Kokoro Connect episode 11 – Fountain of Youth

New arc, and a new phenomenon affecting the characters. And a new revelation about Heartseed, as well as (possibly) the focus on Aoki that I’ve been waiting for. Characters are now reverting to their younger selves, a a preset time each day but at to a random age. Though it’s not that straightforward, as the age-reversed characters act just as they did when they were that age and then remember nothing upon reverting to their normal selves. Those that stay their current age then start seeing their friends as they were years ago, and with this comes some memories and information that had been forgotten or kept private from the others.

Just like the time between Hito Random and Kizu Random, there’s a brief period of normality before the newest Heartseed intervention begins. In a cold opening, we see Inaba and Taichi together at a New Year’s festival when Fujishima comes upon them…and three children. This is a Amagami-style afterstory years later after Taichi and Inaba got married. THE END! The three look just like Aoki, Yui, and Iori, but Taichi and Inaba hurry away with ‘Taichi’s relatives’ before Fujishima can quite piece it together. The age-reversing started just before winter break when one day the characters arrived in their club room and found four of their names written down on the board, all but Taichi, and a time, 12:00-15:00 (3pm.) The first time it happens it takes them by surprise when Yui and Iori revert back to younger ages, but the group figures it out pretty quickly and comes up with a plan: meet together in a soon-to-be-demolished building near Inaba’s and wait out the five-hour transformation period each day. There’s a new twist in this intervention though. Taichi heads home one day and is talking with his sister one minute and Heartseed the next. Or rather, a Heartseed. This new being identifies itself as such, but not. For now it says that Taichi can call it No. 2, and it seems to have something of a different agenda. It told Taichi that it needs him to “become a knight”, and that the age-reversal phenomenon wouldn’t be sustainable if they all became children for five hours a day. How Taichi is supposed to stop the phenomenon isn’t something that it tells him, but it’s perhaps a sign of its influence that it got Taichi excepted from the age-reversal. Or at least for the time being.

And they married, had kids, and lived happily ever after.

SO CUTE TOGETHER!

Ah, and Fujishima there to take a picture and commemorate the occasion. And looking quite striking in that red kimono.

The characters’ ages seem to be random, but it will take another episode to know for certain.

A second Heartseed definitely could make things interesting, but I wonder how soon until the differences between the two will cause them to compete.

Meanwhile, Inaba picks up the red telephone, the emergency line between the two sides of this Cold War. In seriousness, it’s interesting to see the two of them being so open about their rivalry. Which is of course because Inaba already knows that she’s won and is being magnanimous to preserve their friendship.

After school one day Yui and Taichi meet an old acquaintance of Yui’s, a girl named Chinatsu who used to compete against Yui back when she was studying karate. She seems rather cold and angry towards Yui, but for the moment this thread is left alone, though surely it’s part of a larger picture developing with Yui and her past. Trying not to have the new Heartseed intervention seen by anyone, the characters gather in the abandoned building. Inaba and Aoki are the ones who have their ages reversed, and Iori and Yui can’t get over how cute little Inaba is. While the two girls are focused on Inaba (even as she flees and clings to Taichi) Aoki hangs out with Taichi and asks Yui if she’s the older sister of someone named Nana. She doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and it’s not until after Aoki and Inaba revert to their normal ages that we find out. Aoki is asked about it and he somewhat despondently replies that Nana was a girl he dated when he was in middle school…and that Yui looks a lot like her. It throws him into a lot of self-doubt about whether he truly loves Yui or if he just subconsciously looked for a replacement for Nana, and Yui for her part is also not sure what to think about it. It’s still on Aoki’s mind when he talks to Taichi about it on the train ride home, and it seems like this will form the central part of his story during Kako Random. Following this, another day Inaba, Taichi, and a slightly younger Iori are walking about like normal. Though I’m not sure why they’re outside during the age reversal period. Perhaps they had to, or they thought that Iori only being a few years younger wouldn’t attract too much attention, or maybe the writers just messed up. But it made for a good scene regardless, another trading of blows in the Inaba vs Iori war. Iori is adapting how she acts according to the people around her, as she did before the Hito Random arc, and she exploits Taichi’s imouto fetish. Inaba’s reaction was pretty great, but quickly reversed when Iori said that they looked just like a couple as Inaba gave Taichi grief for it.

 

 If small children were actually like young Inaba and Aoki, I might not hate to be around them.

Oh, if only Inaba could remember what happened when she reverts to her normal age.

Heh, I like the takeoff on the Natchan orange drink.

I’m liking this development. I’ve always said that Aoki needed some episodes or an arc focusing on him, and now we should get it. This is also good because it will put a spotlight on him and Yui as a developing couple, which will be interesting (and probably cute) to see.

