Komi Can’t Communicate Volume 3

We are back with more Komi, who is incapable of communication!

I will say now that I’ve finished volume 3 and am getting ready to write this, I am remembering why I started digging this series. Sure, volume 1 was lackluster and consisted almost entirely of build, but volumes 2 and 3 have a lot more antics going on. The situational humor and the depth of heart have really picked up. Let’s get into it.

So this volume starts off with Komi lying in bed, unable to sleep and dwelling on the uncomfortable moments of her day. She is obsessed with things she may have done wrong to come off as rude or to have embarrassed herself, and really? Same, Komi. I feel you on this one.

It does lead to the book recognizing one of its own weird traits as something that ACTUALLY HAPPENS and not just an artistic metaphor:

Why do you have cat ears indeed, Komi?

Also… I kind of want to re-read volumes 1 and 2 to see if there were any previous chapters written from Komi’s internal POV. I think this is the first time Komi herself has been the narrator! It makes her more relatable, so hey… good job taking two-plus volumes to get here, book.

Moving on, the rest of this volume takes place during summer vacation, and either I do not know how Japanese schools work, or their first year of high school BLEW by, wow. Look, I own 21 volumes of this series, so things really have to slow down if they got out of year one in just two volumes. Maybe they spend several volumes on summer vacation here.

The gang heads to a swim park for a day, and remember what I said last time about Oda dedicating a whole chapter to drawing Komi in different outfits? Well now he spends about three chapters dedicated to drawing his various girls in their swimwear. He even has background boys mentally scoring every girl as they emerge from the changing rooms. Classy.

And you know? I’m not even going to be hard on this segment of the book because it gives us the deepest moment of the series so far.

Like… we know Komi has social anxiety. We know she can’t talk to people. But we never knew if she had any other mental health conditions. Well their time at the pool shows us Komi actually might be wrestling with some depression, as well.

Excited to go on a diving board, Komi trips and skins her knee. She is stuck sitting on the sidelines while everyone else goes on having fun without her, but she feels like she ruined their day by hurting herself. Giving us this genuinely heart-wrenching page:

SHIT, that is harsh to see in a comedic little book about a girl who sometimes has cat ears trying to make 100 friends. Do I think anything bigger will come of this? Like… will there be any focus paid to the fact that Komi may have more mental health struggles? Maybe… maybe not. But god damn it, I read that page and my soul grew five sizes for this fictional character, man.

Everyone comes back over, and Najimi reveals she brought squirt guns so they can have fun out of the water, too. Whew, serious scene averted!

In volume 2, we met Komi’s mother. Here, we meet even more of her family, including her equally untalkative dad:

Komi and her dad connect pretty well despite not talking, though he does work up the courage to verbally ask how school is going. When she reassures him it’s going well, he pats her head with pride.

From there, Komi visits her extended family, including her stern grandmother and timid cousin Akira. She wins over Akira… by silently stalking over her and then tickling her? Look, maybe it’s me, but if I had a cousin who never spoke to me, snuck up on me, stared at me, and then tickled me? I don’t know that they’d win me over that way.

The volume wraps up with a few chapters of Komi, Tadano, Najimi, and others hitting up a festival. Kind of like a county fair type thing: food stands, cheap games, music. That kind of thing. I live in Western Pennsylvania, so ours usually involve, like, tractors and petting zoos. And the food stands are all German, Polish, and Italian.

Komi spends the entire first chapter trying to work up the muster to compliment Tadano for his appearance in his yukata. Along the way, they play some festival games, but it keeps coming back to her stammering his name until she finally gets it out. And you know what’s weird? The scenes where Komi DOES talk to someone are so damn rewarding because of how infrequent they are so far. Even including phone calls, this is only, like, the 4th time a character has heard her voice.

Anyway… look, Oda, I see what you are doing. You are setting up that Komi likes Tadano, too, and that is not what I want out of this. I’ve got my eye on you.

And that’s pretty much it for volume three. I mean, Komi wins a Playstation 4 and a whole bag of goldfish at the fair, but neither of those are that relevant. But stuff is happening! Except for friend-making. I don’t really see any new friends made this volume.

I mean… It’s 100 friends. I know the series is going to eventually teach quality over quantity and all. I’m not dumb!

Until next time… take care!

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