Table of Contents
3.2 Animation (and Directing)
3.5 The Manipulative Character
- About that Soul Business
4.1 The spiritual view
4.2 The scientific reality
- Fan Art
Stories are turned in to anime often for two reasons: either 1) the story interests whoever had the power or influence to get it made (pick a Miyazaki film) or 2) it was or has the potential to be very popular whether it’s well written or not (Shakugan no Shana, Accel World, etc.).
This time, we’re looking at Kokoro Connect – an anime that doesn’t really fit under either reason I’ve given. Allow me to explain.
The show seems to be half-baked. It’s as if from the beginning, everyone (including the writer) knew this wasn’t going to be a hit, and thus they worked at partial-effort. Not saying it wasn’t a professional job, but I’ve come to expect a bit more in every respect.
Animation: 5.5/10 – I may re-rate later
It’s easy to tell the (first) theme song is by eufonius. The style is so obvious. And yet, this really isn’t one of their better songs. It’s average. Try to imagine track 4 on any generic JPop CD as far as quality goes. Or you could just listen to it here:
Non-vocal, long version:
Now slap on a couple of ending songs (or three, if you will), another opening theme song, and there you have it: the entire music section. No intermediate music. Nothing to raise the tension, nothing to increase the excitement, nothing to set the tone. Just some extra songs (as if they couldn’t be used anywhere else but the licensing was already paid for). Oh yeah, and there was a teeny bit of background music in episode 13 in one scene. Obviously then, the background music was either nonexistent or not very memorable.
Animation (and Directing)
I give the animation points for color tones and consistency. It was lacking in the shading department at first. I’m not sure whether to call it average, since if the shading was correct, my grading would be higher. The lighting was good at most times – everything was visible and night still felt like night despite the visibility of objects across the street. The animation is not terrible, but it was just barely poor enough to disrupt my train of thought throughout the show. Boost points for the scenery. Allow me to repeat what I’ve said in the past: this is all professional work and I can’t do it, so they deserve applause in that respect.
The most detailed character, Mr. Go, looks like he stepped out of Space Brothers, but no one else has as much facial detail.
On the directing side, while I understand the idea of trying to make some shots more interesting, you don’t need to make it seem like everyone, including the camera man, is in a box. There is space in the world, you know. Other than that, the directing was average.
This is pretty well summarized as a character-driven story. Hence, I’ll discuss it more deeply when I address each character.
You might expect by the appearance of this anime there is little fanservice. There is at times, however, sexually provocative activity from some of the characters (as part of the story – not pointless), and only a couple scenes with actual exposure (albeit brief) of underwear – one in the beginning of the first episode and one partway through episode 6 and one 4 1/2 min into episode 13 – and one brief nude scene in 11 (when a character changes size and clothes don’t fit).
As usual, I’ve never met anyone like the characters I see in anime. Nevertheless, these characters are rather entertaining to watch (inasmuch as they aren’t always believable). They better be; the show depends on them. Each one has a specific personality that can be identified. The only confusing kid is Taichi (the dark-haired guy) who doesn’t act like the others say he does. His character is too forced into a box. He doesn’t act in accordance with his “naive selflessness” until some other character mentions it, which hints at the primary issue in this story:
The story is meant to be about discovering the true feelings and character of each person, but in so doing, the writer attempts to give everyone an even more interesting side in a manner that is rather forced. The multifaceted persona of Nagase is believable, whereas Inaba (notably the most developed character) stretches the limits at times.
Each of the girls: “I’m not worthy of love!” “I’ve forgotten who I was.”
And other people are different? Sure, no one is really worthy of love, but we love anyways. Don’t hold a pity party – be thankful for the love you do have.
Japanese writers are quite skilled at character analysis (or should I say “creation”) of high-school kids, but that seems to be the only thing they write about. Unfortunately, that can get some of them stuck in a rut, and they start writing similar personalities into adults. Not that people mind; it’s what sells. Just don’t get the idea people in Japan even remotely resemble the characters they watch.
The Manipulative Character
“Heartseed”. Not god, not alien, but certainly not a plant. It… er – I’ll say “he” for clarity- … he is the writer’s own creation to add some spice to an otherwise typical story about teenagers. His origin and power are purely from the writer. His intentions seem good from his perspective. In other words: He’s like Kyubey. Just another being fascinated with human activity and able to grant them power. Unlike Kyubey, his power granting is more limited and he himself is actually able to use the power he can grant.
Is he a nice being? He claims to be. He says he doesn’t want to harm anyway. Except that, as the characters note, throughout the show, he does everything to demonstrate that claim as a mere half-truth (i.e. a falsity; or more plainly, a lie). He throws a girl off a bridge to make things “interesting”, but harms her body in the process. He says sorry multiple times, but, as noted, he fails to leave them alone.
