There have been a lot of romantic comedy shows that follow a similar template lately. There’s a guy and a girl, and the girl almost always has a quirk of sorts that makes her unique. It’s a pretty simple concept that’s fairly popular. Uzaki-chan from Uzaki-chan wa asobitai is constantly teasing our main character, Nagatoro from Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san is flat out bullying her senpai, Aharen san from Aharen-san wa Hakarenai speaks at an extremely low volume and Komi from Komi-san can’t communicate has a communication disorder that makes it so she can’t speak and gets social anxiety.
Now I won’t argue that any of these shows is better than the others. I have my opinions on this, but I also feel like a lot of it depends on your personal preferences. I know that Nagatoro is very popular and well received but I couldn’t stand watching the show at all. I’ve also heard some reviewers say that Komi-san gets boring quickly which I would disagree with. But seeing as that’s the show we’re talking about today I figure that doesn’t come as a surprise to you.
Komi Shoko is a beautiful high school student that everyone looks up to. Her presence changes the entire atmosphere in a room. She’s so impressive that she doesn’t even have to speak up for people to understand what she’s trying to say. Well, it’s of course not as simple as it seems. Komi-san can’t speak because of her communication disorder. It’s kind of similar to a form of social anxiety which makes it so that she can’t speak at all and gets anxiety when spoken to. There are many disorders in this vein and it’s a different experience for every person, but I think for those of us who have struggled with social contacts in the past, Komi can be very relatable.
The story follows Tadano-kun, Komi’s classmate who is the first one to really figure out what Komi is struggling with. Komi really wants to make friends in high school, at least a hundred, and Tadano-kun is her first friend. Not only that, he’s completely committed to helping her make even more friends. They quickly add more people to the group which include the hyper social Najimi-kun, the sociopathic popular girl Yamai Ren and the masochistic girl Akari. From there on out their high school life continues and they start adding more and more people to their friend group. The school they’re a part of only allows interesting students, whatever that means. Most of the students we meet during this show are quirky at the least and insane at the most. There’s a guy who’s just a ninja, there’s a girl that wants to compete with everything and as the story progresses we also meet Katai-kun who is very intimidating looking even though he’s super shy on the inside and looks up to Komi as a paragon of social skills. Yeah, the show has it’s fair share of misunderstandings, but in my opinion it never gets overdone to the point where it becomes annoying.
The driving forces that make this anime shine, at least in my opinion, are the relationship that slowly develops between Tadano and Komi, as well as the depictions of the situations that Komi struggles with. I want to dive into one of the scenes the anime covered because as someone with social anxiety that one hit a little bit too close to home.
As many of you who read my blog regularly know, I’m autistic and social skills didn’t come naturally to me. I’d like to think I’m reasonable at them now, I’m teaching high school so I need to at least have the basics down right? In this particular scene, Komi is going to the library to pick up a book. She’s however unsure about the procedure for checking out the book and taking it with her. So instead she just kind of wanders around while thinking up a plan, unsuccessfully. I legitimately felt my heart sink during that scene, since I’ve been in the exact same situation when I was younger. Wandering around a place gathering up the courage to talk to someone or deal with a situation is one of the most relatable experiences I can think of when it comes to my social anxiety and I just feel like Komi-san nailed this feeling. I’d like to think the author themselves has experienced some form of this social anxiety because I’d find it very impressive for someone who’s never gone through these kinds of feelings to write something that feels so real and accurate.
Unfortunately, not everything about this anime is great. I mentioned the sociopathic popular girl Yamai Ren earlier during the review. She’s very much obsessed with Komi and for me the character definitely crosses the line several times. To give an example, early on during the series she kidnaps Tadano to keep him away from Komi. There’s more she gets up to, but I just find her extremely creepy, annoying and it kind of takes away from the otherwise fun and relatable vibe that the show has going for it. Even though it deals with anxiety, I find it very calming to watch this show most of the time. If you’re like me and you have a history of social anxiety, I highly recommend Komi-san can’t communicate. With its second season being well underway and in my opinion going strong and being even better than the first season at times I think now is a good time to get into this series.
But let me know what you think in the comments down below. Maybe you don’t like Komi-san at all and find it very unrelatable, or maybe you even feel uncomfortable watching a story about a subject like this. I’m very curious to hear your opinions. And as always, thanks for reading.