Komi Can’t Communicate – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

It’s Just stage fright. Plus More.

Episode 3 of Komi Can’t Communicate starts in the school library with Agari Himiko, who gets nervous around people and feels paralyzed when they watch her. This is unfortunate since she’s hyperaware of Komi peeking at her from behind a bookshelf.

Himiko, like most of her peers, has Komi placed on a pedestal so high that you’d need binoculars to see her. In comparison, Himiko thinks lowly of herself.

To escape Komi’s gaze, Himiko locks herself in a toilet stall (her favourite place for escaping people). It works until she becomes aware of Komi standing right outside. Komi only wants to know if Himiko is alright, but Himiko is terrified. Himiko prays internally to “Goddess Komi” to be left alone while Komi leaves to avoid being impolite.

Himiko cautiously exits the toilets and is stopped by their homeroom teacher, who wants her to tell the class that P.E. will be in the gym. Himiko is nervous but agrees after she sees Komi again and wants to make a quick getaway.

The request has Himiko’s stomach in knots, and she tries to calm herself down with a serene pep talk as she nears the class. It doesn’t work, and she can only manage to blurt out a single-syllable noise. The class starts to stare, and she backs away, only to see Komi, who is scary enough to jolt her into blurting out the teacher’s message. Himiko runs away but is glad that she was able to convey the message.

Tadano sees Komi and wants to know what all that was about. Komi writes it down for him and her explanation begins 20 minutes ago when Najimi compiled a list of students like Komi for her to befriend. The first was Himiko, and Komi was so moved by their similarities that she immediately headed straight for the library. Unfortunately, she still couldn’t bring herself to actually approach Himiko.

Komi and Tadano are contemplating her failed attempt when Himiko finds them to say that, while Komi scared her, the situation helped her change a little. Tadano tries to use the moment to suggest a friendship between Komi and Himiko, but Himiko is way too scared. Instead, she wants to be Komi’s… dog.

The next day Komi shows off her new mobile phone. She tells Tadano (in writing) that she wants to get her friends’ numbers and he misreads this attempt to get his number, getting up to find Najimi and Himiko. Komi wants to be more independent and stops him so that she can find Najimi herself.

Komi gives Najimi a paper to write down their number. Najimi is confused about why Komi doesn’t want them to simply type their number into the phone, but quickly catches onto what Tadano missed. Komi also tries to get Himiko’s number, but Himiko interprets the situation through her masochistic desires and thinks Komi wants her picture for nefarious reasons. Suffice to say, Komi gives up fast.

Komi offers Tadano her phone. Himiko, who has belatedly realised that Komi wanted her number, interrupts, and tells them that Najimi told her about how Komi had wanted Tadano to put his number in first. Komi and Tadano start blushing furiously and can’t even make eye contact as he gives her his number.

Later during a class election, Komi is nominated for President almost instantaneously. Najimi tries to rescue her by convincing everyone that Komi is too good for the position, and she ends up with the title of “Goddess” instead. Tadano becomes President without having any say in the matter and Najimi takes Vice-President.

That night Komi is at home playing around on her phone when she accidentally dials Tadano. She cuts the call right as he says hello. He calls her back, having already guessed it was accidental, and tells her to make a noise if everything is okay. To his surprise, Komi speaks, albeit unsteadily. In fact, she even tries her hand at making a joke before apologising for the accidental call. They end the call shortly after and Tadano exclaims about the loveliness of Komi’s voice while she celebrates her first call.

The next day at school the popular group plays a clapping game. Komi wants to try, and Tadano comes up with a plan to do so after school. Najimi, who is with the popular group in question, overhears and calls Komi over to push her out of her comfort zone. The popular kids worship her. Tadano joins to make sure Komi is okay. They hate him behind fake smiles.

Najimi changes the game to a simpler one and Komi wins thanks to the popular kids sucking up to her. The game changes again and Najimi introduces a penalty for the loser: they must make a kissy face. Komi’s worshippers are completely ecstatic and play the game with the fierce determination to make Komi lose. To save her, Tadano messes up his turn on purpose and sinks into complete and utter embarrassment.

Tadano remains a wreck, although he feels better when Komi thanks him for helping her have fun.

The Episode Review

Episode 3 missed the bar set by its two predecessors. A large chunk of the humour just did not deliver this time around. This is owed, in no small amount, to the introduction of Himiko.

Many of the supposedly comedic moments were derived from Himiko’s masochistic intention to be Komi’s dog, a trope that crops up from time to time in anime and is mostly really, really tiring and uncomfortable to watch.

That aside, Himiko’s initial explanation of her social anxiety felt like it could have been a great starting point for an arc in which she and Komi forged an understanding based on their shared struggle and tried to overcome it together. This didn’t materialize at all, and Himiko’s character added nothing on the slice-of-life, romance, or comedy fronts. The exploration of her social anxiety also felt shallow and inconsistent – you’re telling me she’s just not anxious when being Komi’s dog?

The only enjoyable segment was the one centred around Komi’s accidental call, which brought back some of the cute factor. But, overall, a very big stepdown.

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