Kokoro Connect episode 05-06 – A Troll Who Cares, and, OH DESIRE!

Two episodes in this post, and coincidentally it’s the end of one chapter/arc/whatever and the start of another one. Episode 05 brought out some big drama with Yui being the victim of a randomly-timed Heartseed intervention, which brought things to almost AnoHana-level drama. It was a high point of emotions that ended up serving as a nice conclusion to the ‘Hito Random’ chapter of the story. And then episode 06 started something new, complete with new Heartseed dynamic, possibly a new character focus, and a new ED sequence. And I’m really hoping that the second point will hold true. ‘Kizu Random’ (random wound/scar rather than random person) will be an Inaba-centric chapter.

Episode 05: The body swapping is still going on, but it seems to be a more infrequent occurrence. This lets the characters get back to their normal lives, with the scene that sets things in motion being Aoki confessing to Yui again behind the school. Inaba knows everything before it happens as usual though, and she gets Taichi and Iori to hide in the bushes and watch the two, as a way to try and give Taichi and Iori a push. Yui sort of admits to liking Aoki, or that he at least has a chance, but she turns him down saying that she doesn’t want to date anyone right now. It does get Taichi thinking a bit, and later in the clubroom Iori (Inaba) walks in and starts talking with him about it…or so he thinks. She asks him how he feels about Iori, and he gives a lame noncommittal answer about wanting their relationship to stay the same for now, so as not to risk it. But just then Inaba walks in and Iori’s fake bodyswap is revealed, sending her running and crying out of the room. With a little of that good old Inaba persuasion, Taichi chases after her. With a little help from Fujishima he eventually tracks her down on a bridge and they get to talking. He confesses to her, but just then, Heartseed takes over her body and starts talking about how boring they all are. So like a good writer, he decides to stir the pot. After handing Taichi Iori’s cell phone, Iori (Heartseed) jumps off the bridge into the river.

Inaba might be trying to ship against her own interest, but I hope that precedent for that not working and falling for the guy from Toradora and Kimi Kiss: Pure Rouge holds. Look, she’s the one next to Taichi and the one making physical contact with him. SHIP SHIP SHIP!

Best new tsun phrase!

I have to say, that was a pretty ingenious and well-done trick by Iori. I wouldn’t think she’d have it in her to pull off something like that. Sure, as a joke I could see it, but I never thought she’d be devious enough to try and get Taichi’s opinion of her by faking a body swap.

TRUE YURI LOVE! (I ship it)

Really liked this shot in terms of visuals. This episode and the next one had more cool shots like this than past episodes. 

LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU! (It’s okay, the first ship out of the gate doesn’t always win, and there’s still plenty of ammunition for the cannons of USS Inaba X Taichi.)

That’s a hell of a way to ‘make things interesting’, Heartseed. Though it makes you wonder: does Heartseed just take over a body, or does it have a body somewhere that Iori had to switch to? Neither she nor Gotou showed any signs of remembering anything while Heartseed spoke through them though.

Iori is taken to the hospital with some apparently sever injuries necessitating surgery. But of course, this being anime and all, the injuries are all internal so she isn’t visibly hurt. I’d guess probably some internal bleeding or something, since a fair amount of rivers like the one she was jumped into are actually really shallow most of the time. The rest of the characters show up to wait while she’s in surgery, and they call Gotou to come as well. He shows up, but under the control of Heartseed who gives them a tough choice: Iori will die, but he will allow any of them to body swap at-will for the next thirty minutes to decide whose personality will die with Iori’s body. Taichi predictably volunteers at first, until Inaba rightly grabs him by the collar and calls out his stupidity, quoted at length below in the screenshots. Because it really is important to drive home how stupid and hurtful that kind of behavior can be. I wish that Inaba had stuck to her guns at the end of her rant instead of letting him off the hook, but she is arguably (and certainly, in my mind) in love with the guy, so that probably kept her from driving home the lesson fully. (Really the best statement in anime about why always trying to sacrifice yourself for others is bad was done at the end of a three episode xxxHolic Kei arc, this scene. Watanuki was trying so much to be the savior that he got Doumeki, Zashiki Warashi, and himself in all kinds of trouble over it AND worried everyone else over him. “You don’t belong only to yourself” as Yuuko put it.) Taichi isn’t exactly dissuaded, but he is shut up when Aoki offers that Iori’s personality should be the one to die with her body, as it’s only natural. I liked how he was the one to say it, as it showed off his more serious side. If Inaba had delivered it, it would have been more of the same from her, but Aoki is normally not a very serious character in how he presents himself to others. In the end the group agreed with Aoki, but used body swapping so Iori could have a last conversation with everyone. When Taichi and Inaba (Iori)  spoke it started out as normal, but he was the only one she could really open up to and say that she was scared. She also wanted to give him a memory, so they kissed before she had to switch back. But in the end, the surgeons were able to save her and Heartseed spoke to the group: it was a setup. Iori was never in danger of dying, and Heartseed apologized, in a way, by giving them a box of sweets and stating that he’d never harm an innocent person. His idea of proof of this was that he gave Taichi Iori’s cellphone before he had her jump, to keep it from getting ruined in the water. That’s…some way of looking at things.