I want to say “don’t be down about it, Aoki”, but this sort of self-doubt is both natural at times, and will make for interesting character development.

Yes, Taichi, stop it. You have a younger sister, you should know that an imouto fetish is only for those guys who never had a younger sister. Source: I have a younger sister, and I’m all about the onee-sans

Iori might’ve just been adapting to what Inaba wanted to hear, but who cares, ADD IT TO THE SHIPPING AMMO!

A new arc, a new ED sequence and song (and damn it! It’s been long enough, ED 1 and ED 2 SINGLE FUCKING WHERE?!), and I was fairly impressed with it. The second one from Kizu Random is still my favorite for both animation, themes, and music, but this one is quite good too. Has a more serious, confrontational feel to it, which is making me speculate and hope for an eventual showdown of some sort with Heartseed by the end of it. Taichi being told by No. 2 to “become a knight” has to have a meaning and purpose behind it, and he’s given a pretty dramatic closeup during the ED sequence. There’s also a focus on the relationship drama in the ED sequence, with the friction between Aoki and Yui, and the love triangle between Taichi, Inaba, and Iori, shown with hands grasping for each other and falling away. This should hopefully bode well for the arc.

 

 

The hand with the more pinkish skin tone is the one that falls away while the other hangs on to Taichi’s, and Iori has that skintone. While the ED may not be destiny since the producers may or may not want to include a simple to figure out spoiler in it, it still fills me with confidence for my ship.

Very dramatic, I like this pair of shots.

Kimi wa dare to kissu wo suru? Oh wait, Inaba’s already kissed Taichi. TWICE!

It’s hard to imagine what Taichi can do to foil Heartseed at the moment, if that’s even what No. 2 intends to do, but he’s certainly saddled with some expectations after this dramatic closeup.

Final Thoughts: - Finally a focus on Aoki, and I’m also glad to see Yui coming back to center stage a bit. She’d been fairly well sidelined during Kizu Random, but there’s definitely more that can be done with that character. In both her relationship with Aoki that the Nana memory brought up, and through the return of Chinatsu and a link to the martial art she used to practice.

- The less we know, the more I’m dying to find out more about the nature and objectives of Heartseed and its kind. With the arrival of No. 2, we’re given an answer (Heartseed isn’t one of a kind) and another question (what are the others like, and do they all have the same objectives?) While No. 2 at first might appear to be helpful, there’s no guarantee of that. Perhaps it only wants to keep Heartseed’s interventions from getting discovered, but agrees with it generally about carrying out the interventions on the group of humans. It could just be a more controlled, more professional Heartseed, which would make it possibly more dangerous.

- If Taichi has been made immune from the age reversing by No. 2, will Heartseed notice? Does it know that another of its kind has shown up and is interfering in its interventions? And if so, what will it do about it? Or can it? Is No. 2 perhaps a superior or more powerful? You’d think that after a short while, Heartseed will notice that Taichi is the only one not reverting to a younger age.

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4 Comments

  1. Earthling
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    >> If small children were actually like young Inaba and Aoki, I might not hate to be around them.

    This.

    If only boys at that age would be more like mini Aoki. Well behaved while maintaining healthy amount of energy. And of course… CHIBI INABAN HNNGGGGG

  2. Posted September 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    >Though I’m not sure why they’re outside during the age reversal period. Perhaps they had to, or they thought that Iori only being a few years younger wouldn’t attract too much attention, or maybe the writers just messed up.

    Might have something to do with the wisdom of confining 1-4 kids of various and random ages in a condemned office building for five whole hours, with no electricity and probably no running water, in the winter.

    Also, anime in general needs to be less lazy with kid versions of characters (or adult, if the characters are originally kids). Here, the only consistent difference is the percentage of face taken up by eyes; sometimes the angle of the chin is bigger. You ever look at kid pictures of yourself? You can usually see the resemblance, but they are pretty different.

    The whole Heartseed thing reminds me a lot of the various God-Like Beings (GLB’s) of Star Trek; this particular episode, with what looks like some possible conflict between the Heartseeds is more specifically like the Q Continuum. Q would mess with the mortals for the luls, and occasionally gets taken to task for it from the other Q’s.

  3. venom_aa
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Am I the only one that think that heartseed #2 is the evil one?
    I mean, heartseed #1 has been non threatening to the characters, except for that dive into the river and he did save Iori. And theres no indication that heartseed #1 is responsible for the age changes.

    Either i hope that they give a decent finale to the series, since it looks there wont be a season 2 thanks to that seiyu incident and the drop on ratings.

    • Zorapup
      Posted October 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      I heard about that Seiyuu incident. I really hope it doesn’t become a big deal because I really like this series. I did hear they were going to replace the first OP in the DVDs :/

      Hoping to see the last couple episodes blogged soon.

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