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I'm glad I spoke.note 

I know. Komi is beautiful. She's the most beautiful person I've ever seen. Her skin is porcelain. Her hair is silk. Her large eyes are almond shaped. And she smells good. Basically, she glows. However... I know. I know Komi can't communicate. I also know how much she truly wants to talk to people. And now I'm her friend.
Tadano's inner monologue, Ch. 7
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Tadano Hitohito is just your Ordinary High-School Student starting his first year of high school. Planning to have a peaceful and normal high school life, his plans came to an end before they even began. The reason? He has been seated right next to the overwhelmingly beautiful School Idol, Komi Shouko, and thus has become the target of the entire class' jealousy. Soon, however, he figures out Komi's secret: underneath her beautiful appearance, Komi suffers from a communication disorder which prevents her from making friends or even speaking normally to other people.

Empathizing with her plight, Tadano resolves to spend his high school life helping Komi make one hundred friends. Yet, things may not be as easy as they sound, as the school is filled with students with strong personalities, and making friends with these weirdos might bring troubles of their own.

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Komi Can't Communicate (Komi-san wa Komyushou desu, roughly meaning Miss Komi has a Communication Disorder, popularly abbreviated to Komi-san) is a romance/slice of life/comedy manga penned by Tomohito Oda, which began its run in Shonen Sunday in 2016. VIZ Media picked up the series for English release starting summer 2019.

An anime adaptation by OLM Incorporated premiered in October 2021. An 8 episode Live-Action adaptation also premiered on September 6, 2021 on NHK General's "Yorudora" late-night drama block, starring Elaiza Ikeda and Takahisa Masuda as Shoko Komi and Hitohito Tadano respectively.

Compare to Hitoribocchi no OO Seikatsu and Kimi ni Todoke, two manga works with girls with similar anxiety/isolation problems, and Senryu Girl, a manga with a high school girl who communicates exclusively through poetry.

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Tropes:

    Tropes A to D 
  • 100% Adoration Rating: Komi is so beloved by the school that most of their decisions hinge around what will either make her cutest or happiest.
  • Abandoned Pet in a Box: The flashback chapter shows that Shuuko started to fall for Masayoshi when she saw him build a little shelter for a cat that had been left in a box in the rain (she would have taken the cat home with her, but she wasn't allowed to keep pets).
  • Achievement In Ignorance: At a festival stall where people can pull a string to receive prizes, the stall owner uses mind games to stop people from getting the best prize. For example he looks alarmed when they consider choosing a string that only has pocket tissues attached. Komi gets the top prize anyway, just by choosing at random.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Komi Can't Communicate", while not traditionally alliterative, is still spoken with the hard "K" sound for each word.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Tadano pats Komi on the head when he noticed that she is still sad about losing the race. Apparently, it's a habit from when he used to do it to Hitomi.
  • All for Nothing:
    • By Chapter 306, most of Class 2-1 have learned that Komi and Tadano have started dating. Since Najimi is one of the few exceptions, and everyone knows they'd blab about it if they found out, the classmates form an agreement to keep the whole thing a secret so the two of them can go out in peace. Unfortunately, Najimi figures it out the moment they show up to homeroom. A few minutes later, the whole school knows they're going out.
    • In Chapter 318, Komi spends a considerable time with her girl friends picking an outfit for her first date with Tadano; however, as the events of Chapter 317 showed, Komi's dad "kidnapped" Tadano on the day of their date to measure the boy's aptitude to date his daughter. While Masayoshi does end up getting closer to Tadano to accept the relationship and they do go on their date on another day, Komi is still upset at her dad for a while afterwards.
  • Alliterative Family: Shouko and Shousuke, sister and brother.
  • all lowercase letters: In the sparse instances where Komi speaks, her speech is written in lowercase letters and in a simpler font than the rest of the dialogue (in the case of the English fan scanlation), mainly used to demonstrate the softness of her voice.
  • Always in Class One:
    • The main cast is in class 1-1. Then subverted when the cast moves on to the second year, with most of Komi's female friends ending up in another class, but they still occasionally manage to get some screen time.
  • Always Second Best: Yadano is always this to Komi, at least in her own mind.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Komi's mother Shuuko enjoys acting like a ditzy teenager (even referring to herself as an "eternal 17-year old"), much to her daughter's embarrassment. Her father (despite being similar to Komi) isn't much better, as when Tadano & his sister first meet him at a shopping center, he's in a godfather's getup (styled by Komi) that unnerves Tadano.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:Tropes Whether or not Komi has some sort of diagnosable disorder is left open to interpretation. The various narrations describing Komi's problems with communication sometimes explicitly refer to it as "Communication Disorder" and other times merely state that Komi is bad at communication. In-universe, Tadano is irritated by Yamai when she refers to Komi as having a "disorder." Meanwhile, Komi's communication problems run in her family - her father, brother, grandmother, and uncle all display similar behavior. However, it is strongly implied (and outright stated in her brother's case) that everyone's reasons for their difficulties with communication are different. Komi, at a minimum, suffers from severe anxiety. Commonplace social interactions cause her to become paralyzed with uncertainty and fear, and she spends multiple hours a day ruminating over minor exchanges with others.
  • Anachronism Stew: In-universe, the play by Class 2-1 at the second Culture Festival in Chapter 223:
    (narrator): From then on, whenever the boy made a delivery to the castle, he would meet the princess in the gardens. This boy was able to befriend the silent princess. Making flower crowns, playing games, or simply frolicking about the garden. She even became closer to the townsfolk partaking of the Beyblade game popular at the time.
    Tadano: What era are we in?!
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Three different characters share a cat motif:
      • Shouko Komi (the Komi of the title) is consistently tied to cats. She is depicted with cat ears when startled or excited, her friends buy her a cat plush and she even goes to a cat café at one point. It ties in with her appearing aloof and stoic, but really being curious and affectionate.
