Ren Yamai has been thinking of getting dirty with Shoko Komi since Season 1 of Komi Can’t Communicate. In Episode 20, she crosses that bridge.
The following contains spoilers for Episode 20 of Komi Can’t Communicate, “It’s Just The School Field Trip,” now streaming on Netflix.
Ren Yamai has been bad news since her debut episode in Season 1. As a yandere, not only is Yamai capable of endangering the lives of others who get close to the object of her desire, Shoko Komi, but she herself is capable of harming the person she claims to love. This was first hinted at when Yamai tried to get a peek at Komi’s nude body in the women’s changing room at the water park
Throughout Season 2, Yamai has consistently been thinking about violating Komi’s personal boundaries to fulfill her own desires. This came in the form of her trying to look up her skirt and wanting to dare Komi into doing something inappropriate during the King’s Game on Christmas Eve. In Episode 20, she once again attempts to replicate her actions from the water park episode in Season 1, but actually manages shamelessly to cross the bridge of sexual harassment this time around.
In the story “It’s Just The School Field Trip,” the students of Itan Private High School go on their first school trip to the historical city of Kyoto. After the students picked their groups by way of a lottery draw, Ren Yamai, Omoharu Nakanaka and Himiko Agari ended up in one group, while Shoko Komi ended up in a group with two other girls she hadn’t previously interacted with, in this case, Mikuni Kato and Ayami Sasaki. Hitohito Tadano himself ended up in a group with Makoto Katai and Shisuto Naruse, much to Katai’s delight.
After their first day in Kyoto, the boys and girls are all placed in separate rooms at a traditional Japanese hotel, with Najimi joining the girls. The students are given thirty minutes to bathe in the hotel’s public baths, which are also separated by gender. While the girls prepare for their baths in the changing room, Yamai once again tries to get a peek at Komi’s body, but just like last time, she doesn’t succeed. Not only does Komi freeze for five minutes at the thought of getting naked in a shared space, but it takes Nene Onemine offering Komi a towel for her to feel comfortable, which effectively blocks Yamai’s view.
At the public bath, Yamai once again places herself in a position to catch a glimpse of Komi’s nude body, with Nakanaka sitting next to her to keep an eye on her. When Komi enters the bath, she keeps her towel wrapped around her body when she showers and even during her time in the bathwater. Onemine stays with her the whole time since Komi doesn’t feel comfortable and Onemine makes her feel safe.
If Yamai’s behavior wasn’t already on the brink of crossing the bridge of sexual harassment and straight into the territory of assault, she makes her first disturbing move in the public bath. Having obsessed about touching Komi inappropriately for most of the episode, she finally makes her bold request to Komi with bright-eyes and a smile on her face. Komi understandably looks terrified and trembles as she instinctively turns down Yamai’s request. Onemine similarly has a look of disapproval coupled with second-hand embarrassment written all over her face.
Though Yamai doesn’t coerce Komi into inappropriate touching, the fact that she went there at all means it won’t be long before she actually starts violating Komi’s physical boundaries in the future. At the rate that Yamai is losing control of herself, it won’t be unusual if Tadano, Nakanaka and Onemine start being more protective of Komi moving forward.
Diane Darcy is features writer for anime, comics, and television at CBR. She’s also the owner of the popular HelenaWayneHuntress.com blog and has contributed features to WomenWriteAboutComics.com, ShelfDust.com, and ComicsBookcase.com. She’s also a co-host of the Huntress Podcast for WrightOnNetwork.com.