What if Kotoura was born in our world?

When the blogosphere got the chance to watch the first episode of Kotoura-san, they, or rather we, were surprised. No one expected the first half of the episode to be so downright crushing and depressing. I think a good deal of people thought that as surprising the melodrama was, it was overdone.

Folk felt that everyone hating Kotoura was a bit unrealistic and overdone for the sake of melodrama. I agree that a real world reaction would be quite different from the one depicted in the show, but I don’t think it would be any better for poor Kotoura.

Kotoura Despair

The moment Kotoura’s mysterious ability is recognized as mind reading, she will be whisked away to science labs across the world. In said science labs, she will be prodded and poked extensively by professors, lab technicians, hungry grad students and secretly genius janitors.

She will be tossed around and around, chained to chairs for hours on end and examined from every possible angle.

They will check her nose, her eyes, her skin, her tongue, her ears to see if mind reading is related to a primary sense or if it is a new sense all together. They will take tissue samples from every easily harvest-able location to isolate and study the “brain wave” receptors.

Cat scans will be performed under various different conditions to see her brain activity. Brain surgery for brain samples will be considered. Gamete harvestation for hereditary analysis and possible cloning will be considered. Her entire genome will be searched again and again as they attempt to identify the magic mind reader genes.

Even if the researchers (and more importantly, the research sponsors) don’t outright kidnap Kotoura, she will still be “encouraged” to attend grueling lab sessions for the betterment of humanity. Kotoura-san, naturally wanting to feel useful and loved, will of course agree no matter how much it hurts.

The occasional encouragement and sweet snacks from researchers will keep her going for a bit, but it won’t be long before the desensitized environment and the distance the researchers always keep will get to her.

Every night, she will go to sleep and wonder if she is nothing more than a caged lab rat, a specimen and a spectacle for the researchers.

Even if the liberal minded young researchers convince their supervisors that such research is dubious at best, downright criminal at worst and that Kotoura research should be limited to weekly 1 hour optional sessions, she will still be a caged spectacle.

Like our ancestors who lined up at shows to see bearded women and midgets, we to will line up to see the great Kotoura. Unlike our forefathers though, we won’t mock or laugh at her, but stare her down until she can guess what we are thinking.

Even if her parents don’t sell her to a circus or make a show out of her, the entertainment industry sure will.

Toddlers & Tiaras will be replaced with “Toddlers & Kotoura”, a show in which Kotoura attempts to outdo unpredictable toddlers. Other shows featuring Kotoura would include “Kotoura, Kotoura, did my hubby cheat on me?”, “Judge Judy and Kotoura”, “Dr.Kotoura”, “Kotoura and Friends”, “Everybody loves Kotoura”, “Kotoura comments on your wedding dress” and various other mostly scripted shows that pretend to actually use her power but in reality do no such thing.

She will be tossed from show to show and work 20 hour days earning money for her selfish parents.

The Jersey Shore creators will bring Kotoura in to the show to resolve the group conflict, only to have her somehow get caught up right in the middle of all the drama. Then by some obscure plot development, she will end up pregnant with Snookie’s child. At the end of the season, the contract price set by her parents will be too great for the studio and Kotoura will be let go in the guise of having to seek an abortion because her fetus’es thoughts kept her awake at night.

She will be featured in many commercials. Her most popular commercials will be commercials advertising fashionable tin foil hats that protect the regular citizen from Kotoura’s mind reading abilities. Even if the tin foil hats don’t work at all, they will be a smash hit and bring millions to the already wealthy Monster Cable.

One pleasant Sunday afternoon, Kotoura will find a policeman at her front door.

Good afternoon Miss Kotoura,

I am Police Chief Wiggum, I have come to ask a favor of you.

You see, there have been a few crimes committed recently and we are sure we have the right criminal. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough evidence to put him behind bars so we were hoping you could read his mind and tell us where he hid the murder weapon.

And what will start out as a simple favor to the local police will quickly turn into a long, drawn out court battle. Day after day, Kotoura will be forced to attend court sessions where lawyers will debate over the legality of using mind reading to procure more evidence.

Eventually the case will reach the Supreme Court and the judge will decree that “Evidence procured directly through mind reading is invalid (e.g. a memory of the crime), but evidence procured indirectly through mind reading (e.g. the location of  a murder weapon) is valid as long as a proper warrant is acquired ahead of time.”