      • Akira Komi, her younger cousin, also sprouts cat ears when excited, tying into her close relationship with Komi, being the kitten to her cat.
      • Rei Natsukido is depicted with cat-like eyes, and acts aloof, isolated, and independent.
    • Himiko Agari has a dog motif. She refers to herself as Komi's dog, sprouts dog ears and a tail at times, and acts like an excitable, if nervous, puppy. Her aunt Matsuri, in turn, behaves like an adult dog in heat.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In Chapter 301, Tadano accepts Manbagi's confession, only for Manbagi to ask him if he is sure that he won't regret going out with her. This causes him to realize how he really feels about Komi.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Manbagi gives Tadano one in Chapter 304, saying that it's the best way to end things without her feeling guilty about it.
  • Ass Shove: Onemine's little brother gives Otori a kancho in Chapter 116. He tries to do the same to Onemine, but his fingers are too weak.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me:
    • Shousuke allows himself to tell Hitomi about his favorite food only because she was the first person who wasn't afraid of his scary glare, and kept on trying to honestly befriend him.
    • Sure, Komi wants to have another 99 friends besides Tadano, but when it comes to sharing moments with others, Tadano will always, unequivocally, have her undivided attention. Tadano is the one who dared where no one did, and as such, he is her first and very best friend.
    • Onigashima, Manbagi and Ase become Komi's friends because she offers her hand in friendship at their most abject moment.
  • Big Applesauce: Chapter 278-295 has the entire Itan second years goes on a Class Trip to New York City.
  • Big Fancy House:
    • Katou lives in one, and is surprised when Sasaki tells her that living in such a house isn't normal for everyone.
    • Otori lives in a bigger one. In fact, it's more of a castle than a house.
  • Bit Character:
    • Chiarai, Sonoda, Shinobino, Onigashima (at first) and Kishi. They're included as Komi's friends, but they don't have much focus and are mostly just there in the background. Even with the fact that 2 chapters focus on the 3 male normies, it's more about them having delusional ideas about dates with the girls that the audience was already introduced to, which meant the other 2 female normies don't even have a segment for them.
    • Later, Onigashima has an exclusive chapter about her in Chapter 121, and Kishi finally got a time to shine in Chapter 342-343.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • "Standbakes" and "Starbecks" for Starbucks.
    • "NOMO" (or "MOON" in the anime) for MONO erasers.
    • The hit video game, Super Smash Swamp Pants Brothers! Starring Marimo! Louise! Yusshi! Zeldin! A Captain Falcon look-alike! Samyu! Nuess!
      • Strangely, the official English translation pixelates the Mario and Luigi parodies only, not the Yoshi or Zelda ones.
    • "Sabowey" for Subway. This is in fact based on the gairaigo (Japanization) of "Subway" (サウェイ, Sabuwei), with "bo" taking the place of the normal "bu" and romanized differently.
    • Najimi ropes Komi and Tadano into giving out tissues promoting a "Bocomo" shop, which is a reference to the Japan telecom company Docomo.
    • Utopia Street Japan for Universal Studios Japan, down to the spinning globe at the front.
    • Chapter 142 features Hunole video on demand service.
    • Chapter 170 features WcDonald's having a promotion of Sokemon figurines. Three of the figurines themselves resemble Pikachu, Bulbasaur and Squirtle (the fourth one resembles an Office Lady).
    • Chapter 214 features Manbagi wearing "Gucchio" brand clothing.
    • New York arc prominently features "Shark Shock" fast food chain.
    • In Chapter 307, we see a "Kut Kit" bar (given to him by Badou) among the chocolates Tadano received on Valentine's Day.
    • In the Summer Festival, Komi wins a PlayStore 4 (changed to a PlayStore 5 in the anime) for Najimi.
    • In Osaka, Komi, Mikuni and Ayami go to see "Spider-San 3D" and the Honey Potter Harry Dukes Shop.
    • In Chapter 148, Katai buys a bottle of "Colpis" soft drink, a reference to the Japanese soft drink brand Calpis.
    • In Chapter 174, Nakanaka's snacks include "Panglis" (Pringles), "Packy" (Pocky) and "Caca-Cola" (Coca-Cola).
    • In Chapter 298, Manbagi mentions a show called "The Walking Crowded".
    • In Chapter 330, the student use "Enough" guns in their Battle Royale.
    • In Chapter 331, Omagawa remembers watching a show appreciating Studio Zublies "Panyo on the Right of the Hill".
    • Most of the chapters from 350-258 are of the main cast playing "Content Us" with Kenposters standing in for Imposters.
  • Boring, but Practical: While going out Christmas/birthday shopping for Komi, Najimi's group picks out several extravagant presents for Komi that were mostly skewed towards their own personal interests. Tadano instead picks out a simple large cat plushie, not only because Komi is a Kindhearted Cat Lover, but figured it would be more practical for everyone if they pitched in to buy it since their large quantity of high-value items would not only overwhelm her, but would tank their individual present funds regarding their own families.
  • Bookends: Chapter 259 starts with Komi researching return gifts to give everyone who contributed to her birthday present. It ends with her researching return gifts to give everyone who gave her a birthday present.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: Tadano pretended to be Manbagi's boyfriend in attempt to get some guys who were hitting on her to back off during the Beach Chapter.
  • Brain Freeze: Komi and her father suffer this after eating shaved ice. They both give each other hot tea afterwards.
  • Brick Joke: In chapter 221, Komi's class are preparing their play for the school culture festival. Najimi, who has basically taken control of the whole production, chooses Tadano as the director, which he assumes is just because they want someone to blame for anything that goes wrong. Thirteen chapters later he's proven right; when Najimi is accused of breaking the rules by reselling tickets, they immediately try and shift the blame to him, resulting in both of them getting escorted out of the hall before the afterparty begins.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Komi tries her hand at jokes in chapter 29. Aside from the obvious problem that Komi does most of her communication in writing, she also favors "Dad Jokes" that nobody else finds funny to begin with. The punchline of the chapter is that Tadano is just as bad at jokes as Komi. Fortunately, Komi finds his jokes amazing.
