Komi Can't Communicate

Alt title: Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu.

TV (12 eps)
Fall 2021
4.077 out of 5 from 11,966 votes
Rank #677

The journey to 100 friends begins with a single conversation. Socially anxious high school student Shoko Komi’s greatest dream is to make some friends, but everyone at school mistakes her crippling social anxiety for cool reserve! With the whole student body keeping their distance and Komi unable to utter a single word, friendship might be forever beyond her reach. Timid Tadano is a total wallflower, and that’s just the way he likes it. He lives to blend in with the background. 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!

Source: Viz

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Watching this from the perspective of someone with crippling social anxiety this show is... really weird to say the least. I understand a major point of is it to bring attention to social anxiety, but it feels vaguely infantilizing and almost fetishy at times with how her disability is treated. While it is wholesome and nice that she strives to improve herself, the fact that those around her talk down to her like she is a young child is often times incredibly frustrating to watch. It unintentionally perpetuates the stigma that mentally ill/disabled = childlike/unaware, which is frustrating because that is not her case in the slightest, nor would it be most people's cases with this disability. Additionally, the fact that she is worshipped for... no particular reason couldn't be further than accurate for most people w/ this issue. In my personal experience I am either ignored or entirely forgotten about by my classmates, which is disheartening on my end. I'm not saying this in a "woe is me" kind of way but more of a reality check for people who think Komi is cute/endearing. There probably is someone around you w/ similar issues to Komi that is disregarded as either socially awkward, weird or even creepy (depending on appearance, demeanor, etc. etc.).  This loops back into the strange sense of fetishization that comes w/ this show and her disability. Komi is treated both like a goddess and a child, but also seen as incredibly attractive physically and (seemingly) because she is quiet. This may be me overanalyzing or looking too deep into it, but that once again is incredibly unrealistic. The fact that she receives praise, acceptance and special treatment solely for being attractive is strange and, once again, very weird given how she is treated for not talking. Overall, this show had a lot of potential, both in the manga and adaptation. I'm not even going to touch on how weird the animation looks at times because I feel like that's been mentioned enough in other reviews. Incredibly disappointed and I really wish this was a more realistic representation of social anxiety disorder.

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