It is notable that anime is mostly directed by men. The director of highly anticipated A Silent Voice, Naoko Yamada, is a woman. This is her third feature-length film and she is only 32-years old, but she deals with the problems, not any mature anime director would ever deal with. 


A Common Silence

The obstacles a death girl meets Naoko Yamada is a metaphor of the difficulties everyone could experience. That’s a sort of frustration we experience when we don’t know how to express our emotions, feelings: “everybody has got that problem, that the most important thing is really hard to say to other people. It’s not just Shoko, but all characters have got that frustration. So that’s what I wanted to explore. ” – says, director.


What Does Anime Not Talk About?

An anime romantic drama A Silent Voice is adapted from Yoshitoki Ōima’s long running manga. It follows the life of the death girl Shoko. Her classmates jeer at her because of her disability, so her life in school sucks. Five years later, one of her tormentors, Shoya, is feeling crappy about what he put her through. He finds her and tries to make up for the things he did. The plot of the story would seem classic if that was not an animation. We rarely see the subjects like disability, diseases, a real pain in anime movies.



Her previous movie K-On was a school drama, which was more classic in anime genre. Three school girls want to start their own music band, but according to school music club requirements, they need a fourth member. They find Yui. At first, Yui Hirasawa has no experience playing musical instruments or reading sheet music, but she eventually becomes an excellent guitar player. In K-On, everybody is happy and saying ‘I love you’ to everybody else. The girls have some vague problems, but basically, the movie doesn’t really deal with sadness, while even the title A Silent Voice speaks for itself: there is something more real-life happening.


How To Become A Female Anime Director?

In her interview with Dazed Magazine director admits that she doesn’t think the gender matters. As we can see, the education does not matter either. Naoko Yamada Graduated from oil painting, Kyoto University of Art and Design. Her first job was decorating bakery, but ones she found herself in directing, her career went on.

Her strong passion for music helped her a lot to gain the audience. I just wanted to surprise the UK audience when I was discussing the music with the sound director, Yôta Tsuruoka, we just wanted to have one song that everyone could relate to. Sound is such an important aspect of our film and it was a very collaborative process. I wanted to express the sound within, not audible sound, but the sound within you, – she tells The Picturehouse Blog.

Also, Naoko Yamada found a new way of treating anime characters. They are no longer just drawn pictures, but real people. Maybe that’s why her works are appreciated not only in the specific world of anime but worldwide.

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