  • Captain Ersatz: Myla Tirano, the girl Rei tries to befriend at her new school in America, bears a striking resmblance to Susie from Deltarune in appearance, personality, and reputation, right down to threatening to bite people who annoy her and being compared to a dinosaur.
  • Captain Obvious: Almost all activities and events are described in text boxes by the mangaka. Occasionally justified since Komi can't always communicate her thoughts to the reader (it's in the title). Though most of the time it's somewhat superfluous, sometimes the use of describing boxes serves as the joke itself.
    Inaka: Crab
    Narrator: [Freshwater crab]
    Komi & Akira: Crab!
  • Cast Herd:
    • Komi's friends are split up between the main group (Komi, Tadano, Najimi, Yamai, sometimes Agari), the outliers (Katai, Inaka, Nakanaka), the normies (Chiarai, Sonoda, Shinobino, Onigashima, and Kishi), the Japanese squad (Shinobino and his "royal retainers"), and the families (the Komis, the Tadanos).
    • For Komi's second year, Komi's group composed of her, Tadano, Manbagi, Katai and Ase, though Katai is more grouped with Tadano, Naruse and Kometani.
  • Caught in the Rain: A two-chapter arc centers around Komi and Tadano getting caught in a sudden downpour after the former invites the latter out to go stargazing. They're forced to take shelter in a nearby shed, and end up huddled together under a blanket for warmth. That's about as far as they go, though, frustrating both Hitomi, who was secretly watching them (and ends up ruining the moment revealing herself), and Sasaki and Katou when Komi tells them about it later.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Although Class 1-1's Maid Cafe won the popular vote of the Culture Festival, they were disqualified from actually obtaining the grand prize due to Najimi using extremely unfair methods to promote the cafe.
  • Class Trip: Two of them so far, Kyoto in the first year and New York City in the second.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Otori very much lives on her own pace. She does everything slowly. At one point she watched a fireplace recording from Christmas to the day after New Year's without realizing the time.
  • Cooldown Hug: Isagi gives one to Manbagi in Chapter 303 against her own phobias, seeing that Manbagi is in great need of one after she makes Tadano admit that he likes Komi and sends him her way.
  • Cosplay Café: The students do a Maid Café for the Cultural Festival.
  • Costumes Change Your Size: Hitomi is daintier than what her high school uniform suggests. Shoulder pads make a considerable difference.
  • Crossover:
    • Shouko once dreamed she was in the world of Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle in one bonus chapter, and interacted with and slept with the Princess.
    • Shouko similarly appears in Sleepy Princess with one of the Princess' escape attempts leading her to appear in Komi's drawer.
  • Cute Mute: The simplest way to put the premise. Of course, Komi isn’t actually physically unable to speak, just heavily restricted by her disorder.
  • Delayed Reaction:
    • Inaka has one in Chapter 93, greeting Komi (who is serving as a temporary shrine maiden) before realising just who she's talking to.
    • Tadano has one in Chapter 94, when he at first fails to notice to notice Najimi sitting at the breakfast table with Hitomi.
    • Ase has one in Chapter 151, when it takes her a few seconds to realise that she just spoke to Manbagi.
    • Omojiri doesn't immediately recognise Komi when she bumps into her at the supermarket.
    • Komi and Manbagi are so nervous during the takeoff of their first flight that it takes a while for them to notice that they are gripping Tadano's hands.
    • In Chapter 312, it takes Yamai a few seconds to realise that Komi is the person she's talking to over the speakerphone.
  • Description Porn: The explanations behind the various group activities turn into this, often bordering on Wall of Text territory.
  • Double Take: Komi does one in Chapter 130, when she sees Manbagi for the first time.
  • Dramatic Irony: Wakai thinks that Katai and Manbagi are dating. The audience knows that they're not.
  • Drop the Hammer: Isagi's Weapon of Choice is a squeaky toy hammer.
    Tropes E to L 
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Several major supporting characters actually made cameos in the very first chapter's color spread page. This included characters like Katai and Naruse, who wouldn't be formally introduced into the series until dozens of chapters later. Even Hitomi and Shousuke are introduced on the same page, though they appear recurrently in the comic without any focus until their own chapter, some 120+ chapters later.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • There are many differences between the one-shot & the series. In the one-shot, Komi's eyes are her main focus, she could speak openly (but it is either short or very long), Tadano has a different motivation for why he became normal, and the chapters are more focused on only the two of them working out Komi's issues rather then Komi's quest of making friends.
    • In earlier chapters, Tadano's outright hated by the rest of the class for daring to talk to Komi. By later chapters, he's just another face in the crowd in their eyes. Though it's more of a Characterization Marches On, since by that time everybody (especially Yamai, who found out the hard way) realized that Tadano is already a friend that she won't abandon.
    • In Najimi's introduction, they were shown as less bubbly than in later chapters, where they are drawn almost exclusively in a cartoony style.
    • Agari was originally very shy and only slightly better than Komi at communicating with others. She also had a weird masochistic streak. Later chapters have her characterized as a food critic that seems to be a longtime patron of every single restaurant in town (even ones that just recently opened). Her Masochistic streak was also dropped in favor of the running gag that she has the biggest boobs out of the girls.
  • Ear Worm: Chapter 248 involves Manbagi having a song stuck in her head, then spreading it around the class.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Eek A Bug, actually - when a beetle flies into the classroom in Chapter 141, the entire class freaks out except for Tadano, Najimi and Komi, and even Komi faints (standing up) when the beetle lands on her.
