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Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. | Anime Review: Did it live up to the hype?

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Hitohito Tadano is an ordinary boy who heads into his first day of high school with a clear plan: to avoid trouble and do his best to blend in with others. Unfortunately, he fails right away when he takes the seat beside the school’s madonna—Shouko Komi. His peers now recognize him as someone to eliminate for a chance to sit next to the most beautiful girl in class.

Gorgeous and graceful with long, dark hair, Komi is universally adored and immensely popular despite her mysterious persona. However, unbeknownst to everyone, she has crippling anxiety and a communication disorder which prevents her from wholeheartedly socializing with her classmates.

When left alone in the classroom, a chain of events forces Komi to interact with Tadano through writing on the blackboard, as if in a one-way conversation. Being the first person to realize she cannot communicate properly, Tadano picks up the chalk and begins to write as well. He eventually discovers that Komi’s goal is to make one hundred friends during her time in high school. To this end, he decides to lend her a helping hand, thus also becoming her first-ever friend.

Going into Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. There was a lot of hype generated by the anime, and rightfully so. The manga is extremely popular, so it only makes sense to translate it into a product that can be easily distributed to a large audience in a matter of seconds. However, did it live up to the hype?

As someone who didn’t read the original source, I don’t know if it did. I’ll let the others judge that, but I will be speaking about my experience and what I thought about the anime as a whole. Overall, Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. was a good anime. However, was it my style of comedy? No, it wasn’t. The concept of having a main protagonist that doesn’t speak was fascinating, and it presented an exciting narrative. How will the anime navigate having a character that doesn’t talk? How will all the other characters be utilized? In what ways will they compensate for Komi’s inability to speak?

Almost immediately, you knew, and that was something I did like. The vast number of characters, all of whom have their own personalities and quirks about them, would be required to work overtime to compensate for Komi’s inability to communicate. All that being said, I’ll go back to what I mentioned several months ago about what I think makes a good comedy anime. Having a large character count, like the one in Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. doesn’t really vibe well with me, which was my biggest problem with the anime.

There were simply too many things happening all at once. Have the characters grown on me as each episode went by? Yes, however, there simply were too many of them for a twenty-minute episode. Furthermore, some personalities did clash and sometimes offered opposing directions as to where the episode was going. Since Komi cannot talk, the other character determines any given episode’s theme and overall atmosphere. To me, Komi, more often than not, was a supporting character rather than the main protagonist of the story.

In that regard, Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. can be seen as an anime that leans more on the reactions of its characters. I will be the first to admit, to me, that doesn’t sound all that interesting. However, there were times throughout the anime where this was the case, where a character’s reaction highlighted the episode. I mean, that’s alright, but when you find out that they’re overreacting because of the small things that Komi does, like readjusting her hair or wearing her summer uniform. You cannot help but say to yourself, “Do we really need to react this way?”. Sometimes I wish that Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. was less reactionary, maybe things would have turned out differently, and perhaps it would have suited my preferences a little more.

However, despite all the negatives, I found the episodes to be pretty entertaining towards the end, especially when Komi started to slowly open herself up. You could sense the confidence growing with her character, and that was something I definitely liked seeing. With a character like Shouko Komi, there is definitely a lot of potential there from a character development standpoint. So in that respect, I am looking forward to the second season.

There were other aspects of the show that I did enjoy. Like for example, the art style is so clean and crisp. You’ve got to give the studio OLM and everyone who worked on producing the anime props because Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. is good-looking and beautifully animated. Furthermore, there were several moments, especially towards the end of the anime, where Komi communicating through her notepad felt very heartfelt. This was great because it added that little bit of emotion, and I don’t know how they did it. Whenever I read text, it’s hard for me to visualize the emotion being conveyed through words. Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. is the exception because I was able to get a feel for that. I was able to feel the weight of emotion through the sentences Komi had written on her notepad. Maybe it’s because, for those moments, the OST all of a sudden becomes very heartfelt and, as a result, makes it easier to interpret and understand the emotion.

Overall for what it’s worth, Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. was a good anime. Did it fit my taste? Not really, but I still did enjoy the anime, especially in its later stages. It’ll be interesting to see what gets covered in the second season. I’m looking forward to seeing how Shouko Komi develops as a character. That’s

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