Go Read! – Komi-san wa Comyushou Desu

Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu or “Komi-san Can’t Communicate”, is an adorable little high school manga about the regally cold, stoic and beautiful Komi-san, who as it turns out is actually socially awkward and is just really bad at talking to people. Because this is a manga, people constantly mistake her awkward attempts at socializing as her cool and collected manners.

So basically, imagine if King was a cute high school girl.

This is until she meets an “average” guy, Tadano, a guy whose superpower in the world of manga is seeing past people’s tropes, and sees her for what she truly is, a scared girl who just wants some friends. Together, they make the goal of getting Komi-san 100 friends by the end of their high school years! Should be a piece of cake.

Okay, maybe not

Along the way, they meet a colorful cast of trope characters, ranging from a hypersocial trap/reverse trap(?) who is apparently everybody’s childhood friend, a popular yandere who worships Komi-san as a goddess, a busty, masochistic food critic with confidence issues, and a self proclaimed rival to Komi (who doesn’t even know she exists), and that’s just in the first 10 chapters.

*Minor spoilers ahead for all volumes (not that it matters) *

There isn’t really an overarching story, it’s a gag comedy manga with a focus on funny situations for our cinammon bun Komi-san and her caretaker Tadano, as well as whichever friends they have at the moment. In a way, it kinda feels like a “making friends” shounen, as we meet a bunch of different people who end up becoming Komi’s friend, despite being one or the other being intimidated at first.

Volumes 1 – 4

I’ll admit, the initial premise was interesting, but I had worries about it wearing thin. Honestly, for a while, it actually DID wear thin. Before that though, The first 20 or so chapters were all adorable and funny. We got a lot of fun Tadano and Komi shipteasing, some very King-like moments of Komi-san going up against assholes and delinquents-

and hilariously awkward moments for Komi-san, whose wide-eyed kuudere chibi form is the cutest goddamn thing I’ve seen since Girls’ Last Tour.

Not to mention her quirky family, whose chapters are some of my most favorite from the four volumes.

Unfortunately, as the chapters wore on and on, the unlikeability of most of the background characters, with their outright cruel bullying and ostracizing of Tadano while still worshipping the very ground that Komi walks on while she is socially powerless to stop it, got really annoying after a while. It didn’t help that most of the other characters were very one-note, playing up one specific trope and having no other depth to them. Yandere only does yandere things, chuuni can only do chuuni things, country girl can only do cluntry things, and so on and so forth. ESPECIALLY the yandere character, who is somehow still “friends” with a of them despite literally tying up Tadano, shoving him in her closet, then threatening to murder and bury him in the mountains.

In the early parts, the writer was very much content to stay safe in the tropes of their characters, going past the realm of suspension of disbelief that nobody called the cops on this horrid character. Of course, the classroom being unbearably mean to Tadano for daring to treat Komi-san like a normal friend is also very annoying.

HOWEVER, it gets much better after the summer festival arc (which is also the best arc from the first four volumes), and things start getting much more character focused in the following volumes.

Volumes 5 – 8

The cultural festival arc kicks off by introducing the first sane, normal, AND likeable character since Najumi, Onemine-san, who is the first “friend” introduced by Tadano to Komi who doesn’t treat him like dirt, but instead as the normal, helpful dude he is.

She’s quite obviously the “big sister” trope character, but the author this time around actually gives her a character outside of that one trope. She is that way for a good reason, and she actually has a life outside of the main group’s shenanigans. From there on out, the cultural festival still has the marks of annoying Komi worship, but now, the Tadano bullying has toned FAR down thanks to people realizing how helpful he actually is. Plus, the author must have heard his audience loud and clear, because unpopular characters started getting less and less shown, only as small gags, which truth be told they should be.

We get introduced to much higher quality characters such as the Angel Densetsu MC ripoff Katai-kun. When you’re ripping off the one of the best misunderstood MCs of manga history in a misunderstood MC manga 1 to 1, and then promptly tease him with TADANO as a ship?

Awesome.

Over the winter season, we even get more oars for the mighty S. S. Tadakomi, which I will not spoil here, because that is more fun to read by your lonesome.

*ship horns blare in the distance*

Now the Kyoto field trip arc starts, my personal favorite arc of the entire series so far. Komi-san finds herself paired with two strangers in her own class, two rather normal girls in comparison to the insane posse of friends she had before. The two, unsurprisingly, are intimidated by Komi-san, but over the trip they learn a lot more about her, and each other, than they first assumed. Again, no spoilers, but this was a great arc that really developed all the characters, even Yandere-bitch, to be more human and likeable.

Chapter 104
Chapter 113

Ah, development.

From there on, we go through Valentine’s (no spoilers), and a new school year with even more friends!

I also had my best girl alarm raise a ruckus, because a gyaru friend has arrived! At first she was the typical, wannabe-popular gyaru with her caked on makeup and rather idol attitude-

And then, one incredibly heartwarming chapter later-

I’m a manly man, these are manly tears, damn it

Unfortunately, she may be a rival to Komi-san for Tadano’s affection. Not that any of them are aware of that, because they’re all too cute and pure to be enemies. Also unfortunately for her, the fact that I like her means she’s a lost cause, as my tastes have been proven before to be one for “losers in love”.

Sick segway shill, me.

The 8th volume is still ongoing, but right from Volume 5, the quality took a mountain-high spike in quality. The characters became more fleshed out, the dialogue was snappier and less cliche, and the humor became more refined and cutesy than cliche and annoying.

So, if you haven’t read it, GO READ IT NOW! Komi-san wa, Comyushou Desu is a rocky start, but the later volumes really pick up in terms of plot and character development, making it a must-read for any fan of high school comedies.

Similar works to this one are Angel Densetsu (Misunderstood MC) and Watamote (Loner who slowly gets friends by breaking out of their shell) .

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