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Kokoro Connect – 06

August 16, 2012

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!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Earthling permalink
    August 17, 2012 12:55 am

    >> Inaba’s trust issues mean she can’t rely on anyone but herself

    It’s the other way around. She can’t trust herself. You’d seen what she done at the beginning. It’s exactly things like that that made her want to keep her distance from her friends before she does any more to hurt them.

    • August 17, 2012 8:41 pm

      That is exactly why I think Inaba is going to find this situation hardest. Before she only trusted herself – everyone what wasn’t her was classed as ‘The Enemy’, however now her very subconscious is betraying her. I probably didn’t put it across very clearly when I was writing…

      I don’t think Inaba is pushing people away solely to avoid hurting them, she’s doing damage control for her own benefit because she can no longer even trust herself to put her usual front. Inaba is very conscious of others perception of her, she doesn’t like to appear weak.

  2. windyturnip permalink
    August 18, 2012 2:15 am

    This show deals well with drama as it’s doing it, but it doesn’t seem to consider the consequences of its actions. Last weeks events were huge, and they were nearly completely ignored this episode; it just doesn’t make much sense. Inaba seducing Taichi seemed to be a cheap shot of fanservice that could have been easily substituted with an appropriate scene. Overall, I think Kokoro Connect does a lot of things good, but it keeps shooting itself in the foot with simple mistakes.

    As far as the love triangle goes, I’m rooting for Inaba. For one, I just find them more appealing as a couple. On top of that, the character dynamic between them actually has some energy unlike with Iori. By herself she’s an interesting character, but the scenes involving her and Taichi are becoming unbearable.

  3. Errant Princess permalink
    August 26, 2012 5:40 pm

    Yeah, I thought it was pretty strange when Iori didn’t seem at all jealous after hearing about Inaba’s “I made some moves on Taichi,” thing. The show does take a relatively simplistic view of psychology, and I agree with you that I think it could reduce the number of tacky sex scenes. All that said, it still isn’t half bad.

  4. gold price permalink
    September 9, 2012 6:16 am

    Yes, we shouldn’t suppress our desire that much, we should live more freely. That’s what Inaban said, in order to avoid violent bursts, yes, just like John Ince says in The Politics Of Lust . Japan is sexually rigid. No skinship. Even shaking hands is big of a deal. I was never able to hug any girl in Japan… So yeah, if you see a pretty girl, ask her to give you a hug. Free hug is what Japan really needs. Otherwise, that pathological society will never be cured but produce even more otakus, that’s why I moved out of that country of repression. But sooner or later, I also found out America is also erotophobic.

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