Aharen-San’s Premiere Episode Echoes Komi Can’t Communicate’s Shojo-Style Story

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for episode 1 of Aharen-san is Indecipherable, "Isn't This Too Close?", now streaming on Crunchyroll.

The Spring 2022 anime season is here, and it brings a variety of wholesome new and returning anime with it, including Aharen-san is Indecipherable. This brand-new anime is set in a typical high school where the ordinary but kind Raido gets to know his quiet next-door neighbor in class, Aharen Reina.

Episode 1 of Aharen-san is Indecipherable launches a heartwarming relationship between Raido and his tiny classmate, and in the process, Aharen-san viewers should be reminded of similar anime shows such as Komi Can't Communicate, which also streams this season. However, there are a few factors setting these two high school series apart.

aharen in class

In Episode 1 of Aharen-san is Indecipherable, the ordinary student Raido glances at the tiny student to his left, the shy kuudere Aharen Reina, who hardly says a word in class, even when the teacher calls on her. Stranger still, when Raido speaks to her, Aharen responds with silent lip movements and little more. Raido can't tell if Aharen is really quiet, or even if she intends to be heard at all.

Raido, however, is not the type to just give up on a mystery or leave a lonely person alone, as his actions during Episode 1 prove. Similar to Komi Can't Communicate's protagonist Tadano Hitohto, Raido is a plain guy with a heart of gold, and he sets the story into motion when he resolves to become Aharen's friend and have his first proper conversation with her. He must suspect that Aharen is terribly lonely, and he is proven right later in the episode.

Bit by bit, Raido builds a relationship with Aharen and learns the truth: Aharen is a perfectly normal girl who wants to have friends, but she is difficult to hear, and the other girls in her middle school class thought she was weird and pushed her out of their social group. By now, Aharen is a typical anime kuudere; a soft-spoken and unexpressive character who will only express their loving side to the right person and under the right circumstances.

Aharen's personality also has elements of the dandere archetype; a meek and shy character who has trouble asserting themselves, much like Komi Shoko herself. Aharen is more of a kuudere than a dandere, but she has enough dandere elements to have overlap with Komi, including having difficulty communicating with others. The series could almost be called Aharen Can't Communicate.

aharen with raido

The rest of Episode 1 continues to build thematic ties with Komi Can't Communicate, which allows viewers to make some loose predictions about where the story and the character arcs may go from here. Even if Aharen is a bit more assertive and expressive than Komi, she still has a long way to go when it comes to communication, expressing her affection and making friends.

The way she is now, Aharen has a tentative friendship with Raido, but the two of them have not yet figured out a pattern for their relationship, and things are in flux between them. Aharen must figure out how to balance her assertive side vs. her dandere side as a balanced kuudere, and for his part, Raido must find a way to always understand Aharen when she speaks and enable her without making her too reckless. Aharen appears somewhat impressionable in Episode 1, and if Raido isn't careful, he might accidentally encourage Aharen to go way overboard and step into megadere territory.

Despite these differences though, Aharen-san is Indecipherable seems likely to follow the same basic story beats as Komi Can't Communicate, including Aharen slowly but surely gaining confidence as she discovers how to make new friends, and her life may become vastly enriched in the process. She will have Raido to thank for all this, and she may express her gratitude through sheer affection and personal loyalty, similar to how Komi eventually developed a crush on her first friend, Tadano.

If so, Raido must prepare himself to become Aharen's first friend and her first boyfriend. They should both exercise caution and fully understand their own and each other's emotions before committing to anything big, however, since Aharen is just now coming out of her Komi-style shell, and she has to learn to walk before she can run. That's what Komi did, and it should serve Aharen well too.

Luffy smiling and staying optimistic, ready for next challenge
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