  • Entertainingly Wrong:
    • Played for laughs. Tadano's mom is somewhat under the impression that he might be gay, and there are instances where Hitomi hints that she has talked to her mom about it. However, just because he has a dude who loves him and treasures him (Katai), doesn't mean that he in particular is gay. It's even more ironic considering Komi has a crush on Tadano.
    • During the second Summer Festival, Tadano thinks that Manbagi has been mad at him for calling himself her "boyfriend" during the Beach Episode in order to shoo off the boys that were hounding her. In reality, Manbagi has just been tremendously bashful and a Tsundere towards him. Touched by his worries and kindness towards her in spite of her behavior towards him, Manbagi finally admits to herself that she's in love with Tadano.
    • Katai thinks Komi is trying to help him become better at socializing since she's seemingly friends with everyone in class and she's there whenever he's trying to talk with Tadano. He's unaware that Tadano is the one helping Komi to communicate and that the rest of the class is just in awe of her.
    • Hitomi Tadano (Tadano's sister) thinks Komi's brother Shousuke and Katai's Sister Ai are like their respective siblings; unable to communicate due to shyness and are putting up a tough guy act respectively. However Shousuke really is just aloof and dislikes talking to people, while Ai really is a delinquent. Hilarity ensues as Hitomi treats them like Tadano treats their older siblings.
  • Epic Fail: A relatively mundane one, but hilariously heartfelt from Komi. In Chapter 13, she gets Najimi's coffee order so wrong that the shame of it all makes her cry when Najimi asks her just what is the drink that she brought. First, she cannot verbalize the order, making the barista try to figure it out for her. She then notices that the order is wrong, but is unable to say anything to the barista, getting stage fright and leaving with the giant coffee cup she was given... and then Najimi reminds her that the order is wrong when first seeing it. Her crying face make both Najimi and Tadano (who tailed Komi to the café) drop to their knees and apologize, Najimi for making her go with an outlandish coffee order, and Tadano for not helping her.
  • Erotic Eating:
    • During the Summer Festival, Yamai repeatedly tries to get Komi to kneel down in front of her and eat food she'd feed her... like a sausage, or a white-chocolate covered banana..
    • Similarly suggested - again by Yamai - with the provocative gifts she gives Komi for Valentines and White Day; the former is a set of chocolate Yamai faces, the latter a scale lollipop of Yamai's body in candy form. Both are accompanied by her insisting Komi eat them so she can be inside her, or that Komi lick her.
  • Everyone Can See It: Pretty much everyone can tell that Tadano and Komi have romantic feelings for one another. The only ones who can't are either people who are obsessed with Komi, like most of the student body, or people who seem to completely ignore it, like Najimi. Even then, there are subtle hints that they're fully aware of it (Tadano in particular), but choose to ignore it anyways.
  • Evolving Credits: In the anime, as the cast of Komi's social circle grows, so does the number of characters seen in the second last shot of the credits.
  • Extranormal Institute: Komi and Tadano's school houses students that are weird, plain and simple, characterized by exhibiting extreme personality traits. One of the fears of Tadano regarding Komi's goal is that due to the quirkiness of the students, she might find making friends there particularly difficult. This is by design In-Universe; entry into the school is based entirely on a student's interview, with the school viewing personality as the most important aspect of a person. It's a normal school otherwise though.
  • The Faceless:
    • A minor case for Tadano. A Running Gag from the very start of the series to the present is that Tadano's face is always obscured or out of focus in both the manga volume covers and the chapter titles.
    • The faces of Tadano's parents are never seen...at least until Chapter 340, where his mother Jeanne is formally introduced.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In Chapter 321, Tadano and Komi are so nervous on their first date that they fail to notice that Najimi has come up behind them and is speaking to Tadano.
  • Flat "What": This is Hitomi and Jeanne's reaction to learning that Tadano and Komi are dating.
  • Foreshadowing: Chapter 262 opens with an In Medias Res scene where Tadano and Manbagi are separated from the rest of the group after the ski slope they're on is hit by a blizzard. While it doesn't take long for them to meet back up, the chapter ends with the two of them getting left behind at the ski resort, forcing them to find a way back home on their own.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In Chapter 182, as Ai was beaten to a pulp and rendered unconscious, and her aggressors are being distracted by Shousuke, Hitomi seizes the opportunity to pull some judo moves on the bulk of the attacking delinquent girls, soundly defeating them by herself.
    • A literal one in Chapter 229: as in the previous chapter's play, Tadano had to take the role of the "prince's friend" while dressed in drag, while Katai had to take the role of "prince" in Komi's absence. The play ends as expected, with Katai "confessing" to Tadano. What wasn't shown then, it was shown in the subsequent chapter, as Isagi, in function as Student Council President organized the Federation For Breaking Illicit Relationships (FBI for short), hitting everyone they could find flirting with squeaky mallets... including the unfortunate Katai after the curtains are closed.
  • Gender Flip: In-universe. The play the students put on for the culture festival is initially about a cold-blooded princess (Komi) who falls in love with a delivery boy (Tadano). When Komi goes to comfort a distraught Manbagi and doesn't manage to get back in time for the next showing, the students change the play to one about a cold-blooded prince (Katai) who falls in love with a kitchen maid (a cross-dressing Tadano).
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals:
    • Komi has several cat plushies, including a very large one that her friends bought for her birthday (it was Tadano's idea).
    • In Chapter 198, Ai admires a panda plushie, then cuddles it when Hitomi wins it for her.
  • Goldfish Scooping Game: Komi, Najimi and Nakanaka try their luck at one during the Summer festival.
  • Hand Gag: Jeanne does this to Hitomi in Chapter 340 while eavesdropping on Tadano and Komi.
  • Head-and-Hip Pose: In Chapter 130 Komi's new class is forced to perform their self-introductions in accordance to whatever is stipulated by a dice roll. When the turn comes for Shouko Komi, her dice roll requires her to do a "sexy pose" while performing her self-introduction. She (very reluctantly) puts one hand on the back of her head and the other hand on her hip as her choice of "sexy pose".
