Communication disorders and awkward kids abound!
Tadano is a quiet, shy guy in school who has a crush on the unattainable, seemingly perfect girl, Komi. Komi never speaks but is gorgeous and admired by all, garnering her to “untouchable girl” status where she never needs to talk to communicate and people will still love her. Tadano ends up alone in the classroom with her at school one day and comes to realize Komi isn’t an unattainable, cocky girl, she’s suffering from SEVERE social anxiety//a communication disorder to the point where she doesn’t feel comfortable. After an adorable conversation via a classroom chalkboard, Tadano offers to help Komi reach her goal of making 100 friends and trying to get her to talk more and more until she’s finally comfortable.
I thought this was a really sweet and interesting take on a high school romance manga. Komi has a legitimate issue that causes her anxiety constantly, and it’s understandable for her to be so nervous and worried about trying to talk to classmates. Tadano has a crush on her, sure, but he puts that to the side to try and genuinely be her friend. He introduces her to one of the most popular kids in school, Najimi, who is ambiguous when it comes to gender yet is loved by everyone. It was really cool to see a character like Najimi be beloved regardless of their gender since we don’t see that a lot in mainstream media at all, not to mention manga. Volume one is basically an introduction to the plot and introducing Komi to her first friends in Tadano and Najimi.
In volume two, we’re introduced to a few more characters in the school life of Komi. Yadano is a girl in Komi’s class obsessed with beating her in contests she isn’t even aware she’s a part of. Komi is naturally talented at things, and Yadano takes her loss as a push to work harder rather than get angry with Komi. Later, Tadno and Najimi come over to Komi’s house to meet her gorgeous mom and hang out, and we see that Komi is always alone, even outside of school.
Yamai & Agari are two other friends Komi is introduced to in this volume. To be honest, Yamai isn’t so much a friend as she is a future serial killer, but it plays for comedic effect. She basically kidnaps Tadano out of jealousy that he’s friends with Komi and she’s in love with Komi, but Komi has no idea what’s going on. Eventually Komi forgives her and tells her she gets to choose her own friends, no one gets to just call themselves her friend because they want to be with Komi. It’s pretty cute and it rolls back around with Tadano later which is heartwarming. Agari is another character we’re introduced to who loves food and takes everyone to a weird ramen place. She ends up hanging out with them more regularly, so I’m sure she’ll show up more and more.
Overall this series is equally cute and weird, which basically my bread and butter. I look forward to more of it!
Title: Komi Can’t Communicate (Volumes 1 & 2)
Author: Tomohito Oda
Pages: 192 // 192
ISBN: 9781974707126 // 9781974707133
Three Descriptors: Coming of age, heartwarming, weird