Why the Casual LGBTQ+ Representation in ‘Komi Can’t Communicate’ Matters

Komi Can’t Communicate is a thoroughly delightful and wholesome anime that’s well worth your time for any variety of reasons but one aspect of it that stands out, in particular, is the casual way in which it treats its LGBTQ+ characters. Their existences are made unremarkable by the narrative and the overwhelming weirdness that most of the characters possess makes any perceived queerness seem like a minute detail in comparison to their other more obviously bizarre traits. LGBTQ+ representation still has a ways to go in anime but Komi Can’t Communicate shows promise in portraying queer characters by allowing them to be three-dimensional weirdos along with the rest of the cast.

The show follows a girl named Shouko Komi (Aoi Koga) who is perceived by everyone around her as the picture of perfection but, as the title indicates, has a hard time communicating. In fact, she has social anxiety so extreme it’s nearly debilitating. But after having a long (written) conversation with her classmate Hitohito Tadano (Gakuto Kajiwara), he agrees to help her try and overcome her fears and achieve her goal of making 100 friends. And so we begin to meet our colorful cast of characters who will help Komi come out of her shell.One very important thing to note about Komi Can’t Communicate is that all the characters fall into a type–embodying types of stock characters often seen in manga. Tadano, for example, is a mob character. He’s a very generic guy whose typical role in a story is to be ignored. This knowledge of character types comes into play when discussing the LGBTQ+ characters because the show resists any temptation to simply make a character’s gender or sexuality their character type, instead making that a secondary trait.

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