  • Hikikomori: Hiki Komorebei, as her name suggests, is a shut-in who has only just started venturing out into the world.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: Everyone who is obsessed with Komi, namely members of the Komi Imperial Guard, only sees Komi as a goddess instead of the socially awkward girl she is. By treating her as someone beyond their social standards and not approaching and talking to her, they are unable to be friends with Komi and thus, they only have themselves to blame.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: While most characters are thirsty for Komi, a group of students will tend to gather together to hold Imagine Spots of being a relationship with a girl of their school.
  • Hot Drink Cure:
    • In Chapter 99, Komi brings Tadano ginger tea when the latter gets sick with a cold.
    • In Chapter 168, Komi makes hot milk for Rei in an attempt to comfort the younger girl after hearing her crying.
  • I Have This Friend: In chapter 294, after resolving to confess her love to Tadano during the school trip to New York and finding herself in the perfect position to do so, Manbagi gets cold feet and is only able to admit her feelings and explain the situation with her and Komi in the guise of asking him for advice about a boy she likes. Tadano does suspect she could be talking about him, but chooses not to ask about it directly.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: The main motivation of our two main characters and a good number of their classmates.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Played for Laughs example in Chapter 330, after Najimi shows off some fancy moves with their Enough gun, they accidentally drops the gun to the floor, causing it to discharge and shoot Najimi in the forehead.
  • Idea Bulb: Komi gets one in Chapter 45, when she figures out how to stop her cousin Akira being scared of her.
  • Idiot Hair: When the characters are drawn simplistically, they became their identifying trait.
  • Inconsistent Coloring:
    • Some of the characters' hair colours vary between coloured covers and coloured strips.
    • Komi's hair is usually dark purple, though the exact shade varies, and sometimes it's just black (or even dark brown. As well, sometimes her eyes are black, and sometimes they're purple.
    • The shade of the puff of hair on Tadano's head also varies. While it's always grey, sometimes it's so light that it's nearly white, sometimes it's so dark it's almost black.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Sasaki inadvertently reveals that she was the masked yo-yo wielding figure when she mentions that the figure was wearing a Hannya mask - which she could only have known if she'd either been there when the figure appeared, or been the figure herself.
  • Informed Attractiveness: While there are certainly a lot of very attractive characters, none of them get anything close to the attention and fawning the titular character gets from her classmates.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Crosses over with comedy fantasy series Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle in two omakes, one for each series: the Komi-san omake sees Komi visiting the Demon King's castle in a dream, while the Sleepy Princess omake sees the Princess visiting Komi's world.
  • Ironic Name: At the Nakamoto store, the colder the name of the ramen is the hotter the ramen itself is going to be. "Permafrost" is the hottest ramen of all.
  • It's All My Fault: You (Komi) cannot contact your friend (Tadano) for a day because he's kidnapped by a Yandere (Yamai) who wants to get rid of him so that the Yandere can become close to you. Discussed by Komi towards Tadano after the ordeal.
    Komi: What if Tadano-kun stayed confined there? What if something worse happened? What if something happens again? All because of me.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: After discovering that Yamai had kidnapped Tadano, Komi worries that him being her friend will put him in danger. He decides to remain her friend, responding with a Meaningful Echo of "I choose my own friends", exactly what Komi had said the previous day to Yamai.
  • Knuckle Cracking: The guys who were bothering Manbagi at the beach think Katai is doing this when they see him. In actuality, he just put his hands together because he was nervous.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Najimi once brings up Tadano's uncanny ability to read other characters' thoughts but goes ignored.
    • When Komi lies awake in bed at night, consumed with anxiety about things she did in social situations, "Anxiety point 4" is "Did they sense some awkward tension?" and point 5 is "Why do I sometimes grow cat ears?"
  • Lap Pillow: Komi gives Yamai one in Chapter 312 after Yamai has a minor meltdown over Komi and Tadano dating.
  • Last-Name Basis: Tadano and Komi are this towards each other and are too Twice Shy to change it, Najimi also not allowing Loophole Abuse via Komi writing down "Hitohito" either. The only times Tadano refers to Komi as Shouko is when he's clarifying he's talking about her to her family members and he still calls her Komi even after they start going out.
  • Late to the Realization: It takes Manbagi a while to realise that Komi uses a notepad to communicate, even though Komi has used the notepad to "talk" to her several times.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Due to Komi's issues with speaking, she is often drawn without a mouth. Earlier in the series, she was drawn with a diminutive mouth in those instances, but this was dropped later.
    • Tadano's ability to read a room often takes the form of him being able to read other characters' thought bubbles.
    • Komitani is basically another narrator for the story, providing exposition to the reader.
  • Lemony Narrator:
    • The one for this series is fairly lemony, but the crowner in-universe has to be Kometani, who plays this to Naruse's school life.
    • The one from the Latin American Spanish dub, while not at Samurai Pizza Cats'-style Gag Dub levels since she doesn't interact with the cast, is pretty notorious at times for either mocking, or praising, the characters and their predicaments, like when she does the latter as Komi re-enters the coffee shop in episode 2.
  • Locked in a Room: In Chapter 246, Najimi locks Tadano and Komi in the gymnasium storage room in an attempt to speed up their relationship.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • In Chapter 50, Komi mentions that her cousin Akira is her first year of middle school (making her 12-13); however, in the (unofficial) Spanish scanlation, Komi states that Akira is 15 years-old, implying that Akira is the same age as Komi, which is certainly not the case. To date Komi Can't Communicate hasn't been licensed for Spanish-speaking markets.
    • The official English translation of the manga neglects to mention the multiple name puns of all the featured characters, which are most of the times individual jokes, and are part of the given individual's characterization.
