Komi can’t communicate, is now available on Netflix India. It’s one of those highly anticipated anime series that is supposed to be funny with a light romantic theme. Komi Can’t Communicate is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tomohito Oda. They have serialized it in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday since May 2016. All its chapters collected in twenty-three tankōbon volumes as of October 2021. Netflix began streaming the series worldwide on October 21, 2021, with episodes releasing on a weekly basis.
Before we get into the actual article, remember that the Komi Can’t Communicate Ep 3 and 4 is now out. Also, do check out my other reviews like my Favourite Arakawa Under the Bridge review or my most popular Fumetsu no Anata e Review. Or maybe you want to watch the anime Japan Sinks 2020, do read my review on the anime which I thought was very interesting yet kind of disappointing. But don’t forget to check my write-up on the other netflix series Aggretsuko Review. Well then, let’s get into it!
You can quickly get to each episode and the review through the links below:
Komi Can’t Communicate Episode 1: I want to talk
In Episode 1, titled ‘It’s just, I wish I could speak’, takes us directly to the beginning of a new school session. Directly showing us the viewers the protagonists of the anime–Hitohito Tadano. He’s the usual underdog-type-character who is nothing special. In this case, who just wanted to quietly get through the school year under the radar. But circumstances of an animated world would not allow for that to happen. And then there is Shouko Komi, the beautiful, elegant girl who automatically becomes the most popular girl. This is simply because of her beauty and elegant nature. Every small thing she does is revered as perfection by her peers, including the teachers and everyone she meets. However, this opposite character type sets up for quite a story for an anime.
So, the anime, in my opinion, starts off with quite a strong first episode. Tadano just wanted a normal under the radar session, but his plan miserably fails when he meets Komi. And in anime fashion, gets a seat right next to her, inviting unwanted attention. You know, the kind where each eyesight is a dagger waiting to stab him for supposedly daring to sit next to a goddess. But unknowing to everybody is that Komi can’t communicate.
Why is it that Komi can’t communicate? Well, in this case, she’s one with extreme social anxiety. Where all her verbal skills disappear when facing with the prospects of having to talk to other people. Of course, while such fear attached to social anxiety is real, I would say this one is highly exaggerated for sake of entertainment value. But that is okay. It would not be fun otherwise.
Check out School Babysitters review to leave you smiling throughout
In my sessions, I’ve had to deal with many such cases and patients. Especially with those that entered the helping profession or are studying for one. Suddenly facing with projects and research presentations and the fear that they feel psychologically can manifest itself also as physical discomfort and well as emotional. It is thus important to train students in matters of public speaking, building communication skills and social skills right from their primary school. However, in India, education simply focuses more on memory than actual abilities and talents of the students.
So Episode 1 really impressed me, as they were able to express the need to form friendships and building social skills. The main character being the focus of this need and the other who is trying to help her overcome this fear. This is real and needs some addressing by many educational institutes and parents. Many youths and students may very well find it relatable to this issue. The scene where the two main characters of this episode communicates with very little—to no words spoken using the chalkboard as a non-verbal method to express the problem and have a meaningful and personal conversation is one of the most touching scene of the episode.
In a way, Tadano’s patience and willingness to communicate with Komi in an unnatural method of communication is possibly the best way to help someone with social anxiety as instead of forcing others to behave or communicate as they would, Tadano went the extra mile and change his way of communication for the sake of making Komi comfortable enough to break out of her shell and overcome her anxiety. Thus, Komi has her first real friend.
Overall, the art and animation is remarkable and is solid to the format of a fresh slice-of-life high school anime. The only weird part is the expression Komi makes whilst expressing her anxiety. That bit is to off from the overall feel of the anime. They should have expressed it differently, but I guess the creators wanted a really off the chart expression. But I am really looking forward to how the show explores and expands on this very much important subject. It will be interesting to see such a situation unfold in an anime format. For its first episode, it has set itself a very high bar for the rest of the anime. Looking forward to Ep 2.
Episode 2: It’s Just a Childhood Friend
Episode 1 has really set the bar for the anime. Taking on the theme of Social Anxiety, it has given me high hopes of this being a great anime. And something to look forward to weekly. It really impresses me with how the creators could express the issue in such a comical but empathetic way. This really made me curious as to how, going forward, the anime will progress.
So let’s get in the second episode of Komi Can’t Communicate.
‘It’s just a childhood friend. Plus more.’ takes off from the first with Tadano’s excitement to help Komi overcome her anxiety and make friends. He was, at first, expecting it to be a simple job. As Komi herself is so popular as all the other students look up to her as a goddess of perfection. But, his enthusiasm is short live as he comes to realise that the tasks are not as simple as it seems. In actuality, Komi’s popularity and social position are in fact counterproductive to his effort to help Komi. Of course, how the others view him–as a parasite that is sucking on Komi’s popularity and aura, is also not helpful. The multiple times they turned him down almost made him give up on the thought.
This episode, however, shows how complex it is to make a friend. Especially if one is not equipped with the social skills to do so. It also shows how things like social positions and hierarchy influence such behaviour. It’s interesting to see how these two characters, Komi and Tadano, are on different poles of the social position. One has a high ranking on the popularity scale and the other on the very lower end. But still both were with very few or no friends.
In this episode, however, we are also introduced to a very fun and likeable character, Najimi Osana. She is basically someone we all know at one point in our lives. Osana is the opposite of Komi with Social Skills and with a very people’s personality. She also has a very magnetic aura that just draw people to her without even trying that hard. However, when Komi and Najimi try to communicate for the first time, it was like two magnets that repelled because of their personalities. It was a funny and awkward silent.
The interesting bit about Najimi is how she had initially refused to become friends with Komi because of her past interaction with Komi. Najimi felt rejected by Komi but she did not know the circumstances. In real-life situation, this would have also been true, the rejection would have put off anyone and perhaps even formed a negative opinion about the person and would have also added to the anxiety of the person with such problem because whilst they would want to make friends, they wouldn’t be able to express themselves in any manner. This situation teaches us how we need to be more attentive to other people’s issues and problems and to not jump to conclusions as one would normally do without having the full picture in place.
Overall, Episode two is much more laid back than episode one and follows a more normal high school anime storyline but it still delivered a great episode which is funny, has its thoughtful moments and is yet again able to captivate me as a viewer to see how it unfolds in the future.
2 friends added to Komi list.
And remember to check out the Komi Can’t Communicate Ep 3 and 4.
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