Kokoro Connect – 02

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.35_[2012.07.14_09.57.04] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.42_[2012.07.14_10.55.15] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.33_[2012.07.14_10.07.04]

My reaction here is very simple – that was a truly massive improvement over the first episode.

Before anyone accuses me of flip-flopping, let me reference what I said last week:

It may be that as we get to know the characters better and start to explore the phenomenon Kokoro Connect will enjoy a “tortoise vs. the hare” effect and slowly work its way up to being really interesting. 

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.19_[2012.07.14_10.00.18]The fact that we got to “really interesting” so quickly is a bonus, but I’m gratified to see it – and not completely surprised, because there was certainly the germ of something interesting in the premiere.  I’m also pleased that the second episode confirms that Oonuma Shin is seemingly not in charge of the series on a day-to-day basis, because two episodes in we’re almost completely free of his St. Vitus’ Dance of tics and stunts.  The direction is simple, straightforward and minimalist – and so far, that seems to be working. 

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.26_[2012.07.14_10.01.25]It’s hard to imagine a show that isn’t improved by the addition of Fujiwara Keiji, and he instantly adds some weight and amusement as Gotou-sensei – universally known to the students as “Mister Go”.  Go-san is your classic wannabe-cool teacher – the guy who wants to be everyone’s friend – and Keiji-san nails this.  But he really steps into his own when “Heartseed” takes over his body.  If you imagine Houtarou from Hyouka as a Kami taking over a human’s body, that seems to sum up Heartseed – he’s either the one who started the whole body-switching gig, or the one in charge of keeping an eye on it.  I love Keiji’s deadpan performance here as he utters Heartseed’s bizarre dialogue.  “Then, after you’ve all switched around a bit and I’m like, ‘Yeah, that was fun’, it’ll all stop.” may not be much of an explanation, but I could listen to the delivery all day long.

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.58_[2012.07.14_10.02.13]It’s interesting the way Kokoro Connect chooses to give us just that nugget of information, but no real explanations – just that this thing is happening, it’s unavoidable, and it has a finite duration.  It understandably doesn’t make the kids feel much better, but it does start to give us some understanding of their personalities – something that was largely missing from the first episode.  Inaba in particular tries very hard to be scientific and in-control, but she’s a complete slave to her own temper and constantly loses that precious control whenever one of the others does something stupid (as they inevitably do quite often).

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.20_[2012.07.14_10.02.51]Another element I see creeping into the story is something dark in Yui’s past.  When Inaba speaks quite practically about protecting everyone’s “virtue” when switched, she reacts quite dramatically – and in fact, she seems the most upset by the whole thing.  She’s extremely afraid of being touched, has a keen interest in self-defense, and her refusals of Aoki’s rather innocent puppy-dog advances are more violent than they really need to be.  She also seems terrified at the notion of being alone in the house when in Nagase’s body – something quite unusual for a 16 year-old.  Clearly there’s something more to all this that needs to be explored, but the speculation will naturally follow a certain course.  If indeed she carries a painful secret from her past, it’s easy to imagine that the notion of body-switching would be even more terrifying for her than the others.

[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.27_[2012.07.14_10.03.58]One question that this ep did answer is whether or not same-gender switching would occur – and indeed it does, as it appears we’re simply not seeing it so far because it isn’t considered as inherently comedic.  We got a little philosophy too – from Nagase, surprisingly – about what these personality switches mean for everyone’s identity (what did “I screwed up” mean, I wonder?).  The fact is, these seem like basically decent people – they liked each other well enough to be in the same club by choice – and as Aoki says, this is a moment when they really need to trust each other.  Taichi certainly has a normal adolescent curiosity but there’s no real indication that any of the kids aren’t trustworthy – but will all this insight into the others’ lives bring the kids closer together, or drive them apart?  It may well be that this is the theme that emerges as the dominant one as the show progresses.  For now it appears that next week’s episode will introduce the element that’s been largely absent so far – the complicating issue of romantic feelings within the group.  We already know Aoki likes Yui, and while I already suspected Taichi liked Nagase it seems as if the preview confirms it.  How those events are portrayed should tell us a lot about just how much potential KK has as a series.

