Kokoro Connect – 04
I have to say I’m a bit disappointed by the fact Kokoro Connect is focusing so much on Taichi & his campaign to fix all the girls problems – it makes the show feel like a standard harem series, which isn’t really the direction I was hoping for. With its central cast of five I really would have liked to see Kokoro Connect approach its characters in a more balanced manner – I feel sorry for Aoki as he’s been massively sidelined, and in this episode Yui was also mostly shelved since she has now been “fixed”. I do hope things don’t continue in this vein for much longer.
Iori was first up for a treatment session with Taichi, and I actually found her identity issues rather interesting, even if that vacant expressions she had for the majority of the scene was a touch disturbing. Iori’s turbulent home life is the root of her problems – the fact she has had five different father-figures, each with varying expectations and demands has really damaged Iori’s ability to centre herself.
Iori also shows herself to be very intelligent and quite calculating. She has, out of necessity, developed a very keen understanding of what other people want, and quickly attempts to tweak her actions to fit with their expectations and demands. Iori’s lively and cheerful front is probably carefully constructed to fit with her peers view that she is “cute”, and it’s only through quiet moments with Taichi that Iori has revealed the depth of her thoughts to us.
Inaba is probably spot on in her assessment that Iori is the closest of the quintet to breaking point. While Inaba has clearly exhausted herself physically worrying about the body-swapping issue, Iori is probably the one who is most stressed mentally. Inaba thinks of the practical implications of the swapping, but Iori is troubled by the psychological damage it could do – it’s an issue that is closest to her heart due to her already having a very tenuous grip on her sense of self-identity.
Iori’s self-identity seems to be mostly generated from other people’s impressions of her – very little of her personality seems to be internalised due to her constantly changing herself to fit with others expectations. Iori’s major fear therefore seems to be that she will become unrecognisable to her family & friends – the fear of being left alone terrifies her as once you take away others imput she doesn’t really have much to hold onto.
Taichi once again offers a very simplistic, if temporary, solution to Iori’s issues by once again drawing attention to himself. He offers Iori himself as a rock – “I’ll always recognise you” – which may work in the short-term since Iori is so desperate for something to cling to. It’s still a very simplistic way to approach a serious issue, and I doubt it will hold off Iori’s breakdown for long.
In contrast to Iori’s rather serious identity crisis, Inaba’s trust issues felt rather dumb and lacked impact. What it all essentially boils down to is that Inaba is a chronic worry-wart who over thinks things way too much. We all at some stage or another have worried ourselves sick over something, and that’s all Inaba’s illness was. In a way I’m kind of relieved Inaba’s problem was quite silly, if all three of the girls in the show had deep-seeded mental trauma and the fellas (or just Taichi really) had to “fix” them I’d have been quite annoyed! There is nothing more irritating than portraying girls as being basketcases incapable of solving their own problems!
Back to Inaba. There is no reason for her trust issues, she’s just naturally given to not trusting anyone and over thinking things. Taichi again goes for the simplistic approach and just tells Inaba to get over herself, that everyone worries and no one will think any less of her for doing so, and that even if they do Inaba will still have Taichi on her side. Of course he being the White Knight he is, Taichi goes one step further and hands Inaba prime blackmail material so that she feels like she has a bit more power in their relationship – although telling her that he’s masturbated to her came a bit out of left field!
Inaba is still my favourite character, and I was glad to see she got her own back at the end of the episode by telling Taichi she’s also used him for masturbation fuel. If I was going to ship anyone in this show, it would definitely be these two.
For Taichi being such a big focus in this show, we still don’t know an awful lot about him. I’d really like to know why he’s so selfless and determined to help everyone equally. As a character Taichi is pretty bland, but it’s hard to actively dislike the fella since he’s just so damned nice and kind-hearted. He’s also been getting progressively more expressive as the episodes go by – in episode one he was a big stoic lump of meh, but now in episode four we see a whole range of expressions from him (although he still rarely properly smiles).
I was interested to see that Taichi stopped himself from confessing to Iori and instead opted to go for the friend route when he remembered Inaba calling him a selfless freak. It made me wonder just how far Taichi would be willing to go to help a friend – he’s clearly interested in Iori, but it doesn’t seem to be a romantic feeling at the moment. It rather seemed like Taichi wanted to offer himself as a rock to Iori and almost went with the deeper connection a romantic relationship would have offered rather than simple friendship. It was only Inaba’s ribbing of him that caused Taichi to stop himself from going that extra step this time.
Taichi is clearly willing to offer a lot of himself to other people – he causes himself severe pain to help Yui, almost ties himself to Iori permanently and also readily hands Inaba prime blackmail material in a bid to ease her trust issues a bit. I really would love to know what drives Taichi to do so much for these girls who he really doesn’t know all that well yet…..and I also wonder if he’d go this far for Aoki if he turns out to have issues too.
Next week looks like it’s going to be Iori focused and heavy on the drama – the preview suggests the beginning of a love triangle with Inaba, Taichi & Iori and also hints at Iori perhaps attempting suicide. Hope this is handled well……..