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Komi-san Can't Communicate (2021, OLM)

Anime Reviews

Komi-san Can't Communicate (2021, OLM)

Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu [Komi Has Social Anxiety]


Shoko Komi is the school idol, admired by everyone in her school for her beauty and grace. Everyone wants her attention. Hitohito Tadano on the other hand tries to stay out of the spotlight but ends up sitting next to her and so everyone hates him out of jealousy.

While left alone together to tidy up the classroom, Tadano accidentally blurts out wondering if Komi had issues communicating or not. Komi confesses, thinking everyone hates her. After learning it's all just a big misunderstanding because of her glares, she reveals her dream of making 100 friends. Tadano decides to help her by becoming her first friend and to help her overcome her communication problem but, being hated in the class and a private school full of students with weird personalities, it wasn't going to be easy.

There's actually a live action drama of the Manga prior to this Anime adaptation. It's a fun show just watching Komi react and the premise is very silly. She gets away with everything just because she's worshipped like a goddess no whether where she is and doesn't have to do a thing.

Well, at least it starts off quite fun but right after the first episode it just gets repetitive. There are the odd cute moments, mostly the romance between Komi and Tadano but her and the surrounding people's reactions are the same. Each new character she "befriends" are more like there to exploit and bully her even more as their imaginations go wild. Every new "friend" just gets weirder and weirder although they're fairly much your familiar Anime archetypes.

There's your obligatory swimsuit episode but other than that fan service is pretty tame in the form of bouncing breasts. Actually, even the swimsuit episode itself isn't that bad either compared to other shows since there's hardly any awkward camera angles, just the girls walking around in swimsuits enjoying their time at the pool. Funnily enough, it's probably the next best episode after the first. Last episode of season one is pretty good too so that's 3/12 episodes I really enjoyed. The rest were fairly much ruined by poor jokes.

The direction just feels wrong and broken. I get it's a series of shorts squeezed into a single episode but even then, Tadano fairly much has no role in the show in helping Komi make friends. He feels more like a personal assistant to her. Jokes get quite horrible too like, "I can't be your friend but I'll be your dog and you can treat me any way you want." There are more poor jokes than there are of good ones.

Main character designs feel odd and out of proportion but I guess you could call that a style. Lighting in the backgrounds on the other hand look good, very clean art too. Komi alternates between her model beauty look to an abstract wide-eyed cat look when it comes to joke scenes. Other than your usual Starbucks parody, it actually features Subway too. Both the theme songs and background music (by Yukari Hashimoto who also composed for Kakushigoto) is really good too which is a shame considering the direction of the show.

Every episode kicks off with a reminder that people with extreme social anxiety may seem anti-social but they actually do want to get along. In the long run however, it doesn't really show how you could help such people or ways of overcoming it. If you take a more serious look at social anxiety you could even consider the show sad that it makes a joke out of the subject. I can relate to the issues Komi raises in the very first episode where social anxiety becomes so extreme that you freeze and look like you're glaring so people end up thinking you're just being anti-social. That said, it's clear the show takes the issue beyond extreme; just look at the way Komi reacts and gets treated around the school. In that sense, I still managed to enjoy some of it. If you want something more serious that raises awareness of the issue, KyoAni's Silent Voice movie would be a better watch instead of this.

Either way since it's not one friend per episode this could turn into a long running romcom series... Not to mention so many unique ones. Unless she gains 100 followers on social networks and that gets counted once they meet up or something. Romance scenes are cute and the presentation's great. Just a shame it's ruined mostly by poor jokes. I guess if you're into Crayon Shin-chan kind of humour you might just like it.

Season 2, Komi-san's quest for friends continue but she now has a "Book of Friends" to keep track of all their names in. Tadano continues to be Komi's voice as well as for other characters who have difficulty communicating and again, I'm not sure that's something to make a comedy of really. Fan service is as heavy as ever, with the help of Ren's obsession.

It's bit of a rollercoaster at the start. It kicks off with a good romcom filled episode but after that it just goes downhill. The jokes are bland and mostly revolve around people who have trouble communicating so some weird scenario is thought of instead. Almost felt like dropping it again two episodes in but then it's back to your romcom vibes again. It's very heavy on romance compared to the first season if you can get by those two episodes.

Thought the ending song was by Yoasobi at first because it had the same style but it isn't. I do like the pixel art animation though. Kyoto school trips in Anime isn't uncommon but we get a proper tour guide of the place complete with trivia half way through the season. How many places do you recognise? Oh, and Nara too.

Quite enjoyed season two overall because it had a cute wrap-up and it didn't forget the main plot of Tadano helping Komi out of her communication struggle. If you are going to watch then don't miss the bonus scenes after the ending credits.

Komi-san Can't Communicate

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