- Titles: Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu, Komi cherche ses mots
- Genre: Slice of life, school, comedy
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: NUT
Shouko Komi is perfect, a goddess! She’s tall, slender, almost unbelievably beautiful. Her mind is as sharp as the finest blade and her wit even more cutting. She is a creature so above her fellow men that she doesn’t even need to use words. She can control the room with a simple glance. And she never loses her cool. That perfect mask remains impassive in every situation because she is just so extraordinary that nothing phases her. We would all wish to be Komi if such a wish was attainable for mere mortals. And Tadano gets to sit next to her! Like he deserves such an honour! Who does he think he is. And now he’s even talking to her and telling people that she’s shy. That cannot stand! Let’s get him!
I have a bit of a strange history with Komi Can’t Communicate. I had actually known about the manga for a while now. Even before it was officially licensed in English, the title was a darling of the fan translation community and I gave it a quick read. Now scanslations have fandoms just like any other community and the Komi one was a bit… enthusiastic is usually my nice word for it.
I mean there were a lot of people who honestly claimed that Komi Can’t Communicate (or Komi Doesn’t communicate, there were a few titles back in the day)was the best manga to have been released in decades and anyone who didn’t agree was met with either direct hostility or a never-ending barrage of well-meaning explanation to why they are wrong. I read the first few chapters. I liked them quite a bit but not to the point that it was now my favourite manga, so I sort of stepped back from it.
After a while, the manga did get an official English version and then got recommended to me pretty much nonstop on every site I buy manga. I was Komi saturated. S when I saw that Netflix was coming out with an anime adaptation, I figured I would wait until the buzz died down a bit.
Visually Komi is interesting. There are a few scenes, especially sunset ones, that show that the production had a bit of resources to play with here. However, the nature of Komi Can’t Communicate simply doesn’t lend itself to super impressive animation. Instead, the production really went all in preserving the distinctive look of the character models. Komi especially is rather unmistakable.
There is also frequent use of a secondary art style to really mark the silly nature of the story. It’s not exactly chibis but the characters do look a lot more cartoonish at times and it’s charming, in my opinion. Seeing beautiful Komi with her sharp eyes visually devolve into a cute little character with enormous lost puppy dog eyes adds a lot to the story.
Personally, I loved the look of the OP. It’s very sharp with high contrast and shadow lines. I remember wishing that the entire anime had been rendered in that style on more than one occasion. But I do like the look of it as it is.
Story & Characters
Between the one or two chapters I read and the time I started watching the Netflix animation, a lot of stuff happened for Komi. The official manga also manage to gather a vocal and enthusiastic following that certainly helped to hype the release of the anime. I remember seeing a lot about it when it premiered. But then, as the season wore on, I stopped seeing as many posts. My fellow bloggers weren’t mentioning the show in their other posts and there were no huge twitter threads like My Dress-Up Darling is getting this season.
I assumed that Komi Can’t Communicate had failed to live up to fans’ expectations in some way. For some reason, the excitement hadn’t been sustained I thought. Since I had only read a few very early chapters, for all I knew, maybe the story goes in an odd direction or just gets boring after a while. The premise did seem rather limited.
And so, I started watching Komi Can’t Communicate last week with a very cautious mindset. I expected that I wouldn’t love it as much as the die-hard fans and that whatever turned the other viewers off, would do the same for me. Remember that at this time, I had avoided detailed episode reviews as I wanted to discover the series for myself. As such, I hadn’t in fact read anything to specifically suggest fans had become disenchanted with the show, I was simply going off of circumstantial evidence and years of watching the blogosphere.
Komi Can’t Communicate is basically a coming-of-age comedy. Komi is extremely shy and riddled with social anxiety to the point where she can’t bring herself to have a normal conversation with her peers. However, she’s also very beautiful and her default expression makes her look calm and collected even when she’s panicking. As such, most other people consider her intimidating and unapproachable. And mistake her quietness for being a cool girl who is above it all. But that’s not the case, since Komi desperately wants to make friends. One day, Tadano catches her talking to herself when she thinks he’s asleep and figures out the truth. From there, he decides to help her and the two of them start a quest to get Komi as many friends as possible.
The premise is very sweet, as you can see. But like I mentioned before it is a little limited. Komi Can’t Communicate is mostly a comedy and a LOT of the humour is just Komi panicking while people around her misinterpret it and decide she’s the coolest person ever. Frankly, even very early on, it gets repetitive.
Komi does manage to make friends with Tadano’s help fairly easily. However, most of them are eccentric to the point of being insane. Najimi is a genderfluid troll who frequently deliberately puts Komi (and mostly Tadano) in unpleasant or difficult situations just to amuse themselves. Agari is a shy girl like Komi who turns into a BDSM sub whenever Komi is around and wants to be treated like a dog. Also makes a lot of jokes about hot dogs being her penis for some reason. Meanwhile, Yamai is a Yandere with Komi as the object of her affection. At times, these characters became a bit much for me. They are all repetitive as well and the jokes around them didn’t seem to fit the rest of the show.
However, that’s not what I remembered after I watched the last episode of Komi Can’t Communicate. I can point at a lot of individual moments that I didn’t really like or that didn’t work for one reason or another. I can say that the supporting characters need some work and the entire season was more repetitive than most anime. But the impression that it left on me was that of a charming exploration of friendship.
There is some suggestion that a romantic relationship between Tadano and Komi could happen in the future but for now, they are two friends who care a lot about each other and their friendship was just touching. I really liked this simple exploration of how we can help each other in mundane little ways. It made me happy to watch and I found myself wanting to see just one more episode every time.
I ended up putting season 2 straight on my planning to watch list. The show isn’t perfect and maybe some of those hit or miss supporting characters or the same jokes that come up all the time really did turn some viewers off. But after watching it, I think it’s just a case that Komi is in fact a calm show that doesn’t really stray far from its central friendship theme. And because of that, it’s not really the sort of show that going to cause a huge uproar, even if viewers are enjoying it. The manga was already so popular that it wasn’t a surprise to that many people either. Unlike My Dress-Up Darling which had a very liked manga but wasn’t anywhere near as widely known.
At the end of the day, Komi Can’t Communicate seems to be a faithful adaptation of at least the first chapters of the manga and a pretty charming anime overall. I’m looking forward to more!
You might like this anime if:
You liked the manga! Hah! You want a sweet slice of life about making friends and don’t mind occasionally raunchy jokes.
My favourite character:
I really like a straight man in these types of shows so I have to give it to Tadano but he would be pretty boring without Komi so maybe I like the two main characters best of all!
a Shy Lady
- Every time Komi gets cat ears – awwwwww
- Every time anyone blushes at Komi – take a gulp
- Every time Najimi has a childhood friend – don’t take a sip, you’ll pass out
- Every time Komi gets minsunderstood – take a sip
- Every time Komi freezes – gat some ice for your drink
- Every time Komi makes a friend – raise your glass
- Every time Komi actually says something – marvel in awe
- Every time Najimi pretends to do communication training – take a sip
- Every time Yamai goes dark – be afraid
- Every time Tadano can read Komi’s mind – take a sip
- Every time Komi has a pny tail – take a sip
- Every time Osana sends Komi on an errand – get something for someone else in the room. If you’re alone, congraulations you can chill
- Every time Tadano is secretly looking out for Komi – cute!
- Every time we see Komi’s mom – Yay!
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.