On Kokoro Connect

There’s been a lot of talk about why this show is shallow.  Kokoro Connect has a whole slew of minor problems… including, but not limited to:

  • Iori’s backstory (in the future)
  • Inaba’s backstory
  • Yui’s backstory

Basically, the whole argument is that Kokoro Connect blew off these heavy issues very easily, be it with a kick to the groin or a mood-killing secret.  But really, what did you expect?  The problems unearthed by this simple “body swapping” device are both interesting and not over-the-top.  The solutions Taichi comes to are comedic, and fitting of a high school student who is too nice to others.

The more important question here is where this show is going to go next.  Aeroblip has voiced his predictions of a downward spiral, and I don’t blame him.  His expectations are grounded both in the shallow backstories we have seen so far and the regular cliches of a harem-type show (i.e. the unresolved/nobody wins ending).  But, he also comments on the predictability of the show…

The lack of depth ultimately makes this show predictable.  Because of the lack of dynamics regarding characters and their respective relationships, there are not many directions this show can progress. People are talking about how this show is “deep” or “provocative” it is.  Call it intuition or cynicism, but I already have an idea of exactly how the series will pan out. Put on your goggles, kids. Professor Aeroblip is about to lay the truth down.

Kokoro Connect is neither deep nor provocative, but it does touch on subjects that most shows of this kind would never dare consider.  And it pulls these off in a light-hearted manner, fitting for a show about boys and girls switching bodies.  That’s impressive.  But to call it predictable?  Is being able to guess the plotline of a harem anime some kind of admirable skill these days?  Plotwise, these past four episodes have been nothing but predictable.  But it’s the interactions between the characters that makes me camp Nyaa and Tokyo Toshokan for the latest subs.  Look at Inaba’s cocky smile.  Did you expect that?

Sure, the show might pan out the way Aeroblip says.  But that really isn’t the point here.  The way Kokoro Connect will approach these “shallow” matters is going to be fun and way out of the league of your usual harem anime.  I look forward to it.

8 Comments on “On Kokoro Connect”

  1. Cholisose says:

    I have a feeling that most complaints directed toward this series wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t being watched and analyzed and critiqued and dissected on a one-episode-per-week basis. I’ve seen no sign that these characters’ life problems have all been solved and all life scars healed forever. There’s progress being made, obviously, but I don’t get what’s so terrible about that. It’ll be best to judge the plot structure of this storyline… later… don’t you think? I mean, we had two episodes of Taichi listening to his friends’ stories and helping them out (in rather unexpected and hilarious ways, I might add), and suddenly everybody’s 100% certain this is exactly how the rest of the series will be. Maybe it will be, but I’d rather give the show the benefit of the doubt. It deserves it IMO, since I expected this show to be much, much worse than it is. I didn’t think it was going to delve this much at all into the characters’ thoughts and feelings and back-stories and dorama. The voice acting’s been stellar, too. All in all it’s been much more interesting than the generic bodyswap fanservice comedy that I think most of us were expecting (at least to some degree).

    • flomu says:

      There is this whole debate (or maybe I just like to think so) about marathonning an anime vs. watching it weekly. I think that KokoroCoLocoRoco would be better, like most shows, if marathonned. In fact, I watched all four episodes at once, since I haven’t been following this show weekly.

      I think the critique comes more from a backlash against the “wow, this is actually good” sentiment. Like you say, not many people were expecting a show about body swapping to deal with such dark/serious topics… but once episodes 1 and 2 were over, people started expecting more.

      On to your main point: I agree… tentatively. Yeah, I don’t think it’s fair to write a show off as X or Y at Episode 4. But still, with two backstories down and one to go (Iori), it seems like the show is winding down and I’m getting worried that it might not pull off this level of quality for the rest of its run. I hope the transition from episodic backstory telling to a more coherent plot won’t be sudden, but who knows…

      But don’t get me wrong. I love this show and everything about it. Just worried about its future.

      • Cholisose says:

        Oh, there’s plenty of ways the series can turn sour or even nosedive, and it wouldn’t be the first anime to start strong and end poorly. I’m mainly just surprised that the show’s already become “formulaic” and “dull” when I’ve found it quite the opposite.
        Well, that’s just how opinions work of course–though it may help that I don’t really find Taichi generic at all, which seems to be a less common opinion. But I imagine that there is still a lot more character development in store for us, and these past two episodes were needed to set the foundation for the plot twists that await us.

      • flomu says:

        I’m mainly just surprised that the show’s already become “formulaic” and “dull” when I’ve found it quite the opposite.

        I’d say the plot has been pretty formulaic – going one by one through the three girls and solving their problems with a light-hearted solution. But dull, not so much. The execution is fantastic!

        I agree that Taichi isn’t very generic, but he isn’t the fabled male MC with a striking, well developed personality that everybody and their mother dreams of. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard “the main character doesn’t stand out” from people in the blogosphere. I don’t know what people expect.

        We’ll have to wait and see about the rest, though. I hope it’s good!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think Kokoro Connect is boring as hell, but I still can’t help but laugh at the usage of the word “deep.”

    • flomu says:

      Well, slice-of-life is a really hit or miss genre in general. And I agree, the word “deep” is thrown around a lot without much thought. Here, it means “stuff I don’t usually see.”

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