  • Love Confession:
    • In Chapter 223, Komi confesses to Tadano in Class 2-1's play by speaking in her own words over the planned dubbed lines they had recorded because of her inability to act.
    • In Chapter 264, by accident, Manbagi declares her love for Tadano thinking he's asleep.
    • In Chapter 305, Tadano confesses to Komi that he likes her romantically.
    Tropes M to S 
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • There are several throughout the story, usually involving Komi's classmates and their competition to gain some proximity to her, and especially when their plans go badly.
    • There's one from the group when Komi slips at the pool gathering, hurting herself.
    • In the second year, and having seen her in normal garb, Manbagi's classmates immediately turn away from her when she decides to don her extreme Gyaru Girl makeup once again.
    • During the second year summer festival, Agari's aunt sends Manbagi and Tadano to watch the fireworks together, keeping Komi to lure customers to her stand. After Tadano clears up the misunderstanding that Manbagi was offended at him for calling himself her boyfriend during the Beach Episode, they both relax and start enjoying the festival together... only that most of their close friends see Tadano sans-Komi-plus-Manbagi and collectively think to themselves: HM?.
    • Class 2-1 have this reaction when Najimi learns Tadano and Komi are dating now, meaning they're about to spread the news to everyone in school.
    • Class 2-1 have one in Chapter 220, when they realise that Komi heard all of their suggestions for the Cultural Festival - every single one involving her.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Almost all characters have names that form a pun. For example, in Japanese surname-first order Tadano Hitohito is a play of "tada no hito," meaning "just another guy," and Yadano Makeru straight up means "doesn't like losing." Osana Najimi is everybody's childhood friend, and shy Komi Shouko is a pun on "komyushou" (a person with a communication disorder). From Nakanaka's name, "naka" is written with the same kanji as "chuu" from chuunibyou. Even one-page characters like Teshigawara Hoshiko ("a girl who really wants some tissues").
    • Komi's teammates during the Kyoto trip, Mikuni Katou and Ayami Sasaki, are actually references (the former being influenced by a famous Shogi player, the latter being inspired by the protagonist of Sukeban Deka) in exchange for puns in their name. They're still plenty meaningful; Mikuni calculates similar to a Shogi player, while Ayami uses a yo-yo to defend Komi like her namesake.
  • The Men in Black: A parody happens with the Library Fan Committee, which are tasked with dispensing fan smackdowns whenever someone gets too loud at the library. They indeed wear black suit and tie, and ear communicators. Funnily enough, out of all people, Agari is a member.
  • Mysterious Purple: Played for Comedy in the Animated Adaptation when Shouko's younger cousin Akira visits. Akira regards Shouko as "spooky" because she says almost nothing. Peeking at the family, Akira notices that Shouko is missing, and wonders where she is. Shouko happens to be right behind Akira, gazing at her intently, surrounded by a violet mist of ominous intrigue. When Akira discovers Shouko there, she collapses onto the floor in shock.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Naruse listens to Justice Bieber in his introductory chapter.
  • No-Dialogue Episode:
    • Chapter 89, which involves the winter shenanigans of the cast, is completely devoid of any dialogue.
    • Chapter 257, where the girls meet up for a group study session and sleepover at Manbagi's house, is also dialogue-free.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • The girls that Yamai befriends on the second year state that they'd find no problem in befriending Nakanaka, as they are used to Yamai's weirdness; it wouldn't be particularly different for them.
    • In Chapter 303, after Manbagi tells her that she couldn't bear the thought of having Tadano while he had lingering regrets from not being with Komi, thus giving up her affections for the sake of Komi, Isagi tells her:
      "You're a clean freak in your own way too, aren't you?"
  • Odd Friendship: Nearly all of Komi's friends have their quirks, with the exception of Tadano who is ridiculously average (although even that's still unusual).
  • Overcomplicated Menu Order:Tropes Najimi tends to send Komi out on snack runs with ridiculously complicated ones. They say it's to help her build confidence in her talking skills, but it's more likely Najimi just didn't want to go themselves.
  • Painting the Medium: Kometani plays narrator to Naruse's antics, so he speaks in short descriptions and his word bubbles are drawn as text boxes.
  • Parlor Games: In Chapter 164, Tadano, Komi and their friends play Shiritori.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: In Chapter 228, Komi and Manbagi declare this for each other, as Komi won't allow Manbagi to surrender her own feelings for Tadano, as it would make Komi sad because they like each other as friends just as much as they like Tadano. Manbagi even tells Komi that her love for her in this respect supersedes her attraction to Tadano.
  • Playboy Bunny: Ichou dresses as one during the Cultural Festival.
  • Product Placement: In the Latin American Spanish dub, Najimi does two of them: The first one was on episode 2 when a friend of them asked Najimi about if they watched the new episode of Beastars, another manga whose animated adaptation is streamed by Netflix,note  and afterwards, Najimi namedrops the Kuroneko Kareshi Series.
  • Punny Name: The characters with puns in their names usually have a personality or quirk that follows, and that's almost all of them. The characters in this series who don't have puns in their name can be counted on one hand: Mikuni Katou and Ayami Sasaki (being Shout-Out names instead), making for a whopping total of 2. Taken Up to Eleven in chapter 188 when the rest of the new class was introduced within several pages.
  • Quirky Town: Pretty much everyone in the school is strange, even Tadano.note  The end of chapter 6 reveals that this is done on purpose, as the school only accepts students based on their interviews, with them viewing personality as being the most important thing
  • Real Men Wear Pink:
    • During the class trip, the Normies are discussing all the cute things and sweet shops they're going to see, and the Gonk group talks about Sekimatsu's love life in a super gossipy way.