Right on!

And yet she can’t quite drive the stake through his heart because she loves him~ SHIP SHIP SHIP!

Nice choice for the writers, and a good personality moment for Aoki, showing that he can be very calm in decision making. 

Another very cool shot. Nicely shows the emotional distance between them as they try and make such a heavy decision. It especially shows Taichi’s emotional state and opinion. Back turned to the others, he heard Inaba’s argument but still can’t quite accept it even if it makes sense, and he’s torn up about the logic of Aoki’s argument and the others’ decision.

It kinda counts for my ship! 

This episode really made Heartseed even more interesting. For how little we know about it, it makes things incredibly more interesting just to get another short glimpse into its mindset.

Taichi maintaining a fairly central role again, but I don’t mind so much this time because that was a hell of a thing to put him through.

YES!

Episode 06: Three weeks later and the body swapping has stopped. Iori is headed back to school and things are back to normal. The group is spending a lot of time working on a club newspaper, with mostly Inaba working on typing it up. One day she and Taichi are in the clubroom and suddenly she starts taking off her clothes and crawls across the table to Taichi with an open shirt, telling him to take his clothes off. Go, Ibaba! Claim him for yourself! She has him on the ground when, of course, they’re interrupted by Yui and Aoki. Inaba just sort of leaves without comment, but Yui hits the table out of frustration and breaks it in half(!). Something seems to be going on, and that night Taichi hears a voice in his head and suddenly starts leaving his house before sort of ‘waking up’ and realizing what he was doing. He had been going to see Iori out of some weird compulsion, and when he calls her, she too was starting to act on her own. Eventually it comes up in the group that they’re hearing a voice in their heads making them act on their desires and impulses. A new game seems to be afoot, and it’s made worse because it can involve others like when Yui beat up some guys from another school and Aoki tried fighting off the police who stopped her. Inaba once again wants to try and sit it out, but Heartseed promises them that he can ‘make it interesting’ even if they try to lock themselves in their rooms the whole time. Inaba ends up pushing everyone out of the room after the discussion on the pretense that she has to work on the newspaper, but instead she slumps against the door and curls up, obviously upset about this new development.

Don’t question it, Taichi. Just let your true love come to you.

One does not refuse Inaba.

Yes. ‘Relieve stress.’

You lucky dog.

Yarrr! Inaba be boardin’ ye ship and making off with the bounty!

I’m ExecutiveOtaku, and I approve this deal.

AAAAHHHHH MY SHIP! <3 <3 <3

I hope Fujishima is in this chapter more.

Iori doesn’t need to know what happened on that afternoon that went on forever and ever.

A master of understatement.

Lovely seeing Inaba get flustered. 

Yes, stay apart during this. I think the best way to ride this out is for Taichi to work on the club newspaper. With Inaba. Alone together. Every day.

 The new ED sequence: Making a separate short paragraph her just to talk about the new ED sequence and how much I love it. For one, it’s focused on my favorite character. But I also love the music and how it suits Inaba’s feelings at the moment. The use of her point of view in some of the color shots really helped you empathize with her and how she sees things. Especially the shot of Taichi looking at her. THESE FEELS! I also liked the shaky, simple animation style of her in bed waking up but not wanting to get out of bed at first. Again, THESE FEELS, especially the reaction shot after the full color one of Taichi looking at her. As if I needed more fuel for my shipping fire. Inaba is my favorite character out of anything I’m watching this season, so I’m happy to see that ‘Kizu Random’ looks like it will be focusing on her.

