Komi Can’t Communicate is Hugely Relatable

My dad once told me everyone is a bit introverted…I don’t believe him, but the reason this manga is relatable is because everyone gets a little tongue-tied once in a while.

Meta context: After a break of about two weeks and finishing some series later, I’m back with another post! Yes, it’s not what I was promising just yet, but I’m working on the TWEWY post…I’m just stuck on it right now, that’s all…

Just remember, in that last update I moved to an “I post when I can put out content” schedule, so don’t expect a post next week.

I remember seeing this manga pop up on the AniList trending section many a time (at most times, it was the only manga to show up), so – once I gathered up the courage to start borrowing from libraries, amongst all the COVID scares – I borrowed the first volume of it.

I feel like although the series has its charm, it is mostly carried by its trappings of short chapters, rapid-fire gags and name puns (Osana Najimi being Hitohito’s childhood friend, anyone…?). Najimi themselves is a person of indeterminate gender, played entirely for laughs during their introduction, plus the original title, Komi-san wa Komyushou Desu (Komi Has a Communication Disorder), may also rub some people the wrong way and those two points can make the series a bit unpalatable for some.

Despite these shortcomings, when the series skims right over its problems to focus on its characters’ social problems – which is a lot of the time – Komi Can’t Communicate is a breezy read. Each character starts as one-note, but after some introduction, becomes more well-developed and each note is played for as much humour as possible – out of (Shouko) Komi’s main group in this volume alone, the initial traits are that Najimi is sociable, to offset protagonist Komi’s inability to speak, Agari gets really nervous (agari shou = stage fright) and Hitohito is ordinary (tada = only, hito = person).

Komi herself doesn’t talk much, so her actions are typically conveyed through noises and writing. This is where the relatability shines – by sticking Komi in situations that aren’t hugely far-fetched, but seem like a huge feat for Komi due to the way she is, then rapidly escalating the situations in a way that seems natural, the series both pokes (good-natured) fun at its characters and progresses the plot at the same time. The quest for 100 friends looks like it’s a long way away, but by the time you hit the end of volume 1 (as noted in the bonus), she already has 3 (plus a flip phone), meaning she’s well on her way to succeeding.

So, over to you. Will Komi succeed in her quest, d’you think? (No spoilers for later volumes in the comments, please!)

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