Questioning Identity: Kokoro Connect – Episode 5

Kokoro Connect is quickly becoming one of my favorite series of the summer. By balancing layers of comedy, drama and slice-of-life, it is creating an intriguing show that I look forward to week after week. One of the ongoing themes, first brought up by Iori, is the idea of identity and what it means to keep your individuality.

Iori’s problems are rooted within this topic. Her persona accommodates  the whims of the people she interacts with in order to please them. When she is eventually asked to stop and live her own life she begins to wonder who she really is. The only persisting fact she could tie her identity to is her own image, or her body. With all the soul swapping shenanigans that ensue after, she begins to lose a grip on who she actually is. In order to ease her, Taichi promises her that he will always be able to recognize her. A promise he promptly breaks in this episode, where Iori pretends to act like Inaba in her body and he fails to catch the charade. At this juncture, she begins to believe that the continuity of her identity is slipping. Before we can continue to discuss the persistence  of an identity, we have to define what exactly an identity is.

Identity: This usually refers to ‘personal identity’. It is the set of qualities that makes a person who he or she is. These qualities presumably make him or her unique from other individuals. These qualities can be contingent on who are what is present or they can be temporary, appearing only for a short while before disappearing.

This basic definition doesn’t explicitly state physical qualities as a means of pinpointing our identity. Iori should not be specifically concerned with her body being what creates her selfhood, but since she defines her existence by her appearance, it is important in creating her sense of self. It acts as an anchor that cements her into reality. Switching into another’s and seeing her body act differently than it should creates dissonance between her definition of self and what is actually happening. Without having her physical properties stay within the set of her individuality she fears she will lose persistence.

Persistence: What it takes for a person to continue existing from one point in time to another point in time in the future and the idea of personal identity as a function of time. How much change could your self go through and still be considered the same person?

When the group has to decide which personality dies, the decision ultimately lies with Iori. Along with her body, she choose that her ‘self’ should be destroyed too. Why? As we stated before, Iori’s body is a crucial part in creating her identity. Who is Iori? A black haired girl with a side pony tail, with an attractively placed beauty spot. Regardless of who sacrifices him or herself, she would no longer have a personal ground in physical space. Since her body would be gone, she would be gone by our technical definition of personal identity. For anyone but her to go would be a meaningless loss.

While watching Kokoro Connect, it was hard for me not to consider who I think I am, and who others perceive me to be. I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my life, going through college, meaningful relationships and difficult problems. But throughout it all I’ve felt I am the same person, regardless of where I was 2, 5 or even 22 years ago. Both my body have mind have changed from years past, but there are still qualities about me that I feel are old relics within my soul. They are constant reminders to the ‘Me’s of the past, present and future that I have insatiable sense of curiosity and adventure. Those two things have brought me to Aniblogging and exploring what it has to offer. I hope to those you watching this show take a moment to reflect on these thoughts,ideas, and questions for who knows who you’ll be even a moment from now.

3 thoughts on “Questioning Identity: Kokoro Connect – Episode 5

  1. I really am thinking that there are two things that are only superficially connected that people are talking about with ‘self’. The first is the obvious question that the show brings up, as Iori did in episode 2, and people have repeatedly referred to since: How do other people recognize us? I pointed out in a comment on Metanorn that I think this, as a conundrum, is really a non-starter, and it was reinforced by this episode with Iori’s trick. Yes, people initially recognize who you are by the body you’re wearing. but that’s because we don’t have much experience with people who actually switch personalities. It’s just not credible in our daily lives to believe that the ‘self’ you saw yesterday in that body is different from the ‘self’ you see today or tomorrow. But even considering that, people are very willing to accept that the body contains the ‘self’ that it claims to. That’s what we do when we meet new people, that’s what we do when we recognize that someone has changed. So as a philosophical conundrum, it mostly falls apart, because we see in this show, and it would be likely in the real world, that people would easily believe that one is who one claims to be, regardless of the body they’re in, given the knowledge that it’s possible for the self to be transported separate from its native body.

    As to the other question, about the development of one’s *own* self, that’s something different, and it’s interesting (although in hindsight inevitable) that the show has moved on from the ‘who is this in front of me’ question to the ‘who am I looking out’ question. Yet, this is certainly nothing new in the realm of human experience. People are constantly adjusting “who” they “are”. And as much as they’d like to, they cannot ‘discard’ the old parts. What you describe as ‘relics’ of past personalities are not curiosities, or dead ends. They’re building blocks of the current you. To get from there to here, you have to travel the distance in between somehow, and where you are tomorrow or next year will necessarily have gone through where you are now. But even then, change is not a particularly fast process. Some small parts may change – and they may even change by 180 degrees – but the whole is still going to be mostly the same.

  2. Pingback: Kokoro Connect 05: Hurt Me Bad (in a Real Good Way) «

  3. I see the personality or “self” purely as the mind. Even when “wearing” someone else’s body, you can’t keep up the act of being this other person indefinitely. In the end, people will eventually realize who you are for the way you act. At the very least, even if they don’t know exactly who is in control up there, they’ll be aware that the physical person they think they’re interacting with has “changed”.

    That said, I find Iori’s worries over a change in personality to be pointless. It’s not feasible to suddenly and drastically change your beliefs and quirks. These are things that take a lifetime to build, and as a result do not come down so easily, if at all. And even if such a change did occur, that doesn’t make you no longer “you”. People always change; that’s just the way things are.

    I really like Taichi’s reasoning that all of her “different” personalities are really just part of a whole, mainly because she herself is aware of them and can choose which “mask” to wear at will. If she had genuine DID, though, it’d be a different story.

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