When five students at Yamaboshi Academy realize that there are no clubs where they fit in, they band together to form the Student Cultural Society, or "StuCS" for short. The club consists of: Taichi Yaegashi, a hardcore wrestling fan; Iori Nagase, an indecisive optimist; Himeko Inaba, a calm computer genius; Yui Kiriyama, a petite karate practitioner; and Yoshifumi Aoki, the class clown.
One day, Aoki and Yui experience a strange incident when, without warning, they switch bodies for a short period of time. As this supernatural phenomenon continues to occur randomly amongst the five friends, they begin to realize that it is not just fun and games. Now forced to become closer than ever, they soon discover each other's hidden secrets and emotional scars, which could end up tearing the StuCS and their friendship apart.
Disclaimer- this review takes into account the 4 episode "sequel" to the show
With the massive rise in access to entertainment and media/pop culture, we have gotten to the point where our options on what to watch are so stratified that we have the privilege of not liking something because its not our particular taste. In the world of anime and manga this leads many to disregard shows that simply don't fit the criteria of what we find entertaining. However, this does not mean that certain shows are objectively good or bad, it sometimes means that a show is an excellent version of whatever
style or genre it is supposed to be.
Kokoro Connect is a perfect example of this concept. I am relatively new to Anime, and (despite my actual list) my tastes range from the classic DBZ (im old) to my new favorite Spice and Wolf (season 3 please!). I try to watch each show objectively recognizing how it is supposed to fulfill its role in its particular genre. Aside from Toradora (the show that made me pay attention to slice of life shows) i cannot think of too many shows that do such a great job of showcasing compelling drama, laughs, and heart warming romance. For what it is supposed to be, Kokoro Connect is almost perfect.
The story of Kokoro Connect (KC) revolves around a supernatural conceit that drives the drama of the story. Simply put, a group teenagers (already known for not having the best sense of control) are put in a position where they no longer truly control their own bodies. Over the course of the story this takes on several different forms (some more compelling than others), but the awesome thing about it is that the writers were clearly creatively inspired by this seemingly silly premise. A show that could have easily went on an ecchi, slapstick, "accidental pervert" fest, decided to use this as a way for the characters to learn more about themselves and each other, and we as the audience end up doing the same. Toward the end the show does wander into some of the inane melodrama that plagues a lot of animes, but understanding that this is an inherent characteristic of the medium, such things cannot be helped. To put it in perspective, this is the first anime i was able to get my completely uninterested wife to watch (most of it at least).
As a relatively new serious fan of anime (i had been a casual fan for decades) I really can't speak from confidence on sound and art. I have not developed a discerning eye for these things. Ill just say that i personally enjoy clean, smooth, and crisp visuals/sound in my anime. I have seen my fair share of shows in the past few months, and with many, i just cant get past the visuals. Whether it be an awkward and uninteresting art style, (Bokura Ga Ita) bland sound (Kimi No Todoke) or dated visuals (Peach Girl). Kokoro Connect is great in all categories, its just not anything spectacular (Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions).
I am an English teacher by trade (writer by fantasy). I know what good character development is and how it is supposed to be done. Although the techniques are gimmicky, and there are a few one note main characters (Aoki) i was still very impressed with the amount of depth delivered by the characters in this story. More significantly, this was not the typical anime that made me roll my eyes at their behavior (most of the time). When the inevitable love triangle presents itself, it makes sense. When the guy starts choosing, it makes sense, when people get hurt- it makes sense. When the drama and tension rises- it makes sense. All of the characters motivations are not fully developed, but they are developed enough to make you care and not swoon over how contrived they are. Again, for the genre and medium, this was an amazing job of characterization.
I have a short attention span when it comes to anime. So when i actually watch all the episodes of a show (instead of wikipedia searching the plot til it gets to the good parts) i have to give that show high marks. My favorite thing about this show is that it is an almost perfect length. They dont draw out the inevitable sooooo long (I love you Toradora but im talking to you) and they dont end it anticlimactically (every 3rd SOL romance does this). The second to last arc was a little weak and less compelling and funny than the first two, but it was short and still entertaining. Again, if you are looking for a SOL/romance/comedy anime that doesnt make you embarrassed to be a fan with ridiculous characters, gratuitous fan service, and a blah ending. You cant do much better than this.
Is it just me, or do I only review shows beginning with the letter K?
Anyway, just so you know, I'm also including the Michi Random specials in this review.
What would you do if you and your friends started randomly switching between each other's bodies? Or if your deepest darkest desires were suddenly brought to the surface, out of your control?
Here we have a series that takes a supernatural storyline, adds some well-written high-school romance and plenty of compelling drama, and pulls it all together into one amazing package. Although some of the ideas may have been done many times before, Kokoro Connect
manages to make it fresh and funny, whilst also being surprisingly realistic with how it portrays the effects of each of the phenomena. I felt the drama wasn't overdone at all and every arc introduced interesting new aspects of the story and allowed many sides of the characters to be shown.
Ultimately, Kokoro Connect succeeds in blending its comedic school life shenanigans with more serious emotional moments, a testament to the quality of the writing and the great direction.
I really liked the art for this series - everything is crisp and smoothly animated. The characters instantly reminded me of K-On!, though upon checking, I was surprised to find that these two series don't actually have the same character designer.
The settings are fairly detailed and we have some beautiful backgrounds and lush scenery. As far as I could tell, there were no off-models or problems with animation.
The characters are all very expressive when they need to be. Whether they are happy, angry, embarrassed or otherwise, their on-screen demeanours fit very well with the excellent voice acting.
Whilst I enjoyed the colourful and upbeat opening animation, it was the endings that really shone in my opinion.
