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Final-ish Impressions: Kokoro Connect

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Kokoro Connect is pretty much done. There are still four episodes to go, but those won't be seen until the end of March through the middle of April, as they're all Blu-ray extras. A tricky plan indeed, Japan. You're forcing us to buy all these discs just to finish the show!

For now, though, it's time to bury the hatchet on Kokoro Connect, and dig up our interests once the snow has fallen and we've begun to thaw. Kokoro Connect certainly was a surprising piece -- I never expected the concept to pan out beyond the first arc. How did the whole series stand up, though?

Read on after the jump.

In these last few episodes (11-13), we contended with the bulk of the age-changing arc. Heartseed #2 appeared and decided to mess with everybody, causing everybody but Taichi to age backwards at some point in time between noon and 5pm. It was up to Taichi to keep it secret and protect everyone.

Well, you know that all goes. Good guys can never keep their mouth shut.

Part of the side effect of becoming your younger self is that all those memories of that age come flooding back. Yui's rape memories come back. Nagase shows more of herself as a young child, trying to make her mother happy. Aoki suddenly has a relationship crisis when he realizes that Yui looks almost exactly like the girl he dated years ago. The arc unfolded a lot of Aoki's storyline, giving him some level of background, even though he remains the least-developed character in the show. The arc also gave a nice sense of closure and completeness to Nagase's troubled life, finally making her and her mother happy.

The final disc-based arc looks like it will tackle the love triangle between Nagase, Inaba, and Taichi. While we wait for that, though, let's look back at the whole of the series.

Kokoro Connect came into our lives as a gimmick supposedly stretched out into an entire 13-episode concept. The characters had to contend with the difficulties of body swapping, followed by emotional outbursts, and finally the de-aging arc.

The arc nature of the show is one of my biggest detractions. There was a very clean delineation between each story arc, with the only continuity between them being the club members' relationship drama. That's an inherent trait of light novels -- each book is meant to complete the circuit, and if you want to keep following those characters, then pick up the next title. And that's perfectly alright. But when you transfer to a different medium, such as anime, you need to be aware of those flaws and find a way to fix them. An easy solution may have been to roll one issue right into the next, but there would never be a release of tension, and one could argue the characters would go insane after dealing with Heartseed's constant manipulation.

Even with all that, each arc was really well-told. There was a healthy mix of character and relationship development along with the plot, and it all felt natural. Sure, everybody fell for Taichi like dominoes, but their reasoning isn't wholly unfounded: he's likable, he tries to solve your problems, and he's selfless. The rivalry between Inaba and Nagase is a bit strange, but that conflict will take center stage in this next arc, so I will reserve my judgement on the two of them.

The show had some really nice art, albeit K-On! in nature. The character designs didn't push any boundaries, with each character easy to guess from looking at them, and instead the artistic energy focused on providing clean key-frames and solid in-betweening work. I have to imagine that Kokoro Connect ran into some budgetary issues, because as the show approached the latter third, they began stretching out key frames for as long as possible, bringing back sudden flashbacks of Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad. I appreciate that the team didn't choose to sacrifice artistic quality and stretched things in an unobtrusive manner. 

Kokoro Connect falls into unusual territory for me: it was a good show, no bones about it. I watched it regularly, week to week, and genuinely looked forward to each episode, so I could see how the resolve it -- and to see if Inaba won out in the Taichi battle. But at the same time, it didn't reach me so deeply and profoundly that I will champion it. I enjoyed it, but it was for the revelation of what happened next, not the lasting quality of the show and its premise. I will recommend Kokoro Connect to anyone who asks for something to watch, but I would have a hard time sitting down to watch it again. Rather, I would be more interested in putting down money for the light novels to see the story in a different format.

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Brad Rice
Brad RiceFounder   gamer profile

Brad helped found in 2006, and currently serves as an Associate He's covered all aspects of the industry, but has a particular preference for the business-end of things, more + disclosures


 


 



Filed under... #anime #Final Impressions #Japanator Original #kokoro connect #top stories

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