While I can’t say a comical slice of life series was the easiest thing to talk about on an episode-by-episode basis, I still really enjoyed the anime a lot, which was perhaps expected since I was already a fan of the manga, to begin with.
Komi Can’t Communicate, despite being a very lighthearted comedy, actually has some pretty serious subject matter, especially for me since I relate to the story quite a bit in a lot of ways.
Komi, our main character, has trouble talking with people. She’s so socially anxious around everyone that she can only really communicate by writing on note pads and not talking. That’s basically it. The story is about her meeting Tadano, her first friend, and the two of them getting her 99 more despite her limitations, and all humor comes from that.
I understand Komi on a personal level because I felt very similar to her when I was younger, and hell, I still do now. I can’t say I went around writing my thoughts on chalkboards, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t more comfortable writing than I am speaking.
I was a very awkward kid, and I had a lot of problems getting along with people, especially those my own age. Like Komi, I would overthink my every action, what I did wrong, what I shouldn’t have said, what I never said. I would freeze up and say nothing, which would get misinterpreted by other people making them think I’m someone I’m not. I get all of that.
Komi suffers this to a bit more of an extreme, of course. My quietness never got me treated like a god and worshipped by everyone who knows me, but I’m also not an attractive girl surrounded by a bunch of weirdos, so I wasn’t exactly given a fair chance.
Regardless, Komi is written as a really good character to showcase that crippling social anxiety that has affected some of us in our lives. That’s obvious from the one line they like to repeat a lot. Just because someone has a communication disorder doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk to people. It’s just hard for them to. It’s the truest words in the series.
For all the laughs, Komi is handled in a very mature way that also makes for some great comedy. For the type of series it is, Komi is handled perfectly and I do really like and relate to her a lot.
With all of the deep stuff aside, this is a rom-com that leans pretty heavily on the com aspect, but the rom in rom-com is still there, and Komi’s quietness along her lofty goal of getting 100 friends makes her a pretty adorable character that it’s hard not to root for. And despite the romance not going anywhere for a long time, they make it a point to give her and Tadano a cute moment or two together fairly often, so there’s enough to keep you on your toes.
That being said, it’s not the perfect romance story because, as I said, it’s far more focused on being a comedy, but there’s enough cuteness there to keep you interested, and as long as you’re not expecting too much, you should be happy.
And that’s pretty much the biggest thing. Don’t go into Komi expecting it to be all that much. Don’t get me wrong, I love Komi to death. I’m collecting all the volumes of the manga, and I loved the anime, and I’m so happy it’s getting another season, but it’s not going to blow your mind past one or two episodes.
Komi is perfect for the three-episode rule. Honestly, it would be good for a one-episode rule. Komi is about the most predictable and formulaic series I have ever seen in my life. If you see one episode, you know the whole thing. If you even slightly get the vibe of it, it never changes, at least not in anything I’ve seen yet.
The formula is great. It’s funny, cute, and all of that good stuff, but it doesn’t evolve past that. Basically, all that happens is Komi, and the gang go through normal student stuff, she occasionally meets someone weird, they do some stuff and become friends. All the humor is either derived from everyone loving Komi, her weird friends, or her social skills. That’s it. Rinse and repeat.
The series is very comfortable with what it is, and it doesn’t plan to become anymore. The characters that Komi meets are also nothing special. They’re about as one-dimensional as they come. They’re literally just walking character tropes with little to none of them becoming anything more.
That doesn’t mean they’re bad. You can still find characters you’ll like, but with how many there are and how much screen time is dedicated to them, they’ll never reach the level of development that any of the main characters get. That can make them all seem gimmicky and almost like the “character of the week,” and besides the fact that they’re a little less common than that, it isn’t incorrect.
That’s why I say Komi is exactly what it looks like on the surface. It’s funny, it’s cute, it’s about this girl with a communication disorder. That’s it for like hundreds of chapters and apparently now multiple seasons.
That does mean that it will naturally get a little old after a bit, and while I can’t say I felt that way in the manga, there’s something about watching it in anime form that made me get sick of it a little bit faster. There’s just something about the change in medium, I think.
With that being said, the anime adaptation of Komi actually did some amazing things. I was concerned before it aired that it would be able to properly convey the series comedy, but OLM managed to not it out of the park with visuals very similar to the manga and their own running gags. It really brought the series to life and kept the vibe of the source material.
But the biggest thing they got right was the casting. All the voices were fantastic, especially our leads, but the main voice I want to mention is Aoi Koga as Komi. She had a really difficult role to perform.
Komi, as you may know, is mostly a silent character. She very rarely speaks, but when she does, it has impact behind it. That moment she finally talks in the manga matters a lot, and hiring someone to actually voice that stuff is hard, but Aoi did perfect.
Her very quiet, like they say, “pretty voice,” is perfect for Komi, and the lines are delivered just the way they should be. For lack of a better word, it sounds like she’s practically choking on them, which is how it should be.
You also have Komi’s passive sounds that you don’t get in the manga, like her panicked grunts and sighs. The anime and Aoi did a great job bringing all of that to life in a way the manga couldn’t.
Komi Can’t Communicate isn’t going to be for everyone, nor will everyone be able to stick through the whole thing, but it is a very good, very cute, albeit a little predictable series that is a good time.
But if there’s one big takeaway from all this, I want people to appreciate just how good the anime adaptation is and how deserving it was of more. It did an outstanding job and blew me away more than I could have ever imagined.
It adapted its source material wonderfully, elevated it above and beyond, and was beautiful. Seriously, I don’t know how the Pokemon studio made it look so damn good, but they did.
Like I said, Komi won’t be for everyone, but if it sounds at all cute or if you can relate to Komi as I can, I really do think you’ll enjoy it.
Thank you very much for reading
See you next season, maybe.