「田舎の子です / テレビゲームです / アルバイトです / 顔にゴミがついてます…です」 (Inaka no Ko Desu / Terebi Gēmu Desu / Arubaito Desu / Kao ni Gomi ga Tsuitemasu… Desu)
“It’s just a country kid / It’s just a video game / It’s just a part-time job / It’s just… something on your face”
If there’s anything this episode proved, it’s that friendships can be made no matter how conflicting the personalities are. The classic example here is Nakanaka and Komi who have managed to strike up a friendship despite living in two very different worlds. Once again, Komi goes through many perils that challenge her social anxiety, and once again, the legendary childhood friend Najimi takes all the initiative to constantly challenge Komi and even Tadano to step out of their comfort zones.
The Sabowey Challenge
In a similar fashion to the “Standbakes” challenge of episode 2, Najimi has once again given Komi a communication task, this time with the job of ordering a “Sabowey” sandwich. It goes without saying, Najimi is among the world’s most fussy people when it comes to ordering food and drink, and this sandwich order is just as complicated and detailed as the Frappuccino one. Unlike last time, however, Komi had a secret admirer in country girl Nokoko Inaka, who watched on as the graceful “city girl” made her order in stylish fashion and without uttering a single word!
If there’s any lesson to be learned here, it’s that no matter how much you idolize someone, or how “perfect” you think somebody is, they are fighting a battle you cannot see. What Inaka thinks is “cool” or “stylish” from Komi’s actions is not intended at all and is a mere reflection of one’s own perspectives. I guess there are two kinds of people here, the Inaka types who are blinded by a person’s outer beauty and appearance, and the Tadano types who see people as they really are, in this case, a shy and timid girl who can barely say a word. In any case, Komi’s attempt to order proved to spark inspiration for Inaka to be more confident in herself, but to Tadano and Najimi, it was just another failed attempt to get the order right!
Party Game Shenanigans
With Najimi entering the scene and bringing Tadano along with them, they once again showed that relentless initiative to promote social interaction, which worked out well for the socially awkward Nakanaka and Komi’s play date together. What I found interesting was how their time playing the game reflected on each of their personalities. For example, Najimi is the initiator who doesn’t hesitate to get the fight going by throwing the first punch at Komi, to which Nakanaka defends her new friend that she now “holds dear” to herself (likely because of some intense fantasy she’s created in her head). Meanwhile, Tadano simply takes things slowly and tries to guide Komi on how to play, to which Komi unintentionally causes Tadano a lot of pain, much like in their real-life relationship.
First Name Basis??
Using their incredible initiative skills once more, Najimi struck where the opportunity presented itself when Komi revealed she’d like Tadano to address her as Shoko on a first-name basis. The legendary childhood friend jumped at the opening to reverse the request back onto Komi with their “flawless logic,” that is, “if you are making the request, you should call Tadano by his first name too.” After failing to call Komi by her first name, and vice-versa, the two give up and decide to go back to surname basis, to the discontent of local social hero Najimi (and the viewers for that matter).
While we didn’t quite get what we want in terms of relationship progression and opportunities for “shipping,” it’s clear that Komi has special feelings for Tadano, whether in a romantic way or as a close friend. While it didn’t pay off this time, Komi’s attempt to get closer to Tadano is clear, and we just need Tadano to reciprocate those feelings to see where their relationship is really heading. Moving forward, the way things are progressing I can see Najimi being a key factor in enabling critical moments of social interaction and ultimately guiding the narrative of the story. We can only hope their efforts pay off and Tadano and Komi end up where they strive to be, albeit they are certainly finding plenty of fulfilling moments along the way!