Inaba ;_; Don’t worry, you’ll get him by the end of this show!

A really good shot to show both her feeling of isolation from the group and how welcoming they are if she’d just let them be.

HHHHHNNNNNNGGGGGGGGG.

Final Thoughts: - Iori and Yui’s problems haven’t gone away completely, which was good to see. It would have been entirely too convenient if they just disappeared already, though honestly that’s what I was expecting the show to do. Glad to be surprised about that.

- I’d love to know how exactly Heartseed thinks its being nice by saving Iori’s cellphone, and how it thinks that throwing her body off a bridge is not harming an innocent. Obviously it’s some sort of alien or magical being, but it seems to have odd ideas about things. Though for now, I’m just enjoying it messing around with people’s lives and having strange motivations, in the same way that I enjoyed watching Kyubey in Madoka Magica.

- I also like how the magical influence on the characters has been switched up. Definitely wasn’t expecting that, but it keeps things uncertain and interesting. It’s an entirely different problem for the characters to deal with.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted August 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Already shared these with you over twitter but I though I should dropped them here too for your readers not on twitter.

    http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=29216352 Inaban x Taichi OTP

    http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=29322992 Inaban hhhhhnnngggg

    http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=29277055 More Inaban hhhhnnggg

  2. Dein
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Not sure if it’s just me, but it seems like the show lost all sense of pacing. In the past 2 episodes we got several fairly serious moments that either just get instantly overlapped by poorly timed comedy or some plot twist that invalidates the whole thing. Not to say that the comedy isn’t fun, or that the romantic aspect is bad (although it does seem to lack the depth for any proper romance, at least so far), but it gives me the general impression that the show can’t properly decide what to do with the screen time.

    That momemnt with Inaba alone in the room was great, though. Conveyed more in those 20 seconds than the show did in the whole episode. I’d say she’s the only one right now that manages to find a balance between romance, comedy and serious issues.

    • Posted August 14, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      The romance aspect doesn’t seem to be the focus of it right now, though in general I think I like the lack of complete focus on one part of the story. While I could equally enjoy the show if it focused on the romance, drama, or comedy, for some reason I like the balance between the three. It feels sort of natural to me that the three would switch prominence at different parts of the episodes, since it seem somewhat more realistic. The characters going through this seem like they’d alternate fairly quickly between trying to address the more serious aspects of their situation and humor and daily concerns. But it’s all a matter of one’s view of it, I can certainly see the point about how it’s not staying with one aspect of the story most of the time.

  3. venom_aa
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Episode 5 was a rollercoaster, for a momment there i truely believe Heartseed was capable of doing it. And I still wonder what is the real strength of his powers.

    Im still rooting for Inaba, but Iori hast a strong lead on her.

    The new arc looks like its really going to shake up their friendship.

    • Posted August 14, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      I guess I’m cautious or maybe pessimistic when it comes to beings with seemingly incredible powers, because I never thought for a second that Heartseed wouldn’t think twice about killing one of the characters. Which made his statement about not harming innocents a surprise, and an interesting aspect of his character (even if he did harm Iori, just not permanently.) That makes Heartseed all the more interesting going forward though.

      Iori has the lead, but never underestimate how bad things can go for the girl who gets the early lead. I’m hoping that that’s the dynamic that plays out in this series, though there’s also precedent for the first girl winning in plenty of shows too.

  4. eternia
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Inaba was dangerously sexy when she let her earthly desire took over, lol. I guess she wasn’t joking when she said that she used Taiichi as masturbation material.
    I agree with Dein. The anime seems to be unable to decide what genre it belongs to. I would think that it’s a psychological drama, considering there are rape issue, androphobia, losing own identity, lack of trust of people. It will be complete if Heartseed was an evil alien who loved to hurt people’s mentality. Buuuuut. Alas. He was a weirdo with unclear motive.

    • Posted August 14, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Not too repeat myself too much from my above reply, but I don’t really mind the lack of focus because I like how it’s all adding up to a bigger experience. Though with that said, I really do hope this arc focuses more on the romance aspect of things, for good or ill concerning my ship.

      Heartseed not being the purely evil or uncaring alien organism was a surprise to me, but it made it more interesting since he’s not what I was expecting. Though he has some odd ideas about what constitutes harming another being, and how to apologize to people.

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