Komi Can’t Communicate’s New Character Isn’t Here to Be Friends

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Episode 6 of Komi Can't Communicate, currently streaming on Netflix

Almost every episode of Komi Can't Communicate introduces a new friend for Shoko Komi, a girl with social anxiety on a mission to make 100 friends. Seemingly everyone in Shoko's school admires her for her beauty and coolness, but she needs the help of excellent listener Hitohito Tadano and the socially outgoing Najimi Osana to make genuine connections with them. Each episode's end-credit sequence has a shot of Shoko and her growing circle of friends, including chunibyo-afflicted Omoharu Nakanaka, the dangerous and unpredictable Ren Yamai, and Shoko's self-styled rival Makeru Yadano.

Episode 6 introduces a similarly unusual character: Gorimi, an upperclassman who staffs the school library. Gorimi's exaggeratedly muscular appearance and intimidating aura make her resemble a JoJo's Bizarre Adventure character or Sakura Ogami from DanganRonpa.

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Gorimi is introduced batting Najimi with a paper fan for speaking too loudly, a slapstick punishment towards foolish characters common in manzai comedy routines. The muscular teenager shushes Najimi, saying "Quiet in the library!"  Himiko Agari explains that not only does Gorimi hit students for being too loud in the library, but three strikes will get them kicked out. Najimi earns a second strike by laughing at a manga, prompting Gorimi's arm to hit them from off-screen with another "Quiet in the library!" By the time Najimi produces a game of what appears to be Jenga, it seems like they're challenging themselves not to incur Gorimi's wrath. Hitohito is surprised when even Shoko starts playing. Najimi pulls a terrifying face on Hitohito's turn, and his shock gets all three students another strike. This leads to Gorimi carrying a limp Najimi out of the library with one arm.

Usually, when Komi Can't Communicate introduces a quirky new character, it is a matter of time before Shoko befriends them. This doesn't appear to be the case with Gorimi, however, as nothing about her scenes resembles the friend introductions from other episodes. There are no scenes from Gorimi's point of view or sidebars from narrator Noriko Hidaka exploring her mindset. Instead, the three friends behold Gorimi from a distance as a stalwart sentry of library etiquette.

In some ways, it could be interesting for Shoko, who wants to speak but can't, to make friends with Gorimi, who speaks sparingly so that her curt proclamations carry more impact. Additionally, the extreme nature of Gorimi's character ironically means that she would fit right in with Shoko's friends. Like Omoharu, she takes things very seriously. She can be obsessive, but no more so than Ren and Makeru, and unlike them, her obsession is with peace and quiet rather than an individual.

Gorimi's stylized appearance stands out among the cast, but Shoko's friends are already not the most ordinary-looking group. Omoharu's outfit, for example, wearing her jacket over her shoulders and bandages on her arms, is an attempt to make herself look more like a fantasy supervillain. Gorimi plays an antagonistic role in this episode, but Shoko has befriended characters who have posed more of a threat before, such as Ren, who kidnapped Hitohito.

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In contrast to this, it could be a good thing that Gorimi's role in the story is not to be another of Shoko's friends. After Gorimi carries Najimi out of the library, Shoko shows Hitohito a note which reads, "My first strike. That was fun." Making friends is a teenage rite of passage, but so is getting into a certain amount of trouble. This too is something Shoko couldn't experience until making friends like Hitohito and Najimi. In this way, the existence of Gorimi provides a character for Shoko to interact with in a less unambiguously positive but still important and narratively compelling way.

Another way in which Gorimi is set apart from the other people in Shoko's life is that she does not seek her out as a friend. From the first episode, it has been clear that virtually everyone Shoko meets wants to be friends with her, to the point that many of her classmates are violently jealous of Hitohito for sitting next to her. Gorimi has no grudge against Shoko, but doesn't ingratiate herself with her either. Making 100 friends doesn't necessarily mean being friends with everyone, or that everyone Shoko meets will want to be friends with her. Shoko herself clearly doesn't mind either, given how she enjoys playing with Hitohito and Najimi as they try to avoid being thrown out.

In an anime with such an elegant, "cute" style, Gorimi's striking design and extremely serious personality make her a unique addition to the cast. She may not become a series mainstay as one of Shoko's friends, but Gorimi's toughness and dedication to maintaining quiet in the library still make her an interesting character to explore in future episodes.

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Ciaran McGhee (21 Articles Published)

Ciaran McGhee is a critic and writer with articles in such publications as GamingBible, and Lancaster's SCAN. He is dedicated to analysing animation up close as well as looking at the big picture. Ciaran attends fan expos to learn about upcoming anime projects and engage with fan and production communities. He is a sketch artist who continues to practice character design on a daily basis, as well as writing scripts and performing in local theatre.

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