Interesting thing about that word “sorry”. In English, “sorry” may not mean “repentant”. The latter means you wish to never do the act again. The former means you wish you hadn’t done the act the previous time. Or in the case of politics: you wish you hadn’t been caught doing it. In Japanese, the words used are, in Romaji, “gomen” (ごめん) and “sumimasen” (すみません), loosely translated something like “troublesome/you had trouble [from me]” and “[I am] not at ease” respectively. And yet, despite using these words, Heartseed doesn’t leave the characters alone.
And what does he do? – He manipulates their lives. The situations he puts them into are for his own entertainment. In the end, his character is completely melancholy, and I couldn’t bring myself to like him even if he was nice at times.
I think everyone is in agreement: each of us doesn’t want to be manipulated. We all want the freedom to do as we choose and to learn about the world (and other people) on our own without being forced. That’s what love allows us to do: It’s not an obligation. One cannot be obligated to love. Anything similar but under obligation is merely a sense of indebted appreciation.
Connection of the real God to this
People often ask the question, “If God is good, why does He permit evil?” The simple answer is this: Because he loves us. But I need to be more specific. First point: God would not allow evil if He were not capable as to bring about a greater good from it. And so, that’s what He does: bring about a greater good. Second point: He won’t control us because that would not be loving us. He is far too loving to manipulate us like that. This anime is a good example of how people disapprove of being manipulated, even if the manipulation is for their own good. Why not? God made us this way: to be creatures of love, which means we are able to choose whom we love, whether or not we love, and how much we love. Ultimately, God wants us to love Him, but love cannot be forced. Instead, God coaxes us while we go off and do stupid things for entertaining ourselves… and then suffer for it.
God doesn’t allow Heartseed characters – beings that could control your soul – but he does allow people to manipulate and even force each other. Why? Because it can turn out for their benefit. In this world, sometimes the benefits won’t come until after death, but sometimes they come before. (At this point, some people may object, and I’d like to address that, but I’ll save that for another post.) Even with our bodies being manipulated, we still have our minds, we can still choose to love, to hate, to dwell upon good thoughts or bad ones, and so forth. God won’t take that away, and neither will other people. Each of us has been given the right by God to control our own mind.
Then, of course, there’s the other extreme…
Being free to do as you choose, you may very well reject God and his numerous requests.
Somewhat recently, Mike Huckabee was on Fox news touting about how God has been removed from society. If you haven’t seen the video, here:
Or you can query “Mike Huckabee Where Was God” and several results should pop up.
Summary of his words was simply: If you remove God from society, don’t blame Him for when society acts like He isn’t there. Rephrased: “You asked for it.” The consequences can be very tragic for more than just the person who made the choice to reject God. May the victims of such violence in society rest in peace.
About that Soul Business
I can’t leave this topic without interjecting my own personal opinion about the human soul and the body. I can do that. This is my blog.
On that note, I will present things as follows: the spiritual view (which naturalists will ignore) and the scientific reality as I see it.
The spiritual view
Your body is the incarnate you. It IS your soul made physical. Nothing about the essential you will change. This takes quite a bit of explanation, which I won’t do in this blog, but I may have the chance to do elsewhere.
The scientific reality
Unless you’re God, it’s impossible, spiritually or physically, to transfer someone’s consciousness to something else, much less another human being. Consciousness is not, as some would suppose, merely the activity of electrons in your head (I intend to address this in a philosophy article… eventually). Personality, on the other hand, is something that one might transfer – or more precisely, replicate elsewhere. One could theorize the numerous ways of copying the electronic activity in one brain to that of another, such as via what some people in quantum mechanics call “spooky action at a distance” – a kind of electron correlation in activity, to be brief. But copying a personality doesn’t automatically shift the consciousness to the other person. If somehow it did, there would be two consciousnesses. (As an aside – this is also why I don’t believe in the multiverse theory, which I may have a chance to address if I do a review on Steins;Gate.)
One thing that one of the characters pointed out was that we identify people based on personality (and possibly memory). Thus, if personality (and maybe memory) does change, some people might be under the impression that indeed the consciousness switched. This is just as false as the idea that changing the DNA in an orange to make it an apple suddenly changes all of the other molecules to “new apple molecules”. They are the exact same molecules as before, regardless of whether they are serving another purpose or not. I wish I could give you an easier analogy, but even with this one, the analogy will break down. At the moment I’m writing this, it’s hard to think of something else comparable to this particular absurdity.
There are alot of hand-drawn things, even some good copies of the originals that are very prevalent, so I won’t post any here (unless I change my mind). As for the digital work – it varied in quality, but here are some images from Pixiv I found of interest. I may post more as I find them, especially if I find good images of the guys (which are often a rarity, lol).
And some humor before you leave: