The Kokoro Connect Incident
October 14, 2012
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Somewhere in June 2012, the employees at Silver Link (the studio that produced Kokoro Connect) and some voice actors associated with the anime were implicated in a prank, where they created a fake audition for a small supporting role on Kokoro Connect. The role was given to a relatively new voice actor, but subsequently, it was revealed that the audition was not for an actual position, and the individual was given a Public Relations job as compensation. The event was originally staged as a publicity stunt (from what I gather) that was supposed to be disguised as a prank- the fallout was intended to jump-start the individual’s career. Contrasting the North American entertainment industry, the Japanese industry is more tolerant of antics that would likely cause lawsuits in the former. It is possible that this entire incident was not designed out of malice, but was merely a promotion that was mis-executed and subsequently led to the internet fanbase’s (uninformed) overreaction.
- The otaku have no say in what I watch and what I don’t watch. The incident is long past now, and I can say I’m glad that I follow my own judgements when it comes to deciding how I choose my entertainment. Truthfully, I could care less about the incident, but I’m merely taking advantage of this time to further demonstrate the nature of problems that otaku can cause.
The original incident was not the origin of the firestorm that would brew on the internet: users of a Japanese image board dug into Twitter comments that were made during the incident and deliberately defamated those surrounding the original incident, which ignited the controversey across the internet. Japanese anime fans capitalised on this and began boycotting the show: unverified sources show that preorders of the media dropped substantially, and Sadanatsu Anda, the original author of Kokoro Connect, was targeted by vehement anime fans. For what it is worth, the number of individuals who actually cared enough to cancel their pre-orders and drop the anime were probably the vocal minority, and a quick look at the statistics (again, unverified) show that interest in the anime had begun to increase once more. The entire incident can be summed up as a series of unusual events where a seemingly unassuming controversy involving an obscure voice actor was mentioned in passing by a more popular voice actor. This resulted in users of image-boards to begin hunting for information and triggering the incident (their motivations are likely accounted for in one of my earlier posts). With no concrete evidence visible, these image-board users got what they had intended: instigation of both Japanese and International viewers to use this incident as an excuse to take their stand about bullying in the voice-acting industry.
- At the end of the day, Kokoro Connect is a good anime for its design and execution. It will conclude formally in March 2013, although I will treat that as a separate season when reviewing it.
From a personal perspective, the way the events proceeded is almost expected of the otaku and their disagreeable methods for handling things. The events vilified the original voice actors on Kokoro Connect and unfairly damaged Sadanatsu Anda’s reputation as a writer. While the proverbial fires raged in the online community, I read through all the materials and have drawn my own conclusions concerning the events. Granted, the publicity stunt was poorly executed and apologies were rightly issued, but the online community’s reaction was disproportionate and unwarranted, reflecting on the immaturity of users on image-boards I do not judge media based upon scandals and controversies surrounding the parties involved in their production, and while people wasted hours debating the morality of Silver Link’s actions, I merely continued to watch the anime. With Kokoro Connect having ended for the time being, the entire controversy has disappeared, and along with it, the community’s malignant nature which has since faded into obscurity. I will complete the anime, and make my assessments of it in short order: incident or not, Kokoro Connect is a reasonable anime with unique merits.