Kokoro Connect – Walking A Mile in Their Shoes

Kokoro dvd cover

 

  • Genre:  Drama, Romance, Science Fiction
  • Episodes: 13
  • Studio: SILVER LINK.

 

A crucial part of any successful high school career is choosing the right club. This can get tricky if you’re not athletic or artistic or traditionally talented in some way. Fret not though, there’s always the Student Cultural Society. So in practice this is mostly sitting around in an empty club room, having snacks and chatting with the other members, but you know what, all the best clubs are like that! You may think that it’s not contributing much or preparing you for the future but that’s not entirely true. Learning how to make friends and understand each other is an indispensable skill and yet most people don’t put in the necessary practice. When mysterious otherworldly events start to happen all around them, the five member of the Student Cultural Society are about to get a crash course in connecting to one another. Now that’s certainly going to come in handy in the future.

Ok, I just looked up the studio to put in the link up there. Like a minute ago. Look up is not exactly the right word since I knew the studio. Or at least I thought I knew!!! How is this not Kyoto Animation? I understand that Shiromizakana (the illustrator) did work at KyoAni before working on Kokoro Connect so that could explain the visual similarities up to a certain point but guys… I was convinced. There was not a trace of doubt in mind. I was making comparisons to other works and drawing really credible parallels. Honestly this little piece of information just completely blew my mind! It has nothing to do with this review…

Kokoro Connect ep1-2 (9)

imagine these girls playing music instruments

So um yeah. I thought it was Kyoto Animation so it kind of looks like that. Very pretty character designs and great animation. I was not the biggest fan of the sound design here. I found it occasionally obstructive and a bit too heavy. Also the voice acting is more serious than I usually go for. It’s good voice acting but they don’t sound like the actors are having much fun. Considering the events of the show that’s understandable. I’m not sure how to describe it, too serious is the only way I can really put it into words.

Those aren’t actual production flaws mind you. The only real complaints I have is that the backgrounds are very repetitive and often uninteresting. Also light can be a bit inconsistent which I found baffling at times.

Other than that though, Kokoro Connect is a very good looking show. Now that I have seen it, I realize just how often I had seen screencaps from the series but just didn’t know where it was from. (I had probably assumed it was from some Kyoto Animation show)

Kokoro connect ep3-4 (17)

Glad to hear it

The story of Kokoro Connect is fairly standard. Stay with me here. The five students of the club stat experiencing some very strange phenomena such as swapping bodies, hearing voices in their heads that compel them to act out their deepest desires and reverting back to younger versions of themselves. We never truly get all the details of what’s happening or why but there is a vague alien connection.

These science fiction elements are my favourite part of the show. There were moments in the early episodes that felts like they harkened back to classic sci fi movies of the 50s or something, when visual effects were not readily available so you had to rely on atmosphere and tension to get the eerie mood across to the audience. It is pretty well done and any scene with Heartseed in it immediately had my full attention. I would say the Science Fiction elements make up roughly 10% of this anime, at most

The rest of the show is somewhat heavy high school drama with a love triangle thrown in. It had some harem elements as the male protagonist Taichi is the sort of too good to be true bu generally forgettable every man that all the girls fall for. One several occasions it really brought to mind Toradora. The story beats and character archetypes have a lot in common.

Kokoro Connect ep1-2 (13)

what? you do!

Toradora is an unquestionably great anime, that I did not like. Kokoro Connect does not have the charm and character development of Toradora. Make of that what you will.

One of my complaints about Kokoro Connect ( a complaint I often have about these types of romance series) is that everyone is an emotional wreck that’s about to explode any minute now. From my outside perspective, it makes it really difficult to understand why people are reacting the way they are and in turn makes me sort of disconnect with the story.

Sure I get that these people have a lot of baggage and that’s why they are overreacting but why now? They’ve had the baggage for over a decade. And I’m willing  to accept that sometimes there is no catalyst and people just sort of break down on a random Tuesday, except someone breaks down every single episode, sometimes a couple of people for different reasons in the same episode. It’s exhausting, at least to me.

Another element that I have seen a few times and can’t quite figure out is that trauma seems to hit the girls disproportionately. What I mean is that the girls are dealing with abuse or assault survival, crippling anxiety and depression, while the boys are a bit bummed that the girls are sad. Every character is given an arc and obstacles to overcome but they just don’t really feel equal, you know.

Kokoro Connect ep5-13 (14)

ok the guys have problems too

I feel like I need to say this again, I am not a fan of either drama not romance series. This show reminded me of both Toradora and My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected. Two shows I did not enjoy myself but which tend to be very appreciated by fans. I’m pretty sure that a lot of people will enjoy (or have enjoyed) Kokoro Connect way more than I did.

For me, it was an interesting sci fi anime and the episode which concentrated on that were fun, but I couldn’t engage with the drama and never really bonded with the characters.

Kokoro Connect ep5-13 (52)

Aoki is ten here I think

Favourite character: Heartseed and also Aoki

What this anime taught me: That it was made by Silver Links…Sorry guys I’m just not over it yet.

