Have you ever wanted to speak up in a group but never found the courage to do so? For anyone that’s had that issue, you’ll quickly relate to Komi from Komi Can’t Communicate. Despite the outward appearance of grace and sophistication, she’s a high school girl who can’t get over her anxiety and make friends. Thankfully Hitohito Tadano is there to help Komi learn how to get past this. That’s the premise of this newly airing anime anyways. Let’s take a look at episode 1 and see how well it did.
Where can I watch Komi Can’t Communicate episode 1?
I’m used to coming into these reviews and saying “Go over to Crunchyroll” or “You can watch it at Funimation.” I’ll even link to some of the peripheral sites like VRV. Hulu even gets in on the action. Very rarely do I recommend going to Netflix to watch an anime, especially one that’s currently airing. Normally, Netflix is good for something like Naruto.
You can imagine my surprise, then, when I saw that Komi Can’t Communicate is going to air weekly on Netflix starting on 10/21. It won’t simulcast the new episodes with TV Tokyo, but it’s at least better than nothing. Neflix will be on a two-week delay. Frankly, I’m just shocked that Netflix is doing this to begin with.
I’ve seen it as a trend lately with Netflix. Instead of dumping everything at once like they normally do, Netflix will release a series one episode at a time. I’ve heard in an interview with one of the executives before that Netflix considers time and content to be its biggest competition (don’t quote me on this). Basically, they’re more worried about subscribers running through all of their good content and canceling their subscriptions rather than what Disney or Amazon are doing. This slow release strategy is in response to people’s tendency to binge watch. Well played Netflix!
Watch Komi Can’t Communicate Episode 1 at Netflix
How was the story in Komi Can’t Communicate episode 1?
Before starting up episode 1, I went over to MyAnimeList and checked out the profile on Komi Can’t Communicate. Besides looking at the normal synopsis, studio and some other random facts, I took a moment to see what genre this anime fell into. Komi Can’t Communicate is listed on MAL as a Shonen anime. I’m going to guess that at this point you’ve already got your preconditioned ideas on how the story is going to go.
We’re going to get an anime that has a teenage male protagonist who overcomes adversity through strength of will right? He’s going to have some dormant power that once unlocked is going to be the single most powerful ability in the entire world. That’s your typical Shonen after all. Thankfully, that’s not what Komi Can’t Communicate episode 1 gives us.
What this anime does in its first episode is give off the feeling that it is going to be at least partially a satire. The two main characters that we’re introduced to, Komi and Tadano, are anything but normal in the Shonen anime world. Komi may be the typical idyllic female love interest on the outside, but she has debilitating anxiety. Tadano is about as average as you’d image. He even wants to stay like that.
What about the rest of the characters?
We weren’t really introduced to anyone else. Komi Can’t Communicate episode 1 did give us glimpses of a few other students at the school and their appearance is why I think we’re going to go the satire route. It’s explained to us by a narrator that the students at the school are all eccentric in some way. That explains the girl that looks like a warrior out of a fantasy RPG game as well as the ninja student who launched the compass at Tadano’s hand. I was actually shocked that the anime even included a compass. Do they use those in schools anymore?
The only thing that we really saw from everyone else in the anime is that they’re obsessed with Komi and that this is going to make Tadano’s life difficult. He’s just in the way most of the time. If he’s not in the way, Tadano is the focus of everyone’s animosity as he possesses the coveted seat next to Komi. I’m sure we’ll see more, considering Komi’s goal, but that been pretty much it.
What’s Komi’s goal?
The main premise of Komi Can’t Communicate, as far as what episode 1 showed us, is Komi wants to gain 100 friends. This appears to be a monumental task as she’s basically a mute. Tadano is there to try and help Komi achieve her goal. The way episode 1 is laid out, we’re given some hope that this is going to be possible but it’s also apparent that it’s not going to be as easy as you’d expect.
What did Komi Can’t Communicate episode 1 get right?
First off, the production value of this anime is fantastic. The detail on the character design was great. Komi’s character in particular was quite striking. No, I’m not just saying that because she’s supposed to be the main focus of everyone in the anime. I’m not about to go out and buy a body pillow of Komi and say that she’s my waifu. I’m just saying that it’s obvious that the animation studio paid close attention to detail when bringing her character to life.
I was also impressed with the music throughout the episode. I think the piano music playing in the background when Tadano and Komi were writing back and forth was especially noticeable. It was the perfect touch to an already emotional scene. The music didn’t overpower what was going on, it complimented what was going on.
I know this is a small thing but I appreciated the cut between scenes where Todano’s character took on a Mega Man animation style and even used Mega Man’s death sequence. As someone who grew up playing the original Nintendo, I have a soft spot for those games. I still love going back and playing Mega Man X for the Super Nintendo whenever I get the chance. This moment might not mean anything to you, but I appreciated it.
The final thing I’ll mention in this section is that Komi Can’t Communicate episode 1 did a good job of starting its interpersonal relationships. Komi and Todano appeared to create a genuine connection. They came across as the typical high school students who just want to either fit in or not stand out. Everything Komi confessed to Todano is grounded in the experience of countless kids the same age. I’m sure that there will be a lot of viewers who relate to her same fears and apprehensions.
It doesn’t have to be all of them either. Komi is an extreme case of fear and anxiety. I’m pretty sure that just about everyone has felt some form of hesitation or fear when being introduced to a new group of people. Even if it doesn’t appear so on the outside, it’s a daunting task to be brought into a bunch of strangers. We’ll see how well Komi Can’t Communicate develops this part of the anime going forward. I’m pretty optimistic.
What did Komi Can’t Communicate episode 1 get wrong?
I don’t really have anything to put in this section. Nothing stood out as all that bad. There weren’t any huge plot holes. The story didn’t insult the audience in any way. I don’t think anything bigger than a minor annoyance here or there could be pointed to. If I tried hard to nitpick at the episode then I could potentially ask why the other person who sat next to Komi wasn’t singled out for the same amount of scorn as Todano. Whoever that student is has just as much access to her as Todano. Shouldn’t they receive just as much harsh treatment?
Like I said, that’s a minor annoyance and not something that ruins the story. I’ll be interested to see if the plot can stay logical and consistent considering that I know a bunch of wild and eccentric characters are about to be introduced. There’s the potential that things could go off the rails but for now Komi Can’t Communicate will get the benefit of the doubt.
Is Komi Can’t Communicate episode 1 worth watching?
Yes. Komi Can’t Communicate episode 1 is worth watching. Ok, I guess if you’re looking for an anime filled with action and violence then this isn’t the one for you. This is very much a high school, slice-of-life anime so far. If that’s not what you’re into then you probably won’t like this episode. I can’t speak to what’s coming, as it hasn’t been released yet, but I’d be surprised if thing changed enough to classify Komi as anything else. I’d at least urge you to give it a shot. If anything it’ll be a nice change of pace.
Now go watch some anime!