Kokoro Connect – 06
Minor timeskip of three weeks with this weeks episode – three uneventful weeks with no body swapping apparently. Interestingly the formula gets shaken up a bit this week too and it looks like the start of a new arc – should be interesting~!
So this arc will be about releasing your deepest desires, or to be more accurate turning off your internal self-restraint. In a way this has the potential to be more traumatic for the teens than the body swapping experience was – as Inaba points out, at least with the body swapping they could contain the damage to themselves, with this latest development other people are going to get involved and perhaps hurt. The loss of control this time round is going to be frightening since anything that they do stems from their own subconscious. As such there will be struggles with feelings of guilt and shame as those base desires that we would all prefer to ignore are allowed to rear their ugly heads.
Kokoro Connect takes a rather simplistic approach to psychology – probably out of necessity as delving too far into matters of identity is a head wrecking experience (which I suddenly remembered when I dug out the old Psychology text books to refresh my memory). The show generally opts for the tenets that have made their way into pop culture – in this case it’s clearly Freud’s psychodynamic approach (the idea of the ‘id’, ‘ego’ and ‘superego’). What Heartseed has essentially done this time is force the teenagers to give over control to the ‘id’ – the aspect of the conscious which deals with instant gratification and basic instinctual desires. The id very rarely gets its own way under normal circumstances as the ego & superego both intervene with social normative rules causing us to act in a much more moderate manner than the id would really like.
The results are clearly demonstrated in this episode – Inaba suddenly attempts to seduce Taichi, Yui beats the crap out of a bunch of fellas & a poor innocent table, the mild-mannered Aoki gets into a scuffle with the cops and the ever placid Taichi almost flips out on Fujishima. Sex & violence – simplistic Freud.
The reactions to the news of this new torture Heartseed has inflicted on the group were interesting. Iori is actually kind of excited about the prospect of letting her inner desires roam free as she sees it as a way to truly start to know herself. For Iori with her loose grasp on her own self-identity, the opportunity to see what really lies buried in her subconscious is both appealing and frightening. It is for this reason that she puts the brakes on her relationship with Taichi – with neither of them able to act as they normally would, a healthy relationship can’t really get started. I was pretty happy with this though since I would prefer to see Taichi with Inaba!
Yui was pretty absent from the episode (we just hear that she beat the crap out of some fellas & got cautioned by the police) but I imagine she will be horrified by her own actions. We already saw how upset she was when she broke the table, Yui will be terrified by how violent her inner self is and will probably try to isolate herself from everyone out of fear of hurting someone. Aoki once again takes things in stride, he’s remarkable in how well-adjusted he appears to be – we’ve yet to see him really flustered or phased by anything that they’ve had to go through. Aoki worries, but it’s not the crippling anxiety that others in the group feel.
Taichi I imagine will also be troubled by his actions. Taichi normally has an iron grip on his emotions (best demonstrated when talking to Iori in the hospital) and his extreme selflessness means that he couldn’t handle it if something he said or did caused someone pain. The loss of control and the fact his inner self nearly drove him to lash out at someone could potentially be very tough on Taichi.
However the member of the group who will struggle most will probably be Inaba – she’s already close to breaking at the end of the episode, even if she is exceptionally good at covering things up. Inaba’s trust issues mean she can’t rely on anyone but herself, but now with this new phenomena she can’t even do that. If she worried herself sick over thoughts of what someone else could do in her body, what will she do when she has no control over what she herself does in her body!? If the previous arc was mainly about Iori, this one will be about Inaba (the new OP seems to suggest that too).
I’m still enjoying Kokoro Connect, but it’s far from perfect. It’s very simplistic approach to complex psychological issues needles me a bit, but I do realise that while the show likes to dip into these interesting issues, it has no real desire to properly explore them – indeed if it attempted that it would be a completely different series! I also have issues with how it’s reduced inner desires to mean sex & violence – although given we’re dealing with teenagers I suppose I can forgive that too. The scene with Inaba seducing Taichi felt a bit cheap and clichéd though, which I didn’t really appreciate since I really like Inaba’s character and it felt like it was just throwing out some cheap fanservice to the Inaba x Taichi shippers.
Speaking of which, Iori’s reaction to that reveal was a bit odd. I would have thought she would have shown a smidgeon of jealously or possessiveness, but the complete indifference to the news Inaba had made a move on Taichi was a bit unnerving. Iori is pretty insecure and since Taichi hasn’t really done anything since that confession & kiss (3 weeks ago by this stage) I really would have thought Iori would have been worried about Inaba perhaps stealing him away. Taichi & Iori’s whole relationship continues to feel really plastic to me, and in sharp contrast Inaba and Taichi interact in a much easier, more natural manner (although since this is my preferred ship I’m probably biased).
Next week should be interesting – Iori seems to be acting on the “just do whatever you want to avoid pent-up stress” solution, while Taichi is calling Inaba out on her inability to trust them again. Looking forward to it!