Rie MurakawaSarah Emi BridcuttKenji AkabaneKomi Can't Communicate
Komi Can't Communicate: Season 1
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2021: K
Also known as: Komi-san wa Comyushou desu. Season 1
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2021
Director: Ayumu Watanabe, Kazuki Kawagoe
Writer: Deko Akao
Original creator: Tomohito Oda
Actor: Ami Maeshima, Aoi Koga, Gakuto Kajiwara, Junya Enoki, Kenji Akabane, Kensho Ono, Kikuko Inoue, Maaya Uchida, Megumi Han, Mitsuaki Hoshino, Rie Murakawa, Rina Hidaka, Rumi Okubo, Ruriko Aoki, Sarah Emi Bridcutt, Yuga Sato, Yukiyo Fujii, Yurika Moriyama
Keywords: Komi Can't Communicate, anime, favourite
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=24369
Website category: Anime 2021
Review date: 26 January 2023
komi cannot communicate
Tall, cool schoolgirl Komi is impossibly beautiful. (Well, anime-beautiful.) The world worships her. Sit next to her and you'll earn your classmates' jealous hatred. Everything she does is elegant and refined. She'd never debase herself so far as to speak to a nobody like you.
This is true in everyone else's eyes, but completely wrong.
The real Komi has a social disorder so extreme that she's functionally mute. She's terrified of almost everything, has negligible experience of other people (and indeed the real world) and regularly opens her eyes so wide that she looks as if someone attached two balloons to her face. She doesn't hate people, mind you. She dreams of having friends. She's just incapable of achieving this. The show's central joke, though, is that Komi's so beautiful that her hopelessly incompetent behaviour is always misinterpreted by everyone else as the triumphant actions of a goddess.
I'd been expecting this show to feel like a romance. Boy Meets Weird Girl. There are lots of those. The premise is very similar to Senryuu Shoujo, for instance. Komi befriends a boy (Tadano) in ep.1 because he guessed her problem and found ways of communicating with her anyway, after which he's her permanent minder. They're certainly very close and Komi would probably drop dead if anything happened to Tadano... but no, the show doesn't really feel romantic. It's an unexpected tonal mix. Sometimes it's heartwarming and sincere. Sometimes it's just wacky gags, often involving the other loons in their class. As often as not, though, it feels like a character study of someone with crippling issues.
Watching Komi is like watching a small, timid wild animal trying to deal with the world. The last episode ends with a dedication to everyone with a social disorder. This show could have got uncomfortable if it hadn't also been triumphantly happy and silly.
I like the nutcases, i.e. Komi's classmates. (Everyone also has a name that's spelling out the main joke of their character.) Najimi is your childhood friend... because (s)he's EVERYONE's childhood friend. Najimi has superhuman social skills, but is also a gadfly who teases people about his/her real gender and can be by turns a great friend and a total git. (There have been American reviewers who overreacted to the perceived genderfluid thing and claimed that you can't do crossdressing jokes in 2021.)
Yamai is a scary lesbian stalker. (She's genuinely and sincerely in love with Komi... but, uh.) Nakanaka is a chuunibyou. Otori is an easy-going space case and idiot (maybe) who speaks as if she's permanently on dope. Inaka is a country bumpkin. Agari is a timid, clumsy goofball with big boobs and spectacles, who's a masochist in the early episodes until the show decides that wasn't as funny as it thought and quietly forgets about it.
I wasn't sure about the show for the first few episodes, but it becomes less uncomfortable as Komi settles down and realises that it's okay for her to be with her friends. It's funny. It's charming, with Komi herself being adorable. It can be silly, but it's serious about seeing the world through the lens of Komi's condition and trying to convey to us her huge challenges and little triumphs. I'm looking forward to Season 2.