If you were a manga reader in 2018, there’s a high chance that you’ve heard of one ‘Komi-san’. Yes, the series that blew up out of nowhere in 2018 and managed to capture millions of fans worldwide with the plot of a girl with impeccable form, cursed (not really) with the inability to properly communicate. The exposure of all the memes of a protection squad for the titular character and high hopes for an anime adaptation successfully convinced me to give it a shot. Despite my lack of interest in the genres and only having read the likes of Doraemon and Shinchan back then, I was hooked, impatiently awaiting the next issues like everyone else. With its anime adaptation out in October last year, the overall enthusiasm for the series have declined as well, with almost no talk of the manga or the anime in recent times. What happened?
Naturally, every series that rockets in popularity will die down at some point, but the original premise is to blame as well; Komi’s original goal of having a hundred friends has been reached, and is officially with her helpful-friend-turned-love-interest, Tadano. While it shows sufficient development within her, anticipation for new issues gradually rubs out, along with the side characters. Ironically enough, said characters provide stronger reasons to keep reading. The people around Komi, at least in the earlier arcs, is an overlooked half of the series that helped liven up the story, as her process of befriending them was a major focus in each chapter. They still pop up every now and then, but not enough to keep a reader on the monotonous relationship of both protagonists. Initially, I found motivation to read its story for Komi and her classmates, as well as suspense in the later arcs, but gradually found that I was only anticipating the appearances of my favorite tertiary characters. It does not help that the pairing of both main characters makes for a monotonous and repetitive slice-of-life romance, where both spend the day together and end it by blushing or overthinking what they did. Komi’s shy antics could only reel the most basic of all readers.
It’s quite difficult to picture how Tomohito Oda could revive the excitement that initially pulled in the masses with its large, varied cast of lovable misfits without another love triangle or potentially controversial storylines that may upset its downsizing, yet dedicated fanbase. Nonetheless, a spin-off on the side characters is one that I would happily read.