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[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.13_[2012.07.14_10.14.04] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.46_[2012.07.14_10.54.27] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.38_[2012.07.14_10.56.11]
[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.51_[2012.07.14_10.16.42] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.14_[2012.07.14_10.18.04] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.00_[2012.07.14_10.18.50]
[HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.08_[2012.07.14_10.18.59] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.11_[2012.07.14_10.54.46] [HorribleSubs] Kokoro Connect - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.49_[2012.07.14_10.19.40]


  1. l

    I enjoyed the first episode more than you did. Nevertheless, I agree that the second episode was a vast improvement. The addition of the darker elements, Heartseed and Yui's phobias, added some gravitas to what was originally just a light, forgettable piece of fluff. (I'll be honest, Heartseed truly creeped me out when what he said and what it implies sank in.)

    So far, the kids have done a reasonable job of handling the switches when they occur around school. I'm anxious to see what happens when the switches occur around family. The first episode set up a home life for most of the kids. I'd like to see those lives explored soon.

    I was on the fence about keeping the show after the first episode. If my viewing schedule became too heavy, Kokoro Connect was on the list to be dropped. But after the second episode, it moved off that list for the time-being. I want to know what happens next.

  2. b

    Damn, that was fast. Subs only came out 3 hours ago.

    Nagase seems to like Taichi too as she kind of blushes after Taichi and Yui switched and Yui was calling from the bathroom.
    And yeah, this was a vast improvement from the previous episode with the appearance of the perp, or what we know of him. And that talk by Nagase in Aoki's body is something to think about too. Looking forward to more development from this.

    So Oonuma really isn't handling this huh. This Kawamo Shinya is the one in charge I guess. Judging from his resume, he's in some good titles. Here's hoping he delivers well.

  3. That's only my speculation, as whenever you see a "Chief Director" title in the credits you just don't know what it means. But have you ever seen a Shin series that was so un-SHAFT-y?

  4. A

    YUP! I agree, I also think that Himeko Inaba noticed the fact Nagase and Taichi mutually like each other because in that 'calling from the bathroom' scene they cut to an image of her looking at them right after Nagase blushes.This is probably what influences Himeko's decision to announce dibs on Nagase to that pervy class rep while in Taichi's body at the end (It took me a rewind to understand that). I'm really liking this show and despite the confusing body swaps, they've done a pretty good job making the characters deep and unique enough that I'm certain I'll be able to totally tell them apart very soon…or at least I hope so :)

  5. I

    I think the reason it got so much better this episode was because they showed that these characters weren't skin deep and as GE said a character comedy means it only gets better as the story continues. Drama added quite a bit of depth too.

    I think a myriad of love/relationships is very probable with Connect, one that could rival Ano Natsu. Goes something like:

    Aoki likes Yui
    Yui hates men
    Taichi likes Iori
    Inaba likes Taichi
    Iori isn't ready for love

  6. A

    Are you an oracle? I felt the same way


  7. A

    I think you may be right with the exception that I think both Iori and Inaba like Taichi. I think Taichi is the one unsure. He is the one who doesnt seem to know who he likes.

  8. t

    It feels like it's gonna be like toradora though, I can already feel the drama on this. My only problem is they haven't properly established the characters, so when they switch the personalities it was very confusing…
    My only clue is their names, which is also very forgettable. The Mr.Go scene was very good, but the camera angles destroyed it. It's supposed to be scary but they fail to do so. Overall, this is far great than the first episode.

  9. d

    Just to point something out Enzo.
    Even thought the manga is lagging behind, some points are missed out by the anime. They did not join the same club ny choice. But by necessity. Their school has alot of clubs. They thought they could find the club by joining the school, however clubs like prowrestling, and being happy didnt exist. So the 5 of them joined to make a club with a vague name like culture research so they can still do what they want. Being happy is a culture of Japan… perhaps?

  10. S

    I'm just going to throw my theory out there:

    “I screwed up” means that the blonde haired guy Aoki(?) tried to fake a personality swap, and assume Iori's (right?) identity in an attempt to be able to get close to Yui.

    The notion of faking each other's identity had already been brought up in the previous scene, but in an attempt to avoid evoking attention amongst other people.

    The faking was pretty good, ( he kept the act going for a little while longer with Taichi ) but not enough to overcome Yui's self preservation

    P.S. as Tokwa says, it's really hard to remember their names because of the personality swaps as a viewer, so what if they themselves start to forget? I can imagine this getting ramped up, so people spend days in other people's bodies before getting your own body back, or swapping to some third body.

  11. K

    In a nutshell, this "Heartseed" is basically switching their personalities for his own lulz.

    Not that I'm complaining too much, else we won't have a plot. Though I do wonder if the characters alone would drive the story even without a supernatural plot device as this?

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