Slice of life, a genre in both manga and anime that is dear to my heart! Although I've been able to find entertainment in various other genres, it is the SoL genre that has been tickling my fancy ever since I discovered the wonderful medium called manga 4 years ago. A couple of weeks ago I decided to buy volume 1 of Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu as I had some money to spare and wanted to give a series that had such a high rating on Anilist a try.
When I see a manga is already more than 5 volumes in though I tend not to get involved, mainly because it'll cost me quite the sum (gotta love them import taxes) and I find it quite hard to get invested into a series that is already going for quite some time. For example I'm a huge fan of Shinryaku! Ika Musume, but I just know that once I read volume 1 I WILL buy the other 21 volumes as well... Same thing with Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu: I bought volume 1, and a week later I had already ordered the other 10 volumes on cdjapan... イエーイ
Could it be that... you're bad at talking to people?
The story starts out with our main character Tadano who joins a fancy new school. He explains that his survival in life completely depends on a skill he calls 'reading the air'. This basically means Tadano is talented in reading both the situation as the people around him. His first day at this new school will challenge his confidence in this ability though, as he meets a new girl at the lockers. He introduces himself to her, hoping to make a new friend, but instead of a greeting she responds with an icy stare.
Hoping never having to deal with her again, he soon realizes that they're not only in the same class, but he's sitting next to her!
Although everyone seems to be in love with this new ice queen, Tadano is trying his hardest not to get involved with her. This turns out to be quite impossible as every guy in his class wants to kill him and take his place sitting next to the 'Madonna' of the school (as Tadano describes her): Shouko Komi.
After everyone has left the classroom and by coincidence our 2 main characters are left alone, Tadano figures out that Shouko isn't the ice queen others claim her to be. It's not like she doesn't want to communicate with others, she simply can't communicate with the people around her. This revelation makes the 2 warm up to each other and Shouko reveals that she has a dream of making a 100 friends. Tadano, being the awesome bloke he is decides to help her out in this cute quest of hers!
Since I'm quite the positive guy let's start with the positives shall we?
- Our 2 main characters are very relatable! - All of us have been Tadano once or twice in our lives and I'm certain that we've all experienced the troubles that Shouko is undergoing. I can't say this for the side characters, but the protagonists are written well, which is incredibly important for a slice of life manga.
- The story events are comedic, yet relatable and make sense in the context they're placed in. - Just because a manga has a comedy tag doesn't mean that the story shouldn't make any sense or that the author should be able to have a lacking plotline for the sake of comedy. I can't believe how many times I have read a comedy manga only to get bored after the second volume because the actual plotline doesn't make any sense. For those who have experienced this too please rest assured, the plotline in this manga might not be mindblowing, but at least there is progression. Furthermore the author makes sure to put our main characters in fun, yet logic situations where their quirks truly shine.
- This manga gives a great insight in the daily lives of (Japanese) teenagers, what keeps them occupied and the troubles they face everyday. - I love foreign cultures, and reading native material like Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu gives a great insight in the Japanese culture. For both those still in their teenage years and those like me who are drifting further and further away from that wonderful/awful time, I truly believe this is a manga for both parties.
- The side characters, with the exception of Najimi, seem to be only there for comedic relief and serve no other purpose. - I love a good side character just as much as the next person. Guess what: this manga has tons of them! The problem is that out of all the quirky side characters, I can name only 1 that I truly consider adding anything useful to the story, this being Najimi. Najimi could've easily been a main character if that cheeky romance tag wasn't part of this manga. Nonetheless, I do like some of the side characters, but I'd have preferred to see this manga with less side characters that had more personality, than a ton of them with only one quirk or purpose.
- Some of the interaction between the characters and their thought processes might be considered childish by some - I sincerely doubt that when a teenager reads this manga he / she will have any problems with this, but I do believe that if an adult would pick up this manga he / she might feel like this manga is not for them. In my opinion this is completely understandable, as Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu is aimed at a teenage audience. From time to time I also felt like some of the situations were rather childish. Fortunately this isn't a problem for me, but I can imagine this would bother some of you out there.
So, is this bad boy worth a read? OF COURSE!!! In fact I would go as far as to say that this manga is one of my favorites! If you want to sit down with a coffee and have a relaxing read I'd definitely recommend Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu! However, if you're looking for a ton of action, ecchi situations or a manga aimed at an adult audience I'd advice you to look elsewhere.
Thank you so much for reading my review! I hope it was useful :3