Kokoro Connect episode 10 (and brief remarks on 8-9) – Damn the Iori Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead, Ms. Inaba!

The Kizu Random arc  has been a great ride, and in this post I’ll be catching up on recent developments and focusing on the culmination of the the arc, episode 10. First off, BAM! Take that, Iori fans! My ship now sails boldly into the future with wind in its sails and cannons loaded! Not only did Inaba get basically an entire arc focusing on her, she’s now come to openly admit her feelings for Taichi, both to herself and to him. Though in the end it took pushes by both Heartseed and Iori to get her to this point. This wonderful, GLORIOUS point.

The group continued to be split up by the new emotional release effect that Heartseed put them through, with Yui locking herself in her room and Inaba heading straight home every day and avoiding the others. Things came to a head when Taichi was ‘unleashed’ on Inaba, and later when he and Aoki nearly came to blows over how or whether to intervene with Yui. But in this episode things all got sorted out, and we saw a lot of real growth in Taichi, and in Aoki to a slightly lesser extent. Taichi finally realized how stubborn and ham-fisted he can be when he thinks he knows how to ‘save’ others, and I was really proud to see him realize this and try and address it. It’s rare, to the point of being nearly non-existant, to see a character come to a personal revelation about that kind of behavior in anime, so kudos to him in the in-show sense and to the writers in a general sense. Aoki, for his part, apologized for getting in Taichi’s face, though he wasn’t really at fault there. Character growth for him came later, when he, Taichi, and Iori went to visit Yui. While he was still his old self in declaring his love for Yui, he managed to be sort of awkward-charming in how he convinced Yui to return to school. He put forth that they can resist the emotional unleashing that Heartseed is subjecting them to if they focus and if they have an important enough reason to provide the willpower. While joking about how perverted he is to someone who had recently come to terms with a past rape attempt wasn’t the smoothest idea ever, it did highlight his point that he could restrain himself in case of Heartseed intervention because he valued Yui and his love for her beyond what any emotional unleashing could compel him to do. Elsewhere, Inaba was confronted by Gotou (Heartseed) about her avoiding everyone, and forced to consciously realize that she was avoiding the group because of her love for Taichi.

On a quick note from episodes 8-9, Fujishima is  wonderful.

The first step is to recognize that you have a problem. Good for you, man. It’s not so much the impulse to help, it’s the charge-in-like-a-bulldozer that needed to be fixed.

That day will come, Aoki, that day will come.

Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

Everyone is back together just in time, since they all have to head out on a school trip to the mountains. Inaba can’t help blushing and getting embarrassed around Taichi now, several times having to deflect or change the topic to avoid getting too uncomfortable. But eventually it gets to the point where she runs off away from everyone when she kisses her finger that Taichi had held and washed after she cut herself while cooking. Iori chases after her and when they both stop, they finally have an open conversation about the love triangle they find themselves in. At first, Inaba starts crying and admits that she loves Taichi but that she felt that she had to help Iori and him together so as to keep the group together. She’s too afraid of losing a group of friends and of getting close enough that Taichi will know her fully. Bad reasons and choices, but thankfully Iori directly tells her so. While Iori is probably my least favorite character (not that I dislike her, I just find her less interesting compared to the others) she does a good job of both calling Inaba out on her mistakes and encouraging her forward. She even encourages her to compete over Taichi, and by the end of their talk the challenge has been declared and accepted with gusto. But just then, Heartseed takes control over Iori and tells her that Taichi fell. They’d talked about how high the cliff near the garbage area was previously, and she assumes the worst, that Heartseed has done to him what it did to Iori. She runs off with the haste that only love can inspire, but finds that it was a troll and that Taichi had only fallen from a small tree while rescuing a stranded kitten.

DDDDDDDAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWW!

Ah, but the spices don’t matter so much as the chef.

Possible OTP, if just to get Iori out of the way. Though I also am liking the little side ship (destroyer escort?) forming between Fujishima and Taichi’s friend.

So sweet, and also kind of sad. But soon, Inaba, you won’t have to simply dream!

Indeed, and now you know that you have no chance, Iori.

Better than she thinks, better than ANYONE.

Hear, hear! It is the greatest victory to not only defeat your opponent, but to make them realize that they were wrong to oppose you in the first place. Once Inaba and Taichi get together, even Iori will see that they make a better couple than she and Taichi ever could have.

And she’s not even that cute.

And Aphrodite was so moved by Inaba’s love that she sent the winged shoes of Hermes himself to speed her on to Taichi.

Oh god, Fujishima, wearing that sweater, holding a kitten. HHHHNNNGGGGGGGG!

Ship ship ship ship.

Prepare yourself for tsun and dere.

After the school trip it’s another normal day of school, things appear to be getting back to normal. The emotional unleashing even seems to have stopped, though it surely won’t be the last thing that Heartseed subjects them to. But after school that day, behind the school building where Aoki confessed to Yui, Inaba calls Taichi there and confesses her love to him. And she also won’t take Taichi’s dithering about Iori for an answer. Even if he has feelings for her “right now”, that doesn’t mean that they’ll last or be able to last in the face of the open fact that Inaba is in love with him. Concluding it all, before Taichi can even finish saying something, Inaba leans in and kisses him. Booyah! Let me lay it out real simple for any Iori shippers out there: Inaba X Taichi kisses = 2, Iori X Taichi kisses = 0. Bam! Anchors aweigh, my shippers! Anchors aweighhhhhh!

Oh, I have an idea…

It happened!

