“Give me the child until he is seven, and I will show you the man.”
Kokoro Connect is a pretty tsundere show. It has a way of royally pissing me off when I really start to love it, and pulling me back in with a fascinating twist just when I’m really pissed off at it. I can say with certainty that I find this series to be extremely good at setting up a premise that asks interesting questions, which is a rare skill for anime or any narrative fiction. In practice KC is generally better at coming up with the idea than executing it – that was certainly the case with the first two arcs, which were quite uneven as a result. It remains to be seen if “Kako Random” will follow the same pattern, but – like the first two – this arc is off to a good start. Perhaps the fact that this will be the shortest of the three will work to its advantage.
The new hook, in brief: between 12-5 every day (apparently every day, anyway) the club members will revert to younger versions of themselves. There don’t seem to be hard and fast rules as to how far back they go, although the girls have reverted father back than Aoki so far (with one exception). They have no memory of those five hours, though they wake up with vivid recollections of the age they reverted to. Interestingly, though, there’s one club member excluded – Taichi, naturally, gets a “green card”. This is interesting, as it’s a sort of tacit acknowledgement of his role in the story as an avatar rather than a true character. Of course acknowledging a flaw doesn’t make it any less of a flaw, but at least the author gets credit for admitting it.
In point of fact, the series even goes so far as to actually acknowledge Taichi’s “white knight” persona in addition to his avatar status. It’s funny that the terminology is exactly what the fans have been saying all along, and this gives me hope that there might be some deconstruction of Taichi’s trope before the arc is done. The most interesting aspect to come out of this isn’t so much Taichi’s exclusion from the fountain of youth, but the fact that it was another Heartseed (via his imouto) who told him about it. Another Heartseed – the same, but different? Hmmm – perhaps another Kami, though I wonder if the two Heartseeds are working together or in opposition, and if there are in fact even more of them. “This won’t last long – but if you tell anyone about me, it will never end.” So thus is Taichi charged with making sure everyone doesn’t become children, which is an enigmatic assignment in and of itself.
This scenario, like the others, is rife with possibilities. It’s
Nagase Aoki who asks the interesting question, “Are my feelings gone, or do they remain?” The question of how much of ourselves is pre-formed by the time we’re small children, and how much our environment changes us is obviously going to be central to the arc, and it’s one people have been asking for a very long time. So far we get a chance to see everyone revert back. Inaba is a shy and frightened little girl, though even as a seven (or so) year-old she’s completely smitten with Taichi. Nagase shows signs of her personality shifting from an early age, and we finally get something to work with for Aoki – he mistakes the present-day Yui for the big sister of a girl named Nishino Nana. Turns out he was in love with this girl and dated her in seventh-grade before she moved away. It’s not much and still directly connected to his infatuation with Yui – the only thing that defines Aoki as a character – but at least it’s a twist. We should now find out once and for all if Yui really feels the same way about Aoki as he does for her, because his feelings are being seriously called into question.
As always with Kokoro Connect the devil is going to be in the details, but I’m very curious to see how this storyline develops. It’s irritating that we’re once again going to be robbed of the chance to possibly see what made Taichi the way he is by seeing him as a child, but perhaps his outsider status will end up enlightening his character in a different way. Nagase talks about how she’d live her life differently if she had the chance, but if she thinks this is such a chance I believe she’s wrong – this isn’t a real second chance, merely a tease. For most people being forced to relive the memories of their earlier selves would lead to serious problems – it’s simply not natural, and we’re not well-suited for that kind of experience.