I don’t think I’ve read a manga that gets being among people and feel like you’re trapped in a bubble gasping for air.
Author: Tomohito Oda
Volumes: 5 and on going
Publisher: Viz Media
Mental health and anxiety are more of a mainstream focus than ever and something we should never turn a blind eye too. It’s different for everyone who deals with their own struggles and a touchy subject to discuss depending on said persons. Anxiety in particular is more than social awkwardness expanding into different conditions, seen as such a negative perception for ourselves. What if a story could put a positive spin on this negative and I feel like I found it.
One of my long time online friends sent me for my birthday last month first volume of Komi Can’t Communicate, sneaky to do that. First assumptions was a slice of life story about a girl coming out of her shell but this manga was doing much more. From countless manga stories I’ve read of characters on their loner, either shunned by others or have chosen too. One of my favourite character focuses was Mei Tachibana from Say I Love You, she chose to veer herself away from people but it was more about trust issues with Mei. Still it’s a wonderful transformation and same goes for Sawako from Kimi Ni Todoke.
Komi’s character and presence adds an interesting dynamic to this lonesome mute who is misunderstood just from one glance and preserved image of pretty, smart. Two things that make her stand out are her almond shaped eyes and facial reactions. . . that might sound weird? You saw the image above of when this mute is happy, it is so damn effective and ADORABLE. This effect is giving twice over a comedic and attaching draw to Komi’s character. By the first few pages you’re rooting for the precious mute.
Tadano is a fantastic presence for Komi to be around despite his own timid issues. Tadano goes the extra miles for Komi and everyone needs a social awkward support system these two are beginning to form. Maybe later on these two get together which will be a bonus but why I love these two is seeing from both perspectives. A new social situation Komi is put in your hearing from both sides, Tadano is the funniest. “Komi is scared, she didn’t mean to say that” interpreting her actions and expressions is hysterical.
First volume evoked something important that I loved: it’s about the small wins. Komi is the best portrayal of anxiety jitters everyone deals with, representation through her character is on point. Strong representation is what people look for on mental health, I can see it here offering a positive, comedic outlook. I didn’t think anyone could pull off. Komi’s dealings are organic and drawing the readers empathy without force, that is amazing. Besides mental health as a focus the addition of Tadano friend Najimi Osana whose gender is questionable. Leaving you guessing wearing a girls uniform but a boys tie, this quack of a character embraces individuality not making a point of what their gender is. Najimi gives this cast a fun, weird flare and I love it.
The simplistic art style is harmony alongside the comedy, works beautifully. The author indeed has standout way of getting the point across and commend them highly for that. I can guarantee you here and now, anyone is GOING TO LOVE THIS. From either perspective of going to a party you only know one person or serious effect of this disorder Komi Can’t Communicate is least spreading the message anxiety is a bigger thing than labelled as.
The main game of this manga is Komi will make a 100 friends. . . I highly doubt this will not end that way. Look how real life is haha. I believe there is strong representation here for us shut ins and wasn’t hard to feel relation to this story. But maybe the comedy won’t work for you as Komi is put on pesticidal of pressure a few times. Then you think isn’t that another common relation?
I thank my friend immensely for sending me this unexpected read, I can’t wait to read more and see where our dear mute ends up.
I’m only covering the first volume here so hope to do more follow up thoughts from posts like this one. Does Komi Can’t Communicate, communicates to your relation?
I’ll see you all in the next post!!