Overall, Kokoro Connect is a very attractive looking show - Silver Link doing a commendable job here.
The background music is great to hear; they fit the scenes nicely and add to the drama and emotion.
The ending song also fades in before the ending animation, which I always find to be a nice touch when executed well like this.
My personal favourites were the 2nd OP (Kimi Rhythm by Imai Masaki) and the 3rd ED (Salvage by Team.Nekokan [Neko] feat. Katakiri Rekka), though they are all really decent.
In terms of voice acting, I think it was a job well done by all the seiyuu. Even Heartseed with his tired, monotone voice I found to be sufficiently entertaining. Throughout the series, a wide range of character traits and personalities were portrayed.
The characters are what really make Kokoro Connect. Unlike some other school-based romantic comedies, Kokoro Connect features fully fleshed out, three-dimensional people, each with very real pasts and flaws, which was what made me really care about them as I watched their story unfold. They are apparently all somewhat misfits, so they form a Culture Club of sorts.
Without going into too much detail, we have:
Taichi, an altruistic pro-wrestling fan who has a selfless urge to help others;
Iori, a friendly energetic girl who is popular and loved by all;
Himeko, the cool and responsible one of the group, with considerable skill in information gathering and analysis;
Yui, an expressive karate practitioner, who loves cute things;
and Yoshifumi - their casual friend, who is attracted to Yui (though she resists his advances).
I also have to mention one of the cutest imouto in anime - Yaegashi Rina - who is a caring sister that looks out for Taichi and, despite being younger, seems to give him advice about his relationships.
Kokoro Connect was really one of if not the best show of its season. Watching the characters mature and develop was very compelling. Over the course of the series, their pasts are revealed, along with their own shortcomings and how they overcome them. The highlight is the character drama, and all in all, the series was practically perfect for me.
I have to say, Kokoro Connect is a must watch and I recommend it to everyone. It was fully entertaining throughout. As the supernatural phenomena start to take their toll on the five main characters - will their friendship be able to survive? Join them on an emotional rollercoaster as you see them handle various unusual situations, all the while learning more about themselves and each other.
Thanks for reading! Please give feedback if you found it helpful （＾ω＾）
Yet ANOTHER update on this review. This is one tricky anime to write a review on- Here goes.
In a school where extracurricular activities are mandatory, there exist five "outlaws".
Yaegashi Taichi, the pro-wrestling maniac
Nagase Iori, your typical spunky, bubbly, lovely character type
Inaba Himeko, the intelligent, cool computer expert... who is maybe just a tad bit too cool at times
Kiriyama Yui, lover of all things that are cute
Aoki Yoshifumi, frequently subject to rough treatment by the girls around him.
These five students form their own club, the "Bunkenbu" (Bunka Kenkyuu-bu)- and each day spent together is as ordinary as can be.
Kokoro Connect is best described as unique.
It does not follow the plot of traditional romance anime, but instead, adds its own splash of color to what could have been considered "trite and overused". The first arc -Hito Random- sets the story off with the odd-at-the-very-least phenomenon of body-switching among the five main characters. Subsequent arcs deal with various phenomena (including a release of all desire and a manifestation of one's past self)- all quite intriguing and entertaining... but not limited to "fun"/
While the events in Kokoro Connect are obviously not realistic, the audience is lead to think "What if?". Imagine suddenly being thrown into a mess of body-switching. Everyone has his or her own darkest secrets, desires, painful memories, and insecurities. Now, throw in the condition that four other people have access to all of the above at any given time. These people are close friends... but can they really be trusted? Would you want them to know about your past? Your thoughts? Your secrets? The answer is probably "Some things are better left untouched".
In addition to a superb cast that really brings life to the characters, Kokoro Connect very realistically displays how a person would react when facing situations such as the ones listed above. It takes a concept that may sound lighthearted and shapes it into something deeper- even deeper and more complex than love ties that exist elsewhere in anime (which is saying quite a bit).
Kokoro Connect is a series I decided to watch on a whim after spotting it in CrunchyRoll one day, and I'm certainly glad that I did.
I felt like the story was, by far, the stongest point of the series and what made it stand out from your average high school romance/drama anime. While the audience is never given a full and proper explanation of why the main cast suddenly find themselves swapping bodies with each other, reading the others' thoughts or acting on their supressed desires, among other things, all these events are handled really skillfully to flesh the series' themes out.
All the apparently bizarre
happenings have something in common: They force the main cast to lay their innermost emotions and struggles bare for their friends to see, no matter how much they might try to normally hide that side of them away, which is what prompts the others to try their best to help.
The way each character's problems were addressed was nice, and the characters felt relatable at most times. There were a couple of overly dramatic moments here and there, but I still felt like they worked well as set-ups for some really cathartic moments at the end of each arc.
I've also got to commend the series on how it managed to ease the tension with comedic scenes that didn't amount to pandering to the audience. While there were a couple of scenes that stuck out as weird to me, I liked how the show was serious whenever it was addressing somebody's problems rather than just laughing them off with trope-ridden scenes.
About whether I'd recommend this series or not, I'd say it depends on how much you care about series focused on character drama, since Kokoro Connect leans heavily on that. It felt like it didn't care all that much about explaining the bizarre happenings as much as it waned them to be there in order to explore each character and the bonds they make with their friends as a result of these trials they're put through.
School life is an important part of youth so it is not unusual that there is a huge variety of anime shows exploring this theme. Take a look at this list of the best 15 school anime to see what makes them so interesting and captivating!
A mind-bending list of 15 anime series where gender-bending is the main plot or a recurring theme. Most of these are comedy series because, well, when was cross-dressing, body-swapping, or whatever not the source of hilarity? Get ready to dive into the unique world of gender-bender anime!