"Don't let your kids watch it!" - Robbie Rotten
This article contains potentially sensitive content that may be discomforting or upsetting to certain users. Reader discretion is advised!
Reason: Elements of brutal bullying.
"Stop... YOU VILE WOMAN!"— Yuzuru Nishimiya calling Naoka out for who she truly is, "Chapter 44: Scourge"
NOTE: Please have massive respect to Kyoto Animation, who lost 36 employees in their arson attack on July 18 of 2019. May all those employees rest in peace.
Naoka Ueno (植野 直花), is one of the classmates of Shōya Ishida in elementary school and a "supporting character" of A Silent Voice series, created by Yoshitoki Ōima and later adapted into a film on 2016 by Kyoto Animation. She is pretty notorious for having anger issues in some points of the series, making her one of the two most unlikable characters in the series along with Miki Kawai.
Why She Needs to Be Set Straight
- This character is by far, one of the absolute worst in representing mean girl stereotypes. As she acts very mean for no good reason whatsoever, leading her to become an irredeemable character.
- In fact, every time she tries to do a good thing, it always ends up on shining her in a negative light.
- She is not a good friend to Shōya...
- In the first few chapters of the manga prologue, she constantly follows him in an attempt for him to fall in love with him.
- When she found out that his prologue counterpart was fond of her bullying, she made it as her main intention to pick on Shōko Nishimiya in her debut, so that he would consider her as his "friend".
- When she wins him over, she helps him in continuing his bullying onto Shōko Nishimiya to death.
- When Shōya gets her, along with his old friends and Miki on the plate when he is reprimanded for his brutal bullying, she in return, abandons him and and goes along with the crowd in giving Shōya comeuppance. Not only is she unfaithful to him, but she basically wanted to get away with bullying.
- When she sees him again, she manipulates him into getting his bad side back when she attempts to bully Shōko again once she sees her.
- When Shōya stops her from doing the act and admits to her that she (Shōko) and him are friends, she laughs it off, teases him and states gives him a mean compliment that their friendship is fake, which is a lie.
- She tries to get Kazuki to be friends with him again, the one who bullied him after being exposed, but he reprimands her, telling her to mind her own business.
- When she asks him if he hates her when they somewhat talk in private together in the fair. When he says he does, she begins to run towards Shōko, even when he begs her to not to do it in his fear, she ignores him and does it anyway.
- As stated in WTNSLaNR#4 below, she still bullies Shōko much to the dismay of him. Wow, what a friend she is.
- She never apologizes to him for her acts of bullying towards him, making her look pretty heartless.
- When everyone begins arguing at the bridge after Miki exposes Shōya’s past, she claims that what she went through meant more and Miki didn't struggle due to her just being a follower, but Shōya tells Naoka that she’s no different from Miki. Like the others, Naoka leaves Shōya alone for some time, apologizes for lashing out, but she doesn't actually mean it.
- Moment of hypocrisy...
- She states that she likes Shōya, but she actually doesn't care about him as stated above.
- Speaking of Shōko, she bullies her to the extreme, even though Shōya changed for the better and she didn't do anything wrong to her.
- As stated in WTNSLaNR#2.2, she helped Shōya in continuously bullying Shōko, giving her unjustifiable pain and trauma during her time in elementary school.
- Just like Miki Kawai, she manipulates both her, the teacher and her classmates in making them and us as the audience, to think that she is helping her to be settled well in her new surroundings. When in reality, she is trying to pick on her.
- As mentioned before in WTNSLaNR#2.4, she tries to bully Shōko when she sees her again in the time-skip. Though she is stopped by Shōya when he sees it.
- When she (Naoka) talks with her (Shōko) in a room of the Ferris Wheel together, she tells her that she hates her, and tries to make an agreement with her to hate each other. When Shōko declines to maintain her status of a good character, Naoka both slaps and bad-mouths her in response. Which not only hurts Shōko physically and mentally, but almost breaks Yuzuru's (Shōko's younger sister) camera as well.
