Did anyone else feel as though the Heartseed (in Mr. Goto’s body) was addressing the viewers just as much as he was addressing the five friends?
Don’t worry too much about this and go on with your lives. And don’t bother trying to figure out how it all works. That’s not the task you’ve been assigned.
We sometimes miss the forest for the trees. That being said, I have to admit that I’m also guilty of this very problem from time to time, but what do I mean? Well, when it comes to the five friends swapping bodies, it doesn’t really matter why or how this is happening. What truly matters is what this predicament will do to their lives. Like I said last week, there’s untapped potential here; the five friends can gain insights into each other’s lives that no other group of friends can boast. So “don’t bother trying to figure out how it all works,” because it honestly doesn’t matter in the long run.
Unfortunately, the show’s untapped potential still remains largely unrealized. The second episode continues to play off the bodyswapping for laughs, which, unfortunately, means a lot more screentime for Fujishima. Nevertheless, there is one moment in the second episode that I actually like. At one point, Aoki and Iori swaps bodies. When Iori (in Aoki’s body) reaches out to her friend Yui, her attempt was rebuffed.
Most of us will think we’ve got our personal identities down pat. Let’s face it — I’m me and you’re you. Well, it might not be that simple. Some thinkers have argued that one’s personal identity is tied to one’s consciousness. Others subscribe to the bundle theory, i.e. a person is a collection of attributes. For example, what makes an apple an apple? If an object has a particular shape, taste, smell, color, etc. that one might typically expect of an apple, it’s safe to assume that the object is an apple. Of course, I’m grossly simplifying and the example involves a bit of circular logic, but unless you want me to copy my old term paper on personal identity, this will have to do.
In any case, there are even more theories out there regarding personal identity if you’re actually interested, but for this post, it’s not necessary to mention them all. For our purposes, it’s important enough to note that most people implicitly believe just one particular theory: if you act like you, think like you, etc., then you are — pardon the tautology — you. This happens in storytelling all the time: “It’s really me, trust me! I’ll tell you something about myself that only I would know!” Hell, you don’t even have to look any further than Kokoro Connect itself: last week, Inaba only started believing that Taichi and Iori had swapped bodies when the former could name the last porno he had borrowed.
What I’m trying to say is that most people would identify Iori as a person who has Iori’s memories, Iori’s mannerisms, Iori’s beliefs, etc. Therefore, even if Iori is now in Aoki’s body, it’s still Iori. After all, we always say to never judge a book by its cover (nevermind the fact that this is exactly what a cover’s supposed to do, but this neither here nor there…). Nevertheless, Yui recoils when Iori (in Aoki’s body) attempts to touch her. What accounts for this intuitive rejection of Iori as Iori?
Yui confesses that it’s different now that her friend is in Aoki’s body. Put simply, the visual association is strong enough to override any sort of mental hoops we might jump through to conclude that Iori is still Iori. Sometimes, it’s awkward or embarrassing for the opposite sex to touch each other. Even so, does the sex of the body really matter that much? Or is Yui only recoiling out of habit. Perhaps our bodies might actually play a larger part in constituting our personal identity than most of us would normally like to admit. This, however, implies that science fiction conventions such as brain transplants or uploading one’s “personality” onto a computer are not enough to maintain the self.
Oh well, maybe it’s just me who finds this topic particularly interesting. Maybe I’m “overanalyzing” it. In any case, I continue to hope that Kokoro Connect will delve more into the friends’ lives like I had written a week ago. Unfortunately, the second episode only gives us a mere teaser. Apparently, Yui and Iori also swapped bodies, prompting the former to ask Iori about her rather empty home life. This particular moment could’ve and should’ve been exploited to greater effect. Instead, the anime opts to express the view that it just isn’t safe to leave a girl alone at home. Oh, okay.
It’s only the second episode, so there’s still plenty of time for the anime to impress. If, however, it just sticks to silly high school hijinxes, I will have to eventually pass. Then again, sticking to comedy is probably what most viewers would want anyhow.