Komi Can't Communicate is the most recent shonen manga from creator, Tomohito Oda. VIZ Media is publishing Komi Can't Communicate in English in North America as a graphic novel series under its “Shonen Sunday” imprint. Komi Can't Communicate focuses on a group of socially awkward high school students who try to help each other gain new friends and fit in with the other students.
Komi Can't Communicate, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 19) introduces a high school girl named Shoko Komi. Her skin is porcelain, and her hair is silky. Her large eyes are almond-shaped, and she smells good. Komi is the most beautiful person most of her classmates have ever seen. However, she has crippling social anxiety so bad that she can barely speak. Most people think her silence is because of her “cool reserve,” so they keep their distance. Her communication disorder is keeping her from making friends.
Into her life arrives a new classmate, an awkward boy named Hitohito Tadano. He is timid and has average communication skills. However, he recognizes that Komi is not aloof, but merely super awkward. So Tadano decides to help Komi attain her goal of making 100 friends. All he needs to do is get her to speak, a single conversation at a time.
[This volume includes bonus comics.]
THE LOWDOWN: I won't call the Komi Can't Communicate manga a great graphic novel... yet. However, this series is one of those shonen (comics for teen boys) and shojo manga (comics for teen girls) mixes that offer readers young male and female characters forced together for a common goal, with some romantic elements, although that is not the central focus.
Komi Can't Communicate Graphic Novel Volume 1 is basically comprised of a series of comic situations. The chapters vary wildly in size. Many are only three to six pages each. Others are 10 to 15 pages in length, with one being 19 pages long. Regardless, Komi Can't Communicate is a situation comedy, and creator Tomohito Oda is quite adept at creating small situations out of this narrative's central conceit.
The characters have potential, but are mostly thin on personality this early in the series. I have faith that over time, I will be surprised what depth they will gain. John Werry, who writes the English adaptation for Komi Can't Communicate, shows quite a bit of skill at making the sometimes crazy, sometimes almost non-existent dialogue convey humor.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Readers who enjoy comics from the “Shonen Sunday” line will want to try Komi Can't Communicate.