I picked up Kokoro Connect a couple of episodes in, after some prodding from fellow anibloggers. The show’s key premise in these opening episodes is that some sort of supreme spirit is being mischievous, and is using the 5 main characters in a random mind swapping experiment between the bodies. And as a result, their sense of identity is altered. In asking “who are we really”, I’m left wonder how this applies in an online world, we’re we never meet the real “you”.
“Each one of us implicitly has a soul, mind, and personality which contributes to our identity. Now that Nagase Iroi’s soul is inside Aoki’s body, the result is identified as Nagase Iori. However, souls and personalities cannot be seen or touched. That’s why we typically use physical appearance to identify a person. That means that our bodies are the foundation for the identity. But if our bodies lose their significance, because of the personality switching, will we still be ourselves?”
This statement comes from Nagase Iori. Here mother’s continual marriage issues have left her in a state of crisis. As a mechanism to deal with changing expectations from the rotation of five “fathers”, she adapts her personality to provide the least amount of friction. And this also affects her relationships with classmates, as she ‘adapts’ to each of them differently to be what they want her to be. But as the body switching occurs, she begins to feel herself unravel, not knowing who she really is.
In this day and age where relationships are formed without ever meeting face-to-face, Iori’s identity crisis reflects a much great global phenomenon of identity. When you never meet someone, and are only represented by what people see and read at a social site, who are you really? Twitter is genderless at its core. So what is there that constitutes who you really are? It’s so easy to create an alias, is what you present who you really are?
Social media has, for better or worse, created an identity crisis for some. While most people are online as they are in real life other’s may choose to act differently. This results in a dual persona, much like Iori. The alias I use, JoeAnimated, is a cross between a (somewhat) name of mine and a description of my personality. Those that know me would say I’m very animated in my personality at times. I’m not afraid to raise my voice, speak my mind, or get in your face. Most of the time, this just gets me in trouble.
In writing for WRL, and on Twitter, I’ve chosen to be a bit more subdued. There have been many times when I’ve wanted to virtually reach out and get in someone’s face, but I’ve instead just decided to back down, just so I don’t come across as an asshole. Is that really me? Maybe. Is it a different aspect of me? Who knows. But I’ve chosen to be slightly different from I am normally, for better or worse. And in general it seems to work just fine.
As a repercussion to these dual personalities, societal pleasantries are changing as well. I’m sure we’ve all noticed people who comment and write things online that they would probably never say should they actually be in front of the person that they are replying too. This is changing our social norm. With little to no repercussions, people are choosing to say and do things that might otherwise have resulted in a good been defined as being criminal, or at least gotten them a good beating.
So while Kokoro Connect clumsily tackles tough subjects using kicks to the nuts, it does successfully ask questions on one’s sense of identity too much success. I’m find the philosophical conversation fascinating, and for that reason alone I will continue to watch this show, as well you should too.