Kokoro Connect Ep. 2: Heartseed

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.


7 Replies to “Kokoro Connect Ep. 2: Heartseed”

  1. That’s a fascinating commentary on Kokoro Connect. It remains to be seen whether those small little hints about the internal lives and issues of all five characters would lead to anywhere, but I cannot imagine that they can spent 13 episodes on High School Hi-jinxes.

    It remains to be seen whether comedy, drama and character study (which the entire Body-swapping concept seems to be exploring intensely) can be melded together, but I think Connect is indeed well on it’s way of being one of those genre bursting shows.

      1. Not with the kind of set-up they are doing so far. Unless they swapped producers half-way, but there’s alot of implied issues here you won’t see in a simplistic Slice of Life friendship moe 4-girls doing random things anime like Yuru Yuri or K-on or even Joshikaru.

        1. Haha, I was mostly just joking, but I wouldn’t say the tone thus far gives me reason to exclude the possibility that it won’t go anywhere. Though I haven’t watched the second episode yet, so perhaps that will sway me.

    1. but I cannot imagine that they can spent 13 episodes on High School Hi-jinxes.

      Probably not, but who wants to dig through a mountain of crap just for a single nugget of gold? To be fair, I thought the scene with Goto was fairly compelling… up until Yui tried to do a jump kick on him.

  2. This reminds me a bit of when two people are dating and love each other. However, one part soon learns that the other person is of the same (or opposite) gender, which usually results in a break-up, despite the two persons loving each other just before. Although they loved each other, learning the truth about the gender, changes the whole thing even though it is basically the same person.

    I’m interested in seeing how Kokoro Connect continues. I think we will delve deeper into stuff.

    1. Yeah, I’ve seen people get really worked up about whether or not a transsexual should disclose his or her previous sexual history to the other person before even dating. Of course, no one else seems to have that obligation, so this requirement seems unfair, but I won’t get into that here.

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