Komi Can’t Communicate was one of the most anticipated anime of the year. The hype was strong even before the anime got announced, and manga readers were flooding online spaces with their love for Komi. The first 12 episodes of the anime are now done in Japan, and worldwide Netflix release is currently on the 9th episode. Did it meet the expectations? Yes, but not without some hiccups.
Story and Characters
The premise of the anime is fairly simple. A socially anxious girl, Shoko Komi, wants to make friends. Which is difficult to do when you can’t talk to people. Luckily, she meets Hitohito Tadano, a classmate who is able to understand her. He swears to help her make 100 friends and their adventure begins.
The story is fluffy and cute and completely carried by the main trio – Komi, Tadano, and Najimi. The rest of the characters are a hit or miss, usually a miss. The new character introductions get a bit repetitive. Obviously, not all 100 were introduced in the first 12 episodes, but it was still a sizeable amount. And making them all stand out is difficult, and honestly, a bit boring at times. The characters themselves are usually okay, but most of them fall into common anime tropes. A yandere, chuunibyou, the oddly competitive one… you get it. The slice of life atmosphere doesn’t help much in terms of novelty but doesn’t make the story feel stale even when nothing is happening.
Speaking of stale, Najimi definitely makes the story more entertaining and serves as a good example of just having a fun character, without the need to define them further.
Komi and Tadano
Although is often not the main focus of the story, it’s still an omnipresent theme. Watching Komi develop feelings (while never having friends before) was a refreshing experience. Tadano’s kindness is also quite nice to see in the main character, but sadly he is a little dense. However, the “will they, won’t they” theme gives the story plenty of opportunities and manages to make it less tedious with a constant parade of new characters.
OLM’s Team Kojima went all out when it comes to animation. By now we’ve all probably seen concerns about episodes being outsourced, however, the production quality remained (at least up until episode 10, which is the current number of episodes available on Netflix). Judging by episodic credits, the production seems organized, except for episode 12, which had 3 episode directors (compared to 1 per episode before this point) and 2 people storyboarding. The same episode also had 9 animation directors, which is quite high.
Komi Can’t Communicate anime was actually Kazuki Kawagoe’s directorial debut. The director also did storyboards for episodes 1, 3, and 12, and also directed episode 1. But what I want to focus on here is actually the screenwriters, mainly Deko Akao (also because I’m no expert when it comes to animation production) – for one simple reason. The series managed to capture the budding teenage romance, without making it too sappy, while sticking to the source material.
Deko Akao is a well-known name in the industry. She is often credited with series composition, which is also the case with Komi anime, for which she also wrote the screenplay for quite a few episodes. She wrote the script for episodes 1 to 5, 8, and 12, while Yumi Suzumori covered the rest. Recently, Akao worked on Noragami, The Case Study on Vanitas, and The Detective is Already Dead anime, and also did series composition on Higehiro.
The anime in general felt very well planned, with a decent amount of time for every short story. Watching Komi’s expressions capture whatever she’s feeling without changing much was quite fascinating.
Bonus points for a very catchy OP song, with one of the most beautifully animated openings of the year.
Some Final Thoughts
Komi Can’t Communicate anime was quite enjoyable to watch, and I say this as someone who hasn’t read the manga. The story is entertaining and a perfect way to decompress and relax. Does it cover issues of social anxiety well? It’s not perfect by any means, but it does give an interesting insight.
Tadano’s kindness is also one of the best-selling points for the story. In general, Komi’s class is supportive and kind (even though some students are special in their own way). And we really do need more heart-warming stories.
Hopefully, the continuation of the story will focus a bit more on why Komi is socially anxious, instead of constantly introducing new characters. The manga is still ongoing, so the material is there.
The anime was a Netflix exclusive. The situation wasn’t as bad as it usually is with Netflix shows, but the delay definitely affected the overall mood towards the series. However, those who plan on binging it once it’s fully out will have a great time. Truthfully, this wasn’t a show you had to watch ASAP.
What’s next for Komi Can’t Communicate anime?
Season 2 of the anime is “planned” for April 2022 – a rather odd wording on the official announcement. And when you look at OLM’s scheduling it becomes obvious why. The studio is working on 8 (!) anime series next year (including Komi). Assuming none of them get delayed it’s quite a number, even for a studio of that size. Even more when you consider the amount of outsourced work they cover as well. Still, even if Komi gets pushed back it still won’t be that damaging for the anime. Considering how well season 1 turned out, waiting a bit longer for something that matches it in quality shouldn’t be a problem.
Screenshots via Netflix.
©Tomohito Oda, Shogakukan／Itan Private High School