying a positive and hopeful message. It also provides positive representation for the deaf community — Shoko's English voice actress is deaf herself, an inspired bit of inclusive casting that should have Hollywood sitting up and taking note. It also won multiple awards, including "Best Animation — Feature Film" at the 2016 Japanese Movie Critics Awards and "Anime of the Year" at the Tokyo Anime Award Festival.

The film holds an impressive 94% rating from 36 critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 93% audience rating from over 2,500 people. Among those reviewing the film, Charlotte Harrison of VultureHound wrote that the film will be especially resonant "for those who feel lost on their journey, afraid of the big and scary world they are being forced to enter, haunted by their all to recent past to move forward with their present. What could be more universal than that?"

"A Silent Voice" came to Netflix in June 2019, where it is still available to stream in the United States.