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Well fiddlesticks, a one-one tie, and I can’t exactly combine options here. Regardless of if you’ve voted already, I’m going to say the next vote for either of those will take it.
I certainly do not think all deadpan moe and kuudere characters are robots, and in fact most of them are anything but once you peel back that first layer (hello Patchouli, Satori, Sakuya, Youmu). Why I call Kokoro a robot is because her expressionlessness is caused by magic out of her control, not by her personality. Like a robot that’s programmed to act a certain way and not deviate from it, Kokoro is expressionless by her nature as a menreiki; she didn’t choose to be this way, nor did some powerful event emotionally scar her at an early age. And yet, like these particular robot characters, I agree that if she works at it she has the ability to “deviate from her programming” and become more human. I just feel it’s important to stress that “emotionless” is her default state of being, unlike humans and most youkai, and should define a large part of her character, actions, and motivations.
On that note, I got bored, and curious, and ended up writing something, because darn it all you made me open Pandora’s Kokoro and now I can’t close it very easily! I doubt this is indicative of what will end up being my true interpretation of her, but I have to start somewhere, so I’m starting here. Please enjoy, and comment if you wish!
Owen: All right, here we go, Kokoro Test Run, Take 1. Let’s just ignore the question of how I got Kokoro in this room to begin with, and move on.
Kokoro (Hannya): I am not going to ignore the question of how you got me here.
Kokoro (Raiden): What’s going on.
Owen: Well, to make a long story vague and unhelpful, Koishisneeze dot gif, and I suppose we have you to thank for that.
Kokoro (Uba): You’re not making any sense, strange man.
Kokoro (Hannya): Let me go.
Owen: Okay, see, now I’m already fascinated by this. I love deadpan; I mean, like, if you heard me in real life, I’m the master of the deadpan. I mean, like, even when you’re deadpan, there’s so much you can do with deadpan in just the tiny little pauses and glances of the eye, but this… Just, wow.
Kokoro (Monkey): Hey, pay attention to me; this is serious. I want to know how to get out of here.
Owen: In a minute, in a minute, just… I wanted to talk to you Miss Hata, that’s all. I don’t want to take up all of your time, just enough of it to get to know you.
Kokoro (Uba): I don’t want to talk to you. I’m sure you could research this on your computer; isn’t that what such devices are for.
Owen: But no, see, that’s just it, you’re different. You’re all different, all you Touhous. I can read about character archetypes and fanon and canon all day on the Wiki, but that’s all worthless the moment I can finally stand in a room with one of you and talk face to face.
Kokoro (Uba): Surely someone has told you by now that talking face to face with me is no better than reading a transcription of what I say.
Kokoro (Hannya): So why don’t you just do that and leave me in peace, since you’re clearly not the type to help me with anything I want.
Kokoro (Kitsune): Or shall I use force.
Owen: It’s so weird… Questions that don’t even have question marks on them. Is that even grammatically correct?
Kokoro (Kitsune): Boy, I tire of you.
Kokoro (Monkey): Are you ill. Are you insane.
Kokoro (Hannya): If you truly want to talk to me the least you can do is respond to what I say, and in short order for that matter.
Owen: Hang on, hang on, I just had an idea…
Kokoro (Raiden): What now. Boy, don’t you dare turn your head.
Kokoro (Hannya): Look at me. Look at me when I’m talking to you.
Owen: No, no, trust me on this one. Because now I can’t see the masks. I want to know what it’s like, not knowing.
Kokoro (Hannya): You puppetmaster. Do you enjoy toying with the emotions of others like this.
Owen: Well, if we’re going to be honest… None of you are actually real. So, really, there’s no emotions to toy with. But I don’t want to get into that; it’s confusing.
Kokoro (Monkey): You’re what’s confusing.
Kokoro (Uba): You say you want to talk with me, then you ignore me and stare at me like an animal in a zoo; like a rat in a maze, even. You are despicable.
Kokoro (Monkey): What are you even trying to accomplish with me.
Owen: I can’t believe this… No, no, I’m sorry, I’m really trying to stay focused, I really am! It’s just… I know you’re angry! It’s in your words, you’re insulting me, I can see the mask, but, but, I don’t know you’re angry! It’s there but it’s not there! Within reach, but beyond grasp! It’s right there, and I can’t see it!
