Kokoro Connect 12 — Overthrowing Death

Once again we are exposed to the principalities and powers. Yui’s friend confronts her over the fact that she has abandoned karate, when she had promised to become the champion. Now, Yui’s life has no purpose. Without a purpose, of course, Yui’s life is meaningless.

As we’ve discussed before, this idea of a meaningless life is rooted in the fear of death.

 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” — Ecclesiastes 3:18-21

After we die, we will turn to dust just like the animals. To avoid this fate, we attempt to construct purpose in our life by constructing idols and worshiping the principalities and powers. The principalities and powers are things that are greater than us, things that will will last beyond our own deaths, giving our lives “meaning.”

The same idea pops up later when Aoi discusses his friend who died after spending all her time studying in cram school:

Ultimately, the principalities and powers are subject to a greater power, Death. All of Aoi’s friend’s accomplishments become meaningless in the face of death. And so will Yui’s. Eventually, Yui’s karate championship will be forgotten. No one will remember Yui existed.

Recall why Yui began practicing karate in the first place: she wanted to be able to protect herself from the men who abused her. She practiced karate out of fear.

As Paul points out, the idols we worship due to the fear of death turn us away from God.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. — Romans 1:21-23

Instead of being concerned about Yui, Yui’s friend is concerned about not being able to fight for the karate championship. She has exchanged Yui (the true image of God) for an artificial image of Yui.

Likewise, Yui is unwilling to look at her friend. She is afraid that her friend will bring back her past, leading to the death of her newfound friendships and stability.

But now that Yui has begun to live in community, the hold that death has on her is weakening. She is no longer alone and afraid.

Yui comes to the same conclusion as Paul: she isn’t worthy of anyone’s love, but she is loved regardless. So she begins to do the same.

Yui’s life doesn’t need a purpose. Living in community with her friends is enough. She is not afraid any more. She accepts her life, her meaningless life, just as it is.

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. — Ecclessiastes 3:22

Oh, and baby Iori is cute.

9 thoughts on “Kokoro Connect 12 — Overthrowing Death

  1. It’s funny how all these serious matters can be brushed aside with a picture of baby Iori and little Inaba did the same thing last episode. That said it always seems like these characters have something huge to overcome and this time it was death and mortality. I’d say Nagase is pretty much complete as a character now which is nice to see because the rest of them have something they need to work on.

    We can certainly look forward to a whole bunch of unique social situations in coming episodes. I’m so glad this anime turned out to be longer then 12 episodes.

    1. I think in a way they’ve been overcoming death and morality all along— certainly in the first arc, at least, when Iori jumped off the bridge.

      Any idea how long it’s supposed to be? I saw 13 episodes + 4 OVAs or something?

  2. I can’t quite recall why Yui stopped practicing Karate. Did this happen b/c she found friends?

    In any case I think her karate friend was indeed concerned about Yui. She worried Yui was slacking off in the culture club and became a teen mom. Making use of our gifts is also something we should do, I think. Practicing karate out of fear is a different thing, though, but I’m not sure if Yui’s friend was aware of this.

    Yui’s way of tying her scarf behind her neck (your first picture) as cute, as well!

    1. She stopped practicing because after she was almost raped, she came to the conclusion that she wouldn’t be able to fend off any man that pushed himself on her, and thus developed agoraphobia (the last scene of this episode can be read as overcoming our fears in some sense, no?).

      I’m with jreding about Yui’s friend; while there’s no doubt she’s trying to compartmentalize Yui into one vision, and thus dehumanizing her to some extent, remember that later on she starts asking Yui what happened to her out of, what seems to be, genuine concern.

      That being said I think that Draggle’s overall point about ‘constructing purposes’ as idols is spot on; one thing I never understood as an atheist is why people felt that life had meaning just because they assigned some artificial (and ultimately illusory) meaning, but there’s being a nihilist for you!

      1. It must have been a while since Yui practiced karate then, based on how young she was when she had a flashback of being almost raped in this episode. I’m surprised the other girl still remembers Yui at all.

        And yes, the girl did seem to be concerned later on, perhaps I was a bit harsh.

        It’s interesting that you can arrive at some similar conclusions from nihilism as from Christianity regarding idolatry. 🙂 Although I think there is a bit of a difference. I wouldn’t say that the idols people construct are meaningless— people matter, and hence what they worship also matters. It’s that the idols are worthless, which is a bit different from being meaningless and insignificant.

        If you haven’t already, you might enjoy reading Ecclesiastes, which is the Bible’s handbook on nihilism.

        1. I’m slowly making my way through the O.T., but I have read the first chapter: “all is vanity!”

          I agree with your distinction; ironically, it is only because of God that idols even have meaning, despite their worthlessness. Without Him then all truly is vanity.

          1. Good luck with that journey… I read the whole thing in third grade, in retrospect it was probably not the best decision. I’d recommend skipping most of Numbers and skimming Kings and Chronicles…

    2. Hm… I thought she stopped doing karate because because she had found friends and a new club, but I could be wrong. I forget as well.

      Yui’s gifted at karate, I suppose, but I feel it’s more important that she actually wants to do karate. She only did karate before because she was afraid. If she doesn’t enjoy karate, then why do it?

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