Kokoro Connect Ep. 7: Time for some real talk

I’m too lazy for a fleshed-out post. I’ll just give my thoughts in annotated form.

• Y’know, it may seem natural for Inaba to physically reprimand Taichi from time to time, because we expect her character to be a little rougher around the edges than the other two heroines. It should be noted, however, that she rarely gets physical with anyone else. What am I getting at? It’s like when a little kid gets an innocent crush, but at the same time, doesn’t understand how to express these newfound feelings. So what do little kids tend to do to the objects of their affection? They might pick on their crushes a bit. Some affection is better than no affection, perhaps.

Of course, Inaba isn’t a little kid, but at the same time, she can’t exactly express her true feelings for Taichi either. And then this also plays into the idea of BDSM. No, no, no… I’m not saying that Inaba’s a dominatrix nor am I implying that she is actually into such a thing. There is, however, the prevalent perspective out there that pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin. In this instance, Inaba cannot evoke pleasure in Taichi because she has deemed him off-limits for Nagase’s sake, but perhaps she can evoke other feelings within him. Even if it’s pain, perhaps it’s better than nothing….

• Do little sisters really straddle their older brothers to get the to wake up? Rhetorical question; you can give me an answer if you want, but I won’t take it seriously.

Then again, he’s asleep during this right? So in comes the unreliable narrator: how do we know this is actually what happened and not just Taichi’s interpretation of what his mother told him? The mom probably said, “Yeah, your sister slapped you around, but you wouldn’t wake up. She got a little worried.” Like a game of Telephone, however, Taichi concocts this big dramatic scene in his retelling. Could it be that Taichi’s a siscon?! Again, rhetorical question.

• So if Iori naturally feels inclined to shout “Ya-hoo” in the middle of a quiz, then perhaps… I dunno… maybe she has a personality — a real self — after all? I mean, what else could explain her inclination? She suddenly decided to put on one of her many “masks,” which then caused her id to pick up on this fake personality and scream “Ya-hoo” to the class? Yeah, I doubt it. I guess I just never took Iori’s problems from the previous arc all that seriously.

• The problem facing the gang, especially Yui, is that society as a whole is too repressed. Yes, picking fights is dumb, but Yui was only protecting other girls. In other words, her intentions were in the right place. Unfortunately, there are all these rules about how people are supposed to act. More specifically, there are all these rules about how a shoujo like Yui is supposed to act. After all, Iori thinks that Yui’s still in shock from beating up those guys. Is that really the problem at hand here? Is Yui afraid of what she’s done or is she really afraid of how others will react to her if she continues to use violence as a tool? She says she doesn’t want to hurt others, but it sure feels to me like she’s just ashamed of herself.

Look, I’m not saying that we should all just run around, acting out our id’s inner most desires willy-nilly. Some repression is necessary. Some dude shouldn’t just whip out his dick and start masturbating on the subway. On the flip side of the coin, however, too much repression leads to trouble. Too much repression leads to a girl becoming a shut-in because she doesn’t want to face her classmates’ potential jeers. But man, if I were her, I’d walk into class with my head held high: “Yeah, I beat up some punks who were picking on your classmates. Where were you when all of this went down?”

• Of all the good things about Yui in Aoki’s mind: “Childish in a good way.” Excuse me, let me go throw up. But the scene makes sense. Aoki has a burning desire to be Yui’s knight-in-shining-armor. Rather than repress it, which would only lead to violent outbursts when he feels as though an injustice has been done, Aoki affirms his love for Yui to the gang and he calms down. You don’t fight fire with fire when it comes to repression. It’s all about managing your desires in a controlled, safe fashion.

• Someone in an anime finally admits that the need to help everyone all the time is kind of creepy. It’s funny though; Taichi stops fighting his friends when Inaba suggests that Iori awaken his perverted side. Why does he stop if he really wants to ravage Iori? Gee, is his desire to be a prude even bigger than his desire to help a friend? Yes, yes, I know the anime claims that our impulses (and by definition) are short-lived. But still….

• Inaba warns Taichi that his selflessness might actually kill him if he can’t control his impulsive nature to help others. But c’mon, he was only willing to die because it would’ve meant saving Iori’s life. If we are all willing to sacrifice ourselves for others in such situations, where is the problem? It’s not like Taichi will kill himself for a bad reason.

• Yui’s afraid to hurt people, but again, she was beating up scumbags. Like with Taichi, I guess I fail to see the problem. I have yet to see these guys act upon a negative impulsive desire, even if you consider Inaba’s little incident from the previous episode. What I’m getting at here is that all five of them are genuinely good people. Good people do not usually have harmful impulses. As a result, Yui should not worry about hurting others, because honestly, what are the chances that she gets an impulse to hurt an innocent person? Likewise, Taichi shouldn’t worry about dying for other people’s sake because he only puts himself out there for good reasons (e.g. saving Iori’s life because the Heartseed is a bastard). Even Inaba’s desires for Taichi isn’t immoral in itself. Iori and Taichi refuse to make themselves official. If anything, they’re being cruel to Inaba.

