First Review! Let me know what you think!
When I first heard of Kokoro Connect I wasn't really all that interested to be honest. As from what it tells you it's that it's a whole series that revolves around five high school students: Taichi Yaegashi (our main lead), Iori Nagase, Himeko Inaba, Yoshifumi Aoki, and Yui Kiriyama who all form a club called the "Student Concial Society" (or StuCS for short) which is a paper for the school.
I thought there was no way an thridteen episode series could be carried on the cliche of switching bodies. However, I quickly came to reilize how dead wrong I was when I got absolutely hooked onto the show after a friend reccomended it too me and I gotta say, it was easily the best show summer 2012 anime season.
It's too bad the synopsis only speaks of the body swapping phenomenon that starts when Aoki and Kiriyama claim to have swapped bodys for a breif second that night. Of course nobody believes them until Taichi and Iori ended up swapping bodys. It's here that the show started to get interesting and I couldn't help but laugh at there predicement. There's many more phenomenons that happen but I won't spoil the laughs and drama for you.
However it's the characters that really steal the show in Kokoro Connect. Each character feels well-written and gets an appropriate amount of screentime. Also for every new phenomenon another layer of these characters would be revealed which helped in making sure not everything felt too forced in and those make those emotional moments hit at the right time.
The animation and art also are steller across the board in Kokoro Connect. I liked the simple character designs and just how great the animation looked for the whole show. The art also looked fantastic thoughout the whole series and while it isn't going to wow you it looked good enough to stare at some of the artwork once and awhile.
I was really suprised with how much I loved Kokoro Connect. It had a great plot, absolutely fantastic characters, and an excellent blend of drama, mystery, comedy, and even some romance. It's defiently worth a look if you sound interested. Now, if you excuse me I'm off to go watch some more anime.
In a genre packed with shows Kokoro Connect had a solid premise for a series but just never got its footing.
Story - 6/10
While i'm by no means completely schooled (no pun intended) in the high school club anime category, and this might be an often used plot device, the first thing that came to mind was that this felt very similar to K-On! in the sense that both started out as a series where students couldn't find a club they liked, so they created their own and then spent the entire time goofing around (though apparently we're supposed to believe that 100% of the time not depicted in the series is dedicated to them completing their school paper)
As for the major plot of the show, i rather enjoyed the concept, but the execution just wasn't there. They tried hard to keep the show interesting by changing up the phenomena every few episodes, but the explanations and overuse of each gimmick left little time to get into the reasoning behind it all. They focused on little cutesy things at times instead of getting into Heartseed's reasoning (outside of wanting to be entertained) or his identity, so in the end everything was just left up in the air.
They also seemed to be inching towards an overall lesson of being true to yourself and your friends, and how we need to be understanding of those we care for and their needs because we don't always know what's behind their actions, but much like with Heartseed, when those points came close to being resolved things would just fly off in a pointless direction.
Animation - 7/10
While the show was exquisitely animated, I just watched it feeling as if I'd seen it all before, and then I again turned my head towards my DVD shelf and that same series popped up. Despite being from different animation studios, with different lead animators, Kokoro Connect's main three females look (and sometimes act) as if they were reused cells from K-On! The two males had a slightly new design to me, but then again how much can ever change when it comes to the massive world of True to Life High School Anime?
For what it's worth everything was great, but that lack of originality causes the series to take a hit.
Sound - 7/10
Just like the animation, the sound was nothing new. Each student sounds how you'd expect and the atmospheric sounds are spot on, but at this point I just hoped for something new.
For the first handful of episodes the Opening and Closing songs were great. I also really enjoyed how they seamlessly blended the ending song into the episode, similar to FLCL. But halfway through they changed out an ending for one that just didn't seem to fit the tone of the show, and unlike the original which could connect you in and out of episodes viewed in secession, the new song often killed the mood. Then for the final few episodes they yet again changed the music, this time to a Hard Rock song, that while still not matching the tone of the show, sounded much better than song two. It seems like every time the tricks of Heartseed changed, so did the ending music.
Characters - 6/10
While it's easy to say the characters are your "typical high school anime kids" the writers decided to add some things into their lives that we normally don't see in anime, or pretty much any young adult show for that matter. The topics of death, abusive parents and attempted rape play critical roles in the characters personalities and the way they interact with each other. Having these deeper themes in the show make the characters all the more realistic and save things from just being a typical boy in love with girl type show.
