This Komi Theory Reveals the Connection Between Tadano and the Komi Grandma

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Episodes 8 and 9 of Komi Can't Communicate, currently streaming on Netflix.

Komi Can't Communicate is not simply the love story of socially anxious Komi Shoko and her friend Tadano Hitohito. Rather, it is more focused on Komi coming out of her shell and making new friends. Nevertheless, the two have undeniable chemistry, and an eventual romance between them would make perfect sense. A family visit to her paternal grandmother, Komi Yuiko, seems to provide an obstacle to Komi and Tadano getting together, but this potential roadblock could actually bring them closer together.

When Shoko visits Yuiko, she asks how her granddaughter is doing in school and if she has made any friends. When Shoko responds positively, Yuiko beckons her to lie on her lap and strokes her hair. She says she is happy for her granddaughter, but the scene's mood changes and the gentle piano music stops playing when she sternly asks, "By the way, have you met anyone special?" The shot pans upward, away from the Komi household as Yuiko commandeers Shoko's phone, declaring, "Who is this Tadano Hitohito? I don't approve!"

Is Yuiko Actually Pushing Komi Closer to Tadano?

Komi Shoko rests on her grandmother Komi Yuiko's and is shocked at her awkward question in Komi Can't Communicate.

It's only natural that Yuiko would be protective of her granddaughter and apprehensive about her seeing any boy. What is surprising is that she seems especially outraged about Tadano after having asked the question in the first place. After all, it's hard to imagine a more straightforward first crush than the attentive, empathetic Tadano.

There is a possibility that the Komi matriarch does not disapprove of Tadano as much as she seems, and was relatively relieved her granddaughter is spending time with such an unremarkable young man. Yuiko was once a teenager herself, and has raised two now-grown-up children. Could it be that she was gambling on the notorious rebelliousness of teenagers, and is actually pushing Komi to grow closer to Tadano as Komi Can't Communicate continues?

Yuiko May Have Had a Tadano Of Her Own

Komi Yuiko kneels in her room in Komi Can't Communicate.

As Komi Can't Communicate has established, Komi's father Masayoshi has a similar level of communication difficulty as his daughter. This is also present in his brother Sadayoshi, but is mostly absent in his niece Akira and mother Yuiko. Of all the paternal Komi relatives, Yuiko seems to be the most talkative. If there is indeed a genetic or upbringing-related reason for Shoko and her father's social anxiety, it is somewhat surprising that Yuiko seemingly has no difficulty expressing herself.

Could it be that Yuiko, like her granddaughter, once had a friend who helped her overcome her own social anxiety? Yuiko may not have needed someone else to fix all her problems, but she may have had someone to support her along the way. At the very least, it's possible that the Komi family's wise counsellor recognizes Tadano’s recent appearance and Komi’s newfound confidence are no coincidence. Yuiko is clearly proud of her granddaughter's progress in making friends, and if she thinks Tadano had any hand in that whatsoever, then she clearly has the motivation to encourage their relationship.

Komi Still Likes Tadano

If Yuiko did sincerely intend to ward her granddaughter away from Tadano, then it isn't working. After the family visit, Komi meets Tadano for the summer festival. Forgetting her trusty notebook, Komi takes the whole first half of the festival to tell Tadano that he looks nice in his yukata robe. She continues to try to get closer to Tadano and later asks him to call her by her given name, Shoko, much to his embarrassment.

It is true that Komi is given pause when conveying her true feelings to Tadano, writing in the ground that she likes spending time alone with him but hastily stamping it out before he can see. This may not necessarily be because of her grandmother's disapproval. After all, expressing feelings to a crush is difficult and embarrassing even for those who don't have social anxiety. The fact that Komi continues to stay close to Tadano -- even given her grandmother's apparent disapproval -- shows the extent to which she cares about him, whether it's motivated by rebellion or not.

Before the family visit, Komi Can't Communicate's narrator explains that, "It is customary to keep Grandmother Komi, the head of the household, abreast of current goings-on and seek her wisdom." It may then seem strange that Komi would disobey her grandmother's wisdom to the extent that Yuiko could even anticipate it, but Komi is no longer a stranger to rebellion, enjoying getting into trouble for playing Jenga in the library. Whether Yuiko genuinely wants her to stay away from Tadano, or if she wants to subtly push them together, her motivation is the same: she wants the best for her granddaughter.

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