Spurred on by this case (and the fat cheques given to them by the profit seeking prison industry) politicians will create a new bill called “Bill K-11”. Under this bill, Kotoura will be given the authority to have an individual arrested if she feels that aforementioned individual is going to commit a crime.

The moment, liberal activists see this proposal, they will immediately take action. They will take to the streets with vigor and energy. Pumped by their sense of rightousness, they will scream “MENS REA!” and “NO KOTO IN OUR LEGAL SYSTEM!”. Slacktivists will take to to Facebook and copy each others statuses with one or two amendments and demand they be heard.

Kotoura parody accounts will pop up all over the Social media with posts/tweets like “I am going to have you arrested because your shirt offends me” gaining many shares and retweets. Anonymous will find Kotoura’s private email and send her gay porn, much of it featuring her face Photoshopped on male bodies.

While the activists will yell freedom, politicians will point at the pedophiles hiding in the suburbs and scream: “WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!”. In response, the internet will dig up information on the original proposers of the bill and mock them incessantly.

Eventually, the local MP’s will decide that supporting the bill is too risky and vote against it. Instead, a new bill will be proposed and passed, under which Kotoura’s word about potential criminals will be totally discarded and will not hold up as enough reason to bring in criminals.

The original proposers of the bill will go to bed tired from the all the brutal attacks, but ever vigilant in their quest to get on the good side of the lobbyists.

Meanwhile, the social activists will go to bed vary of what might come, but pleased that their slacktivism and incessant whining made a difference.

In their despair or joy, neither party will realize that in fighting over the use of Kotoura’s powers, they created an entirely new set of legal rules that apply only to her.

If Kotoura used to be a single piece of pasta in a bowl of spaghetti, then she is now be a single meatball in a bowl of vegan friendly soup. She will have become a totally separate legal entity, an existence that is totally distinct from everyone else.

Kotoura-san will now be truly alone.

Kotoura alone

So, as bad as the anime made her life to be, as much as it must have sucked to be Kotoura in the first half of episode one, her life in our world would not be much better. If she was born here, her life would likely be just as bad if not worse than her anime life and that ladies and gentlemen is a rather frightening thought.

[Note: This is a rather cynical outlook. I am hopeful that it actually won’t be this bad. I also made the statistically improbable assumption that Kotoura will be the only mind reader but it shouldn’t matter because the existence of mind readers is for all sakes and purposes, statistically impossible.]

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  1. #1 by Ashoka on January 18, 2013 - 10:49 am

    My, my, Reiseng, who the hell do you think us scientists are?
    Ever consider that it would be children’s doctors and child psychologists who’d be doing the research? Where are these slacktivists when the child of the century is caged in by the evil scientists?
    You’re dark, man 😉

    • #2 by Reiseng on January 18, 2013 - 6:29 pm

      pfffft.

      After years of stressful research, budget cuts and worry of research grants, most of the researchers will be too grumpy and angry to care about Kotoura’s human rights.

      The only folk nice to her would be tenured professors who no longer care if they succeed or not and fresh grads who have yet to experience the true horrors of academia.

      I am pretty sure the research process would involve psychologists as well, if only to keep her from dying from stress and to mind control her for more efficient testing.

      As for pediatricians, I don’t think they’d be involved. Doctors normally just apply science research, they don’t normally do research of their own. Unless of course, the researchers want to perform surgery in which pediatricians might be brought in to keep her alive after their harvest.

      The slacktivists will try to make a fuss, but every time they do, a friend or someone else will shoot them down with comments like “FOR SCIENCE!”.

      In all honesty though, I will admit that my depiction of scientists is unrealistic and more of a depiction of dystopian mad scientists. I know for a fact that to get approval for any kind of human research, even incredibly safe research, requires a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy.

      The science committees take human research (especially if it involves children) very seriously. Deviating even slightly from your proposed study will probably get you in trouble.

      So, yeah the scientist bit was a worst case “humanity totally considers Kotoura a lab rat” kind of scenario. I am quite confident that scientists like yourself are fine folk.

      Though I do wonder just how long any belief in ethics will hold against human curiosity. That combined with the distance everyone will try to keep from Kotoura might just be enough for a few scary things to happen.

      As for me being dark, well, I guess I am normally quite optimistic and cheery, but now and then…I say bad things. 😛

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