My…heart….

Never give in! The tide has turned and now Taichi is open for the taking!

Round 2.

It’s just so damn cute!

BEST END (to this arc.)

Final Thoughts: – Of note in this arc, I thought it was interesting that Heartseed said that it was difficult to possess someone near Inaba since no one near her would not mind a brief bit of being unconscious. So does it use Goto to communicate so often because there’s something up with him that would make him either not notice or not care about blanking out?

- What a great ending to the arc. That last shot of Inaba’s smiling face, so happy and so relieved, was just an amazing conclusion to the Kizu Random arc, an arc basically all about her. And it was a great shot to transition into the ED sequence from. I’ve absolutely loved both the animation and song for the second ED, and where before it felt rather sad and reflected Inaba’s feelings of isolation, now it feels upbeat and encapsulates her journey through this arc. From the troubled sleep and laying in bed, to going to the windows and looking outside, finally her smile feeling genuine and happy rather than forced.

- With this show going into an unusual episode count (17, according to MAL), I have to wonder about what’s next. In terms of the story, will there be a third and/or fourth act that eventually reveals what Heartseed is, or are there enough light novels to conceivably make a second season? (If a second season wouldn’t be imperiled by the brouhaha over Yui and Aoki’s VAs being dicks to that aspiring VA.) And equally important to me, is Inaba X Taichi’s momentum secure now, or will their be an Iori X Taichi counterattack, and if so, will it be successful. Right now I’d bet on my ship, but there’s enough episodes left to make it far from a done deal.

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11 Comments

  1. Posted September 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    If this were a romance, Inaba would either be the villain or the forever-alone (and possibly lesbian) friend – and Fujishima already has the forever-alone-lesbian-friend role. That whole manipulating, scheming, stubborn thing just screams not-main-girl. Of course, this isn’t a romance, it’s a serious exporation of various comedy tropes through sci-fi, so she actually has a chance (and a good one, since she has had the most plot and asides devoted to her).

    There’s also the chance that this could turn into a mini-harem, with Yui jumping on the Taichi ship. Not quite as likely, as they aren’t even in the same class, but she could still fall for him. (Especially considering what happens the next episode…) Aoki has finally been able to approach her, but Taichi has always been able to do that.

    But still, Iori is best girl, even if she does have a mole.

    • Posted September 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      There aren’t many cases of an Inaba-like character winning, but there are some. Still, as you say it is more common for someone like her to lose out. Generally if the winning girl is more serious or strategic, she ends up also being either sort of happy and silly in her scheming, or she’s becomes very tsundere once she realizes that she likes the guy she falls for. Say, like Taiga from Toradora.

      Not sure on Yui, having watched the next episode (just couldn’t get the post finished tonight, will post tomorrow.) I think she’s probably in for one of those crises that brings one closer to one’s love interest. I think Taichi can approach her so easily because they’re friends and neutral/not interested in each other.

  2. Earthling
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    〉〉 are there enough light novels to conceivably make a second season?

    There are indeed enough volumes (excluding two volumes of side stories) to make a second season and a true finale to the series… IF there is a second season that is. *sigh*

    So, what I’d recommend is, if you think you want more after the season ends, go for the novels.

    • Posted September 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Except the translations only cover the first arc. And the LN’s aren’t done yet, so there wouldn’t be any finality in a second season.

      • Earthling
        Posted September 18, 2012 at 1:54 am | Permalink

        The first half of the finale arc Volume 9 will be releasing on 9/29. And I’m estimating part two will come out near the end of Christmas. Which makes exactly another 4 volumes for the main story, not including the side stories (some of those ones are gold too.)

        As for the translations… It will speed up soon. It will. It should. Er… hopefully. Working on it… @ @;

    • Posted September 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Ah, good to know. I might have to look for those, if translations are out by then, as TheRoyalFamily mentioned below.

  3. eternia
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    You are still alive! I am starting to worry if something bad happened to you.
    Actually I have a mixed feeling about this show. Even though the characters experienced a really unnatural phenomenon, all the happenings are really too tame. Personality switch, uncontrollable desire, I am expecting something bigger! Something that goes out with a bang! But no. These kids only need to realize that they shouldn’t really worry their desires, and they have friends by their side, and there! Heartseed has done with them for now.
    *le sigh*

    • Earthling
      Posted September 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Well,for me that’s the charm of the series. Overcoming the paranormal with normal. The fact that they are trying hard to retain their “normal”-ness despite putting up with all the bullshit trolling makes it interesting. It’s kinda refreshing really.

      • Posted September 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. It’s more of a show about exploring the characters’ personalities, pasts, and interactions, with the sci-fi or paranormal part just being the catalyst and a starting point for some final revelation. I think that there will be some reckoning on the mystery part of things, but for now it’s about throwing five interesting characters into unfamiliar and fantastical situations and seeing how they can try and keep up their relationships to each other.

        I’m still intensely interested in finding out what Heartseed and No. 2 are and why they’re doing this, but I also just love seeing the characters going through so much self-discovery via the interventions they’re subjected to.

  4. venom_aa
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Damn it, i got to get up to date with this series. My bet was on Inaba but i never guessed she would kiss Taichi this soon. Damn my workload

  5. Merq
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I was waiting for your commentary on this! I couldn’t take it when Inaba confessed! She was brilliant!

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  • [...] positive reviews for this episode to get an idea of what they saw. Of course, some of them are just Inaba-fags, so I didn’t get much out of them. Some of them are just weird with this show to the point [...]

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