Tag Archives: Tadano

The Observation Deck: Komi Can’t Communicate (Pt. 2)

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If there is one thing I realized pretty quickly during my high school experience, it is that managing my anxiety along with communicating things to other people can be extremely difficult. Luckily, though, I had a lot of good friends, and a fairly fast-paced four years which included writing for our school paper and a number of high-level classes which kind of forced me to make decisions and take care of myself. Still, it is not always that easy for others.

Komi Can’t Communicate focuses on its namesake character Komi. While the others in her class view her as basically a walking goddess, Komi herself could not have been blessed with less confidence. This has left her unable to communicate outside of writing down what she wants to say in a notebook or otherwise. Tadano, however, sees the situation she is in, and vows to help her get a hundred friends, even as feelings between them have only gotten more complicated.

Komi Still Can’t Communicate

Oh boy, more Komi…yay.

Alright, maybe that is a little mean. However, season one, while definitely being above average, was not the series I was looking forward to the most. Since part two finished a bit later than the rest of the spring season, I was not able to review it when I talked about Kaguya and Spy x Family. However, even compared to those two, it does little to stand out.

I will re-affirm that the show’s central premise is a good one and that Komi does a lot to be an entertaining character. The switch between her more cartoonish, goofy expressions and the weirdly sensual face which feels like an expression of how people view her on the outside is genuinely entertaining. On top of that, I still appreciate the message the show is trying to deliver: That people with crippling anxiety exist and deserve to be respected.

It is a shame really that the supporting cast, despite adding quite a few new characters in its second half, does little to elevate the series or its message. Tadano is pretty much as boring as ever, though I will give him credit for having at least a little bit more of an internal sense of development. All of the other new characters are either annoying like Shisuto, or get so little development as to not be worth mentioning outside of the fact that progress Komi’s emotional growth

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The lone exception to that is Katai who is by far one of the funnier characters during the second half. While it certainly helps to be one of the only other recurring characters, his dynamic with Komi and Tadano is well written. Katai, much like Komi, is an anxiety-ridden mess who just wants some friends, but whereas the ladder of the two actively attracts attention to herself, the former’s huge build and unintentionally aggressive demeanor leave most people scared of him for most of the second half.

What is more, Katai appreciates Tadano’s kindness and really wants to be friends, and continually looks towards Komi for “guidance” despite being intimidated by her. Meanwhile, Komi is just as scared of him, if not more, and so the two spend a lot of time staring at each other while never really saying anything, which is a solid bit that creates a lot of humorous moments.

A Blossoming Relationship?

The romantic tension between Komi and Tadano has been present since pretty much the end of part one. The more that Tadano helps her, the more he realizes just how much he loves being around her. Conversely, the kindness Tadano has shown Komi has been genuinely life-changing, and so she in turn builds feelings for him.

Despite the continued buildup of this relationship, nothing emerges even during the show’s finale. The two stand next to a classroom window while they reflect on the events of that school year, thinking about just how far the two of them have come. Yet, none of that progress is really shared in their own relationship, at least not romantically.

Interacting with other people can be scary, and even scarier is sharing feelings with someone that they might not have themselves. So, I guess in a way, that sort of ending makes sense. Still, If there is another season in the works, I hope we get to see the two of them in a post-confession world.

Conclusion

Normally I would have a bit more to say, but since I have already talked about part one of this series in-depth, there is not much reason to do so again. The first part was solid, and overall part two is maybe even a small bit better. At the end of the day though, the show is still just ok, lacking in a lot of strong characters and compelling arcs that would maybe propel it a bit higher.

63/100


How did you all feel about Komi Can’t Communicate and it’s second half? Let me know down in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

As always, special thanks to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon.

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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The Observation Deck: Komi Can’t Communicate

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

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I think the thing that I enjoy most about slice-of-life comedies is that, well, there is no rush to be anywhere. In her video on Azumanga Daioh, YouTuber hazel discusses how, despite the lack of any overarching plot, the series still makes you care about its characters. Whether it be one of the main girls, or even one of the side characters three tiers removed, each of them comes into their own in some way. Ultimately, hazel describes the series as perfect, at least to her.

