Kokoro Connect episode 04 – So, This Happened…

So, another episode of ‘fixing’ people, but at least there was something waaaay out of left field that turned the episode into something else entirely. It’s an odd strategy for producing/writing a show, but hey, I guess it works! Start telling a pretty cliche story and then BAM! throw something incredibly strange out there that makes the audience even forget what you were talking about. So, yeah…a fun episode for none of the reasons it set out for.

Things begin with the characters checking up on Inaba, who had apparently collapsed due to overexertion at the end of the previous episode. She’s back up and moving before too long, and cautions Taichi about caring too much, but then goes and blurts right out to him and Iori that Taichi should try and ‘fix’ Iori’s trauma. But her conflicting words do make sense a bit later. Iori is a bit angry at Inaba bringing up that she has some issue that’s been bothering her, but she asks Taichi is he can keep things the same between them if she tells him. Sitting along the riverbank, she tells Taichi that her mother’s frequent divorces and remarriages was tough on her, in particular one stepfather who could be violent. She changed her personality to keep his temper from flaring up, but she wasn’t quite sure what she really wanted by the end of it all. She’d lost track of her own wants and preferences after changing herself so many times. It seemed more like she just needed to get it off her chest, since feeling disconnected with herself had dulled her perception of the people around her. Taichi sort of stumbles through the conversation and almost says that he’s in love with her, but stops himself and goes for a more friend-like reassurance. Can’t say that I’m that thrilled to see him taking center stage so much and ‘fixing’ people. Having five main characters made me hope for more variations in binaries helping each other through things, rather than Taichi becoming something like a harem lead.

Ship ship ship (part 1)

No, really, I’d rather he didn’t. I don’t have anything against him, but I don’t want everything to revolve around him for the sake of the story and character relationships.

Don’t get all Gasai Yuno on me, Iori.

Nope. It’s just a crush now, but by the end of the show you will realize your true feelings for Inaba!

Yes, your self-friendzoning is just proof of your lack of true feelings!

Not only is Iori likely doomed because she’s the first girl (crushes at the start often fall apart later), but she’s channeling the ill-fated Minori from Toradora.

The latter 2/3 of the episode is basically one scene. Taichi (Inaba) goes to the club room to rest up since Inaba’s body is still weak, and Inaba (Taichi) follower before their bodies swap back. She starts to talk about why she’s been so weak, and the cause. She’s been kept awake worrying about the body swapping business, and that someone in the group could cause problems by committing crimes or basically doing anything while in her body, with her left to take the heat for it once they switch back. She can’t seem to trust anyone in the group, though she doesn’t trust people generally. Taichi tries his usual nice reassurances, but Inaba gets angry and tries threatening him into backing down. Then, to show Inaba that he trusts her completely, with  anything, he says something that’s either incredibly stupid, brilliant, or both. The big secret he has to share, the one that he says would ruin his ability to have a normal life if it got out…was that he masturbated thinking of Inaba. Though I guess once again his stupid and incredibly clumsy way of trying to help people actually worked, since Inaba laughed so much at him that she kind of forgot her trust issues for a moment and opened up. From there on, Inaba berates him but then starts crying over how stupid he was but how touching it was, in a way. Things between the two of them are even better than before, and now she has something she can troll him about FOREVER. By way of this, she ends the episode by telling him later, when they’re with the group but away from them, that she masturbated to thoughts about him too. Yep.

I really hope not, I don’t want Taichi to become any more like a harem lead.

But damn, I can’t dislike the guy. At least if he does become the center of things, he’s not a self-righteous douche about ‘saving’ people.

Points for honesty?

Now kiss! (Not scene-appropriate, but you can’t stop the shipping.)

Please form a line.

Don’t argue with results, I guess?

I know I do.

DAT TROLLFACE.

Final Thoughts: – I wasn’t really feeling the resolution to Iori’s issue being done by Taichi, but it wasn’t so bad I guess. Mostly just something she needed to talk to someone about rather than the huge trauma it was made out to be at the start. Taichi wasn’t bad there, but again, I’d rather that it have been someone like Inaba or Aoki to do the helping this time.

- Inaba’s trust issues weren’t as well written as they could have been, since they didn’t really give sufficient reason for her to be worried to the point of not sleeping just because. She also didn’t come off as completely convincing that she distrusted the other club members, though that was likely because of her and not the writing. She seemed to  want to not trust anyone, that it was a safety mechanism amid the turmoil of the body swapping. But that all kind of fell away amid probably the most ridiculously funny revelations in anime. Completely out of nowhere, and what’s more, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen directly talked about in anime. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a character say directly to another that they masturbated to them. I think the very strangeness and shock of the admission, especially in a point of intense drama, really derailed the episode but in a fun way. That seems to have been Kokoro Connect‘s formula over the last two episodes: build up a conflict, bring things to a head, and then go for the laughs. Though I have to admire their creativity and daring in making that the reveal. And I guess it works. Taichi just acts so obliviously dumb that the other person can’t help but laugh and feel a bit better.

- Hoping for a few things out of the next episode or two: more Aoki, a less central role for Taichi, and some more interaction with Heartseed and/or reveals about the nature of the body swapping business. If it weren’t for the characters being so fun, and the ‘solutions’ to people’s problems being so amusing, I’d think that the show’s starting to get a bit bogged down for a one-cour series.

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21 Comments

  1. Posted July 31, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Inaban x Tachi is the only pairing i will accept. Also I would so line up for Inaban to say abusive things to me wwww

    • Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      So the question is, would you line up for the Sawashiro Miyuki abuse clinic, or the HanaKana one? Since I’m assuming you’re just lining up for the VA.

