ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Komi Can’t Communicate’, Vol. 9

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Komi Can't Communicate

Komi Can’t Communicate Volume 9 is a romantic-comedy-drama manga created by mangaka Tomohito Oda. The English-language release of the manga is from VIZ Media. Komi Can’t Communicate is the continuing story of Shoko Komi, a young high school girl. Komi is considered by everyone to be a “cool beauty” because of her elegant looks, quiet demeanor, and lack of close friends.  However, unbeknownst to others, she suffers from a communication disorder. With the help of her friend Tadano, she works to overcome her communication disorder to achieve her dream of making 100 friends.

Following the previous volume, Komi Can’t Communicate, Volume 9 follows Komi and her friends as they navigate Valentine’s Day. The holiday is a total minefield for people with communication disorders, like Komi. Thankfully this year Komi has a secret weapon to combat the stressful holiday, her new friends. Now armed with homemade chocolates, Komi prepares to give Tadano his Valentine’s gift before the day is over, no matter how nervous she might be.

You can imagine that creating a manga where the main character doesn’t talk much would present a challenge when it comes to illustrating scenes when there isn’t much dialogue. However, mangaka Tomohito Oda does a tremendous job. In Komi Can’t Communicate,  there are plenty of scenes or short chapters where the characters aren’t talking out loud. I continue to be impressed with how well Oda captures characters’ communicating non-verbally or with facial expressions which helps to tell the story and move it along.

The mangaka’s decision to have a storyline of this volume focus on Valentine’s and White Day holidays was a great choice. It gave more attention to the romance in the series, which in my opinion has been not been at the forefront of the anime for its majority.  That’s not to say romance hasn’t been present until now, it is just nice to see it have more focus.

Also by the volume having a heavier focus on romance, I felt it caused Komi and Tadano’s relationship to progress to a little more than friends. For example, in this volume Komi was so nervous about giving him chocolate the entire day even though she was determined to do it. It’s not until the day is almost over that she is able to give it to him.

Even if the two of them are still too nervous, in Komi’s case, or, in Tadano’s case, too oblivious to admit their feelings to each other. However, it is what makes their relationship dynamic so cute and endearing.

Another reason Komi Can’t Communicate is a great romantic-comedy manga is because the mangaka, Tomohito Oda, doesn’t just focus on only one couple’s romance. Instead of just focusing on Komi and Tadano, they focus on other characters trying their best to communicate their feelings to the persons they like too. 

For instance, Katou Mikuni is encouraged by her friends to give chocolate to the boy she has a crush on, Katai. Moments like these help to keep the story entertaining and engaging as you learn more about these side characters. They also help to keep me eager to know what will become of this possible new couple as the story continues on.

Lastly, as always what I love most about this volume is the consistent character growth, especially when it comes to Komi. A great way that this growth is seen is how Komi helps others who might be similar to her and struggle with expressing themselves. In this volume, she notices her classmate Sato is always helpful and takes on a lot of work for others.

It turns out that Sato struggles with asking other people for help when she needs it. Komi notices all of the hard work that Sato does and that she never asks for help even when she needs it. Komi then tells Sato that it’s okay for her to ask her for help when she needs it. Komi recognizing that someone is in a similar position with struggling to communicate as she was in, and then actively helping them is a great moment of growth for her character.

Overall, Komi Can’t Communicate, Volume 9 is a great read and if you really enjoy romantic-comedies then you will be pleased with this volume. Additionally, this volume highlights other budding romances besides the main characters’ that keep the story fresh and interesting. Tomohito Oda continues to impress me with their abilities to illustrate non-verbal scenes that still moves the story along seamlessly.


'Komi Can't Communicate', Vol. 9
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TL;DR

Overall, Komi Can’t Communicate, Volume 9 is a great read and if you really enjoy romantic-comedies then you will be pleased with this volume. Additionally, this volume highlights other budding romances besides the main characters’ that keep the story fresh and interesting. Tomohito Oda continues to impress me with their abilities to illustrate non-verbal scenes that still moves the story along seamlessly.