The story of Komi Can’t Communicate explores a variety of wholesome and relatable themes in its shojo-style shonen narrative, from the value of true friendship to the fact that there is always a hidden side to people that others don’t often see. The main characters all embody these themes well during their time together at school, but it’s important not to forget about their families.
Over time, the story of Komi Can’t Communicate Reveals the parents, siblings and even grandparents of the two main characters, the dandere Komi Shoko and the plain but kind Tadano Hitohito. However, these characters are more than stock apron-wearing anime moms or troublemaker little brothers. Characters such as Tadano Hitomi and Komi Shosuke serve a major role in the story every time they appear.
How Hitomi & Shosuke Define Their Older Siblings In Komi Can’t Communicate
In any work of fiction, from Japanese anime shows to novels or live-action TV, characters are best defined not just by their actions or dialogue, but by how they are contrasted with the people around them. A given character’s personality is often relative, such as outgoing vs. shy or relaxed vs. aggressive, when they play off of the people around them. On-screen chemistry, positive and negative alike, is what throws a character’s traits into sharp relief, and that happens in all kinds of ways in Komi Can’t Communicate, especially for the two main characters. True, Komi Shoko’s dandere ways contrast sharply with the lively Osana Najimi, and the popular Yamai Ren contrasts greatly with Tadano’s plain nature, but their families help with this too.
Shoko and Hitohito each have a younger sibling, and they are not mere stock characters to fill up leftover space in the story. Komi Shosuke, Shoko’s slightly younger brother, is similar to his big sister in many ways, from his incredibly good looks to his quiet nature, but there is a key difference between them. Unlike his sister, who is a timid dandere, Shosuke is actually a kuudere anime character — an aloof, quiet person who is unexpressive by choice. Such characters are comfortably lonely, and they only seek out friendships or romance when they are good and ready. Danderes like Shoko are naturally timid, unassertive and often doubt themselves, meaning they get in their own way. Other examples include Nakano Miku and Hyuga Hinata.
In that way, Shosuke proves that not all quiet characters are uncomfortable or lonely. Some of them prefer it, and that’s just their lifestyle. And with a dandere and kuudere in the same family, Komi Can’t Communicate easily contrasts the two -dere types in an organic way in the story.
Then there’s Tadano Hitomi, Hitohito’s slightly younger sister. Unlike her plain brother, Hitomi is lively and energetic, especially at school, and she can easily make friends or get people to listen to her. However, Hitomi is still missing something. She can easily communicate as a flamboyant extrovert, like Najimi, but Hitomi lacks Hitohito’s borderline telepathic empathy. She simply cannot “read” a person in the same way her brother can, which limits her capacity to form deep, heartfelt connections with others.
As evidenced later in the Komi Can’t Communicate manga, Hitomi can chatter all day with her quiet classmate Komi Shosuke, but she doesn’t understand him and his kuudere ways, nor does she try. Hitomi approaches Shosuke entirely on her terms, unable to see things from others’ points of view. She might make 100 friends in a single week, but at this rate, Hitomi will never be for someone else what Hitohito is for Komi. Fortunately for Hitomi, she isn’t really looking for such a deep connection anyway.
What The Tadano & Komi Families Say About Shoko & Hitohito
On a subtler note, the presence of Hitohito and Shoko’s family members gives the Komi Can’t Communicate anime more opportunities to show just how kind and wholesome these shonen protagonists are. It’s one thing for Shoko or Hitohito to be on their best behavior at school to make friends or avoid trouble, but at home, things are a little different. Family members might take one another for granted and can see the worst in each other, given how well they know each other, and this can lead to some drama. But Komi Can’t Communicate uses its family members to contrast with the two leads in a more flattering way.
The presence of Hitomi and Shosuke does more than define what Hitohito and Shoko are like. Both of these brother-sister pairs get along well, even if they mildly annoy one another, and that deeply flatters the characters. Hitohito and his younger sister may be rather different, with one being quietly empathetic and the other being the chatty type, but they mesh well and complement another one instead of clashing. Hitohito respects his little sister’s outgoing, lively ways, while the story implies that Hitomi admires her brother’s ability to form such deep connections with others. Hitomi was deeply impressed that her brother had befriended the ice queen Komi Shoko, especially since a surface-only person like Hitomi couldn’t have managed that. Thus, Hitomi’s character and her differences with her brother wordlessly flatter Hitohito and his ways.
The contrast between Shoko and Shosuke is subtler, and Shosuke’s lack of dialogue makes his character’s mental state a total mystery. For now, it’s enough that Shosuke evidently gets along great with his big sister, and he stays out of her way. Perhaps in time, Komi Can’t Communicate will reveal exactly how much Shosuke respects and admires his sister, just as Hitomi subtly thinks highly of her empathetic brother.