I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
[A quickie warning for those who need it: This manga volume deals with the prolonged bullying of a deaf girl.]
Shoya Ishida is a kid who does stupid stunts because it gets him the attention he craves. However, when his friends start to move beyond all that, he begins to feel both alone and bored. And so he picks on the new girl, Shoko Nishimiya, who is deaf. He makes fun of her, takes her hearing aids, etc., until one day the teacher goes before the class and says that Shoko's mother has complained about the eight hearing aids that have been broken or stolen in the last five months – approximately $14,000 worth of damage. Suddenly, Shoya(show spoiler)
This is ugly and awful and feels very realistic. Shoya seems to have problems at home – his mother is nice but works constantly to provide for her family, and his sister brings a new guy home every few weeks or so. Which gives some background, but doesn't excuse Shoya's cruelty towards Shoko. Shoko, for her part, is kind enough to try to keep Shoya from knowing
Basically, this is a condensed example of just how much school can suck. The teacher was no better than his students. In fact, I'd argue that he was worse, because he was supposed to be the adult in this situation. Yes, he talked to Shoya about his behavior, but his actions were half-hearted, and he too showed frustration at another teacher saying they should all learn at least a little sign language. The panel where he snarled at Shoya was kind of terrifying and, I think, a good example of just how bad a teacher he was. Shoya interpreted it entirely as his teacher being angry at him, but I think his teacher was also terrified that he might be considered partly responsible for the damages, since he did so little to stop it, and so he turned those feelings on Shoya.
While I liked this (although I'm not sure “like” is appropriate here), I did think that there was some clarity issues. A few things were a little harder to follow than they should have been.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)