Megumi HanSarah Emi BridcuttKenji AkabaneKomi Can't Communicate
Komi Can't Communicate: Season 2
Also known as: Komi-san wa Comyushou desu. Season 2
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Ayumu Watanabe, Kazuki Kawagoe
Writer: Deko Akao
Original creator: Tomohito Oda
Actor: Ami Maeshima, Aoi Koga, Fumiko Uchimura, Gakuto Kajiwara, Junya Enoki, Katsuyuki Miura, Kenji Akabane, Kensho Ono, Kikuko Inoue, Maaya Uchida, Megumi Han, Minami Takahashi, Mitsuaki Hoshino, Rie Murakawa, Rina Hidaka, Rumi Okubo, Ruriko Aoki, Sarah Emi Bridcutt, Shin'ichiro Kamio, Shotaro Uzawa, Yuga Sato, Yukiyo Fujii, Yurika Moriyama
Keywords: Komi Can't Communicate, anime, favourite
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 27 January 2023
komi cannot communicate
It's more of the same, but in a good way... until eps.8-9 and the school trip to Kyoto, when the show gets even better.
The premise hasn't changed. Komi-san has a social disorder, is doing well to "speak" by writing on notepads and gets nervous in everyday situations. Fortunately, though, her classmates understand her now. They've stopped putting her on a pedestal simply for being beautiful. Her infinitely patient friend Tadano understands her so well that they can have non-conversations that to a casual observer might look like telepathy. (Although he can still be an idiot, like everyone in this show.)
The show has two basic modes:
(a) taking Komi's condition seriously, which is always sweet because these days Komi has friends and is happy. (Although she's still pretty messed-up, lacking in confidence and probably needs a lifelong minder.) Besides, her condition means that she's always super-earnest and incapable of even considering a mean or selfish action. It would be hard to think of a nicer person. She's capable of being the person who heals others, as well as the other way around.
These scenes are in the minority, though. More common is:
(b) broad, sometimes silly comedy. Sometimes this involves Komi, but the cast has never stopped growing and so these days we have a rich mix of delusional, yandere and/or cartoonish loons who are all ridiculous in some way or other. This is funny. I still love Yamai, although in real life she'd be a sex pest psycho in need of a restraining order. (They're also starting to get paired up, although not romantically. Yamai and Nakanaka are an irregular double act. Onemine and Otori usually appear together.) This season introduces two highly entertaining male characters: Katai (face and manner of a terrifying thug, inner voice of a timid maiden) and Naruse (a narcissist whose love object is himself, but is actually quite a nice chap once you've got past the obstacle of everything he says and believes).
This is a solid comedy formula. Komi's the show's heart, but the majority of its scenes are about the supporting cast being themselves. It's basically more of the same from Season 1, but I was enjoying it until...
(c) Katou Mikuni, Sasaki Ayami and the school trip to Kyoto. They're not caricatures. They're normal, quite well-characterised schoolgirls. They're actually fairly boring compared with their classmates, but they're also stuck with Komi-san on that school trip. Initially, they find it hard to know how to interact with her. This is great. Normal people isn't something the show had really done before, unless you count the initially-everyman protagonist Tadano. This trio, though, is are charming in the simple, comparatively understated things they do and the ways in which they get closer. Katou and Sasaki have somewhat unusual hobbies, admittedly, but even so the show's finding much more reality when portraying how they interact, misunderstand each other and talk about their ambitions. Sasaki needs to learn to accept acceptance. Katou overplans. They're nice people (as indeed is everyone in the cast, really), but that doesn't mean they initially understand Komi-san or find her easy to deal with.
I'm not convinced that the character of Najimi works, though, or at least not in English translation. Part of the character's concept is that she's supposedly androgynous, or at least is seen that way by some people... but she wears a female school uniform and a skirt, sleeps in female dormitories on the school trip, gives chocolate to people on Valentine's Day rather than White Day, doesn't really seem to care what people think (and certainly doesn't insist that people use a Japanese equivalent of specific pronouns) and said "I'm a girl" in Season 1 episode 1. If you see English subtitles that call Najimi "him" and "he", this is a clumsy way of handling the problem of gendered English-language pronouns and in my opinion misrepresents the original Japanese situation.
Also, I'm not a fan of the forced mannish voice that her voice actress is using. That said, though, all that's a relatively minor side to the character, whose most prominent traits are "loud", "pushy" and "no respect for other people's convenience and personal space". She's quite fun.
Overall, I was impressed. The show's growing. Its default mode is to make you laugh with the antics of comedy characters and it does that well, but it can do more than that. It's good at being silly, e.g. the magnificently overblown eraser duel in ep.12, but that's not its limit. I'm hoping they make a Season 3.