Komi Can’t Communicate: Komi Finds Her Strength During Sports Day

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 10 of Komi Can't Communicate, "It's Just Sports Day," now streaming on Netflix.

Sports Day is a national holiday in Japan that promotes an active lifestyle and is held on the second Monday of October by many schools and businesses. Given its importance in Japanese society, many anime and manga series have at least one episode devoted to the event, and Komi Can’t Communicate is no exception. Episode 10 of the anime adapts the manga chapter devoted to the national holiday, which sees all the Itan Private High School students participate in various sporting events like sprinting and tug-of-war, among other things.

Under normal circumstances, Shoko Komi experiences paralyzing anxiety in nearly every social situation. However, when it comes to athletics, she is surprisingly chill. This aspect of her character was first observed in Episodes 4 and 5 during her school's physical exam and fitness test. In both episodes, Komi was shown to have athletic prowess, much to the envy of her highly competitive classmate Makeru Yadano. Episode 10 of Komi Can’t Communicate continues to build on that foundation with the Sports Day event.

During Itan Private High School's 23rd Annual Sports Day event, every class is seen preparing for the day's activities on the track field, which means Komi and her classmates are able to interact with students from other classes, including upperclassmen. One of the upperclassmen they meet is the highly competitive second-year student Chika Netsuno, who rates the "hotness levels" of the other students by degrees. When she meets Komi, she rates her timidity as chill and becomes super confident that she'll be no competition on the field. Ironically, she underestimates Komi's athletic abilities.

While Netsuno wrapping her arm around Komi's shoulder makes the latter's anxiety flare up due to finding extreme closeness uncomfortable, it does nothing to derail her ability to participate in any of the Sports Day activities. In fact, Komi ends up besting Netsuno in the first activity of the day, which is group exercises. Although Komi puts no thought or effort into her form the way Netsuno does in order to score the highest points possible, this causes Netsuno to double down on her determination to defeat Komi in the rest of the day's sporting events.

During a game of tug-of-war, Komi once again puts no thought or effort into the game and just goes with the flow of the competition. Unfortunately for Komi, her presence still causes her class to lose. While Komi does nothing behavior-wise to put her class in a losing position, her popularity still causes many of her classmates to lose their grip on the rope and faint. As it turns out, being within close proximity to Komi causes her classmates to become aroused and unable to concentrate on the task at hand. This is especially obvious with Ren Yamai, who is the first to fall like a domino piece before the rest of her classmates follow suit.

When she's not participating in any of the sporting events, Komi is seen supporting her friends when it's their turn on the field. Although Komi is unable to yell and cheer alongside Ren and Najimi Osana when Hitohito Tadano is feeling anxious during a track-and-field sport, she still manages to stammer the phrase "ganbatte kudasai," meaning "please do your best." Tadano is unable to hear Komi from afar, but seeing her lips move prompts him to sprint at full speed, earning his class third place in the game.

When it's Komi's turn to participate in the relay race, she is -- for once -- not competing against her classmate Yadano, from whom she receives the baton to continue the race for her class. Unfortunately, Komi is still up against Netsuno, who is determined to crush her on the track field and nearly succeeds when their close proximity causes Komi to trip and fall. While Komi is temporarily discouraged by the fall, seeing her friends cheer her on gives her the courage to pick herself back up and continue the race. She manages to catch up to Netsuno on the track field, albeit not in time to earn first place. As such, Komi ends up taking the reward for second place for her class.

Despite Komi's extreme social anxiety, she is surprisingly adept at sports. While she still doesn't like being touched by other people or stared at by groups, she is able to give it her all during sporting events without stressing over the task at hand. In most cases, Komi doesn't really think about what she needs to do -- she simply does it. On the other hand, when her friends cheer at her to succeed, this is when she puts more effort into winning; not because she wants to win, but because it makes her friends happy to see her win.

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