UJI, Japan — Confusion spread among the audience today at Kyoto Animation headquarters during a test screening of the studio’s upcoming movie adaptation of the manga Koe no Katachi. The studio routinely hosts private focus groups to evaluate reactions of test audiences before announcing and releasing a new animation project. The source of their confusion came when they reported that after the movie had started, there was no audio playing. The test screeners stated that this wouldn’t have been a problem if it hadn’t been for the fact that the movie was about a deaf girl.
“Well I just had no idea whether or not KyoAni did this on purpose. They might have really wanted movie-goers to become aware of the difficulties facing the deaf. I didn’t want to complain, because I was afraid it was done on purpose and the theater staff would judge me and think I was being insensitive,” one audience member told Anime Maru.
Another patron had this to report:
“Well it’s just KyoAni being brilliant yet again, showing that you don’t need sound to portray a beautiful story. I couldn’t fully get what was happening, but that made me empathize with the deaf protagonist — a genius and subtle narrative technique. I might need to watch it again to fully absorb the symbolism and detailed narrative. But the manga didn’t have sound, so I don’t see why the movie needs it. I’m sure Kyoto Animation did this on purpose.”
When we spoke with the studio staff after the screening, the AV technician furtively glanced at the unplugged audio jack.