“If you can’t be happy, at least you can be drunk”

Suggested drink: A French Connection

  • Every time Taichi gets yelled at – take a smal sip
  • Every time Iori’s mom is late – take a sip
  • Every time Inaba is being a troll – cheers
  • Every time anyone gets introspective – you might as well go pour yourself another
  • Every time Fujishima gest suspicious – gasp
  • Every time anyone gets sad for someone else – take a sip
  • Every time we hear selfless freak – nod and take a sip
  • Every time Taichi saves the day – take a sip
  • Every time we see Heartseed – pay attention
  • Every time Aoki gest shafted – take a sip
  • Every time Yui eats – get a snack
  • Every time we see a chaarger – I know weird prompt, anyways take a sip
  • Every time we see the actual Mr. Go – take a sip
  • Every time we see the ferris wheel from the OP in the show – take a sip

Kokoro Connect ep5-13 (43)

I’m not crazy right? You guys see it too?

 

 

 

 

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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20 Responses

  1. Kokoro Connect huh, first kamisama no memochou, now this, you seem intent on reminding me of the weird light novels I’ve read huh.

    It has such a funny translation story, a hiatus of three years only to be purged soon after translation resumed. The official english version only just surpassed the purged unoffcial version, even though it’s been complete for 7 years. It’s so funny it’s tragic! CAUSE I DON”T KNOW HOW IT ENDS AND I’VE BEEN STUCK HERE FOR 5 YEARS. Sorry, I had a bit of an angry moment there.

    Btw, anime is pretty shitty compared to the LN, which is not amazing in the first place, so i understand your complaints with this anime.

  2. Halsdoll says:

    Sounds like that’s the type of club my co worker would join. She likes building meaningful relationship with people. However, club will serve meaningless if the chit chat involves gossiping.

    • Irina says:

      Hmm, gossip is sort of difficult to completely avoid, especially in a group of teenage kids.

      • Halsdoll says:

        I just think gossiping is a sign of insecurity. There is no real reason to put people down to make one’s feel better. For the most part, I do agree with you that being able to connect with other people is an important. A little bit of empathy goes a long way.

  3. Maica says:

    Ypur final quote… just epic. Hahah!

  4. Dawnstorm says:

    I remember having plenty of niggles with the show, but I can’t remember what they were. What I remember most about the show is a vague feeling of boredom all the way through, but I also liked a few things (though I can’t remember those either). I think my favourite character was Inaba (if that’s Miyuki Sawashiro’s character). (Oh, and I’m someone who likes both Torodora and Oregairu.)

    When you said you thought it was KyoAni, my first reaction was there’s no way we’d have gotten such dull backgrounds, then, and then you comment on that about a paragraph later. Yeah. (I also think the show would have had more sentimental and less cynical feel, though I’m not sure I remember the show or my impressions of it enough to actually state that with confidence.) The character designs are *very* KyoAni, though.

    Oh, I must have liked it at least some, since I watched the OVA, too. Don’t ask me how it was; I forgot.

    • Irina says:

      I liked some of it too. But like you I just got bored and was mildly annoyed at the show for making me bored because it had all those bits I liked….I don’t regret watching it though.

  5. Pinkie says:

    This is the show with that weird out of context quote I saw on your twitter a few weeks ago right? I don’t want to spoil it for other people.. but that quote where she does a certain thing too!?
    Based on that screenie I thought it would be more comical than this review revealed so I was really surprised. It’s not my genre so I will probably not figure out unless I roll this for my random generated anime per month.. yeah I imagined something else entirely!

    Thanks for the honest review!

    • Irina says:

      It took me a second but yeah – I did tweet a weird screencap of this show… And there wasn’t tons more context in the series. Obviously a bit more but it was still whoa…
      But yeah, it’s actually a fairly dramatic series.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Remember when one of the Japanese VA’s auditoned for a character but it turned out the character wasn’t in the show and was ended up being like the target of a cruel practical joke by the production team and the other va’s? Also one of the people working on the musical score of the show was also mocking another person in the musical team working on the score as well and because of the scandals coming out of it the production team was forced to apologize and also the internet radio show promoting it got pulled off as a result.
    Because of this silver link has a really bad rep in the anime community since then besides just the quality of certain shows like Chaos Child.
    -K (rogueotakugamer)

    • Anonymous says:

      One of the va’s even though she wasn’t i on the prank but was still on the show she had to delete her twitter account because otakus in Japan can be really hardcore.

    • Irina says:

      Wow , you know all the production gossip!

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh yes i often do alot of research on the behind the scene stuff of what goes on during anime production for my reviews to help give readers a perspective of what kind of stuff goes on during the show.
        Take Psycho Pass for example Moe and any other wholesome related word was BANNED entirely because it really went against the themes of the show and also because it was made to be a counter culture against mainstream anime that is showing and also for something that the western mainstream media could adapt.

        • Irina says:

          So why did the production take so much focus away from the backgrounds? It doesn’t seem purely budgetary

          • Anonymous says:

            I’d never really gave much thought of it and it doesn’t sadly really say why the anime took so much focus away from it. I do understand though that 17-18 had to be remade due to it being outsourced to another studio and it was poorly recieved when it was aired so the physical media copies had to include the updates.

          • Anonymous says:

            I just looked what you have just mentioned and it doesn’t really say why they took so much focus away from the background designs.

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