Talking to people is hard. You go to say hi, but then you collapse from heart failure. This is life for Shoko Komi, a girl with a communication disorder, typically known as social anxiety, but that’s no fun to say, so communication disorder it is! Despite this hangup, she dreams of making one hundred friends, and assisting her in this endeavor is Hitohito Tadano, a boy so ordinary his standout feature is that his cowlick resembles a lily.
Inserting a hundred characters, all with names, hobbies, and favorite toast toppings, is a considerable undertaking, even for long-running series with expansive worlds, so it’s understandable Komi Can’t Communicate would skimp out on fleshing out its bit players. Regardless, it’s disappointing that the lot of the friends Komi’s supposedly adding to her friends list are basically stick figures named Bob.
But perhaps it’s for the better that this manga not develop its characters in any manner, because it’s hit or miss with the personalities it draws up. Some are amusing, like the androgynous busybody who has the tendency to land him/herself in trouble. But then you have others, like the literal psychopath who would be charged with the literal crimes she literally commits if this manga had a lick of common literal sense.
I feel like there should be a trial gate stories have to go through if they want to label themselves as comedies, because this manga doesn’t get more than a light snicker from me. Grand Blue Dreaming is funny. D-Frag is funny. Even I Want To Eat Your Pancreas got more of a laugh from me, and that was about a girl dying from a failing pancreas. Komi Can’t Communicate’s idea of a joke is for Lily Cowlick to yell “Komi!” when she runs away in a panic or have the characters stand around awkwardly staring at one another.
It’s suiting the protagonist is marketed as bland as bland comes, because that’s what this manga is. There’s no muscle behind punchlines, the dialogue has no wit, and the supporting characters are either forgettable or make me want to beat them in the face with a nail-studded baseball bat. Komi’s default bug-eyed pose is cute, but that’s the extent of this manga’s charm. I wish the manga would explain to me the appeal of reading it rather than shrinking away and running off like its heroine.