  2. Dein
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Taichi is a good character, but his life coach thing kinda takes away a little from the group story as a whole and the problems he sets out to fix, since his streamline approach makes any one problem less special/meaningful, and more like a mandatory speedbump on the plot road. Hopefully this was the last episode of Taichis heart-mending ways, so the show can finally refocus on interactions between everyone involved.

    • Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. It feels like the show is ‘solving’ problems just to solve them, like it’s just rushing through a standard character background bit. Though hopefully this means that these situations are now out of the way and the story and group interactions can move on. Though I’m still betting there will be something for Aoki, I just hope Taichi isn’t the one to help him, for variety’s sake.

      • Dein
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 3:38 am | Permalink

        Yeah, it really ruined the flow somewhat. I liked your MA2 comparison, that’s exactly what this looks like. Either way, Aoki definitely needs to stop being pure comic relief and get the spotlight for a while. I dunno if they actually will come up with a problem for him as well, but if they do, I hope it’ll be closer to what Yui’s episode was like. I know it got a lot of hate, but subject matter aside, I thought it was well done in a sense that it happened naturally and almost conicidentally. This episode just solved issues for the sake of solving them, as you say.

  3. eternia
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    This series starts out good, but this episode’s pacing is too quick, and the girls revealed their secret so easily to the ‘harem lead’. Also, the next episode sounds like a love triangle to me. If that really happens, I will be really disappointed.
    :-(
    On the other notice, Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate starts out as the usual eroge adaptation, but the recent episode is really good!

    • Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      The pacing is too quick, it doesn’t give a lot of time to really get into the characters’ background and the way that they move forward. But that said, I never mind a love triangle, haha.

      I’ll have to catch up on KoiChoco, it started out equal parts horrible and actually interesting. Mostly, I just want to see Poor-tan lead a workers revolt against the obvious exploitative class system at the school.

      • eternia
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        But a love triangle which leads to jumping off from the school’s roof is a bit too much soap opera…
        I kind of predicted that, seeing how you were really tolerant with unfaithful Haruto.
        :-D
        KoiChoco is pretty good for an eroge adaptation, it has only one ecchi scene so far, that is the censored panty flash on episode 1, but other than that, it’s being really enjoyable and educational in how to compete in an election.
        :-)
        An underrated show, it is. The exact opposite of Hype Art Online.

      • eternia
        Posted August 7, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        I got trolled.
        I thought it was rooftop and she went SPLAT!
        But it’s a bridge and under there is water.

  4. Emer
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I thought the reason Inaba was worried was perfect for someone with anxiety. Sometimes the most innocuous, even nonexistent thing, can get an anxious person riled up and spun out of control. What I thought was unrealistic was how she was “cured” after Taichi revealed ze secret, like some switch was thrown and she is ok. Like years of not trusting anyone has got to leave a mark somehow. oh well, great show anyway and the Inabaxtaichi ship has already set sail for me :)

    • Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      I guess I could see that. And I guess in the end, all that matters is that our ship has left port.

  5. razzler
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Inaban x Taichi FTW!!! Is it just me or does Taichi give this Io-kind of vibes with his right at the moment swoon-worthy(?) lines???

    • Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Haha, no one will ever be as smooth as Io, but he does make a passable attempt sometimes. He just doesn’t quite have the confidence of Io behind his words.

  6. Posted August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    The only way I will accept Taichi as the MC/harem lead is if next episode he has to fix Aoki’s problem – his womanizing is actually a deep psychological cover for his raging homosexuality! Taichi now holds his secret, and thus his heart as well (harem get). Hijinks follow as Heartseed reveals that he’s been recording everything, and is actually a producer for extra-dimensional entertainment; their story is going to be the new hit of the multi-verse.

    That would definitely be an interesting twist. Somehow I doubt that will happen, though.

    Iori doesn’t seem fixed yet. Looks like business as usual – she just turns into what Taichi wants.

    I was originally down on Taichi for fapping to the girls – why wank it to your friends when there are way hotter girls on the internet? But that’s Taichi for you. Iori probably did it – she can act pretty slutty, even if it’s just teasing, and she’s the one that put the image if her and Inaba naked into his mind.

    • Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, if Taichi has to continue to be the center of everything, then he’d better help Aoki in the same way. But ideally, I’d rather that someone else help Aoki and the spotlight be taken off of Taichi. But I’m starting to doubt that that will happen.

      As to Taichi’s choice of ‘material’, well, he is a high school boy…

    • eternia
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Not to mention that she claimed that she can pee standing up.
      :-)

  7. Billiz
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    But the real question is: Are the girls really “cured”?

    • Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      In terms of the story, probably. It feels like the show is ticking off the boxes for character loyalty like you would in Mass Effect 2‘s sidestory missions, but with a lot less depth than that game’s stories. Though it’s not necessarily a bad thing, since all but Aoki’s (and maybe Taichi’s) stories are over with and the show can move on to how the group deals with the larger body swapping/Heartseed issue.

  8. Bob from Accounting
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    I really don’t feel like Iori’s problem is resolved at all. I mean, the conversation about it pretty much went nowhere. It really didn’t feel like Taichi solved her issues the moment he heard about them like with the other two girls. I think there’s still a lot more to be addressed with regard to Iori’s character.

    I’ll agree that Inaba x Taichi is the OTP, though.

  9. venom_aa
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    I have had this feeling of leap of faith since the start of Kokoro. I really tought i would be dropping it in the middle of episode 2, but somehow by the end of each episode the show steals my heart again, and somehow that happened again by the end of this episode the with Inaba-Taichi screwed up friendship. Really that scene its something to never forget. I can see already how Taichi is going to end up with Iori, but it will be a fun ride to just to see how this affects Inaba strong character.

    BTW, go and see episode 5 right now. Its a must.

    • Zorapup
      Posted August 8, 2012 at 5:12 am | Permalink

      I agree with the last sentence.

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