- Author: Tomohito Oda
- Series: Komi Can’t Communicate
- Genre: Slice of Life
- No. of pages: 192
- Dates read: 21.08.2021
- Star Rating: 2 stars
- Challenge: Not a Novel
Plot: Timid Tadano is a total wallflower, and that’s just the way he likes it. But all that changes when he finds himself alone in a classroom on the first day of high school with the legendary Komi. He quickly realizes she isn’t aloof—she’s just super awkward. Now he’s made it his mission to help her on her quest to make 100 friends!
So, I had no idea what this book was about but every time I walked into the manga section at Waterstones the whole series was always there starting back at me so I finally gave in a decided to read the first volume.
Starting off with the art style. I really like the art style of this book. It was super fun and I felt the art really helped emphasise certain point whether it was a moment of humour or highlighting a moment of vulnerability. I felt the text was really clear alongside the panels, it was clear and easy to follow and the whole structure of the manga was really nice. The pacing was also really good. It wasn’t too fast or too slow and I think this was helped by how clear the layout and structure was of the pages.
The plot was good. It was a good starting point for the series to continue from. I really liked the premise of the series and I felt that every plot point and character introduction was set up well.
But sadly most of the characters, at least for Volume 1, leaned into bad stereotypes. One of the characters is gender-fluid, in middle school they presented as a boy but now in high school they present more like a woman and flick between referring to themselves as both male and female. I was really excited by this character as I personally haven’t read too much non cis-gender representation but I personally felt that a lot of harmful stereotypes were portrayed in their character which was super disappointing. You also had a character that also had a form of social anxiety but this was played for laughs which again leaned more into a bad stereotype than gentle humour.
I don’t know too much about the social anxiety that Komi in particular experiences so I can’t fully state how well her anxiety is portrayed in the manga but for me personally, while I liked her as a character, I felt the author relied to heavily on stereotypes. The male character Tadano I really liked. I didn’t see him as a man trying to save a woman like some other reviewers have I saw him as a guy trying help a new friend who is also reaching out and asking for help. But again, this is only based on the first volume. I cannot comment of future volumes and character actions.
Overall, I felt that this book had loads of potential, some really interesting discussion points and great representation but it fell flat by leaning into harmful or incorrect stereotypes.
I am not sure what I will be reviewing next as this week I am celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday so I will be very busy!