Recently, I got a little push from June from Shrimpspaces to start watching Komi Can’t Communicate.
And I can’t believe it. It was great. It was cinematic. It was beyond my expectation of a slice of life anime.
Made by Studio OLM, right from the opening credits, the visuals are just breathtaking. I’d not say it’s on par with ones produced by anime powerhouse like Madhouse or Bones, but in many ways, efforts were put into editing, transitioning, matching and animating it, making it one of the best openings of this season and a terribly befitting introduction to Komi’s world.
Then, from there on, the anime kicks off with its strongly vibrant tone.
There’s just a big contrast to the normal conversation with a paler, bluer, richer background as compared to the sudden threats that gobbled everything up in black, bright orange that cast the spotlight on a smile, and pale pink that focus on Komi’s mouth when she tries to say something.
All the bubbly vibe, the flustered red, the shocking black-white nerves and the dark ominous purple match up the ambience—warm, embarrassed, stunned, scared— to elevate wide ranges of emotions, adding another layer of portrayal, making it feels fictional yet genuine.
And when we talk about being cinematic, the term “cinematography” often comes up.
The frames, the placement of camera, the duration of a single shot—I have no idea how to achieve the perfect ratio between all these, but more often then ever, the shots in Komi Can’t Communicate achieved this balance.
The best example was when the frame shrinks from 16:9 to 4:3, to present a smaller, more focused center of words. Then there’s the 21:9, with black strips on top and bottom to encapsulate, to capture the beauty, the silliness, the loneliness, the determination of the characters—all within a brief eye change, a small smile, and a pause.
First person shot, the perspective of camera that follows character around from their shoulder in hallway when they talk, the wide parabolic view that shows the entire classroom, the moment of stun that instantly zoomed into the characters’ face, and especially, the abstract, well made cut scenes that compiled the opening credit—these fit.
They do not feel forced, or shallow, but further enhances the sometimes dynamic, sometimes calm and then sometimes over the edge.
The characters in the adaptation do not only move on screen or have voices but also there’s a layer of phenomenal chemistry between their voice actors, that made interaction between the characters precious.
They feel alive; they feel fun to be around with, silly to be a part of, and most importantly, they feel real. There’s always the rowdy, talkative friend; the timid, shy friend; the average, friendly friend; the proud, eager friend, and then there’s Komi-san—the socially awkward friend who wants to make 100 friends.
It’s never a dull moment. And yet, it is further stacked with the placement of the translated words, and the occasional narration.
The words are literally positioned out of the frame, in the middle of the frame or inside a text box, dancing their way around the screen, darting around our eyes.
And when it does this, it happens randomly. There’s engagement in some times, and then there’s not. Music starts to play, and then it stops. And it sinks in.
It pulls you into their state of mind, and then it pushes you away to be right back in their situation—the big picture.
And the execution of this was visible, I mean, really visible and apparent. You can see it. You know what it’s doing. But you didn’t care because you just wanted to see more and more.
At this point, the story became more than just show but also, tell.
Not only it shows their facial reactions and how they would actually looked like if they can display their inner thoughts (you’d run), but it also tells the entire thought process that zapped through in the blink of an eye, and also little comments to chuckle on, for audiences to immerse in the story.
It’s gold. The execution really is well done.
And then there’s the scores.
The opening theme, “Cinderella” by Cider Girl in particular was superb, refreshing, playful and all-the-round a fun song to be played along the captivating credits.
And then—there’s the music.
Oh goat, the music.
Never have I ever expected to hear inspiring sports music being played at the end of a conversation of a slice of life genre. And it fits.
It actually fits!
Even though none of them was struggling advancing into nationals, but just a small feat, just a simple interaction was handled delicately, proudly.
The music rose with a high, quick tempo, slow in the middle for a quick breath and then phenomenally rocket to the top again before settling down in the end with a few piano notes.
All the while, it shows that Komi, has successfully made a friend.
Because, it’s important to her.
Almost as the same weight as volleyball players advancing to nationals. It was a regular happiness, but no less smaller.
I didn’t read the manga version of Komi Can’t Communicate, but I can feel the anime production team has done a splendid job in portraying a socially anxious but adorable girl stepping out of her comfort zone, and the fun, fuzzy interactions that she found herself wrapped in.
Overall, the playful interactions, dazzling visuals, engaging cinematography, heartening music, stirring songs, a bit of sweet romance and a huge pinch of silliness are blended to the right proportions, creating Komi Can’t Communicate.
Thanks for reading.
This will be my last post of the year; Happy New Year.