- She goes way too far in her acts of bullying during the infamous hospital scene (which happens outside of the hospital), in which she actually assaults Shōko because she (Shōko) tried to take her life and thinking in her (Naoka) mind that she dragged Shōya to her balcony to hurt him, when in actuality, he was trying to save her from commiting suicide. She does this by bad-mouthing her more by saying that they would be better off without her, even asking that her to go ahead and die, as well as dragging her by her coat and slamming her onto the fence outside while she still has a cast. This gives Shōko a massive amount of pain, both physically and mentally.
- It's way worse in the manga, as in "Chapter 44: Scourge" she reads an envelope that Shōko wrote about her honest feelings. But instead of actually understanding Shōko and giving her empathy, she punches her and accuses her of acting by her infamous quote; "IF YOU WANT TO BECOME AN ACTRESS OF TRAGEDY, THEN WIPE YOUR A** FIRST BEFORE YOU TALK!". Also by calling her a scourge (hence the chapter's title) and slamming in the fence, even going up to the point where she actually drags her by the hair.
- To give a massive insult to injury, she also gives pain to her family. Her actions towards Shōko traumatizes her (Shōko) sister Yuzuru twice; first, when she slaps her older sister in a room of the Ferris Wheel as stated in WTNSLaNR#4.4, which she (Yuzuru) filmed intentionally in secret, not to mention that the footage shocked Shōya as well. And second, when she sees her sister getting severely hurt by Naoka. She also bullies Yaeko (Shōko and Yuzuru's mother) when she gets involved into the whole ordeal, which Naoka bad-mouths her as well, saying that she should die too and set her daughter straight, not to mention that she also hit her and goes as far as pulling her hair, which is way more abusive in comparison.
- Much like the manga counterpart of her infamous bullying on Shōko in the hospital scene, the manga version of her bullying her family is no better there. In "Chapter 45: It Was All for Nothing?", not only does she hit Yaeko, but she also accuses her of being a "bad mother" for "not teaching her the right things" as well as giving birth to her. She also accuses Yuzuru for not stopping her in torturing her sister, which is another lie since she actually asks her to stop, as well as calling her a vile woman as stated above, even the movie included this.
- From these moments alone, it actually feels justified for Yaeko to beat her and give her a nose bleed, coming from the treatment she sees on Naoka when she gives it to Shōko.
- Her hypocrisy has also extended, as she thinks that Shōko and her family are bad people, when in actuality, she is the bad one.
- When you put criminal law into account, Naoka can be faced to a long sentence of imprisonment, as well as facing a large fine.
- People can argue that she was using self-defense against Yaeko, but it isn't justified since she framed her innocent and sympathetic daugther for something that isn't her fault, so she could just use it as an excuse to act like a smart aleck "hero" to Shōya, when she actually acts more of a criminal that should've been arrested for what she did. Speaking of which, she doesn't get arrested for commiting infamous acts of bullying, like that infamous hospital scene.
- Because of how disturbing these moments were, it was probably one of the main reasons to why it was both shorten (due to the amount of chapters) and toned down.
- Even when Shōko still acts kind towards her after all of this, she still bullies her. Even after all of this, she still doesn't learn her lesson.
- Just like how she treats Shōya, she never apologizes to her for her acts of bullying towards her.
- Overall, she treats Shōko like this since she thinks that Shōko is taking Shōya away from her, which fueled her jealousy. This is further shown when she secretly sees Shōko removing the vandalism she committed on his desk. As a result she bullies her as a way to protect Shōya. How does this actually help him? She is just making things worse for him and others, not to mention that it's an unreasonable reason to bully someone. (Overall bullying is always bad, even if you have a reason.)
- To make things more shameful, she acts nice to Miyoko and Shōya because they are nice to her, but acts horrendous when Shōko acts kind to her. Let's not forget that she (Naoka) doesn't let or even asks her (Shōko) why she interacts with Shōya, which makes her look delusional, dumb and flustering to the audience.
