Imagine having a severe case of social anxiety that leaves you unable to verbally communicate with anyone, not even your friends or family. Well, that is the case for Shouko Komi in the coming-of-age romantic-comedy manga series Komi Can’t Communicate. From mangaka Tomohito Oda, Komi Can’t Communicate‘s English publication series is licensed and released by VIZ Media.
In the manga, Shouko Komi has always received an overwhelming amount of popularity due to her stoic beauty and refined elegance that her classmates and the general public perceive her to possess. However, only Hitohito Tadano, a very average schoolboy who sits next to Komi, knows that behind her stunning and aloof appearance, Komi is super awkward and has severe issues communicating with others. Now that he knows her secret, he makes it his mission to help Komi improve her communications and achieve her greatest dream: making 100 friends.
Komi Can’t Communicate Volume 6 picks up after Komi and her friends have had an eventful culture. To celebrate, they all go to karaoke and finish off the day with a party. Even though she is excited to hang out with everyone, she is also stressed and worried about singing in front of everyone. With Tadano’s support and encouragement, Komi gives it her best shot to try and overcomer her fears and have a good time with her friends.
This volume also introduces a new character, Katai, who shares some similarities with Komi. Katai also struggles with communicating with others because of his shyness and not being comfortable around other people. He missed the first semester of school due to being sick for a week and then being too scared to return to class. During his absence, he decided to use that time to improve himself by working out more and dyeing his hair blonde to avoid bullying. He had hoped these changes would just make him seem like any normal high schoolboy.
However, the changes ended up having the opposite effect. Katai’s new alterations give him a more delinquent-esque appearance and cause his schoolmates to make assumptions about him being a menacing bully, which could not be farther from the truth. However, whenever Katai tries to talk to others, he’s too shy to speak up, and others interpret his mutterings as threats. Thankfully, Komi and Tadano recognize that Katai is similar to Komi in that he has a hard time communicating well with others. I like that this exchange happens because it shows that there are other characters besides Komi who struggle with communication and socializing. I think it is interesting to see it from another perspective.
The mangaka does a great job of showing Komi’s growth and improvement in her social anxiety and communication. Granted, the evidence of her growth could be something as simple as shyly nodding to someone or as big as her taking the initiative to invite friends out to do an activity. A great example of this is when she is excited to check out a cat cafe with her friends. When she initially brings it up to Tadano, he says he has plans but suggests that she uses this opportunity to invite other girls from her class to go as a way to foster more friendships and get to know them better.
She is a bit nervous about it at first but successfully invites two girls, Onemine and Kaede, and she ends up having a great time. I think this moment is significant because it is one of the first times she hangs out with other students without Tadano present. Since Tadano learned about Komi’s social anxiety, he’s been helping her get more comfortable in social settings with other people and make more friends. And while he has been an enormous help to Komi in making more friends, he wants to encourage her to feel comfortable about making friends on her own.
Komi Can’t Communicate is described as a romantic comedy manga, and while there are plenty of comedic moments, I can’t help but feel like the romance is secondary. Which, in my opinion, works best. I like that romance isn’t the main plot point of the series. To me, this series is, first and foremost, about Komi learning how to make friends and improving her social anxiety. However, some of my favorite moments are the little romantic ones between Komi and Tadano. For example, when their classmates are playing a game where you say “I love you” to someone as a joke. The goal of the game is to make the person laugh and have some reaction to it. Komi is fine playing the game with other classmates. Try to get her to crack her stoic face.
When it is Tadano’s turn to say it to her, they both give each other a glance and shyly look away. When Tadano tries to repeat it, he can’t bring himself to speak and forfeits shortly after Komi excuses herself to go to the bathroom. What she does is go in the hallway and privately blushes, partly from embarrassment and the other part because she was hoping Tadano would say he loved her, even if it was just a game. While I love moments like these between Komi and Tadano, I feel like if the budding romance between them became the main plot at this stage of the series; then the story would feel too rushed and lose some quality.
Usually, when it comes to romance manga, I’m all for characters proclaiming their love for each other as soon as possible. However, when it comes to this manga, I prefer the pace of their relationship as it is for now. I feel the story doesn’t need to be about them proclaiming their feelings for each other and establishing a connection. Instead, I think it works best for the story just to show the audience that they gradually realize they have romantic feelings toward one another but still focus on their friendship first.
Overall, Komi Can’t Communicate Volume 6 is a tremendous romantic comedy manga is an adorable and unique story about friendship and overcoming one’s anxiety. I like that the creator introduces other characters that share similar issues with communicating, like the main character because it gives the audience another perspective on social anxiety. Furthermore, I like that the romance in the series is secondary because it allows the story and characters to grow and maintain quality. I highly recommend checking this series out is you are looking for something different about romance and comedy manga.
Komi Can’t Communicate Volume 6 is available now wherever books are sold.
Komi Can't Communicate Volume 6
Komi Can’t Communicate Volume 6 is a tremendous romantic comedy manga is an adorable and unique story about friendship and overcoming one’s anxiety. I like that the creator introduces other characters that share similar issues with communicating like the main character because it gives the audience another perspective on social anxiety.