Kokoro (Uba): Then look at me. Look at the words that are coming out of my mouth. Kokoro (Kitsune): You insult me. You throw my desires in my face like I don’t know what they are.
Kokoro (Uba): Do you not think I know what it’s like to reach for anger and grasp air. Joy. Hatred. Love. Such a simple concept for you.
Kokoro (Hannya): What of me. Do you even think of me as being in the same room as you right now. Am I alive to you.
Kokoro (Uba): Or am I an automaton, naïve and ignorant of your insults, so long as you avert your gaze.
Kokoro (Monkey): What.
Owen: It’s IRC. It’s text, nothing but text… I understand.
Kokoro (Uba): You can’t possibly understand.
Owen: No, I do. I do! I don’t expect you to understand, but you can’t possibly know how many times, how many God-forsaken times I’ve been misconstrued through text! I say one thing, they think it means another, all because they couldn’t hear me, hear the tiny subtleties of my voice! It’s like I said completely different words! And of course, you can’t take it back. Once they misconstrue it, the damage is already done…
Kokoro (Hannya): You think my problem is one of misconstruction, you thoughtless bastard.
Owen: What I mean is it’s the text! The text, Kokoro! Text is… Text is heartless, cold. It means nothing… A hollow shell of human communication. And we try, we try so hard to inject life into it! Italics, capitalization, ellipsis, exclamation points! Tildes! Emoticons! Everywhere you look, we’re trying to approximate intonation and emotion into text, and everywhere you look it still fails! We know what you’re going through, Kokoro!
Kokoro (Kitsune): No, you do not know.
Owen: Ahh, woah-oh… That, that’s, okay, that, that fan looks very sharp…
Kokoro (Kitsune): Do you understand. Do you understand now.
Kokoro (Hannya): Shut up. Shut your god-dammed mouth.
Kokoro (Kitsune): Look at it. Your life. Right now, I could end it. You are weak. I am strong. I despise you. You write your little scribbles as if they mean something, and yet you never go outside and learn for yourself what those scribbles are based on. You are egotistical, and no matter how polite you may appear you never believe yourself to be wrong.
Kokoro (Hannya): You self-important hypocrite. It sickens me. I want to expunge it, this wretch that is you. And yet even now, even now.
Kokoro (Uba): Nothing.
Kokoro (Hannya): I want to explode right now. I want you to feel my eyes drilling your face wide open.
Kokoro (Uba): And I can’t.
Kokoro (Kitsune): You say you know me. You don’t know me.
Kokoro (Parsee): I envy you, Owen. I envy you all. You who can say volumes in a glance, in your mumbled utterance of “I”. It’s so easy for you to understand one another. It’s so easy you don’t even understand how hard it is for some people. Do you ever think of how jealous I am that you can just yell at the drop of a hat, or kiss someone. Do you have any idea how hard that is for me.
Owen: I’m, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…
Kokoro (Kitsune): No. No, you’re not sorry.
Kokoro (Uba): I’m sorry. I see it now. I just figured it out, just now. You take it all for granted. All of you. You laugh, and you don’t know what you’re laughing at. You clap and cheer for a celebrity you have no strong feelings for. You curse your god in anger at the slightest provocation before you’re even truly angry at anything. You say you love each other, and then hate each other the very next instant, and none of it means a single thing.
Owen: Wait a minute… You’re saying—
Kokoro (Kitsune): That you don’t comprehend the emotions you feel every day. But I do. You know what it is to feel fear and joy and sorrow, but you never bother to try and understand it. I do. I treasure every single one I can feel in ways you cannot possibly fathom. How can you know how to truly appreciate a smile when it takes no effort for you humans to make one? You’re complacent, all of you. And the truth of it all is that when all is said and done, I’m more emotional than you are. My emotion may be small, and seldom. But it’s justified. It is real.
Kokoro: I pity you, Owen; I really do. To not know how truly little you know…
Owen: Koko… Koko, your, your face…
Kokoro (Fuku no kami): What about my face.
Owen: You… Oh. Oh, I, I get it. I think…
Kokoro (Fuku no kami): I’m sure you do.
Kokoro (Hyottoko): Thank you. We should do this again sometime.
Owen: I think we’re going to have to.