Now while they tried to give the students interesting backgrounds, they tended to be slightly thin on the details and instead focused multiple episodes on somewhat useless points. They touched on Yui's near assault, and weaved it nicely into the series, but instead of then going deeper with other students (Iori's abusive father, Aoki's friend who died) they spend multiple episodes on Yui's karate feud, which could have been wrapped up in half an episode. They also leave out reasoning behind Taichi's need to help everyone and Himeko's protective cold exterior.
I applaud them for trying to do something a little different, but in just thirteen episodes they lost their focus time and again.
Overall - 6/10
I rather enjoyed the twist on your average high school anime, as school life played such a minor role. By making the student's interactions, enjoyments and hardships realistic they were able to distinguish themselves from the many series before them that refused to have even a minor serious moment tucked into the exaggerated world
An interesting premise that could have been done better
Crunchyroll is missing the last four episodes of this series and I cannot be bothered to look them up elsewhere. Subsequently this should be regarded as an incomplete review.
Kokoro Connect is yet another story about strange things happening to a group of high school kids. This one has chosen to aim for more realism in its characters world while continuing with a paranormal theme. The protagonists' secrets and vulnerabilities are exposed by a phenomenon that causes them to switch bodies and they all have to learn to deal with it.
It mostly stands up but does fall a bit short in the later episodes where the story drags. Towards the end the antagonist' heartseed's nature and reasoning remains unanswered. This felt unresolved and disappointing. Even though this is a character driven series, an important lot device such as Heartseed should not be left hanging. The characters relationships are also left unresolved.
The five teenagers are above average by most anime series standards, but that is hardly saying much. Only Inaba really stands out as a believably deep character. The voice acting for her was exceptional. The males were the usual drab bunch.
Artwork and music are of a reasonably standard.
Kokoro Connect is an anime that doesn't exactly leap out at you upon a first glance but should you decide to watch the series then you shouldnt be disappointed. It was one of the first anime's I have watched and it is still a favorite of mine.
Lets start with the best part, the characters. Not one of these main characters did I truly dislike which was a first. For a romantic anime it is important that character development is accomplished well and they hit the nail on the head with this one. The fact that I could sympathize with each of the characters to some extent; made them very memorable (particularly Inaba :3). Whilst some are weaker than others they each have different trait s that makes them very unique
The animation was good but it was not the highlight of the series. Nothing really wrong with it just not as appealing as its other features.
The main theme was nice and catchy got in my head for a couple days anyway the voices were good too and matched the character personna well.
The story had no clear ending as to what may happen and I love that in any series. The inpredictability kept me engaged quite well but also the surrealness of the whole heartseed concept. The fact that the phenomena came in three separate forms also kept things interesting.
The pyschological aspect of the anime was surprising to say the least. The connections were very legitimate and I was able to share feeling with many of the characters. This was maybe because I found myself in simillar states to some of those in high school and possibly bears some resemblance to some others I know (not the phenomenon). The fact that this had to end was harsh to say the least as it still had a lot of potential. But if you want something deep but not to take up too much time of yours this is a superb choice.
If you liked this try: Mirai Nikki
(Do bear in mind my opinion may differ from yours and this is merely my second review but if you have any constructive critisim or feedback to offer, I'd appreciate it :D)
The one good thing I can say about Kokoro Connect is that it's direct. "Boom: here's the characters, with a little intro script for each." "Boom: here's the weird, contrived gimmick to add suspense." "Boom: here's each caracter's personality trait (yes they each get just one) and each of their "big secrects"." And finally, "Boom, here's your inter-personal relationship drama, complete with love polygons and the like."
The gimmick of body swapping, or whatever, is pretty stale, but this show does try to be a little more realistic about it in regards to the character's reactions. The animation is bland, the music ranges from forgettable to irritating and the voice acting is standard drama fare. But what really drags this thing down (even further) is the characters. What I said earlier might sound like an exageration but it isn't, the show literaly goes through each character and tells you about their "big secret" and their related single personality trait. I've seen a lot of people saying that Inaba was the deepest character, but to me her character was the most flat and stereotypical of them all, voice acting included (and that's saying a lot).
Nothing Kokoro connect does is even slightly original and every one of it's re-used elements can be found used to much better effect in other, much better, animes.