Ever so often, a show will come along to captivate its audience with a riveting plot coupled with enthralling character development. Kokoro Connect is one of those shows, and it’ll be a waste if you gave it a miss.
Of course, I can’t mention the show and not talk about the incident that caused an angry public outcry after the studio did something perceived to be bullying to a voice actor. While I do agree it was horrid in every sense of the word, you shouldn’t deny yourself the chance to watch something really good. It’s upsetting that the resulting collateral damage tarnished the Kokoro Connect title, of which it played no part.
The show is split into different “arcs”, differentiated by the change of ‘trials’ set by the show’s main antagonist(?), heartseed, a being who can control the way humans behave (amongst others), and how the 5 characters deal with each.
The first arc, consisting of 5 episodes, was something you’d see taken out of a typical ecchi anime – body swapping. Despite my initial eye-rolling, I was pleasantly surprised at the way the trope of “nice excuse for excessive fan-service” was circumvented, instead focusing on the emotional turmoil that gave key characters depth, and from there a tightly wrapped narrative was spun.
This brings me to my second like of the show: the way each arc concludes. For instance, if you decide to stop watching after the first arc, it ends well enough to allow it to stand as a short series by its own – with no loose strings untied. Even the ending animation for those episodes reflect this (with credits rolling as the scenes from the ‘epilogue’ plays). I’m just disappointed that the final arc of the series would only be available as OVAs on disc (or at a live event), but the 13th episode of the broadcast does end satisfactorily enough.
The OST for the series isn’t noticeable as most of the scenes where characters interact are generally silent, but during high (and low) points it swells accordingly to add to the mood. The OP and ED of the series is typical fluff, but I do particularly like the second opening, Kimi Rhythm, by Masaki Imai.
Music aside, what really shines is the voice work of the cast. They did a splendid job selling their characters, from self-sacrificing Taichi to angst-riddled Iori. In particular Miyuki Sawashiro, who voiced Inaba Himeko, did fantastic portraying the emotions that so rattled her character, likely making Himeko everyone’s favourite.
So ignore all that negative criticism (which aren’t related to the show) and go give it a shot, because believe me, you’ll come out feeling it was worth every minute of your time. I did.