    • A flashback chapter shows how Komi's mother Shuuko fell for her future husband Masayoshi slowly over time. The act that tipped the scales from infatuation to love? Masayoshi bandaging her finger after she cut herself by accident in Home Ec class, then demonstrating his advanced cooking skills.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Naruse somehow manages to work out Komi's communication disorder just by noticing how much she doesn't speak... but, Naruse being Naruse, he measures it in how much time she hasn't spoken to him.
  • Scary Librarian: Gorimi acts as this during the study session chapters. She has a three-strike policy: anyone who makes a large amount of noise will be smacked on the head, and if done thrice she kicks them out. This somehow gets turned into a contest by Najimi.
  • Secret Test of Character: Najimi makes the second class set up the courage challenge not only to make them the butt of the joke, but also to show the class that Komi, Tadano, Manbagi, Naruse and Ase are far less inaccessible than they think.
  • Shared Family Quirks: A running theme:
    • Komi has the same communication problems as her father. Her brother has the same aloof demeanor, but he chooses not to speak unlike the others.
    • Katai's entire family, minus his sister Ai, are all just like him; hugely intimidating but shy as hell. In his segment of the Oban, this is apparently true of every single male in his family.
    • Otori Kaede's family is just as airheaded as she is, apparently all three of them lost each other while still in the same room.
  • Shipping Goggles: In universe. Yuri Fan Sukida Lily obstinately interprets any and all bickering between Yamai and Nakanaka's as Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • Shocking Defeat Legacy: Parodied. In chapter 306, when they learn that Tadano and Komi are now dating, her multitude of callous simpering followers (referred to as the "Church of Komi") come to kick doors down and ask names, spearheaded by the Normies and Yamai, who tries to attack Tadano with a sharpened block of dried fish. However, upon witnessing both Komi and Tadano trying to protect the other from the attack, the interlopers drop to their knees crying, recognizing by the couple's mutual gesture of protection that their plight was for naught; Yamai, defeated by the whole situation, bolts out crying out her non-acceptance of the liaison.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The one shot has Tadano think about Shinnosuke when poop jokes come on topic.
    • The series made a few nods to Case Closed.
      • When Tadano got targeted by the classmates for sitting next to Komi, everyone are drawn in a black figure. Just like how the culprits were shown before their identity got revealed, the anime also added a similar sound effect from the show, and have Najimi drawn in this style when she's peeking at Komi's house.
      • While Shouko's watching TV at home, one program has a character saying "There is only one truth".
      • In Chapter 252, Tadano imitates Shinichi Kudo.
      • The cover for chapter 322 is a parody of Shonen Sunday magazine cover. Among other references is one based on The Scarlet Bullet movie.
    • Chapter 19 has the group recreate the reaction guys pose.
    • Shouko and the gang recreate the We Came by Bike cover at a photo booth.
    • Anime episode 4 features multiple scene transitions by way of the clock from 24.
    • In the anime version of the Super Smash Swamp Pants Brothers match, Komi's Zelda-expy character Zeldin also resembles Frieren, both in design and colors.
    • In Episode 9 of the anime, the Toei Company logo shows up during Inaka's internal monologue.
    • Shinobino's ninja film idea for the cultural festival gets shot down by one of his friends. Why?
      "Historical dramas are good, but ninjas are just nonsense, desu."
    • One of the events at the cultural festival involves students confessing secrets and crushes from the school rooftop. This is based off of "Confessing Your Love from the Rooftop", a well known segment from the variety show Gakkou e Ikkou!
    • Anime Episode 16 has Nakanaka using what looks a lot like a Geass on Yamai.
    • The cover for chapter 102 has Komi dressed up like Blouson Chiemi.
    • Mikuni and Sasaki call Komi and Tadano's relationship a "battle to see who gets confessed to first".
    • During Najimi's "Don't Get Kicked out of the Library" game, Manbagi's phone rings. Her ringtone is "Cha La Head Cha La".
    • When the gang goes to the beach, Naruse breaks out a replica of T.M.Revolution's infamous "Hot Limit" bodysuit.
    • Manbagi's first crush was a baseball player named Uesugi. Even the haircut was a dead giveaway, as it's a common style of Mitsuru Adachi's male leads and especially the style of Touch's Uesugi twins.
    • The dance Komi and Takarazuka are shown practicing for the play includes the slide seen in La La Land.
    • Yamada Sanjuurokurou decides to get both Hitomi and Katai's sister couple bracelets. He reasons that since he can't choose one or the other, he'll just have to put his all into dating both—and he's backed up by other harem manga that have their male leads do the same.
    • The splash page for Chapter 43 shows Komi as The Little Match Girl.
    • A Hatsune Miku figurine makes a brief appearance in Nakanaka's room in Chapter 48.
    • Three people dressed as Where's Wally? can be seen in the background of one of the panels in Chapter 72.
    • Ikkyu San is mentioned in Chapter 105.
    • Chapter 115 is called "Eraser and Go", and the splash page shows Makeru and Najimi dressed as Retsu and Gou, respectively.
    • Manbagi mentions Urusei Yatsura while playing Shiritori.
    • In Chapter 228 during an argument, the speech bubbles are partnered with the chibified face of the person speaking each line. Komi-san's frustrated portrait is drawn in a style reminiscent of the comic strip Peanuts, and specifically resembles the character Lucy. The connection is punctuated by Komi's only insult in the entire run of the manga thus far:
      Komi-san, to Manbagi: You blockhead...
    • In Chapter 230, Sutejijuku mentally exclaims "It's a trap!"
    • In Chapter 232, Ichou wields a Rabi-Ribi hammer.
    • After asking Komi for her contact information, Ashitano Jou replicates the ending scene of Tomorrow's Joe (her name is a Pun on the Japanese title).
    • After getting a birthday present from Komi, Yamai shouts "My Precious".
    • In Chapter 282, the class attend a showing of what is clearly the Aladdin musical. The splash page also shows Komi dressed as Aladdin, Manbagi as Jasmine, Tadano as Abu and Najimi as Genie.