While I cannot say have anywhere near the same attachment to a series like Komi Can’t Communicate, it certainly does have its charms. The series stars its namesake character Komi as she begins her high school life. However, given her extreme social anxiety, she cannot talk to anyone, and yet everyone in her school treats her like a god. With the help of fellow classmate Tadano, Komi hopes to make many friends.

I Mean, What’s There to Say, Really?

The problem with talking about a series like Komi Can’t Communicate is that, well, there is not actually that much to dissect. A lot of what makes the series work is whether or not 1) one buys into its core premise, and 2) finds it funny enough to stick with for a whole 12 episodes. Otherwise, the show just kind of fails.

Ok, maybe that is a little harsh. After all, it does work for me. Part of that, I think, is the character of Komi herself. While I have never known anyone to be socially anxious to the point of literally being speechless, as an exaggerated metaphor for how it can be to go through high school without strong social skills, it works. I know I was definitely not one to make friends easily, and it was only after joining my high school newspaper that I made any significant friends and gained my confidence.

However, for people lacking those same experiences, the comedy might not hit in the same way. A large part of comedy is the subjective experiences that inform them, to begin with. In that respect, I think Komi covers just enough bases that even those outside its target audience will find something worth enjoying, assuming they stick around.

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So, Does She Actually Not Communicate?

Tadano, being the one who agrees to help her find friends, ends up being the other main character. The show itself describes him as agreeable, but ultimately dull and average. Now, as much as I can appreciate the self-insult, it does not change the fact that he is actually pretty uninteresting.

A lot of the jokes in the series are made at his expense but rarely do they ever lead to any significant changes in his character. In fact, most of the development he does go through in the series happens as a result of helping Komi make friends. Again, none of this is to say that having no overarching story is bad, far from it, but whereas Azumanga Daioh’s ending makes one feel connected to its cast, Tadano hardly inspires that same satisfaction.

The one exception to this is the burgeoning romance between him and Komi, and of course, by burgeoning I mean not at all and that Tadano is so slow in recognizing Komi is into him that they literally introduced a whole new character in the last three episodes of the first season to tell him how dumb he is. Honestly, now that I write that all out, it is really funny. Gotta hand it to the writers on that one.

The Side Characters

Despite Tadano being relatively uninteresting as the main character, there are others who pick up his slack. Najimi, Tadano’s childhood best friend and one of the first to befriend Komi, acts as a big chaotic neutral, mostly doing whatever seems fun at the moment and rarely thinks about the consequences.

Some of the best moments in the series actually come from a recurring bit with Najimi and Komi. Usually, this involves Najimi jokingly asking Komi to go get her something as a way of boosting her social skills, often giving her a complicated order, and Komi agreeing. Komi never actually comes back with the right thing of course, and the process itself often scares her half to death. However, it highlights both how carefree Najimi is and how hard Komi is working to communicate with other people.

Yamai is another character who is, well, also not funny. Her introductory episode involves her abducting Tadano for over a day, locking him in her room, and inviting Komi over to hang out. While I can certainly appreciate a good Yandere in specific contexts, comedy is not really one of them, as the joke usually just boils down to “tehe, I’m crazy.”

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The Last Five Minutes

While the last episode was, on the whole, nothing to write home about, the final bit was really thoughtful. It starts with the main characters singing Kareoke together to the show’s ending theme. Afterward, it cuts from credits back to a scene of Komi, alone in her room appreciating all of her classmates by writing down their names, with Tadano’s name placed squarely at the top of the list.

We then get a sequence of class 1-1 filming the outro sequence to the show, with Komi finally being able to say “Yoroshiku, Onegaishimasu,” which is a way of saying “I look forward to working with you,” or, less literally, “I hope we can be friends.” It then cuts to a black screen which dedicates the series to those with social anxiety. Though it does not make up for the more lackluster parts of the series, it was a pretty thoughtful ending and one that I appreciate.

Conclusion

To be frank, there are a lot of Slice of Life comedy series that I would go to before Komi Can’t Communicate. Horimiya, Chuunibyou, hell, I would even go as far back as School Rumble. Still, that does not mean there are no good qualities here. Komi is a likable enough walking metaphor, and seeing any potential development in her character is worth waiting for the second season.