• Again, I take no issue with Inaba giving Yui some legitimate real talk. That’s my problem with this arc, I guess. I don’t think the characters’ desires have been all that unreasonable! Yui is being irresponsible. “But that’s how you feel,” Yui says. Damn straight. That’s how most of us should feel, knowing that Heartseed is sadistic. Could Inaba have been more diplomatic? Of course, but look, she doesn’t actually say anything that isn’t very true. She says what needed to be said when considering the Heartseed’s nature. In the end, Inaba’s outburst is better than keeping her feelings repressed, which is what got everyone in this whole mess to begin with!

• So in the end, the friends are so scared of their impulses that they won’t even come to each other’s aid. When you’d rather repress yourself than help a friend, that’s just… well, the solution is staring our five friends in the face, isn’t it?


14 Replies to “Kokoro Connect Ep. 7: Time for some real talk”

  1. I loved Inaba in this episode. She may have come off as harsh, but it is reality. She is right about how Yui is acting. I have no idea why people on forums seem to bash on Inaba. If I had a “desire outburst”, it would probably not be too far off how she acted. Stating the truth.

    Also, for some reason I really like reading the posts you do in annotated forms.

    1. I have no idea why people on forums seem to bash on Inaba.

      You can never be mean to anime babes, even if you’re an anime babe yourself.

      Also, for some reason I really like reading the posts you do in annotated forms.

      That’s weird.

  2. In a way, it’s kind of sad how we need an “unleashed Id” gimmick to allow these characters to finally start shooting straight with one another. Like you said, there was some lack of diplomacy in what some of the characters said, but none of it was beyond the pale. None of it was intended to hurt, but rather get a point across. Honestly, a lot of these “Id moments” I could have accepted as normal conversation in a straight-up slice of life anime show.

    By the way, I also like your use of the annotated form. It gives a kind of “scene-by-scene” quality to your reviews.

    1. I still can’t shake the feeling that the show is playing it very safe. You even put ‘unleashed id’ in quotes because it doesn’t really feel as though the characters are really tapping into their subconscious desires. What we currently have is a competently-made show, but you can excuse the flaws if a show is willing to take risks. KC just doesn’t feel daring enough.

    2. Honestly, a lot of these “Id moments” I could have accepted as normal conversation in a straight-up slice of life anime show.

      It’s funny, because this entire arc I was thinking that the outbursts so far have been pretty much on par with your standard thrice-overblown melodrama that certain types of anime love so much (Jigoku Shoujo was ludicrous for this. I’m pretty miffed Outlaw Star was voted in instead). The “Id moments” really do just seem like par for the course in the genre… which says a lot about the course. Series like Black Rock Shooter pass off worse outbursts as normal human interaction.

      Don’t get me wrong – the fact that Kokoro Connect actually acknowledges this and works it into its premise as a spin on a drama’s constant need for (irrational) conflict is great. Still, I have a bit of a chuckle at the thought that the melodrama button has literally been engaged to inspire these over-reactions.

  3. For the whole episode, the whole time all I could think about is the fact that people sometimes want other people to die for stupid reasons or just hate somebody so much that they want to kill them. Now, jail doesn’t exist in school anime, basically, but I just have to wonder….Nah, they wouldn’t. It’s kind of a shame, but there’s no way. They’ll probably skirt around death a bit more, but I’d bet fictional money on all of these 5 making it to the end of the show. Besides, no Tragedy in the genre, right?

    1. Adults barely exist enough as it is. We have, uh, the Heartseed, who’s really some alien being. And there was Yui’s mom who’s only can adult because she has a single line under each of her eyes.

  4. i like the innotated form too.
    the problem with dieng for another on an artificially created impulse is that when you’re bleeding, lying there about to die, having just saved someone’s ass, the desire wears off and you think “shit, what did i just do? i’m going to DIE!” And plus even if saving someone IS a good reason to die, it might not be good reason ENOUGH without the unleashed desire even for Taichi, so the fear is justified.

    1. the problem with dieng for another on an artificially created impulse

      How do we know that it’s artificial instead of just being a desire deep within him that he wouldn’t fulfill under normal circumstances?

      it might not be good reason ENOUGH without the unleashed desire even for Taichi, so the fear is justified.

      Again, there’s no reason to think Taichi would die for a stupid reason. We’ve only been given one example: he was willing to trade places with Iori. There’s no evidence to justify the idea that such an impulse might cause him to sacrifice his life for something silly like rescuing a cat.

  5. This whole “unleashed deepest desire” is not really interesting. I would just like it to be over and move onto the next issue. I hope they change into the opposite sex, and stay that way for awhile. I don’t mean the male characters switching with the female characters either. As long as they finish with this gimmick, it’s fine by me.

    1. I hope they change into the opposite sex, and stay that way for awhile. I don’t mean the male characters switching with the female characters either.

      Wait what? You want gender dysphoria?

      1. No, I mean that their physical bodies change. Aoki and Taichi would physically be female versions of themselves, and Iori, Inaba, and Yui would physically be male versions of themselves.

        1. Yes, you want to change their sex even though they identify with a different gender. This will likely lead to gender dysphoria.

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