    • The splash page for Chapter 283 depicts Komi as the Girl with a Pearl Earring.
    • Chapter 333.2 refers to Gorou's ability to sense someone's bloodlust as a "Quirk". Najimi also mentions the Konami Code in the same chapter.
    • Komorebi dresses up as a Gundam in Chapter 334.
    • Chapter 345 has two panels that reference a scene in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, right down to the three female extras sharing the same hairstyle.
      • A Pokémon HP bar appears when Wakai panics about his "girls conversation gauge" dwindling. Manbagi also thinks to herself that Wakai is "evolving".
    • Chapter 350 begins with a cellphone saleswoman trying to sell Komi a "God Phone", which is a dead-ringer for the Arc Phone from Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and ends with the class preparing to play a game that looks suspiciously like Among Us, complete with the cast wearing outfits that make them look like Crewmates. Said game even includes a "kenposter" dressed in a gi similar to Akuma's from Street Fighter (complete with a similar pose), and a fish-shaped spaceship that looks suspisciously like Kine from Kirby.
    • The eyecatch in the first episode has a Sprite Art version of Tadano run across the screen, jump and explode in a direct imitation of Mega Man. It even uses the same sound and visual effect.
  • The Shut-In:
    • How Komi unintentionally spends the first week of summer break. She realized after finishing all her summer homework that she's had zero outings since school let out.
    • Katai was one for a while, which is why he showed up later in the series.
    • Otori is even worse, having spent all of her time between Christmas and New Years watching a fireplace recording.
  • Silence Is Golden: The blackboard conversation between Komi and Tadano at the beginning.
  • Sneeze Cut: Happens when Komi's grandmother finds out about Tadano.
  • Something We Forgot: Komi and Najimi rescue Tadano from Yamai Ren after finding him Bound and Gagged in the closet. She catches them in the act, but it's three against one and her Yandere attitude towards Komi means she can't stop them from leaving. They accidentally leave behind Najimi, who's panicking at being trapped in a room with a crazy stalker. In class the next day, Tadano muses that he feels like they forgot something.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Because of her beauty, Komi has an entire cult who worship. Members of said cult include Yamai Ren and the three normies.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In Chapter 230, Sutejijuku is said to have attended an elementary school play...and been thrown out, due to having no connection to said school.
    Tropes T to Z 
  • Taking the Bullet: Seikimatsu takes an Enough bullet for Tadano in Chapter 335. Ogiya does the same thing a minute later.
  • Tender Tears: In Chapter 301, Tadano admits to Manbagi that he likes Komi, which sends him to tears because he had just accepted Manbagi's confession. Manbagi assuages his pain, as she's more than aware that Komi and Tadano like each other to begin with, and that Tadano was lying to himself by accepting said confession, as he's fearful that while he likes Komi, he can't convince himself that Komi may actually like him back.
  • There Is Only One Bed: After getting stranded out of town during a ski trip, Tadano and Manbagi are forced to stay the night in the only spare room at an inn. Things quickly get awkward as they realize it's a couple's room with a double bed.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: Played for Laughs when the Normies discuss what if they had romantic relationships with the other female classmates, where a small print shows up at the end of every scenario, stating that it is a work of fiction.
  • This Is My Side: Downplayed example with the Tadano siblings. While they get along well enough that they don't have many issues sharing a room, they have a mutual agreement that if one of them wants some privacy, they can set up an imaginary "barrier" the other one isn't allowed to cross.
  • Threesome Subtext: A lot of this has popped up now that Komi and Manbagi are aware of their shared feelings with Tadano. Instead of driving the two apart the fact they are both in love with the same guy has actually brought them much closer as friends. They even try to share romantic moments, and if one gets to do something special or romantic with Tadano they will tell the other then work on a way to recreate the moment with the other.
    Manbagi: [referring to Tadano and Komi] They're so similar... But... Maybe that's why I like him.
  • Throwing Out the Script: During the second-year school play's climax, Komi ends up going against the recorded line and talking on her own to instead do a Love Confession to Tadano.
  • Title Drop: Naruse does one when he's noticed that Komi hasn't spoken all year:
    Naruse: It has been nine months since the year started, and she still hasn't spoken a word to me... Could it be that Komi-san has a communication disorder!?
    Kometani: That's a normal assumption to come to.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Invoked, but ultimately cut short in Chapter 30 with Komi and Tadano.
  • Unknown Rival:
    • Yadano considers herself as Komi's rival and tries to beat her in anything. Komi doesn't even notice her.
    • Manbagi and Komi are this to each other in terms of Tadano; that is, until Chapter 223, when Manbagi realizes that Komi's crush is Tadano indeed.
  • Verbal Tic: Nanoda Kyara adds "nanoda" to the end of her sentences.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Manbagi's friend Gonzales is a short young girl, but her voice is so deep and husky that she sounds more like a musclebound man. She doesn't seem to mind, given that she plays it up for laughs.
  • Wham Line: Manbagi dropped a major bomb towards Shouko in chapter 226:
    Manbagi: Komi-san, you like Tadano-kun, don't you?
  • Will They or Won't They?: One of the major plot threads of the story revolves around whether Komi and Tadano will ever admit their feelings towards each other.
    Tenjouin Ryoko (a tour guide in Kyoto after seeing their interactions for one chapter): Just get married already (is what she thought).
    • As of manga episode 305, they have!

(Writing on a chalkboard)

Tadano: "What's your dream, Komi?"
Komi: "To make 100 friends. PLEASE DON'T LAUGH"
Tadano: "Then I'll be your first friend and I'll help you make 99 more."
[...]
Komi: "Sounds good."
 
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Alternative Title(s): Komi San Wa Komyushou Desu, Komi San Wa Comyushou Desu, Komi San, Komi-san, Komi Cant Communicate

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Yamai Ren

You're going to be my BEST friend...

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