It’s Just A Physical
Episode 4 of Komi Can’t Communicate begins during a physical exam. Unbeknown to Komi, fellow student, Yadano Makeru, has turned the whole thing into a one-sided competition. Makeru is determined to beat Komi in three out of four of the physical exam components.
Makeru only manages to win in two components, leaving them tied. She despairs until she recovers with the knowledge that ideal body measurements are completely arbitrary.
The next day, Tadano is enjoying a pleasant walk to school when a dark presence creeps up behind him and pounces.
Before we can learn his fate, we cut to Yamai, also on her way to school. She’s currently preoccupied with what she calls a “small” crush on Komi. Except, as she borderline stalks Komi through school, it becomes obvious that it’s more like a whirlwind obsession.
Yamai resolves to become Komi’s friend, but her attempts to talk to Komi are unintentionally thwarted by Himiko and Najimi saying good morning. Yamai uses her friendship with Najimi as an opening to say good morning to Komi. Of course, when she does Komi is unable to reply. This only feeds Yamai’s infatuation, as is reinforces her view of Komi as an unreachable goddess.
After leading Najimi into a dark corridor, Yamai uses a threat thinly veiled as a favour between friends to get them to introduce her to Komi. In the classroom, Najimi follows through with the introduction, but Komi doesn’t say a word to Yamai. Yamai is already too far down the rabbit hole, preoccupied with how much she wants to touch Komi.
Yamai takes a seat at Tadano’s empty desk and invites Komi to share her bento for lunch later. Komi imagines Tadano cheering her on and nods. Yamai is flustered and the moment is almost tender. That is, until Yamai starts aggressively whooping with victory.
We finally see Tadano again and his situation is dire. He’s tied up, mouth taped shut, in Yamai’s bedroom. There are pictures of Komi pinned all over the walls and ceiling alongside pictures of Yamai. The time flashes across the screen and it’s already 10:48am.
About three hours later, lunch break has just finished at school. Najimi invites herself and Komi over to Yamai’s house after school.
The time flashes again and its now 4:36pm. In Yamai’s room, Tadano is losing hope when he hears Yamai come home. She tells Komi and Najimi to wait while she comes into her room alone to take down the pictures and shove Tadano in the closet with the promise to bury him in the mountains.
Tadano hears Najimi’s voice and bangs against the closet door. Yamai brushes it off as her noisy neighbour and goes to get tea after warning a concerned Komi and Najimi not to open the closet. Najimi has other plans, opening the closet as soon as Yamai is out of sight to find Tadano.
At that moment, Yamai returns with a sharp pair of chopsticks. She assures Komi that there’s nothing to worry about and that her actions were necessary to get Tadano out of the picture.
Yamai assassinates Tadano’s character before showering Komi in compliments, trying to get Komi to agree that Tadano isn’t good enough to be her friend. Komi shakes her head with a sigh in reply, and she and Najimi untie Tadano. She uses her notebook to tell Yamai that her actions are disturbing. The trio tries to leave but Yamai jumps into Komi’s path, saying that she did it all for Komi’s sake.
Komi writes that she’ll decide who her friends are and walks out with Tadano following closely behind. Stunned, Yamai mistakes the notebook usage as a sign that Komi hates her enough that she won’t speak to her. As she breaks down, we see Najimi flattened against the wall, internally screaming for Tadano after getting left behind.
The following day, Komi uses her notebook to express that she feels responsible for Tadano’s abduction. She isn’t sure whether they should stay friends in case something worse happens. Tadano, echoing her earlier sentiment, says that he’ll decide who his friends are.
While Tadano cringes over using Komi’s own words back at her, Komi writes that she’s sorry. When he asks why, she speaks to him in person for the first time, saying that she also wants to stay friends.
Najimi finds them, bringing Yamai over to apologize. While it’s a backhanded apology at best, she does admit to being selfish.
Komi accepts the apology using her notebook and Yamai is gutted, misinterpreting it as more intentional silence. Eventually, though Yamai is hesitant to believe Komi is anything less than perfect at first, they manage to explain Komi’s communication disorder to Yamai.
After hearing about Komi’s plan to make 100 friends, Yamai obviously wants to be one of them. Komi is hesitant, but then writes Yamai a note marking the start of their friendship.
After the outro, Yamai threatens to bury Tadano alive if he touches Komi, and it’s clear her obsession isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The Episode Review
Episode 4 was a mixed bag. Yamai is thoroughly unlikeable, and it was unsettling, and equally unsatisfying, to watch her join Komi’s roster of friends after her long list of criminal antics. Stalking, kidnapping, threatening murder, and threatening suicide – that’s a wild list no matter which angle you view it from.
The only way she’s going to be bearable is if she gets a redemption arc, or, at the very least, starts to atone. Her voice actress pulls of the character amazingly though, flip flopping from cute to menacing with ease.
The show is relying heavily on exaggerated characters and slapstick comedy. While this worked, particularly in episode 1 when it was also the driving force behind the exploration of Komi’s disorder and her newfound connections, we’re not getting that payoff anymore.
Take, for example, Najimi getting left behind in this episode. It was genuinely funny and allowed us to see Yamai feel the consequences of her actions after Komi took charge. On the flip side, Yamai’s continued fixation on Komi after being given a free pass missed every mark.
Amidst all the questionable parts of this episode was one of the best moments of the show so far. That is, we got to see Komi take full control of a situation and stand up for her ideals, even if she needed her notepad to do so. Plus, she spoke to Tadano in person for the first time and reasserted her desire to be friends. The effect of her actions was, however, soured once Yamai was accepted into their group without facing any repercussions.
A very mixed bag.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|