Definitely. It’s the first KyoAni film (seen a couple of their TV shows but not films) and also the first work from Naoko Yamada I’ve watched. Extremely good first impressions.
Kensuke Ushio did a splendid job on the soundtrack. I’ve heard some of his tracks for Ping Pong the Animation and Devilman crybaby which were both really good as well.
What’s fascinating, however, are the methods Ushio used to create A Silent Voice’s soundtrack. This article delves into that creative process:
Q: The heroine, Shoko, is deaf. I assumed that makes it tricky to deliver it musically. What sort of concept did you come up with?
Ushio: First, I did some research on hearing impairments. I found out that the types and degrees of them vary depending on individuals, and so I didn’t take deafness as a concept. Instead, I focused on a hearing aid, which plays an important role in the film. A hearing aid is basically an amplifier for your ear, so theoretically, it should create some noise.
Then, I began to think how much noise to pick up, what sort of difference we hear between noise and musical tones and what makes noise become meaningful. All those thoughts led me to one conclusion, an upright piano.
The fact that my parents were holding music lessons at home might have helped me, but upright pianos clearly stood out as an instrument that I could control the noise as much as possible. Upright pianos could produce noises from nails clicking on keys, a hammer clunking by pressing keys, a felt part on a soft pedal when it’s pressed down and a soundboard creaking as strings echo.
In order to complete the concept of recording all those noises, I dismantled a piano and set up a microphone inside. By doing so, I was hoping to capture and record the sound as a whole including such noises, not musical tones.
The amount of effort put into this film is amazing.