Title: Kokoro Connect
Genre: Drama, Supernatural, Romance
Summary: Kokoro Connect revolves around the daily, not so normal lives of Taichi, Iori, Himeko, Yoshifumi and Yui and their encounters in the Cultural Research Club. Up until recently they thought that they and their friends lived normal happy lives, but now the Heartseed is pulling their lives apart and exposing their inner secrets through body switching, urges and age regression.
Review: I’m sad to say that this anime turned out the way it did. I initially didn’t have hopes for it before it even aired. A couple weeks in and people were talking about it like it could possible be the best of the Summer 2012 season. I decided to give it a gander and see if it really met all the hype. To my surprise about three or four weeks in I felt hooked. I was curious as to what was going to happen next, how the characters were going to react to the Heartseeds dark plans, and if things were going to turn out alright. The first arc did a brilliant job pulling you into the anime and keeping you invested in the characters. Unfortunately not everything could turn out so picture perfect, and soon after I found myself dreading the next episode, cringing at the sound of characters voices, and slumping in my chair with my hand across my eyes attempting to look away from the screen.
The art style for Kokoro Connect was nothing spectacular and fell with the conventions most anime do. It had a few key moments that really stood out and did a good job emphasizing cliff hangers. It played well with character swapping and had believable character motion. While the anime was not action packed it did have a few moments of ‘combat’ which looked rather exciting. The character models were drawn well and their clothes, hair, and other minor details fit the world around them. It may sound sadistic but even their drama-filled faces, whether anger in their eyes or tears streaming down their face, were very captivating. For that I would say Kokoro Connect did a great job doing more than just heavy backstory and supernatural interference to bring you closer to the characters. Sadly it didn’t last long and it couldn’t overpower the dreaded story and character development.
The anime itself wasn’t half bad and I found it interesting to use supernatural mixed with reality for story telling. Unlike many anime which use characters constantly swapping places or hearing inner thoughts as comedy, this one took a much darker turn. I found it surprising how they started the series as relatively light hearted mixing in a few of the concerns of a boy jumping in a girl’s body only to slowly watch the characters realize what was happening. It soon turned into a big problem when trying to continue with basic school work, dealing with parents, and even doing mundane tasks like getting ready for bed. While the anime started out great by creating real life solutions to a supernatural problem, it seemed to try and force emotional stir in their audience later on. It tried so hard that I started to distance myself from the characters and it occurred to me that I couldn’t relate to any of them. Either there would be the knight in shining armor trying to save everybody, or the schizophrenic having an identity crisis during this whole mess. One thing after another just kept bombarding these kids creating a pile of depression and destruction. To some of you that may sound pretty interesting, but trust me when I tell you that the mountain just covered up any good parts this anime had going for it. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy drama as much as the next person; I think it is a great story teller. However, when drama is caused by someone not seeing the answer or the hope right in front of their eyes I just get frustrated. It seemed like every one of these characters was going through an earth shattering crisis that only pertained to them. Every time they had to solve a new problem caused by the Heartseed there was always something new holding them back. They would claim that nothing could get in their way, and no one could tear them apart. Suddenly everyone was pulling themselves away from the group because of their own selfish thoughts.
Some could claim that it was all a master plan from the famous Heartseed, a demi-god in their little lives. But was it really? What motive did he truly have? Entertainment? Enlightenment? Both? He does give some sort of an explanation at the end of the series, but I found it so half-assed that it didn’t really count. It felt liked a co-op way of giving the users a reason behind his actions.
Final statements: I can’t say that the plot of the anime was terrible,. The overall idea of having an unstoppable force control your daily lives was rather interesting. It was the character development that really killed it for me. Generally I turn to anger when the girl (or guy) I like isn’t chosen, but this time around I genuinely disliked all the characters. I couldn’t relate to any of them and because of that I couldn’t stand watching them. I consider it an avoid watch and a part of me wishes they cut the anime while they were ahead instead of dragging it on.