- The worst part out of all this, is that she came to the conclusion that Shōko used her disability to take advantage of others, even her. This is another lie since Shōko actually made effort to develop her character and still acts nice for others even though they are mean to her. So other than being delusional, she is acting like a flat-out Ableist similar to Louie Farley.
- In the manga, she has made some creepy faces when she is either teasing someone or being mad at them.
- Speaking of scary faces, her appearances are pretty lackluster.
- Both of her manga counterparts (young and old), doesn't look like her age, as they both look like an old woman or an alien wearing a human costume.
- While her movie design (as shown in the infobox) is admittingly better than the manga, it looks more like a mix hybrid of Mio Akiyama from K-On! (hair and school uniform) and Reina Kousaka from Hibike! Euphonium (eyes and school uniform).
- She is also treated like a Butt-Monkey at times, and you NEVER can feel bad for her as she deserves it for acting like a criminal.
- While she did get comeuppance for her actions, she backfires on it and as stated in WTNSLaNR#4.9, she doesn't learn her lesson, thus making it unsuitable and giving her the status of an Unwilling Weed Reaper, similar to Miki Kawai. It would've been much better if it was mentioned and/or seen for that matter, that she got harshly reprimanded by her father and/or sent to the slammer and the story would end there or give her some much needed character development. Or better, her being forgotten from the story entirely.
- She also had other moments of hypocrisy.
- She doesn't like it when others hate themselves, when she actually does hate herself.
- She doesn't want to be embarrassed by others, but she embarrasses others for her own benefit, more notably Shōko. Don't forget, she still embarrasses herself when acting like a smart aleck.
- Both Yūki Kaneko (for the Japanese dub) and Kira Buckland (for her older version in the English dub), makes her sound cringy and irritating in her normal voice, too menacing when she has a tough voice and absolutely traumatic in terms of yelling.
- It also doesn't help coming from the fact that Kaneko didn't bother to change her voice of Naoka to differ her age difference, which just confuses the audience in return.
- Though she feels remorseful for her actions, she has NO motivation in changing her character. This in turn, lags in her character development, as she can't even take herself seriously.
- Because of these traits she comes off as an unsympathetic villain rather than a person that can actually be easily relatable to the audience.
- Once again, her design in the movie is passable, even though it's still looks like a rip-off of Mio Akiyama and Reina Kousaka.
- While she absolutely comes off as a bully who should be in the slammer, she does have a moment of sympathy.
- As mentioned in WTNSLTS#6, she only has her father as a parent, meaning that her mother either died or divorced him, though it isn't actually been confirmed.
- This can be somewhat understandable, since she has to do deal with her job to make ends meet as well as taking care of her three younger siblings, though this doesn't excuse her bad behavior entirely.
- Gia Grace (for her younger version in the English dub), is much more tolerable in the movie compared to the other actresses.
- While her remorse towards her actions is ignorable, she did apologize to Shōya for bullying him and coming to possibly hurt his feelings, when she tried to make amends with him. Though she doesn't really mean it, it proves that she isn't entirely heartless.
- She did become friends with Miyoko Sahara, when she finds out that she is actually inspired by her work in fashion in the manga.
- She also helped in making Miki Kawai feel guilty about her bullying, much to her (Miki) constant denial of participance.
- While it feels weak all by itself, she has hope for redemption, though it should be noted that it has to be written well to prevent from being half-baked.
- Miki Kawai: The smart aleck "good hearted" crybaby, who always plays the victim and denies any bullying to Shōko, yet bullies Shōya in the process.
- Kazuki Shimada: A mysterious sadistic psychopath that's responsible for giving unlawful punishment to Shōya.
- Mr. Takeuchi: The teacher that never properly teaches his students to not bully, and acts a bully himself towards Satoshi.