Jan 1, 2013
mdz (All reviews)
Kokoro Connect's essentially a teen drama.

[Contains vague spoilers, nothing specific; keep in mind, the rating's just a number, read the content]

When you leave five teenagers in a room, you're bound to have something interesting happen. Sexual tension, explosive conflict, and heartful resolutions are perhaps all derivatives of what ultimately makes Kokoro Connect the series that it is -- a great agglomeration of lovable aspects and developed characters.

Each character has a particular flaw-- some rely on other characters, others attempt to rely solely on oneself, while others want to depend on a certain, individual character. Whether the problem ranges from being something as commonplace as the inability to trust, to effects of unfortunate events such as assault, one thing remains relatively constant -- the managed effectiveness for the characters to eventually get past it with the help of one another.

The thing that sets Kokoro Connect aside from every other teenage drama would be its method of actually getting things "done." When teenagers argue, they don't argue very logically -- it's mostly emotional and effusive with semblances of interpretation rather than actual being; in Kokoro Connect, this is the case. But in a way similar to real life, they get over it. Yes, the characters break into absolutely ridiculous conflicts at times, but they all have their reasoning behind their actions and their feelings. Of course, their reasoning isn't absolutely valid or "logical" -- but it's a reason nevertheless.

But, this particular "reasoning" is recurrently smeared with the introduction of a third-party, omnipotent element -- Heartseed. In practical terms, you're given a room full of angsty, excited teenagers paired with an apathetic, ominpotent entity who finds it enjoyable to mess with the kids. Of course, this entity isn't there for the sole reason of screwing with the kids -- with its interaction, it strengthens the covalent bonds between the members of the club, in hopes of truly "connecting" their hearts. But just as much as this particular entity aids, it also stabs as a double-edged sword -- romances began with this element as the strengthening cause, but romances also dissolve because of its acerbic tendencies.

The studio behind it, Silver Link, it perhaps the most surprising element of the series -- we're already given a generic concept, but we're given an even more unpredictable studio. For those unfamiliar with Silver Link, they adapted works such as Tasogare and C3 -- works that were visually pretty with a good soundtrack -- but also works that were needlessly dramatic at times. Kokoro Connect's primary element is drama -- surely, a studio inept at dramatic adaptations would "fail" with adapting a drama, but the opposite occurred.

Surprisingly, against all odds, the drama in Kokoro Connect, for the most part, worked out really well. It flowed, it was logical, and it was highly enjoyable. Silver Link screwed up with series such as C3 in making it needlessly melodramatic with brusque transitions -- but with Kokoro Connect, the arc-based, character-idiosyncratic format complemented the drama in a way that made the series "great" and not "bad."

The art in Silver Link's previous series was ridiculously pretty -- it carries over to Kokoro Connect; Silver Link has the proficiency to make a relatively simple palette look adorned with great features -- the complementing aesthetic element, the soundtrack, was also done fantastically by Yasuhiro Misawa. The opening, which was paradigm by eufonius, matched the thematic principles of the shows.

But what stood out more was the ending theme -- each done by Team Nekokan, and each featuring a particular artist. To me, two specific artists stood out the most -- Rekka Katakiri, who is known for her work in visual novels such as Sharin no Kuni and G-Senjou no Maou, and Lia, who is renowned for her work in Key adaptations [by Kyoto Animation]. The other endings were certainly not lacking, in fact, some of them were the most memorable of the series. Kokoro Connect had a fantastic soundtrack paired with pretty art -- it did well in this department.

As mentioned, the structure of the story followed an arc-based format, each arc revolving around a particular character. This format was generic, but it was very effective in establishing the characters and in further advancing their characteristics. It was trite, but it was certainly not bad -- it went very well.

The characters were all likable. In fact, some of them were extremely likable. But some, were also less likable -- yet, more developed and complex. This ambivalence between a "lovable character" and a "complex character" truly made the finale of Kokoro Connect a discordant, hard-to-solve dilemma. Silver Link faithfully adapted the story as the source was, but I do have problems with how the author actually executed it.

Nevertheless, all the technical terms aside, the thing that makes Kokoro Connect the series that it is, is the enjoyability of it. There are seventeen episodes of Kokoro Connect, thirteen from the former season with four to the latter, "concluding" arc, Michi Random. Each one of these arcs are truly enjoyable -- some arcs mirror practical, yet meaningful dilemmas that teenagers face. By actually crafting a series that "related" well with the primary audience, the enjoyability of the show in ineffable.

Kokoro Connect's anime has ended, but its light novel has not. There are more arcs after "Michi Random", but it's a matter of whether they'll get adapted. It truly was an enjoyable series, and a meaningful one. For that reason, it's a favorite series.