Friday, May 16, 2014

Hall of Fame Induction: Kokoro Connect

In my Anime Hall of Fame series, I highlight shows that I enjoyed a lot and think are worth trying out. Click the "stardf29's Anime Hall of Fame" tab at the top of the page to see a list of all the inducted anime series so far. More anime series will be inducted over time, and this post will be updated with any new information for this series.


Kokoro Connect

Thank no one for this freaky Friday. (Official art.)

Show Information

Japanese title: ココロコネクト

Based on: Light Novel (not available in US)

Length: 13 TV episodes + 4 OVA episodes
Airdate: Summer 2012 (TV episodes), 11/2012-12/2012 (special airing of OVA episodes) 
Rating: TV-14 (mainly for talk of teenager-related topics)

Studio: Silver Link

Available for streaming (TV episodes only): Crunchyroll, Hulu, The Anime Network 

Home video license: Sentai Filmworks
Release information (all releases include English dub & Japanese w/English subtitles):
- TV Collection: DVD (ARP: $60) & Blu-ray (ARP: $70)
- OVA Collection: DVD (ARP: $30) & Blu-ray (ARP: $40)

Show synopsis: Five students are brought together into the StuCS club (mainly because they have no other club to join), where they compile newsletters and hang out. The club consists of three girls, Iori, Himeko, and Yui, and two guys, Taichi and Yoshifumi, and their lives are pretty ordinary... until one day, they suddenly find themselves swapping bodies with each other. Not only is the experience as awkward as body-swapping sounds, but the experience also forces the members to learn more about each other than they ever planned to. How will the group deal with the real issues that come up when they live part of their lives in each other's shoes? And who is this Heartseed that is behind the phenomenon, and does he have other things planned for this group of teens?

Why it's worth watching: First of all, the body-switching only lasts for five episodes, comprising the first of the show's four arcs. Each arc has a different phenomenon that affects the characters (the last arc is covered by the OVAs), and what exactly those phenomena are is not as important as how they affect the characters, forcing them to come to terms with various aspects of their identity. And that's the real draw of this show: where other shows that use things like body-swapping do it just for the comedic hijinks, this show actually takes a look at the issues that can arise in those situations, and use them to really explore the show's cast. (It helps that this show does have a great cast of characters.)

That's not to say there isn't comedy in this show, because there is and it is pretty nicely balanced with all the serious psychological aspects the show explores. The writing is definitely above average for a light novel adaptation, though it does sometimes falter in the ending of arcs; the final arc, though, is consistently great and definitely worth the journey there. With strong characters, well-developed relationships, and some great looks at what makes up our identity, this is an easy show to recommend to others.

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