How do you all feel about Komi Can’t Communicate? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

Special shoutout to our Patreon supporter Jenn, it is greatly appreciated.

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

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Final Thoughts: Aggretsuko

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The first season of Aggretsuko was a show that I enjoyed thoroughly. Now that season two is out on Netflix, I got a chance to watch it while it was laying in my bed with literally nothing else to do. I was definitely hoping season two would live up to the first, and on that front I can say with confidence that it did. However, aside from Aggretsuko as a show being generally good, here are some more of my final thoughts.

#Relatable

As much as I think relatability, like the word “dark” has become an overused buzzword in reviews and commentary, for which I myself am also guilty, I do still think it a lot of contexts that it is important, especially in a Slice-of-life context. Retsuko, despite being a much different person, and living in a much different scenario, is someone that I relate to a lot, especially in the realm of self-confidence and goals. She has friends, but doesn’t have a whole lot of interests or goals, and that is definitely something I have experienced. However, its not only Retsuko. Haida, Retsuko’s office friend, is also relatable in a lot of ways. For example, when he asks Retsuko to go out with him, only to get rejected. Haida, for a lot of season two is left in the support role, still having feelings for her, but also still wanting to be a good friend. Even Anai, the newest character in the series, is somewhat relatable. His fear about not being able to make it in an oppressive corporate environment makes him paranoid, and I can definitely say cheers to that, brother!

Retsuko as a Metalhead

If you know anything about the show, its probably that a lot of Aggretsuko’s, more so in its first season, revolving around Retsuko’s secret love of Metal music and karaoke. Whenever she is sad, angry, or otherwise feeling negative, she generally defaults to hitting up a karaoke bar after work and screaming her lungs out. Eventually, Retsuko finds friends in the form of Washimi and Gori who help her work out her problems. Despite not being that big a fan of metal, I actually quite enjoyed a lot of the musically bits, especially when used as a comedic punchline. One of my favorite parts was probably near the end of season one where Retsuko goes to an office party which just so happens to have Karaoke. Retsuko makes a very drunk decision, screams her brains out, and insults her boss Ton while doing so. She later realizes that no one remembers because they were also drunk, and so she lets out a huge sigh of relief. It is one of the funnier scenes in the entire series.

Conflict, Resolution, and Marriage

One of the more interesting internal discussions that Aggretsuko has in its second season is about the concept of marriage. Near the end of the second season, Retsuko’s super rich visionary CEO boyfriend Tadano tells her that she does not want to get married, but that he still wants to spend the rest of his life with her. At first, Retsuko is conflicted, not sure if she is willing to accept just being together. Later, Retsuko confronts Ton and tries to hand him her letter of resignation after being gone from work for almost a week. However, Ton can tell something is wrong, and advises Retsuko that she should stand up for what she believes in and not let others make decisions for her. Retsuko, with the assitance of Haida, Washimi, and Gori, confronts Tadano, letting him no that its marriage or nothing.

It is definitely a timely discussion. The reality is that many in both the millennial generation as well as Gen Z are much less inclined, for a wide variety of reasons, to get married. It is a symbol of permanence, a commitment to another that is supposed to last a lifetime, but as much as some might like to, many in these generations are not in a position to get married. Economic conditions, both in Japan and the U.S. are getting worse by the day, and it is becoming harder for regular people to afford basic things, and as such most people are not focused on marriage. However, another reason marriage is less appealing is that many more people, especially women and certain minorities, also feel empowered to be free and independent due to many more people having access to higher education, and as such marriage is less appealing from that perspective as well, because it ties you to someone.

Retsuko, on the other hand, views marriage as an institution of stability. Being that she does not know what she wants to do with her life, Retsuko sees marriage as a way to not only to be stable, but also as way to become invested in another person, and even more people if she were to have kids. Its a strange, yet understandably pure feeling. It is also very #relatable.

Conclusion

Retsuko is one of the best new Slice-of-life comedies to come out in a while. Its first season was captivatingly funny, while hinting at a lot more to come, and the second season felt like the perfect delivery on that more to come. Overall, it is absolutely 100 percent worth your time.


What parts of Aggretsuko did you all enjoy? Did you enjoy it at all? Let me know in the comments below. If you would like to support Animated Observations, consider buying me a coffee on kofi:

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!